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Tekla Structural Designer 2017i Service Pack 3

Last updated February 6, 2018 by Tekla Structural Designer Development Team tekla-product-development-tsd-team-ug@trimble.com

Tekla Structural Designer 2017i Service Pack 3

This release will upgrade your installation to Tekla Structural Designer 2017i Service Pack 3 version number and should be installed to ensure optimum function of the program.   It includes a number of enhancements and issue resolutions as detailed below.

If you are upgrading from a version earlier than the most recent Tekla Structural Designer 2017i Service Pack 2a (version you can find details of enhancements and fixes included in all previous releases in Tekla User Assistance (TUA) and Tekla Download.  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 Download service (login required).

Licensing & Installation

  • Licensing - no new license is required for this version.
  • Installation - this service pack requires Tekla Structural Designer 2017i to be installed and will upgrade this to version
    • Previous Versions and file compatibility - Files from all previous versions can be opened in this release 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.
    • 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
    • Material and Section Databases -  the Sections Database has been updated in this release.   The following message will accordingly be displayed in the Process Window when it is first run “There is a new version of the Sections database.  Go to Materials to upgrade it”.  Your local databases should be upgraded as follows;
      • Open “Materials” from the Home Ribbon, select the “Sections” page in the list of options, click the “Upgrade” button, then click this button again in the subsequent “Upgrade Database” dialog.  We recommend you repeat this process for the other databases (Material, Reinforcement...etc ) to ensure all your databases are up to date.

Enhancements & Fixes

General & Modelling

  • Performance and Stability - a number of fixes and enhancements are made to improve program stability and performance.
  • Show\Alter State:
    • Diaphragm On\Off - in some circumstances generated* nodes which were set by the user to be excluded from the diaphragm, via the Show\Alter State > Diaphragm On\Off command, were not correctly excluded.  Where this occurred it could be confirmed by reviewing the solver model for analysis - affected nodes would still be solid filled indicating that they were included in the diaphragm  (14409).
      • *Generated nodes are those within the length of a beam which are automatically created prior to analysis such as P-Delta nodes and nodes along curved beams.
      • In addressing this issue, the behaviour of the Show\Alter State > Diaphragm On\Off command is changed; generated nodes are no longer selected for deliberate exclusion.  Such nodes are now automatically excluded when one or both of the start and end nodes of a beam are excluded.

    • Steel+ - the operation of the Steel+ command is improved.  When activated the command now defaults to the following settings; Attribute = “Steel section”, Mode = “Copy” and Filter > Characteristic = “Beam”.  Steel section are colour-coded in the scene and a Legend displayed listing the sections and their colours.  A section for the copy operation is selected by clicking any beam in the scene.  This can then be copied to other members with a single click, updating their section and colour accordingly (54309).
  • Slab Panels - Creation - when creating slab panels in 2D level views, in some circumstances panels cannot be created using the (default) “Select bays” method due to invalid model geometry.  A new feature warns of this issue, identifies the location(s) of poor geometry and reports this in the Process Window (see example below).  A common example of invalid geometry which can cause this issue is members which are extremely close to (within a few mm of) but not quite connecting properly and instead cross each other, as illustrated below.

