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Last modified by Akos Rechtorisz on 2024/04/19 17:20


IFC Improvements

IFC MEP device import as Reference

Receiving and processing all relevant data is crucial for structure analysis and design. This includes building engineering equipment items defined by mechanical engineers, which play a significant role in the loads acting on the structure.

The FEM-Design 23 IFC import processes only the important building engineering devices (IfcDistributionElement) and optionally displays them as reference objects. These are the following:

  • IfcEnergyConversionDevice: defines the occurrence of a device designed for energy conversion or heat transfer, typically participates in a flow distribution system.
  • IfcFlowStorageDevice: defines the occurrence of a device that participates in a distribution system and is used for temporary storage (such as a tank).


The imported mechanical devices appear as reference solids in the model space, along with their type names as labels (on the “IFC Import – Reference” drawing layer). Based on their position and geometry, and by using the Snap tools, loads substituting for them can be easily defined.


IFC Space import as Reference

The spaces and their functional categories specified in BIM models (mostly by architects) are very useful for determining live loads. With FEM-Design 23, these spaces can be optionally imported as reference solids.


The IFC import supports various IfcSpace geometries, allowing objects symbolizing space functions (Room, Zone etc.) in architectural software to be displayed as references in analysis projects.


The imported spaces, labelled with their functional categories, appear in the model space on the “IFC Import – Space” drawing layer. Based on their position, geometry and function, and by using the Snap tools, live loads substituting for them can be easily defined.


Conversion of Solids to Analytical objects

You can import objects of various structural types as native, editable analytical members or shells, or as reference objects. The latter can now be individually converted with configurable properties into the desired analytical objects. In other words, the Convert tool of the most general analytical objects can also be applied to reference solids imported through IFC.


The Convert tool attempts to deduce the correct data for analytical objects based on the geometry or profile information coming from IFC. Of course, you can customize the objects with any data you prefer.

When converting Beams, it is important to deactivate the default axis position (the upper plane position, which characterizes the input of a steel beam placed by default in FEM-Design), in order to preserve the original position from the IFC.


The Convert tools work not only for IFC solids but also for objects drawn with the Solid command (Draw menu).


Tooltip of reference objects

For referenced IFC model elements, it is crucial to have as much information as possible for the creation of appropriate analytical objects and loads. Now, when hovering over a reference object, the tooltip displays a list of the most important data retrieved from the IFC file for design purposes.


Surface region generation

There are engineering design tasks where an object has complex geometry, and during the design process, it can only be modelled with multiple shell elements. In such cases, when importing them (for example IfcBuildingElementProxies) as Reference objects, the points of the object can be snapped to define the shell elements in multiple steps. This involves many steps, particularly for large and detailed objects.

A new import mode is implemented to significantly decrease the time of this task. It generates editable drawing Regions instead of Reference objects.

Here are the key features:

  • The generated Regions can be easily converted into a Plate object with just one click (eliminating the need to select numerous points for Plate creation).
  • Thanks to the importer filter functions, only essential-sized regions are imported, meaning elements and holes smaller than a specified size limit are not generated.

Among the drawing regions created on all surfaces of the objects (e.g., 6 surfaces for a rectangular prism), users can select which ones to convert into analytical elements using the Plate > Define command's Pick existing region function. Afterward, the existing powerful Adjust analytical model command functions create the continuous connection of the Plate regions.


When converting to Plate, choose regions that naturally connect at the corners, such as external surfaces, to reduce the number of alignment steps.

The import process is straightforward; for relevant IFC types, choose the new Surface regions option under the FD object type and set filtering constraints using the Ignore... functions.


Reinforcement export via IFC

FEM-Design allows the export of all reinforcement types via IFC, enabling seamless sharing with any IFC-supported application. The supported 3D reinforcement objects include:

  • Bar reinforcement
  • Concealed bar reinforcement
  • Shell surface reinforcement
  • Shell surface shear reinforcement
  • Punching reinforcement


Not only the geometry of rebars/reinforcement meshes, but also all the necessary data for detailed reinforcement design and manufacturing is exported.


Utilize the Save as command (File menu) to export all designed reinforcement, or specifically export the reinforcement of selected reinforced concrete objects using Export to IFC. In both cases, simply activate the Include reinforcement option at IFC export settings.


Storing “Far from the Origin” data

In BIM projects, particularly in government initiatives, it is common for buildings or their sites to be positioned relative to a survey point or national datum. This practice can result in the assignment of large distances and coordinates, reaching kilometre scales, to elements, introducing inaccuracies in both geometry and calculations. Previous versions of FEM-Design solve this issue on the import side by repositioning the model close to the FEM-Design project origin.

To ensure that models designed in FEM-Design seamlessly integrate into these BIM projects, FEM-Design 23 now writes back the applied offset value from the import to the exported structural model as IFC Site Local placement data. This approach avoids assigning excessively large coordinate values to individual objects.


Simply apply the Position the model based on the imported IFC origin option at IFC export settings. Note that this option is only available if you have already applied a repositioning to the origin during the import process.


Allplan connection - support for all reinforcement types

The smart integration between FEM-Design and Nemetschek Allplan, enhancing the efficiency of reinforcement design and editing workflow, has been extended to include the transfer of 3D reinforcement for punching and shell surface shear reinforcement. This means that all reinforcement designed in FEM-Design can now be seamlessly transferred to Allplan Engineering software for the creation of detailed reinforcement plans.

Read about the connection details here.


There is an intelligent connection between FEM-Design and IDEA StatiCa, which allows the transfer of 3D steel structures calculated in FEM-Design as intelligent input for the detailed design and validation of steel connections using IDEA StatiCa. In a dynamic data connection based on live, synchronized information, a common use case is to revive a previously established but closed direct connection. Through a new feature called as IDEA StatiCa – Relink, you can easily reopen the connection by selecting the appropriate (previously specified) IDEA StatiCa version and project name.

Read about the connection details here.


StruXML - object color representation

You can freely colourize the structural objects and loads in the analytical model using the Change appearance command (Modify menu). These colours are now stored in the .struxml files, supporting two workflow scenarios:

  • Saving highlighted objects with colours from FEM-Design for programs that read .struxml files.
  • Overriding colours in .struxml files when saving with software such as XML editors for FEM-Design projects.

Colouring and colour sharing do not work for the following objects: Storeys, Point and Line support groups, Post-tension cable loads and Moving loads.

PREFAB - Automatic point connections

The integration between PREFAB and FEM-Design has been enhanced with a new feature: an option for controlling automatic Point connection placement at the ends of edge connections and/or columns (if they are not manually specified, and they are necessary).

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