BIM Workflow for a structure designer


Advance Design, even though it’s a FEM analysis software, has a wide range of possibility for importing/exporting model data. Structure designer even when not taking an active part in BIM process can profit from it by importing a model to his scturcutral software.

The most important data exchange formats are *GTCX and *SMLX, which allow us to fully use model data prepared in Graitec and Autodesk environment such as Revit, Advance Steel or BIM Designers. Using *IFC, *SDNF or *CIS2 lets us also import a model from any other software.

In this article I would like to focus on a different format. Possibility to import or export model to the library will give us a interesting work scenario. Using this, we can export a part of a model to a fresh file, for example extract a single story from a multi-story building. In the other way we can join multiple projects into a one, whole structre. This will come in handy when you need to join separated model that were imported from different softwares using many exchange formats. We can also extract some parts of model or even single elements to be later used in another project such as complicated trusses, segments, roofs etc.

Using a library can also allow us to open model created in newer version of Advance Design in older ones.

Import/export *abq library

In a few examples I’ll show advantages of using a library export.

Concrete building model in Advance Design imported from Revit

Here you can see a 6-story residential building of a concrete structre. It was imported directly from Revit. All loads are already generated and the model is ready to be calculated.

We will use a library export to extract a single storeys or slabs for a detailed analysis. I select necessary objects – in this case a whole story with loads and upper elements and I choose a saving path. I can also pick a reference point which will allow me to precisely join models if needed. If a reference and insertion point is the same, the position of a structure won’t change in the global cooridinate system.

Libary export

This exported part can now be imported into any project or a fresh file if we want to work on this specific story.

Single story imported to a fresh file

The is no loss of a geometry, elements proporties and loads. I can work on this story as it was a separated, newly created model. Intrestingly, I can later import it again in my base project if I’ve done any changes to this story.

This will be essential for a designers that work using different environments and are importing parts of a structure in *IFC format. Theoretically we can’t import next files into the same model, however, we can use a library to join them all.

Joining separated files into a one model

So imagine the opposite situation. I have 2 models which are analyzed separately since they don’t influence much on each other. However, they are both based on a common garage story, so for a foundation slab calculation I need to consider them in a one model.

2 separated models of aboveground buildings

Right now using a library import I can insert these 2 buildings to another file which consiste of garage story and foundation slab.

Connecting models using insertion points

The garage story can be modeled or imported from different software. This example model was imported from Revit as 3 separated parts. Very important to mention is that every element get its individual GTC ID and its kept in each model. This allows us to synchronize a Revit model or export results, for example to do the reinforcement detailing using BIM Designers solution.

Final model of 3 joints part

Different possibilities of using library

The simplest way is to export some already prepared structure elements which we used in previous projects. We can import them to next file and modify them if needed instead of creating whole thing once again.

Library export will also come in handy when we need for some reason to open a model in older Advance Design version. Customary modesl are converted automaticaly to a newer version, however this doesn’t work the opposite way.

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