LeMessurier Taps Tekla Structural Design for Complex Projects

LeMessurier Taps Tekla Structural Design for Complex Projects

From scheme, all the way to detailed design, Tekla Structural Designer allows LeMessurier engineers to work from one single model for structural analysis and design, completing projects in a fraction of the time. The ability to do load take-downs with one model for both steel and concrete has been a time saver.

Overview

For over 55 years, LeMessurier has provided structural engineering services to architects, owners, contractors, developers and artists. Led by the example of legendary structural engineer and founder William LeMessurier, LeMessurier provides the expertise for some of the world’s most elegant and sophisticated designs while remaining true to the enduring laws of science and engineering. Known for pushing the envelope of the latest technologies and even inventing new ones, LeMessurier engineers solutions responsive to their clients’ visions and reflective of their experience.

Lemessurier at a Glance

For over 55 years, LeMessurier has provided structural engineering services to architects, owners, contractors, developers and artists. Led by the example of legendary structural engineer and founder William LeMessurier, LeMessurier provides the expertise for some of the world’s most elegant and sophisticated designs while remaining true to the enduring laws of science and engineering. Known for pushing the envelope of the latest technologies and even inventing new ones, LeMessurier engineers solutions responsive to their clients’ visions and reflective of their experience.

Known as an innovator in structural design, LeMessurier is the choice for leading U.S. and international architects and owners of projects ranging from high-rise commercial properties and healthcare facilities, to sports arenas, civic buildings, universities, museums and performing arts venues. An early adopter of technology to design better structures, LeMessurier put its own talent to work in the eighties to develop a better software solution than those commercially available at the time. Their early application approached the concept of Building Information Modeling (BIM), long before it emerged decades later.

While LeMessurier’s proprietary tool had evolved over three decades into a powerhouse of capability, the decision to evaluate commercial structural design tools was predicated on the looming effort required to modernize its OS/2-based software to leverage emerging platforms, support normalized data structure integration and keep up with code changes.

After a lengthy and thorough comparison of commercial tools that would “fill the shoes” and stack up to the company’s proprietary tool, LeMessurier chose Tekla Structural Designer for its rich capabilities that far exceeded those of other solutions on the market. According to Derek Barnes, associate at LeMessurier, “No other commercial tools come close to the features offered by Tekla Structural Designer.”

One Model for Structural Analysis & Design

From scheme, all the way to detailed design, TEKLA STRUCTURAL DESIGNER allows LeMessurier engineers to work from one single model for structural analysis and design, completing projects in a fraction of the time. The ability to do load take-downs with one model for both steel and concrete has been a time saver.

“We are saving time and money with Tekla Structural Designer,” said Barnes. “Our engineers are working more efficiently because they don’t need to switch between multiple software packages for concrete and steel design. Tekla Structural Designer is the only software on the market that would allow us to work from one model for multiple materials,” said Barnes.

LeMessurier engineers use Tekla Structural Designer to create physical, information-rich models that contain all the intelligence they need to fully automate design and manage project changes.

“Tekla Structural Designer has streamlined our entire design process,” said Craig Blanchet, P.E., vice president of LeMessurier. “Because our structural design engineers are no longer doubling as software developers, it allows us to focus their talents and accomplish more with fewer people. Without Tekla Structural Designer, we would also have hired additional staff, so the benefits go beyond time, it’s also saving us money.”

Efficient, Accurate Loading and Analysis

Tekla Structural Designer automatically generates an underlying and highly sophisticated analytical model from the physical model, allowing LeMessurier engineers to concentrate on the design. Regardless of a model’s size or complexity, Tekla Structural Designer’s analytical engine accurately predicts the building’s design forces and overall performance.

“Tekla Structural Designer gives us multiple analysis sets to pull from, which is very helpful. Most programs don’t have the capability to do FE and grillage chase-down. Tekla Structural Designer separates the slab stiffness from the beam stiffness, so we can design the beam on its own properties. We can analyze the floor and consider only the loads that the slab is sending to the beams and then do the same with the slab design.”

