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Tekla Structural Designer 2017 Service Pack 4

Last updated November 20, 2017 by Tekla Structural Designer Development Team tekla-product-development-tsd-team-ug@trimble.com

Tekla Structural Designer 2017 Service Pack 4

This release will upgrade your installation to Tekla Structural Designer 2017 Service Pack 4 version number and should be installed to ensure optimum function of the program. It includes a number of issue resolutions as detailed below.

If you are updating from a version earlier than Tekla Structural Designer 2017 Service Pack 3 (version you can find details of enhancements and fixes included in all previous releases in Tekla User Assistance (TUA) and Tekla Downloads.  You will find all the main releases listed in the Knowledge base area of TUA under Release notes while those for Service Packs can be found under Updates.  Links to release notes together with the version number can also be found in Tekla Downloads (login required).

Licensing & Installation

  • Licensing - no new license is required for this version.
  • Installation - this service pack requires Tekla Structural Designer 2017 to be installed and will upgrade this to version
    • Previous Versions and file compatibility - Files from all previous versions can be opened in Tekla Structural Designer 2017 SP4 however note that once saved they cannot then be opened in an older version.  If you wish to retain this option we therefore recommend using the File > Save As… option to save a new version of the file and retain the original.

Issues with Associated Bulletins

  • Design (Static) and Analyse All (Static) - this issue relates to the following Head Codes which feature an Amplified forces analysis method; Eurocode (all countries), BS (all countries ), Australia.  The issue only occurred when this Amplified forces method was selected for Design.  In some circumstances the amplification factor (termed kamp ) was not applied.  It was clear when the issue occurred as it was flagged by warnings in the Process Window that Total reactions vs Applied loading did not balance and errors in the Load Summary check.  The issue only applied to Tekla Structural Designer 2017 Service packs 2 and 3 and is fixed in this Service Pack.  For more information please see Product Bulletin PBTSD-1706-2 (14089).
  • Isolated Foundation Design - Pad Bases - BS (all countries ), India and US (ACI) Head Codes - for rectangular bases the Passive Resistance used in the Sliding check was incorrect in that the resistance for the X-direction was transposed with that for the Y-direction. The issue is fixed in this Service Pack.  For more information please see Product Bulletin PBTSD-1707-1 (53627).

Enhancements & Fixes

General & Modelling

  • Review View - a dedicated button for the “Steel+” function (which allows graphical review and editing of steel sections and grades) is reinstated on the Ribbon (14029).
  • Preview - core models (created by the File > Save Model Only command) can now be previewed using the Windows Preview pane (4229).
  • File Opening and Saving:
    • Rarely models containing incomplete or unexpected data could fail to open (14135).
    • In some circumstances a program error “Error while saving file!” could occur when attempting to save a file (53498).
    • The save process is enhanced to handle potential issues caused by a slower network response when saving files to a network location (53594).
  • BIM Integration - Cellbeam Export - the export now caters for user-defined steel grades being encountered during export.  When this occurs the export attempts to find and assign a similar Cellbeam steel grade and issues the warning; “Unknown steel grade; using a standard one” (13986).
  • Edit - Copy - Steel Brace Pairs - a program error could occur when creating copies of existing brace pairs if the copy reference point was inadvertantly clicked more than once (53481).
  • Grid and Construction Lines - Parallel (quick) - multiple construction lines could not be created in one operation by using the method of typing a number of spacings, separated by commas, in the Specify Distance(s) entry box (14095).
  • Frames and Slopes - Show References - the “Show references…” command is added to the context menu displayed when a frame or slope is right-clicked in the Structure Tree.  This  list objects referenced by the selected plane.  In addition, hidden frames/slopes (denoted by grey shading of the frame/slope icon) are now also listed in the Structure Tree.  Hidden frames/slopes can only be deleted once all references to them from objects have been removed (14105).

Analysis & Results

  • Solver model:
    • Rarely generation of the solver model could fail in models containing incomplete or unexpected data.  This would cause program errors or prevent completion of the analysis or design processes (14136).
    • Semi-rigid diaphragms - where a support was applied to a panel with the diaphragm option set to semi-rigid, the diaphragm 2D element mesh was not attached directly to the support (53304).


  • Seismic ELF and Wind Loading - Building Torsion Loads - a new load application method is implemented which removes limitations of the previous method (10460, 12081, 12682, 13724).
    • The US ASCE 7 wind loading code and all seismic loading codes require consideration of an overall building torsion (usually considered to apply at floors) which accounts for an eccentricity in the application of the lateral loads.  Tekla Structural Designer automatically calculates and applies such loads in special loadcases automatically created by the Seismic Wizard and Wind Loadcases dialog.  For Seismic Loading, individual “Seismic Torsion” loadcases containing only the torsion loads are created for the two orthogonal building directions.  For wind loading, loadcases are created which include both the torsion and lateral loads for the nominated wind direction or directions.
    • Previously the building torque was applied via individual torsion loads at the points within the structure which received lateral loads.  This method worked well in models with rigid diaphragms or continuous framing throughout.  However in models with partial,  semi-rigid,  or no diaphragms and pin end members (typically steel structures) it could produce unexpected effects such as; local torsion forces in individual columns; torsion loads at supports; a reduction in the effective overall building torque.  This is illustrated in the pictures below of a simple example; a one-storey steel structure with pin ended beams, a lateral system of steel braces and a semi-rigid diaphragm roof.

