Release notes: Tekla Structural Designer 2020 SP1

Added September 16, 2020 by Tekla User Assistance

Software version: 
Tekla Structural Designer 2020

Release notes: Tekla Structural Designer 2020 SP1

Release notes: Tekla Structural Designer 2020 SP1

This release will upgrade your Tekla Structural Designer installation to 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 release 2020 first release (version, you can find details of requirements, enhancements and fixes for all previous releases in Tekla User Assistance (TUA) and Tekla Downloads via the links below:

Licensing & Installation



  • This service pack requires Tekla Structural Designer 2020 first release (version to be installed.
  • Integration

    • Tekla Portal Frame and Connection Designer 20 - if you wish to integrate Tekla Structural Designer 2020 SP1 with Tekla Portal Frame Designer and/or Tekla Connection Designer, you must use Tekla Portal Frame Designer and/or Tekla Connection Designer release 20 or later (note that these require activation of 2020 release PAK’s for these products). For optimum function we recommend you install Service Pack 1 for these products, which is available from the same date as this release. Installations for these can be obtained from Tekla Download Service.

  • Previous Versions and file compatibility - Files from all previous versions can be opened in this release however note that, once saved, they may not open 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.

  • Databases - For an existing installation, if your databases are out of date, a message informing you that new databases are available will be displayed in the Process Window as shown below when Tekla Structural Designer is first opened.

    • Please ensure you upgrade your local databases 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. Repeat this process for all the other databases (Material, Reinforcement...etc ) to ensure all your databases are up to date.

Issues with Associated Bulletins

  • None of the issues addressed in this service pack have associated bulletins.

General & Modeling

  • A number of additional fixes which are not detailed explicitly here are also made to improve general performance and stability. An example of such an issue is listed directly below here:

    • [TSD-6704] - Property Sets - Using the Apply... button at the top of the Properties Window to apply an existing property set to a selected member could in certain circumstances produce a crash. This has now been corrected. Note that this issue applies only to version 2020 first release in which this issue was introduced.

  • [TSD-422] - Review View - Show/Alter State - The legend of the Show/Alter state operation of the Review regime has been enhanced so that it now allows multiple pages and will effectively list, for the selected mode, all the different states/attributes from all relevant objects in view. This is a significant enhancement for cases where the maximum number legend items (10) is exceeded, which previously limited functionality.

    • As shown in the picture below, where > 10 items/states exist (e.g. section sizes for the Section Attribute), forward/ back buttons now appear at the bottom of the legend; click the forward > button to access the next legend page. On subsequent pages the legend colours differentiate objects classed as ‘Other’ on the previous page(s).

    • This new functionality applies to the following Review View > Show/Alter State Attributes:

      • Section (Review mode)

      • Material Grade (Review mode)

      • SFRS (Review mode)

      • Size Constraints (Review mode)

      • UDA

  • [TSD-5113] - General Walls - following customer requests, a new wall type “General Wall” has been added to the modeling options. This uses the same analytical model as that of meshed concrete walls (for more on this see the Help Topic How meshed walls are represented in solver models), however the material type is General and any of the materials types defined in this category can be used.

    • Key aspects of the new General Walls are:

      • The wall properties type of “Meshed Shear Wall” is the same as that used for meshed concrete walls - thus the distinction between meshed Concrete and General wall is controlled solely by the Material Type.

        • Mid-pier walls can only be Concrete.

      • They are distinguished graphically in Scenes by use of a specific default light blue colour different to the grey of concrete walls.

      • Geometric rules are as for meshed concrete walls; they can be vertical or sloped and openings are allowed.

      • The same graphical and tabular data results are available for them as for concrete meshed walls, including 2D contours (other than As Req), 2D Wall Lines and Result Lines.

      • New Analysis Modification factors are added for them, accessed via Analyze > Settings > Modification Factors > General > Wall

      • They cannot be included in cores, are not designed and have no reinforcement or seismic properties.

    • Some new sample general materials for walls are included in the latest database version (note this requires the Material Database to be updated to the latest version).

    • As for meshed concrete walls, the behaviour of the 2D mesh elements - and hence General Walls - is isotropic. We do not advocate their use for any particular wall type or building/ structure - this and the material properties used for them are the responsibility of the engineer.

  • [TSD-1365] - Columns - Releases - following customer feedback, for continuous columns composed of two or more stacks, the ability is added to pin columns in one direction (My or Mz) whilst the other direction remains fixed at the top and bottom of stacks within a column. While such a release condition is less usual, it is now allowed for columns of all materials.

