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Wall layout tools

Last updated February 13, 2017 by Precast Extensions tekla.extensions-precast@trimble.com

Software version: 
Not environment-specific

Wall layout tools

Purpose and description

Wall plate that represents a structure such as a wall or roof panel

In Tekla Structures, a panel is created by picking two or more points.

layout tools is a set of five extension components and direct manipulation features intended to create and modify precast wall structures. Wall layout is a straight segment (in plan view) of precast walls. With help of wall layout tools you can create a wall layout, add openings and divide the straight segment into two or more precast walls by adding the seams. The wall can be a single layer solid wall, double wall or a sandwich wall having any number of layers.

With help of the direct manipulation features you can easily modify the shape of the wall layout, add remove or modify the openings and/or seams. With one of the components in this extension package you can also detail the corner connections between two wall layouts.

Installing Wall layout components

All components are contained in one install package which can be downloaded from the Tekla warehouse service for collaboration and for storing and sharing Tekla Structures content

In Tekla Warehouse the content items are stored in collections. Tekla Warehouse includes the Tekla Warehouse Service and the Tekla Warehouse web site.

Tekla Warehouse is one of the Tekla online services.

at: https://warehouse.tekla.com/#/search/?searchTerm=wall%20layout

  1. Download the package compatible with your Tekla Structures version
  2. Double click the msi-file and follow the instructions 
  3. Restart Tekla Structures

Using wall layout components

Wall layout components is a set of five extension components and the direct manipulation features to add and modify the various components. The components and their role user group profile in a certain Tekla Structures environment that limits the available files and settings

In Tekla Structures, different roles may be available in each Tekla Structures environment. Typically the following roles are available: all, concrete contractor, general constructor, engineer, precast concrete detailer, rebar detailer, and steel detailer.

in the tool set are:

Component The role of the component
Wall layout This is the main component of the package. You can create a single or multiple straight segments of walls by inputting two or more points. Stop inputting by clicking middle mouse button.

After stopping the picking of the points one or more straight segments of walls is created into the model. In addition, when two or more wall segments were created an instance of Wall layout connector component is added between the subsequent wall segments. Please note that each created straight segment is a separate instance of Wall layout component and you can modify the segments independently.

Wall layout connector This is the component which you can use to detail the two wall layouts connecting at the corners. This component can take care of free spaces by extending or shortening deforming that decreases the modeled length of a part in a drawing by a value the user has entered

Shortening is used when the parts are manufactured shorter than modeled.

the layers of the walls and/or inserting connections between the connected layer parts.
Wall layout opening This is the sub component used to insert openings into the wall layout. The shape of the opening is either a rectangle or any polygon.

The openings are inserted into the model through the direct manipulation interface activated for the main wall layout.

This tool is needed to open from the component catalog catalog that contains all system components and custom components, and the macros and applications

The term component catalog is used in Tekla Structures until version 21.1.

only if you want to change the standard settings of opening.

Wall layout seam This is the sub component used to divide the wall layout into two or more precast wall pieces.

The seams are inserted into the model through the direct manipulation interface activated for the main wall layout.

You can control the properties of the seam with help of the Wall layout seam dialog.

Wall layout auto elementation With help of this tool you can insert automatically new seams into the model to divide the wall layout into two or more precast wall pieces.

You can control the insertion of seams in multiple ways by number of wall pieces or by maximum weight or length. The maximum weight can be also controlled by the crane capacity and location.


Inserting the wall layout

To insert one or more wall layouts

  1. Search component 'Wall layout' from the component catalog user interface for displaying or modifying information in categorized lists

    For example, profile catalog and shape catalog are catalogs.

  2. Open the properties dialog and ensure you have applied the wall layers and the height of the wall layout as preferred
  3. Pick two or more points in the plan view and stop picking with middle mouse button.

Depending on the number of picked points one instance of wall layout component is created for each straight segment of the picked polyline and one instance of wall layout connector is created between the subsequent wall layouts. In the example below four wall layouts was created between picked points 1-5 and three wall layout connectors were created at points 2-4.