  • BIM Integration
    • Tekla Structures and Revit Export - for models containing Taiwan sections, such sections would not be correctly mapped when integrating with either Tekla Structures or Revit due to missing data, causing warnings during the integration process.  The required data is now added to the Section Database* allowing the integration process to complete fully in this circumstance (14409).
      • *Note that your Section Database must be updated in order to apply this fix.  See the Installation section above for how to do this.
    • Structural BIM Import:
      • Enhanced to cater for cold rolled sections with a hot rolled steel grade (incorrectly) assigned in Tekla Structures/Revit - provided the cold rolled section size is recognized, a correct cold rolled steel grade can now be selected during import and members with the section applied will be imported.  Previously such members were imported as analysis elements since the section+grade could not be mapped (54229).
      • For some, generally more rare, geometries, the import could hang due to the continuous beam creation method for steel beams failing (14491).
  • File Saving:
    • Save Model Only - the operation of the File > Save Model Only command behaved incorrectly:- when used the core model became the active model without immediately changing the header file name at the top of the program window.  The header file name only updated the next time the model was saved. For example, whilst working on “Building XYZ” - clicking Save Model Only would create a new “Core of Building XYZ” model which also became the active model. However “Building XYZ” would still (incorrectly) be displayed at the top of the program window (14378).
      • This issue relates only to version 2017 SP4 ( - in which it was introduced - and subsequent releases. 
      • The behaviour is now corrected to that prior to the issue’s introduction:- the command isolates the model-only file (“Core of Building XYZ”) at the time of the save, but the original Building XYZ model remains active. (14378).
    • An enhancement to the Save process now checks the model file integrity before saving.  If invalid data is detected which could cause a program error, a Save As... process is triggered, preventing the original valid file from being overwritten (54292).
  • File Opening - a program error would occur on file opening in the following rare circumstance; files in which the active view was the  Results View with 2D contours activated and the scene contained overlapping slab openings (14563).
  • Process Window - text in the Process Window can now be selected and copied.  This can assist with finding objects referred to in Process warning messages; for example object references can now be copied from the Process window and pasted into the Find command dialog (54292).
  • Foundations:
    • Strip Footings - a program error would occur when attempting to place a strip footing under a bearing wall.  This is now prevented since strip footing design does not cater for bearing walls.  In addition, if a concrete wall with a strip footing applied is changed to the bearing wall type, the footing is automatically removed (54279).
    • Piles - Pile Catalogue - the vertical spring stiffness value is limited to a maximum of 107  (kN/m for Metric units, kips/ft for US Customary units).  Previously the limit was 106 (14515).
  • Bearing Walls - it is now possible to model Bearing walls with their bases at different elevations (14492).
  • Find - Roof Panels and Supports - the Find command can now be used to locate Roof Items and Supports (54308).



  • Composite Beams:
    • All Head Codes:
      • In some circumstances when the setting “Allow non-composite design” was enabled for a beam, no design was carried out resulting in an unknown design status following a check or auto-design process. (13900, 14483).
      • Validation is added to ensure the composite slab depth is > the depth of the metal deck profile (54257).
    • EC and BS Head Codes - in some circumstances an erroneous fail status, which did not appear in the actual design calculation details, could be displayed for the Connector Resistance or Moment checks listed in the Design Details tree  (54176).
  • Steel Beams - Composite and Non-composite - Camber - enhancements are made to deflection checks for beams with camber applied to better cater for the circumstances of Uplift - e.g. for roof beams subject to uplift wind loads - and where the camber value is greater than the deflection of a given case or combination.  Where formerly a zero deflection was reported for uplift + camber, now a more logical non-zero negative deflection values is reported together with appropriate warning text (54260).
  • Steel Braces - Constraints - size constraint (Max/Min depth and width) settings are now considered by auto-design.  Previously these were ignored (14457).
  • Steel Trusses - All Head Codes - Truss Member Sides - the truss member side characteristic is designed in the same manner as a steel truss internal, i.e. axial force only is checked.  A warning is now issued, and a warning status assigned, if forces beyond this scope, such as major or minor axis bending or shear, are detected (53461).
  • Concrete Walls - following a design the critical design Utilisation Ratio is now included in the tooltip when the cursor is hovered over a wall.  This issue relates only to version 2017i ( - in which it was introduced - and subsequent releases (54160).

Head Code BS

  • Steel Design - Columns and Braces - auto-design would fail to find an acceptable section where; a column stack had no significant load applied; a brace was subject to only tension.  Design now caters for this circumstance (54235)

Head Code EC

  • Slab Design:
    • Required Compression Steel Area (Asreq) - Contours and Design details - when slabs are too thin to be practical it becomes impossible to calculate a valid compression steel area.  This could result in a numerical error in contour values and design details.  To avoid this, a small arbitrary minimum steel compression stress is now assumed in this circumstance and an appropriate warning regarding the slab being too thin is issued in design details (14497).
    • Punching Checks - improvements are made for checks located within column drops to cater for the circumstance of the control perimeter being outside the drop (54095).
  • Westok Steel Beams - Classification - refinements have been made to the classification of Westok non-composite and composite beams.  For the former, the class of the net section was assumed to be the same as that for the gross section. In this release a net section class is now ‘inferred’ from the gross class by limiting the stem of the tee to 10 tw ε or, if the gross class is Class 4, then the stem is ignored altogether.  For composite beams when the plastic neutral axis moves into the web, the net section class assumes the whole web to be in compression and the stem is then limited to 10 tw ε unless it is found to be Class 4, in which case the stem is ignored. The effect for both non-composite and composite Westok beams can be to change the class to either a higher or lower class with consequent effect on the moment resistance calculation (54125, 54167).