  • Note that, when such a release is applied, a Warning status will be issued as shown in the picture below. This is intentional and does not prevent analysis or design - as the Warning tooltip states, it is to prompt the engineer to consider the connection details at this location in the column.

  • Review View > Show/Alter state Fixed/Pinned command is also enhanced to enable rapid review and application of these releases (for beams as well as columns); new “Moment (pin My)” and “Moment (pin Mz)” options are added to the Fixity Types and legend as shown in the picture below.

  • [TSD-6110] - Steel Compound Sections - the plate width for the double I section with plates compound section may now be less than the combined width of the I section plus any gap.

  • [TSD-6709] - Connection Resistance Data - when upgrading the connection resistance database from earlier versions, zero values in the database (which previously indicated a connection type as being not applicable), would be incorrectly transferred, leading to connection types being listed that were not applicable for the selected Head Code. This issue applies only to the release 2020 first-release and is now corrected.


  • [TSD-6230, 6232] - API - the API version has been updated to enable the extraction of internal Member forces both directly from the Solver and Loading analysis. Full details of the API, including worked examples, will be available shortly in the Tekla Developer Center.


  • [TSD-5437] - Reports - Enhancements have been made which significantly reduce peak RAM demands during report creation, this may improve general operation speed for some structures.


  • [TSD-5678] - New Diaphragm Loads Table - building on the new Diaphragm Loads feature of the recent 2020 release - for the application of externally determined level loads (for example from Wind Tunnel testing of large/ unusual structures) - in this release a Diaphragm Loads Table is added for these as illustrated in the picture below. The Table allows rapid tabular definition, editing and verification of Diaphragm loads.

    • All Diaphragm loads added using the existing Diaphragm Load command (active in 2D views) are listed in the table. Note that multiple loads can be applied to a single diaphragm, and that by default only diaphragms with loads applied are listed.

    • Loads can also be added manually in the table to existing diaphragms with no current loads as follows:

      • Check on the “Show diaphragms with no loads” check box to list all diaphragms with no loads currently applied.

      • Select the Loadcase you wish to add loads to from the Loadcase list box

      • Select the row for a diaphragm then click the “Add” button - the cells of the row are then activated and the Load and X and Y coordinate values can be input.

    • Data can also be pasted into the table from an external application for example Excel - ensure that the data is in the same format and order and includes a Z (Level height) column as shown in the picture below (this is not the same order as in the diaphragm loads table).

      • Note that pasted data replaces any existing loads in the current loadcase, it does not merge loading. Also note that the level height does not need to be exact, during the import process the closest diaphragm will be identified and the height will be adjusted (with warnings if the adjustment is excessive).

    • Load Combination Generator:

      • [TSD-6347] - Eurocode - GEO Combinations - to help prevent the automatic creation of unnecessary combinations, new intelligence is added to the combination generator for the case where the foundation bearing capacity calculation is set to use the presumed bearing capacity method of EN 1997-1:2004, cl. (Design Settings > Concrete > Cast-in-place > Foundations > General > "Use presumed bearing capacity (...)" checked on) and hence GEO combinations are not usually required. In this case the GEO combinations option is no longer checked on by default in the Combination generator. The engineer can still activate these for inclusion should they so wish.

      • [TSD-6341] - Eurocode - EQU Combinations - since these combinations are less commonly required and for the same reason as described in the above issue, the EQU combinations option is no longer checked on by default in the Combination Generator. The engineer can still activate these for inclusion should they so wish.

        • Note related issue in the Design - Eurocode section - EQU combination results are not considered currently for any member design within Tekla Structural Designer, nor are there any EQU limit state checks performed based on them.


  • [TSD-6040] - Concrete Walls - All Head Codes - a new validation warning is now issued for isolated walls defined with “the dimensions of a column” (with L ≤ 4W where L is the wall length and W the thickness) and not forming part of a core wall. The warning message states “Isolated wall defined with dimensions of a column” and the tooltip "If the wall is not part of an interconnected concrete core then it should be defined and designed as a column".

    • At some ratio of L to W a concrete member would be considered to be more a column than a wall. Logically, some level of engineering judgement applies in the distinction and when - i.e. at what ratio - it should be made. Eurocode EC2 Cl 5.3.1(7) states a member is a column when the ratio “does not exceed 4”. Hence this ratio is adopted for the warning limit and we thought it prudent it be applied for all Head Codes.