Please note that the wall layout connectors are created using the currently applied values of the Wall layout connector dialog.

Wall layout settings

Wall layout settings - General

Property Description
With this list you can control the order and number of the layers in the wall. This list is also used to select the layer which values are visible and shown in all other tab pages in this property dialog.

Please note that properties in the tab page 'General' are common for the whole layout and layers whereas the properties on all other tab pages are specific to the currently selected layer.

With the buttons below the list you can add a new layer or remove the existing layer. By clicking the arrow buttons you can change the order of layers.

By clicking the checkbox on left side of the layer name you can turn on/off the "effect in modify" check boxes in all properties of that specific layer.

Use the left most checkbox to control whether you want the number of or the order of the layers to be modified when the 'Modify' button is clicked. 

This picture shows the preview of the layers of the wall. Currently selected layer is highlighted with the magenta border.

Instead of selecting the layer in the list you can also click the preview image with mouse to make the layer selected. 

Height This is the height of the wall layout.

Please note that you can also modify the wall layout height as long as the geometrical shape of the wall layout is a rectangle. After you have changed 

Cast unit name This is the name of the precast unit
Prefix This is the numbering process of assigning position numbers to parts, cast units, assemblies, or reinforcement

In Tekla Structures, the position numbers assigned in the numbering are shown in marks and templates, for example.

prefix of the precast unit
Start number first number of a numbering series

This is the the start number of the precast unit numbering series set of identifiers defined by the user, based on which Tekla Structures compares parts, assemblies, cast units, or reinforcement with each other during the numbering and gives position numbers

Numbering series is defined by a prefix and a start number.

The user can, for example, allocate separate numbering series to different phases or part types.

Position in plane With this setting you can control how the wall layout is located  related to the line between input points in the plan view. In addition to position you can also give the offset distance.
Position in depth With this setting you can control how the wall layout is located vertically related to the line between input points in the plan view. In addition to position you can also give the offset distance.

Wall layout settings - Layer

The properties shown in this tab page are specific for the currently selected layer. To enter the properties for an other layer please select the layer in the list or by clicking the layer in the preview picture.

Property Description
Layer name This is the layer name. Layer name is used only to help you identify the layer in the direct manipulation phase when the feature part of Tekla Structures functionality that is maintained and owned by Trimble Solutions and that is included in the Tekla Structures installation

is manipulating only one of the layers. This name will not visible in any reports or drawings.
Layer type This is the type of the layer. The options are:
  • Structure: This type is used typically for solid walls, layers of double wall and concrete layers of the sandwich wall. Use this type also if you want to create the cast in place layer between double wall layers instead of the void.
  • Insulation: The insulation layer in sandwich wall.
  • Void: The void between double wall layers when you don't want to create any parts for the layer.
  • Foil: Typically very thin layer which is not detailed in corners.
  • Surface: With this type you can create the surface treatment building object that represents finishing of a part

    Surface treatment for concrete parts includes flat finishes, surface mixes, and tiles.

    Surface finishes for steel parts include fire-proofing and unpainted areas.

    on top of the structural layer. Typically the surface layer is the first and/or the last layer.
  • Component: In case of this type the wall layout component is not creating the layer as part but inserts the instance of selected component. If you choose this option please make sure you also select the component and attribute settings for the component
Layer elementation With this option you can select if the layer is split into two pieces by the seams or not.
Layer creation With this option you can control how the layer is handled from the precast unit point of view. The options are:
  • Add to cast unit: All layer parts having this setting will be  added to a single main cast unit.
  • Add as sub assembly: The layer part is added as a sub assembly to the main cast unit.
  • Do not add to cast unit: The layer part is not added to the main cast unit and thus it will be it's of assembly and/or cast unit. This option will change also concrete type to CIP cast unit type where the concrete is formed, poured, and cured in its final position

    from Precast.
Layer component Remember to input this property for a layer which type is 'Component'. Instead of creating the layer as part an instance of this component is created.
Attribute settings When the layer type is 'Component' and it is created as an instance of a component the only way to control the properties of the component is to select the name of the "save as" file.  To control the properties please open the properties dialog of the component, set all values as you like and save the values with a name.
Layer thickness This is the thickness of the layer.
Part name This is the name of the layer part
Class  This is the class part property that groups parts according to identifiers given by the user

