Solve Structural Design Ltd, one of the first consultants to provide BIM Level 2 reinforcement models to clients, incorporated Trimble’s Tekla software into the business over 15 years ago and has reaped many benefits since: from accurate estimations to reducing delays and costs on projects.

Solve Structural Design Ltd is a structural and civil engineering consultancy supplying a complete range of services for clients nationwide and utilises 3D modelling software for structural analysis, design and detailing of building structures – and the implementation of these services within BIM projects.

After using 2D software for a number of years, Solve Structural Design Ltd’s founding directors, Greg Johnson and Barry Peniston, quickly recognised the benefits of using 3D modelling software back in 2005. Greg said: “When 3D modelling software was introduced to the industry, we both saw how this could change the way we designed and detailed projects. As such, when we set up Solve Structural Design, we decided to buy a license for Tekla Structures and we haven’t looked back since. It is now our preferred method of detailing and as such, we currently have multiple licenses for Tekla Structures, which we use for everyday detailing, and Tekla Structural Designer, which we use on smaller engineering projects. “Tekla Structures can be used throughout an entire construction project, from the tender, design and construction stage through to model sharing – which is why it is has been our software of choice for so long.”


Models created with Tekla Structures contain precise, reliable and detailed information needed for successful BIM and construction execution; it creates more accurate ways of working and streamlines collaboration between all parties, while Tekla Structural Designer is a revolutionary piece of software that gives you the power to analyse and design buildings efficiently and profitably.

Greg continued: “At the pre-construction tender stage, by using Tekla Structures we can produce very accurate quotes, as it provides tonnage estimates for reinforcement – which is extremely helpful when it comes to working out costs.

In fact, once we have won a tender and the final detailing plans have been produced, the estimate has never been out by more than 3%. “During the design stage, checking for clashes is quick and easy, thanks to the software highlighting any potential problems. What’s more, as the 3D process is very visual, if we make any typographical errors on the models, we are able to actually see the mistake we have made and rectify it immediately – something that can not be done using a 2D process.


“We can also coordinate with other stakeholders on the project to understand where all of the other building components are going to be, to resolve any potential problems and gain further information about the temporary works. By gathering this information at the beginning of the project, we can then ensure that we model the rebar around any obstructions, such as the temporary props, and detail couplers. And then when the temporary works are removed off site, we can finish the job quickly and neatly on site. Traditionally, when we used 2D software this level of co-ordination was not achievable, which meant that projects could either over run or we would experience problems on site due to clashes.”

After the design stage, Solve Structural Design Ltd submits 3D IFC models, so that they can be incorporated within the project’s federated BIM model, where all of the project information from all stakeholders can sit in one place.

Greg concluded: “When it comes to the construction of the project, because of the model sharing and coordination during the design stage, there are no on-site surprises and we are also able to spend less time cutting steel on site, as it is all done beforehand at the manufacturing plant.

“Overall by incorporating Tekla software within the business, we have been able to reduce delays, costs and the amount of labour on projects significantly – and we can’t imagine not using the software now. Unfortunately, some people believe that the 3D process is slower than 2D but it really isn’t. By using 3D modelling software, you can speed projects up, all the while ensuring that the work produced is of a very high quality. Tekla Structures has transformed the way we work and we look forward to new technology, such as Trimble Connect and HoloLens, being introduced onto construction sites in the future.”

Capable of producing highly detailed schedules and drawings, combined with the ability to build and visualise large quantities of material precisely, Tekla software is ideal for projects that require accurate forecasting and collaborative project understanding.


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