IDEA StatiCa tutorial – STAAD.Pro link (AISC)

Welcome to IDEA StatiCa tutorial. By following it step-by-step, you will learn how to design and code-check a structural steel joint using IDEA StatiCa Connection.


In this tutorial we will demonstrate how to use the link between STAAD.Pro and IDEA StatiCa Connection.

Activate the link Use the link Update the project Known limitations

1 How to activate the link

Install the latest version of IDEA StatiCa, get it in the Downloads.

Make sure you are using a supported version of STAAD.Pro – updates are published in the BIM section.

IDEA StatiCa automatically integrates the BIM link into your CAD/CAE software during its installation. You can check the status and activate more BIM links for later installed software in the BIM link installer.

Open IDEA StatiCa and navigate to the panel BIM and open the BIM link installer. A notification "Run as administrator" may appear, please confirm with the Yes button.


Select the software to integrate the IDEA StatiCa BIM link, click the Install button and check the Installed status.


We open STAAD.Pro, there we go to menu Tools select command Configure User Tools. Here we click on New (Insert), type the name IDEA StatiCa Code-check manager and load the plugin file IDEAConnectionCodecheckManager.vbs from the directory C:\SProV8i SS6\STAAD\Plugins.


2 How to use the link

First, we download the source file STAAD.Pro steel frame.std and open it in STAAD.Pro and run the analysis. Then we go to Tools, select User Tools and IDEA StatiCa Code-check manager plug-in.


The Code–check manager opens. First, we select node 72 with its corresponding members (note: use Geometry cursor to first select the node, then with CTRL select the connected members) and by clicking on the appropriate code button, we start the export wizard.


The wizard opens and a wire frame model is displayed. Here, we can change the bearing member or merge continuous members. We merge the 2 columns into 1 continuous member by selecting the item M667 (W21x201) in the table and clicking OK? button.


Then we set the member M667 (W21x201) as the bearing member and continue with button Next.


In the next window we can manage the load groups. We can see that Load cases are sorted in groups, according to those created in STAAD.Pro. Load combinations are transferred as separated load cases and are not combined with other combinations. We continue with button Next.


Here we can manage load combinations and load coefficients. The evaluation "ENVELOPE" in the Combination Properties multiplies the combinations from STAAD.Pro with factor "1". Combinations from STAAD.Pro import into IDEA StatiCa Steel Connection together with their description for a better recognition. We leave the default settings and click Next.


In Result Classes properties you can select combinations which you would like to check in IDEA StatiCa Connection. The combination "RC1" for ultimate limit state result class from the previous step is added automatically and includes all the load cases listed previously. Then we click Finish and IDEA StatiCa Connection opens.


3 Design

Joint geometry and load effects have been imported, we can start designing the joint.


We will define a set of manufacturing operations to model connections between members. Let’s right-click on member M613 and select Connect to… to add a new operation End plate, while we select a default bolt assembly on the way.


We modify the end plate operation EP1 parameters and connect the member M614 as well.


We Copy the operation EP1 and change the Member 1 to M12.


Then we add a stiffener. Let’s right-click on the column member, select Modify… and select the Stiffener operation.


We finish the design by modifying the stiffener STIFF1 operation.


4 Check

We start the analysis by clicking Calculate in the ribbon. Analysis model is automatically generated, calculation is performed and we can see the Overall check displayed together with basic values of check results.


We go to the display tab Check and there we activate Strain check, Bolt forces, Mesh and Deformed and change the deformation scale in the ribbon to get a full picture of what is happening in the joint.


5 Report

At last we go to the tab Report. IDEA StatiCa offers fully customizable report to print out or save in editable format.

We have imported a joint from STAAD.Pro and designed and code-checked it according to AISC code.


6 How to synchronize model

We save the project and close the IDEA StatiCa Connection application. All joints exported from STAAD.Pro project to IDEA StatiCa are kept on the list in Code-check manager for later updates.

Code-check manager is a BIM tool to export and synchronize connections from other programs. It is launched directly in the 3rd party applications via a command/icon.

Synchronize - IDEA StatiCa detects changes in already imported entities (changes in thickness, changes in cross-section, modification of properties of welds, bolts, etc.) and updates the project in IDEA StatiCa Connection.

Modify - IDEA StatiCa imports the whole joint again with modified topology (different number of members, new entities, etc.).

Calculate - Synchronize and calculate current item and provide a new set of results.

Calculate all - Synchronize and calculate all items and provide new set of results.


Kindly be aware that IDEA StatiCa syncs with a model of the 3rd party application, not the other way around. If we add operations in IDEA StatiCa and then use the options described above (Synchronize; Modify; Calculate; Calculate all), the additionally added operations will be deleted.


Let’s show an example of managing changes in the models

If we modify the project in STAAD.Pro (e.g., change cross section of any member or add another loads) we can simply update the project in IDEA StatiCa without modeling it all again. Let’s change the cross section of one of the members in STAAD.Pro (we change the cross section of beam 12 to W21x62).


Now we recalculate the project and open the IDEA Code–check manager again..

Here, we can select the joint and click Synchronize.


Now we repeat the export process where we merge the column members and set them as bearing. We can skip the rest by clicking Connection design.


IDEA StatiCa opens and we can see the updated geometry while the design and settings adjust to the new state.

We recalculate the joint code-check, save the project in IDEA StatiCa again and continue with exporting other joints.


7 Known limitations

For now, the link works for a wide variety of connections / joints. However, please take into account yet unsupported functionality.

Limitation: Geometrical eccentricity - joint node is not in the central point

Workaround: Import the joint and move the beams manually to proper positions. Imported internal forces include the eccentricity effects, only the geometrical offset is missing.



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