The identifiers of classes are usually numbers. Classes can be used for defining the color of parts in the model, for example. Class does not influence the numbering of model objects.

of the layer part
Material This is the material of the layer part
Surface treatment This is the surface treatment when the layer type is 'Surface'
Prefix This is the numbering prefix of the layer part
Start number This is the the start number of the layer part numbering series

Wall layout settings - Vertical offsets

In this tab page you can control the vertical offsets of each layer at bottom/top horizontal edges of the wall layout. The vertical offsets shown in this tab page are specific for the currently selected layer. To enter the properties for an other layer please select the layer in the list or by clicking the layer in the preview picture.

Please note that the offsets at any other edges will be controlled by the seams and/or with help of the direct manipulation interface as described later on this document.

Wall layout settings - UDA

In this tab page you can control the user defined attribute (UDA object property created by the user in order to widen the range of predefined object properties

User-defined attributes are used when the predefined object properties are not sufficient but more properties are needed. For example, comment, locked, and erection status are user-defined attributes.

) values of each layer part in the wall layout. The user defined attribute values shown in this tab page are specific for the currently selected layer. To enter the properties for another layer please select the layer in the list or by clicking the layer in the preview picture.

Please note that the content of this tab page may vary by the Tekla Structures environment region- or company-specific settings and information that are predefined in Tekla Structures or that are defined by the user

To be able to use Tekla Structures, the user must install the software and for region-specific settings at least one Tekla Structures environment. The software installation includes the common and blank project environments and the global settings. The common environment and global settings are the basis for all other environments except US Imperial and US Metric.

Properties files form the largest part of a Tekla Structures environment. A Tekla Structures environment consists of, for example, profile catalogs, part properties files, and drawing settings.

. More information about how to customize the content of the tab page will be given in the paragraph 'Customizing wall layout'

Modifying the wall layout

Modifying the geometry of the wall layout

To modify the geometry of the wall layout make sure you have the direct manipulation turned on and select the wall layout. The following toolbar and manipulation feature will appear:

With help of these manipulators you can modify the shape of the wall layout using the normal polygon manipulation by:

  • Dragging the edges
  • Dragging the corner handles
  • Insert vertices by dragging the handles in middle of the edges.
  • Delete vertices by selecting the corner handle or edge and clicking the 'Delete' key

In addition to the standard polygon manipulation you can also drag the special line handles at ends of the wall layout to make it shorter or longer. The line handle can also be dragged perpendicular to the wall layouit by holding down the 'Alt' key while dragging.

As an alternative to the 'line handle' dragging you can also drag the 'dimension handle'. Using of the 'dimension handle' is very convenient if you know the measure modeling aid that displays the distance between points in the model, or the measurements of angles, arcs, or bolt groups

of the desired shortening/lengthening, in this case just click the end arrow of the dimension and type the numerical measure.  Please note that the dimension and line handles can also be used in a plan view whereas the polygon manipulation is possible only in 3D or section views.

For example in above example you can make the wall layout shorter by dragging the line handle as shown below.


Adding openings into the wall layout

To add an opening click one of the opening creation buttons in the toolbar.



Click this button to start inputting the opening by two points in the plan view. When this method is used two new input properties are shown in the toolbar. 
  • The 'sill height'  (800.00) is the distance between the bottom of the wall and the bottom of the opening.
  • The 'opening height' (1600.00) is the height of the opening.

The width and the horizontal location of the opening will be controlled by the two input points you are supposed to pick. Please note that the points can be picked in plan view at any elevation as they do not affect the vertical location of the opening.