    • The warning can be acted upon or ignored at the engineer’s discretion. It can also be enabled/ disabled via Home - Model settings - Validation - checkbox for "Isolated wall defined with the dimensions of a column” as shown in the picture below.

Analysis & Results

  • [TSD-6480] - Solver model - improvements are made to the solver model for haunched beams which could result in a zero length analysis element error for some geometries.

  • [TSD-6373] - Chase-down Analysis - an analysis process error would occur during the calculation of chasedown combinations when slab mesh elements in a semi-rigid diaphragm were connected at the supported end of a meshed shear wall. The analysis model is enhanced to cater for this circumstance and the error no longer occurs.

  • [TSD-6544] - Analyze Ribbon - the following minor changes are made to the ribbon to make its function more clear:

    • “Solver” group is renamed to “Data”.

    • “Tabular Data” button renamed to “Model & Results”

    • The Meshing group (with buttons Mesh Slabs and Update Wall Beams) now only appears when a graphical view is active.

Design - General

  • [TSD-5107, 5109] - Concrete Walls - Cracked State - as illustrated in the pictures below, the Review View > Show/Alter State > Assume cracked command is significantly enhanced with a powerful new “Review Wall Stress” mode. This builds on the enhancements made in recent releases for the assessment and control of the cracked status of concrete walls; the addition of In-plane stress 2D result values and the Assume cracked Attribute to Review View > Show/Alter State.

    • The Review Wall Stress mode controls allow the engineer to set the Result and Stress type and stress threshold value to be used for the wall panel cracked status determination - the view is updated immediately following changes to these.

      • Note that a (tension) stress threshold of zero as shown in the picture below would be conservative.

    • Using this feature the engineer can rapidly assess the cracked status of wall panels relative to the current option settings. Panels where the cracked status is correct based on the current settings are shown in shades of green colours, panels where the status is not correct are shown in shades of red.

    • There is also a powerful Auto update feature which automatically sets the assume cracked status from the graphical check results; as illustrated below, this is activated via the [...] button at the right of the Set all compatible > Auto update Properties cell.

      For more information please see: Concrete member cracked or uncracked status

  • [TSD-2341] - Concrete Seismic Design - US and Indian Head Codes - following the enhancement in previous releases to allow columns to be assigned to an SFRS in both directions, the Seismic Force Resisting System framing members check is enhanced to cater for all different SFRS Type / Direction combinations between the two allowed SFRS directions.

Design - Eurocode

  • [TSD-6341-5] - EQU Combinations - the results of EQU combinations are no longer included in any member design.

    • Eurocode EQU combinations were added to the Combination Generator in an earlier release, principally for industrial structures in which they are used for checking the equilibrium of the structure as a rigid body, but not for member design. However, in previous releases, results of these combinations were incorrectly used in member design.

      • Note the related issue in the Loading section - EQU combinations are no longer active by default in the Combination Generator.

    • This applies to the following circumstances and member types (which were formerly checked for EQU combinations); concrete members, walls and slabs; Steel/Cold formed members of all designed characteristics.

  • Concrete Design - Beams:

    • [TSD-1377] - Longitudinal Reinforcement - the method to calculate the minimum area of longitudinal reinforcement, as required by EN 1992-1 clause, has been altered so that the requisite applies directly to the required areas of reinforcement instead of applying to the design moments as previously. This change ensures that the minimum is checked against an overall area of reinforcement in the design region without any further additions. As a result engineers may, in cases where min reinforcement requirements govern, obtain a more efficient longitudinal reinforcement design.

    • Design Control - Allowing engineers to exercise their judgement , the following new "Design control" options are added (available for individual spans of continuous beams):

      • [TSD-1801] - new option to consider or ignore lateral instability for slender spans to EC2 clause 5.9(1) (off by default). When the option is checked on - as shown in the picture below - the slender span check is excluded from design.

      • [TSD-1893] - Deflection Check - new option "Structure supporting sensitive finishes" is now available under "Design Control" (on by default) to control the value of the f2 parameter used in the deflection check. When unchecked f2 will be taken as 1.0.

  • Floor Vibration Check to SCI P354:

    • [TSD-5668] - the “Factor for increased dynamic stiffness of the concrete flange” value set for the beams specified in the check is now used by the Floor Vibration check to determine the dynamic modular ratio of the slab (rather than a fixed value of 1.100 as previously). For more information about this see the TUA article Beam and Floor Vibration Checks - Dynamic Modular Ratio and SCI AD 433.