    • In the new method of application a system of lateral, radial “push-pull” loads are applied to points in the structure producing the overall torsion. 
    • For ELF Seismic these loads can be viewed directly in the Results View via the “Seismic” button on the Results Ribbon while viewing a “Seismic Torsion” loadcase.  This is shown in the picture below Left.
    • The application method for Wind torsion (in the "+/- MT" cases) is exactly the same, but these cases also include the lateral wind loads and so the graphical application is not quite so clear.  However the change in the direction and values of the decomposed wind point loads can be discerned (when compared to those of a case without torsion) - the loads shown are the combined resultants of the lateral wind point loads and the radial 'push-pull' torsion loads.  This is shown in the picture above Right.      
  • Wind Loading - Eurocode - in exceptionally large models, the dimensions of wind wall and/ or roof panels could exceed the bounds of the design code table for the size factor cs (NA to BS EN 1991-1-4:2005 Table NA.3) causing wind load decomposition to fail.  This would cause program errors or prevent completion of the analysis or design processes.  The issue could be worked around by turning off automatic calculation of the structural factor (in the Wind Loadcases dialog) and entering a manual value determined by the engineer for cscd ,  or by reducing the crosswind breadth of affected wind panels (via the “B Override” wind panel property in the Wind view ) such that the table bounds were not exceeded.  A workaround is no longer required (14080, 14148)



  • Foundations - Pile Caps - triangular shaped three-pile cap:
    • The self weight and surcharge loads were those of a rectangular shape with the same length and width dimensions and were thus larger than the correct values (14041).
    • The "Smallest pile edge distance" calculation could be incorrect when the “User Defined Arrangement” option was used in the interactive pile cap editor to move a pile since the method assumed a rectangular shape.  Corrected validation in the editor now prevents this circumstance (53495).
    • The pile cap short horizontal/vertical edge dimension (on plan) is corrected to "pile dimension + 2 * edge distance" in length where formerly it was "pile dimension + edge distance" (the “edge distance” in question has a default of 150mm and is set via Design Options > Concrete > Foundations > Isolated Foundations > Piles > Minimum pile edge distance)  (53495).
  • Concrete Design - Walls - Interactive Design - in some circumstances an incorrect fail status was displayed with no clear cause when “Use ties/links” (on the lateral tab) was set Off but the (hidden) tie/link spacing of zero was still being checked (53478).
  • Wind Drift - combinations set to be inactive were still checked.  If any failed, a spurious failure status would be reported in the Status tree when all check results in Tabular data showed a pass (14137).

Head Code BS

  • Steel Design - Buckling Combined check - in the design details the interaction equation for the minor axis check from Cl. omitted a 0.5 factor.  This was a display issue which did not affect the calculated ratio (14129).

Head Code EC

  • Steel Design - Westok Cellbeams - Auto-design - efficiency improvements have made the auto-design process several times faster which can significantly reduced the total design time (53661).

Head Code US

  • Composite Beam Design - Auto-design - in some circumstance the stud auto-layout process could fail causing the design process to be terminated.  The issue would occur only for parallel decking cases, in auto-design and stud layout mode, and where the Stud Connector Strength setting to Allow groups of 4 studs was set to on (the 1, 2 and 3 studs group options were not affected).  The workaround was to uncheck the 4 studs setting in which case auto-design and stud layout would complete and in most cases an acceptable design solution would result.  This workaround is no longer required (14104).

Reports & Drawings

  • Model Report - Foundation Reactions - when the setting for Combination Factors was set to “Service” the report was not created (13738).
  • Detail Drawings:
    • Concrete Beams:
      • In some circumstances the reinforcement label text giving the bar size and number could be drawn in an incorrect location (14089).
      • For top pattern 1 when the supporting member was an in-plane wall, the lines showing reinforcement location for bars at the end of supports could be drawn outside the beam ends (53595)
    • Concrete Columns - for columns which contained very short stacks (around 250mm or less), the detail drawing and the column schedule could fail to generate due to problems with the detailing equations for very short lengths.  Stacks of such a short length are unusual and quite likely to be the result of modelling errors however the detailing and scheduling processes are enhanced to cater for this circumstance (14066).


The number in brackets after an item denotes an internal reference number.  This can be quoted to your local Support Department should further information on an item be required.

32bit (x86) and 64bit (x64) Versions

Service packs are available for both 32bit (x86) and 64bit (x64) versions of Tekla Structural Designer. Before downloading, check which version you have currently installed via the Information button at the top right of the Tekla Structural Designer window, then download the appropriate service pack

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