This way of inputting opening is very convenient if you have an architectural drawing as a reference model model which the designer can use as an aid when building a model

A reference model is created in Tekla Structures or another software and imported to Tekla Structures. It appears in the background of the model. The user can snap to reference model points. Tekla Structures does not save the reference model when the user saves the current model, but saves the link to the reference model.

For example, an architectural model, a plant design model, or a heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) model can be a reference model.

from where you can pick the opening width and location.


Click this button to start inputting a rectangle opening by two points.


Click this button to start inputting a polygonal opening with three or more points.



Modifying openings of a wall layout

Modifying the geometry of the opening

Openings can be modified similarly to exterior geometry of the wall layout. For each opening there is a standard polygon manipulator and you can modify the opening by:

  • Dragging the edges
  • Dragging the corner handles
  • Insert vertices by dragging the handles in middle of the opening edges.
  • Delete vertices by selecting the corner handle or edge and clicking the 'Delete' key

In addition to normal polygon manipulation you can modify the start or end of the opening by dragging the line handles or by using the dimension handles. Both of these handles can be easily used also in the plan view.

Moving and/or copying  the openings

You can copy the openings as follows

  1. Select the opening to copy by selecting the face inside the opening
  2. Start dragging the selected face.
  3. To create a copy of the opening hold down the 'Ctrl' key. To move the opening without changing the shape of the opening just drag the face handle to desired location.

Deleting openings

The easiest way to delete the opening is to select  the face inside the opening and click the 'Delete' key.

Modifying the opening detailing

Wall layout is able to create the opening as a "raw" opening without any details. The wall layout can also create the detailed opening by inserting an instance of the component 'Sandwich wall window' which is able to make a detailed window or a combination of window + door opening.

To create the detailed opening select the opening and from the toolbar turn on the detailing and select the desired attributes for 'Sandwich wall window' component. Note that detailing component component for creating and assembling component objects for building a structure

The term modeling tool is used in Tekla Structures until version 21.1.

supports only rectangular openings or openings that are connecting a window and a door with same top edge line.


Modifying the offset at layer edges

You can modify the offsets of the layers at exterior edges of the wall layout or at edges of the openings or seams by entering into 'Modify wall boundary offsets' mode.


Please note that when you enter to this mode the offsets of the currently selected layer are shown and are modified. Select the layer from the dropdown list in the toolbar. There are three options to modify the offset at a particular edge.

  1. Drag the 'line handle' at the edge. The 'line handle' can only be dragged perpendicular to the edge.
  2. Drag the 'dimension handle' and/or enter the measurement numerically
  3. Select the 'line handle' and enter the new value for the offset at the toolbar. Please note that you can select two or more 'line handles' by holding down the 'Shift' key when selecting the handles.

Please note that the top & bottom offsets at exterior edges and the offsets at the seams can be modified with help of the property dialogs.

You can also choose not to create the opening to certain layer of the wall in this mode. Select opening and select "Do not create" and opening is not created to that layer of the wall.


Adding and modifying seams of the wall layout

In the beginning after the wall layout has been created it is kind a big single precast wall. By adding seams you can divide the wall layout into two or more precast walls. Start adding seams by selecting the 'Modify seams' button in the toolbar.

When you enter to the seam modifying mode the wall layout seam property dialog is opened.

Within this property dialog you can apply the following properties for the new seams:

  • The free gap any space between two objects

    The term ’gap’ is used in its general sense in Tekla Structures.

    at the seam.
  • The offset of the center of the gap in relation to the seam 'input' position
  • Optionally you can also create the connection component for creating such component objects that automatically connect component secondary parts to a component main part and create the necessary other objects

    A connection can be a system or a custom component. Other objects can include bolts, welds, cuts, and fittings.

    between the two layer parts at the seam. If you want to create the connection you need also to set the
    • Name of the connection to be created
    • The name of the attribute file of the connection component.

Please note that all above properties are specific for each layer. Select the layer by clicking the layer at the preview picture. Remember to click apply once all properties have values you want. 