Head Code US

  • Composite Beams - Composite Inertia - when calculating the composite inertia, the theoretical inertia for the transformed section was multiplied by a factor of 0.75 in accordance with the Commentary to AISC 360-05 and -10 (see I3.2 para. 3 of Commentary to AISC 360-10).   This factor does not appear in the 2016 version of the code and, despite being in the Commentary, we believe it is not common practice for it to be applied by engineers in the US.  Accordingly the factor is no longer applied which results in a higher composite inertia than that previously calculated (54177).
    • This change principally affects the deflection check performance which a higher composite inertia improves.  Hence beams that previously failed deflection checks (where applied) may now pass in this release.
  • Concrete Columns and Walls - non-slender members are no longer designed for minimum moments (per the requirements of  section eq. 10-17) in the relevant direction.  Note that the the maximum compressive strength is limited to 80% of the nominal strength, for both columns and shear walls,  per ACI 318-08/11 section 10.3.6 (12770).
  • Concrete Beams:
    • Flanged Beams - Flange Width - for isolated beams the effective flange width is now limited to <= 4*bw per cl 8.12.4 (54181)
    • Maximum Area of Reinforcement - Rectangular and Flanged Beams - the calculation of the maximum reinforcement area is improved in the following manner (54249):
      • For flanged beams, the flange width is now considered where appropriate (when the compression block is wholly within the flange depth for the critical analysis/combo pair in the design of the bottom reinforcement) hence a less conservative maximum can be determined.
      • For doubly reinforced sections (with compression reinforcement) the calculation for the maximum area of reinforcement now includes an allowance for compression reinforcement when the latter is required by the critical analysis/combination pair, hence a less conservative maximum can be determined.
      • In addition to considering the code value of 0.004, based on the assumption of 75% balanced steel the minimum steel tensile strain εt,min is now calculated to account for higher reinforcement steel grades and its calculation is included in design details.
    • Deflection Checks:
      • Cantilevers - for concrete beams marked as cantilevers (one end set to ‘Free’), an appropriate effective moment of inertia coefficient accounting for this is now determined for use in the deflection checks (54195).
      • Negative deflections (i.e. uplift) are now considered when determining the the maximum relative deflection to be checked.  Previously only positive (downwards) deflections were considered (54242, 54244).
    • Concrete Columns - Seismic RSA Design - inconsistent design behaviour could occur for concrete columns following Design All Static and Design All RSA; initially passing members could fail when individually checked and reinforcement could be increased by a subsequent Design All RSA process.  This was due to the order of the design routines for beams and columns, and that column design considers the reinforcement in connected beams, which could change during a subsequent beam design.  Design routines are improved to cater for this and ensure consistent design results are obtained (54076).
  • Pad Bases - the term “Gross" is added to descriptions of the Allowable Bearing Capacity to make it clear the program requires and uses the gross, not the net, value.  This affects the following areas in the the program: (14552).
    • Properties window > Soil Parameters > "Allowable bearing capacity” term is changed to "Allowable bearing capacity (Gross)"
    • Design Results > Bearing Capacity > “Allowable net soil pressure” term is changed to "Allowable bearing capacity(Gross)" and notation "qa,net" is changed to "qa,g".

Reports & D​rawings

  • Member Reports:
    • Design Calculations - the Level of each output line in the Design Details is now given in the dialog footer.  This facilitates the choice of level setting to use for the Design Calculation item(s) included in Reports, depending how much detail the engineer wishes to include (13115)
      • When viewing the Design details, the level of a particular output line is found by selecting a line (move cursor over it) - its Report level is then displayed in the Window footer:

    • Steel Beams - for Westok cellular beams, in some circumstances  the member report would fail to generate due to an issue with the opening web opening data (14356).
  • Planar Drawings - Beam End Forces & Foundation Reactions - the following additional Layer Configuration options are added to control the inclusion of an enclosing box around force values (14346):
    • Draw > Edit > Layer Configurations > Planar Drawings > Beam End Forces > Other now contains new options “Beam End Forces Text” and “Beam End Forces Border lines” (the latter off by default for new files).
    • Draw > Edit > Layer Configurations > Planar Drawings > Foundation Reactions > Other now contains new options “Foundation Reactions Text” and “Foundation Reactions Border lines” (the latter off by default for new files).


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.

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