Barnes also shared similar benefits with concrete column design. “Tekla Structural Designer does grillage take-downs floor-by-floor, finds the reactions and applies them to the next floor. Tekla is probably the only software on the market with the capability to do this well. We can view the analysis with 3D effects and then look at it from the floor-by-floor run, which is more of a traditional, by hand analysis load take-down. A lot of firms do this manually but Tekla Structural Designer brings it all into one package.”

Tekla’s approach to combining analysis and design reduces time needed to process analysis data. The firm’s engineers allocate the time that would have been spent processing analysis data to focusing on more intricate project elements.

“We eliminate the possibility for human error because with Tekla Structural Designer, less user input is required,” said Barnes. “Tekla Structural Designer inputs a lot of the design information, such as column and brace lengths. Those automatic assumptions made by Tekla Structural Designer are almost always what we need and in the rare case that they aren’t, we can easily modify them.”

Interoperability and Time Saving Tools

Tekla Structural Designer was developed specifically to maximize collaboration with other project parties, including technicians, fabricators and architects. Its unique functionality enables engineers to integrate the physical design model seamlessly with Tekla Structures or Autodesk Revit, and to round-trip without compromising vital design data.

“When we work with an architect who uses Revit, Tekla Structural Designer’s ability to round-trip files is extremely valuable,” said Barnes. “We’re able to import geometry from Revit, design in Tekla Structural Designer and export that information for import back to Revit. If an architect makes geometry updates or changes a slab, we’ll push that geometry back to Tekla Structural Designer, rerun some things, pull some reactions and sizes, and export it back to Revit.”

One of the recent enhancements to Tekla Structural Designer specifically useful to LeMessurier is the ability to coordinate openings in slabs. Tekla Structural Designer makes the process more efficient by importing the openings from Autodesk Revit, a testament to Tekla Structural Designer’s seamless interoperability with other applications.

“We’re doing stud rail design in a fraction of the time,” said Barnes. “It used to take five minutes for one column but now, we can import all of the openings of the slab at once. It only takes about 10 minutes to check 100 columns.”

Tekla Structural Designer at Work: TD Garden

Designing a new sports arena provides its own challenges, but shoehorning a multifunctional arena next to an adjacent active arena, two highways, a river, bridging an active train terminal and over subway tunnels, made planning, phasing and engineering paramount. TD Garden was designed as a much-needed upgrade to the old Boston Garden and North Station, which were modernized and folded into the new building with less than two feet to spare on each side.

Despite being new to the software, LeMessurier decided to use Tekla Structural Designer for the project. “Relying on a new software for such a big project was obviously a risk for us, but with the potential for time savings and other efficiencies, we jumped right in with Tekla Structural Designer. It forced us to get familiar the software more quickly and in the end, was a positive experience.”

TD Garden is a mixed construction building of concreate construction, flat slabs, concrete columns and composite steel bases frames. “Tekla Structural Designer allowed us to design the entire project in a single model,” said Barnes. “To our knowledge, there is no other commercial tool in existence with the feature set that would have allowed us to model TD Garden in the same way.”

The structure was large, with multiple towers: a residential tower with 2,000 tons of steel reinforcement and 21,000 yards of concrete, a hotel tower with 285 tons of steel reinforcement and 3,000 yards of concrete and an office tower currently under redesign. The team created a model for each tower and another model for the 10-story steel base podium, designing thousands of steel members in Tekla Structural Designer. They also incorporated concrete flat slab levels that were hung by steel levels. The engineers leveraged Tekla Structural Designer to analyze multiple loading conditions in far less time. “The work would have been very cumbersome, tedious and time consuming without Tekla Structural Designer,” said Barnes.

LeMessurier engineers also saved time with Tekla Structural Designer’s composite steel analysis and design checks, along with automatic calculations and testing. “Other solutions claim to do this but Tekla structural Deisgner has far more 3D analysis features,” said Barnes. “On this project, the integration with Revit, along with the analysis features were everything we needed. Adding in the ability to do the concrete design in the same model was a bonus and all came into play with this project because we needed to analyze and design both steel and concrete.”

“All said and done, Tekla Structural Desinger helped this project run more efficiently. Without Tekla Structural Designer, we would have had to use multiple disparate software programs and endure a lot of manual work,” said Barnes.

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