      • The “Factor for increased dynamic stiffness of the concrete flange” is set in the Natural Frequency group of the Beam properties as shown in the picture below. The value must be the same for both the primary and secondary beams of the check. The check is not performed and a warning now issued if this is not the case, as shown below.

    • [TSD-4234] - Fabsec beams with openings are now considered without error in the SCI Floor Vibration Check to the SCI P354 Handbook.

Design - US

  • Seismic Drift:

    • [TSD-4134] - Shear demand / capacity ratio (beta) - the engineer can now directly define the shear demand / capacity ratio (beta) for columns and walls. Previously this was fixed to a value of 1.0 which could be over-conservative. The option to specify the value is added to the “Seismic” group of member properties, and can be set separately for 'Direction 1' and 'Direction 2' and for each stack/panel, as shown in the picture below.

      • The setting is applicable to all years of the ASCE7 code and has the following default and limits: Default = 1; Min = 0.001; Max = 10.

    • [TSD-4234] - Seismic Stability Coefficient - the calculation of the seismic stability coefficient, theta, is modified to take advantage of Clause 12.8.7 when 2nd order analysis is used in design. This change applies to all years of the ASCE7 code and the changes are summarized as follows:

      • Modified theta calculation following Clause 12.8.7 when 2nd order analysis is set for design (Design > Settings > Analysis)

      • Where First order analysis is set for design, a warning is issued to use 2nd order analysis even if theta is greater than theta max.

      • The drift ratio check and status are updated to follow Clause when the seismic design category is D,E or F and it is not a fixed structure.

    • [TSD-4136] - Review Data - following customer feedback, the Seismic Drift results table in Review data (and the associated Report item) has been improved; the table now reports the drift ratio and theta ratio respectively for Dir 1 & Dir 2 where previously it reported absolute values of drift and theta for Dir 1 & Dir 2.

  • Seismic Design:

    • [TSD-6623] - SFRS Direction - Beams - when beams are selected as a part of an SFRS system, the SFRS direction is now assigned automatically based on the modelling direction of the beam. The automatically assigned direction can be reviewed and edited by the engineer as required. Automatic assignment works as follows:

      • Applies to both concrete and steel beams.

      • Beams that are skewed in plan w.r.t. the building directions are assigned a direction as follows: where the angle with Dir 1 is < = to 45 degrees, Dir 1is assigned, otherwise Dir 2 is assigned.

      • The default SFRS type assigned is SMF (again this can be reviewed and edited by the engineer as required).

  • [TSD-6494] - Concrete Walls - some conservatism is removed from the calculation of minimum vertical reinforcement in walls designed to ACI 318 (all available years). For walls with a height to length ratio (hw/lw) ≤ 0.5, the program now considers the minimum allowed ratio of vertical reinforcement equal to that for horizontal reinforcement - as prescribed by the design code - rather than using a single equation in all cases where hw/lw < 2.5.

  • [TSD-5444, 6650, 6612] - Steel Joists - an erroneous Fail status and message regarding “Non-uniform load…” could be issued when uplift occurred for combination service factors but not strength factors. This is corrected such that the uplift condition for strength and service combination factors are checked and reported separately. In addition, the load types are reported separately for both strength and service in all combinations.

Reports and Drawings

  • Reports:

    • [TSD-5678] - Material List - Westok Cellular Beams - the gross weight of cellular sections (as reported in the Material List) is calculated as the average of the two Tee sections to give the same value as that in the Westok Cellbeam application.

    • [TSD-6115] - Analysis Diagrams - the labeling of diagrams added to reports has been enhanced to include the applied model filter.

    • [TSD-6365] - Analysis Result Reports - analysis result reports for envelopes which included pattern load combinations did not include the results for the pattern combinations. Note that this issue would only have applied where envelopes were created and for reports with these envelope filters applied. The issue did not affect the analysis or design procedures.

  • Drawings - Concrete Beam Detail:

    • [TSD-6537] - Side bars - for some cases where a reinforced concrete (RC) beam was connected to another RC beam and the connection was collinear, the side bar anchorage in the detail drawing would be excessive. This is now improved.

    • [TSD-6551] - Cross-sections - in some circumstances the cross-sections could overlap with the elevation. This is now fixed.


The number in brackets before 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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