In the 'Modify seams' mode you can change the wall layout by:

  • Adding new vertical seams. Vertical seam is added by picking one point.
  • Adding new poly seams. Poly seam is added by picking two or more points. Poly seam can contain vertical, horizontal and/or sloping segments.
  • Move the vertical seams and/or modify the poly seams
  • Copy seams
  • Delete seams
  • Modify the properties of the seams

Adding a vertical seam

To insert a new vertical seam click the 'New seam' button the toolbar. Please note that this tool is selected automatically when you enter to 'Modify seams' mode and the wall layout doesn't have any seams yet.

Create the seam by picking a point.


Adding a poly seam

To insert a new poly seam seam click the 'New poly seam' button in the toolbar.

Create the seam by picking two or more points. Make sure to extend the start and end of the polyseam so that it clearly crosses the edges of the wall it is supposed to divide.

Moving seams

Seams can be moved by dragging the seams. A poly seam can be moved and modified like any polygonal object.

In addition vertical seams can be moved by dragging the horizontal 'line handle' and/or the 'dimension handle' in plan view.


Copying a seam

A vertical seam can be copied by dragging the seam and holding down the 'Ctrl' key.

Deleting a seam

A vertical seam can be deleted by selecting the seam handle and clicking the 'Delete' key. A poly seam can be deleted by deleting all segments of the poly seam.

Modifying the seam properties

The seam properties can be modified as follows:

  1. Select the vertical seam or a segment of the polyseam. When the first seam is selected the current properties properties related to an object type and applied to all new objects of this type

    In Tekla Structures, properties related to an object type are activated by clicking Apply or OK in the properties dialog box.

    of the seam are loaded into the wall layout seam properties dialog.
  2. You can now select two or more seams by holding down 'Shift' key when selecting another vertical seam and/or segment of a poly seam
  3. When all desired seams are selected modify the properties in the dialog and click 'Modify' button.

Wall layout connector component

With wall layout connector you can apply a "connection" between two wall layouts. The wall layout connector will take care of fitting adjustment of a part end

of the layer parts at corner depending on the settings of the connector. Wall layout connector can also add the connections between the layer parts when the connection component is defined.

Please note that if you initially created the wall layouts at the same time the wall layout tool added automatically the wall layout connectors. If the connector was not created automatically you can insert the connectors afterwards as follows:

  1. Search the component wall layout connector from the component catalog
  2. Open the dialog and make sure the currently applied values are as you like.
  3. Insert the connector by picking the two wall layouts. Please make sure to pick the wall layout component instance (not any object created by wall layout)

Wall layout connector settings


Property Description
  By clicking this button you can control how the two parts are fitted. There are three options,
just click the button three times to see the various corner setups
Free space A This is the free space between the two parts. The preview picture shows the where the free
space is located as it depends on the corner setup 
End offset part property that is used to move the ends of a part, relative to the part’s reference line

This is the end offset at the "longer" part. The preview picture shows the where the offset
is located as it depends on the corner setup
Connection You can define here which connection is created between the two parts.
If no value (empty field) is given no connection is created, only fittings are added according the free space and end offsets 
Connection attributes If you want to add the connection you can control the connection settings by selecting the "save as" file of the connection.
Connection primary                               When the connection component is created you can control which one of the parts is the 'primary' and which one is the 'secondary' input for the connection.

Sometimes, when there is no connections at the corners it might be difficult to select or double click the wall layout connector to see the current properties. When thi sis the case please turn on the drawing of the fittings in connections and select the connector or double click the fitting created by the connecter.

Using the wall layout auto elementation

With wall layout auto elementation component you can insert the seams automatically to divide the wall layout into precast walls fulfilling the requirements in terms of maximum weight and/or length. To use the auto elementation tool search the component from the component catalog and open the following property dialog. With auto elemenation you can insert the seams using one of the following principles:

  • By length: With this option you can give one or more desired lengths will be added by trying to get precast walls having the required length.. 
  • By number: With this option the wall layout will be divided so that at the end you get the desired number of precast walls. 
  • By weight: With this option the wall layout will be divided so that the weight of the precast walls is as close to the desired weight as possible.
  • By crane lifting weight: With this option the wall layout will be divided so that the weight of the precast walls is as close to the maximum lifting capacity as possible.

