Precast models look to build in quick time

With its origins in the steel industry, one software company that specialises in detailing is now turning its attention to precast concrete. And as more contractors are turning to precast solutions to save time on site, Tekla Structures is finding that the devil is in the detailing.

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By  Zoe Naylor Published  December 3, 2005

|~|98vis200.gif|~|Tahir Sharif is championing the latest technology available to the precast industry as an “integrated solution for the entire structural design process”.|~|How and where did Tekla originate? Tekla is an international software company. Its innovative software solutions are designed to make customers’ core business more effective. Our model-based software products and related services are used in building and construction and energy distribution. Our headquarters are in Finland, and we have offices in 11 countries: Sweden, Norway, Germany, the UK, France, the US, Japan, Malaysia, China and the UAE. Tekla Group currently employs over 300 people worldwide, nearly a third of whom work outside Finland. What is Tekla Structures? Tekla Structures is the first real parametric 3D modeling software for the concrete industry. It covers the whole structural design process, from conceptual design to detailing, fabrication and construction-site control. When changes do occur, the built-in intelligence automatically stores the modified information. Both the model and drawings remain consistent, and you can automatically produce drawings and reports whenever needed. In contrast to 2D systems, overall productivity is greatly increased resulting in remarkable gains in efficiency and accuracy. What are the benefits of using this software? Precast fabricators and concrete detailers can now enjoy the same benefits previously available to only steel designers, engineers and detailers. Unique structural 3D modeling and detailing tools let you experience an [increase] in user-friendliness, productivity and accuracy. Tekla Structures provides good opportunities to improve efficiency. You can provide better service to your clients, as overall project quality increases and project run-through time decreases. Intelligent 3D modeling prevents costly errors from occurring due to the accuracy of the work. Complex concrete design and detailing projects can now be managed [more effectively]. The software allows you to create an intelligent 3D model, which contains complete reinforcements and all the information required for manufacturing and construction. All detailed construction drawings and reports are automatically produced from one model. [Unlike] 2D systems, overall productivity is greatly increased, resulting in gains in efficiency and accuracy. Tekla Structures is a tightly integrated solution for the entire structural design process. How long has this technology been around for? The technology from Tekla has been there for over 15 years but has so far been used to develop solutions for the steel industry. We started to focus on the precast market as recently as three years ago. What is the market for precast software like in the UAE? Have you seen a rise in demand over recent years? The market is growing very fast. We understand that the likes of Bahrain has over 90% of its building built in precast. From the recent Big 5 exhibition in Dubai, we met many large companies looking to set up precast manufacturing plants [in the region]. What geographical markets do you supply your software to? As a company, Tekla has supplied software solutions to over 70 countries. From our Tekla Middle East office we supply to all the entire GCC region as well as India. How is Tekla’s software different to that of its competitors? What makes your product stand out from the crowd? No competitor on the market offers the 3D modeling technology we have, nor the benefits which come from our proven technology. What major construction projects has your software been used on? One of the biggest is a two-year product development project between Tekla and the PCSC (Precast Concrete Software Consortium) in the US, which has reached completion with final tests approving the Tekla Structures software at the end of September. Tekla Structures has been successfully localised for the North American precast concrete industry and now meets local requirements for use by PCSC companies. Are there any innovative technological developments in terms of precast software —what’s new in the market? 3D product modelling is not really understood [that] well, but those who understand the benefits will be the winners. There will soon be a trend towards complete solutions, 3D product modeling and production management systems — from concept planning to design to drawings production and through to production planning in the factory. This has already been made available in the region, by Tekla. Is software counterfeiting an issue for you? Yes, particularly in Iran and India, there is less in UAE and Saudi Arabia but still causes problems. To help counter this problem we have dongle protection with a password, which is linked to the customer details and dongle. What markets are you focusing on next year? We are looking at the UAE, Saudi Arabia and India, but we [are planning] do a lot of groundwork for the rest of the region as well.||**||

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