When seams will be added the openings are considered and that may affect the final seam position so that the final length or weight of the precast wall is less than the target value.

Note! Weight calculations are based on the wall layout geometry. Any other additional parts in the walls are not considered in the calculation. Density in weight calculation is 2500 kg/m³ for structural layer type, 100kg/m³ for insulation layer.


Wall layout auto elementation settings

Property Description
Create seams  This option controls the seam addition principle. Select the option and give the target value for the lengths, number of precast units or weight.
Min length This is the minimum length for the precast walls
Max length This is the maximum length for the walls. Please note that this value is valid no matter which principle is used.
Max weight                              This is the maximum weight for the precast walls. Please note that this value no matter which principle is used.
Max crane lifting weight You can select the the crane to be used for erection. When the crane is selected the maximum weight for precast walls is always less than the lifting capacity of the crane.

To create a new crane definition open the crane properties dialog by clicking the button on the right. More details about how to setup the crane data is shown in paragraphs below.

Avoid openings With this option you can select whether the seams may cross opening or not. If the seams can not cross opening you can also give the minimum distance of the seam from the opening.


Distribution direction With this option you can select the direction of the seams and start end at the wall layout:
Seam settings Select the seam attributes to be used for new seams. Please make sure the layer offsets are set properly as they may affect the weight and length of the precast wall.
Create to selected walls Select the wall layout and click this button to insert the seams. You can select one or multiple wall layouts.

Crane properties

With crane properties dialog you can define the cranes available for erection. You can crane setup as follows:

  1. Pick the crane location in the model or enter the X & Y values
  2. Enter the crane lifting capacity graph data in the table (1) element in a drawing that may include information on the building objects in the drawing, and information on the project

    (1) In Tekla Structures, the term ’table’ is used to refer to various elements of a drawing, such as revision tables, title blocks, bills of material, lists, general notes, key plans, and DWG and DXF files.

    (1) When the user makes changes to a model, Tekla Structures updates the drawing and the contents of the affected tables. This means that not only drawings are associative but also the tables.

    (2) table created with the template editor

    (2) In template editor tables are called templates.

    . Enter the distance from near to far order,
  3. Save the crane setup by typing the crane name and click button 'Save'

To modify and or review the existing crane setup select the crane setup from the dropdown list. Click button 'Preview' to see the crane location on lifting graph visualized in the model view view that is represented in the modeling mode

Model view is available also in the drawing mode and it is represented in its own window.



Customizing wall layout

You can customize the content of the tab page 'UDA' in wall layout properties dialog. In practice this will control which user defined properties of the created layer parts are set by the wall layout. It is recommended that only user defined properties which are typically common for all precast walls in one wall layout are included into the tab page.

The content of the 'UDA' tab page is customized with help of a file 'WallLayout.Udas.dat' which can be located in model folder folder that is used for storing files associated with a model

Tekla Structures stores all files associated with a model in a folder it creates with the same name as the model database (.db1).

In multi-user mode all users access the same model folder.

or any of the system folders. The sample file shown below contains full description of all settings and format of the file, lines starting with '//' are treated as comment lines.

// Customized user defined attributes (UDA) for layer parts created by wall layout component
// Each row shall contain 2 or 3 fields separated by tab(s) or semicolon.
// Please note that all uda names shall be unique
// Field 1: The data type of the attribute. Valid values are 'distance', 'float', 'option',
//          'integer' and 'string' compatible with the actual user defined attributes as
//          specified in objects.inp
// Field 2: UDA name. This is the name of the user defined attribute set for the layer part.
// Field 3: Label. This text is shown in the wall layout UDA tab page if the uda is not
//          defined in objects.inp. Label can be a translatable label or any text or empty text.
string  comment   j_comment 
string  USER_FIELD_1  j_user_field_1
string  USER_FIELD_2  j_user_field_2
string  USER_FIELD_3  j_user_field_3
string  USER_FIELD_4  j_user_field_4

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