Construction Sequencer

Last updated November 10, 2016 by Tekla Structures Extensions USA

Software version: 
Not version-specific
United States (Imperial)
United States (Metric)

Construction Sequencer

Purpose and description

The Construction Sequencertool that is used for creating named sequences for parts and assigning sequence numbers to the parts

Sequencer is used for defining erection sequences, for example.

is intended to provide Project Managers, Steel Erectors and Concrete Contractors with a Building Information Modelingprocess of modeling and communicating the structure of a building in detail to benefit the entire construction life cycle

BIM facilitates the exchange and use of building information in a digital format.

based tool to assist with planning and execution of onsite activities.

There are two modes to the Construction Sequencer: Planning and Viewing. The Planning mode can only be used when a Tekla model is currently open. The Viewing model can be used connected to a Tekla model or offline in a standalone mode that allows for synchronization at a later time.

A typical workflow employed using the Construction Sequencer would be to plan erection or pouring sequences in the office then sending the information out to site where it can be viewed and tracked using the same tool.

System requirements

Environments:     Default
Languages:          English

Installing Construction Sequencer

To install the extension:

  1. Make sure Tekla Structures is closed.
  2. Install msi package downloaded from Tekla Warehouse.
  3. Reopen Tekla Structures once installation is complete and you will see:
(Up to v21.1) A new toolbar icon which will launch the tool should now be visible.

(v2016) A new thumbnail under Ungrouped items in the Applications & components side pane will appear.

Using Construction Sequencer

The Construction Sequencer uses toolbars and a data gridmodeling aid that represents a three-dimensional complex of intersecting grid planes or intersecting grid planes and curved grid surfaces

The grid is defined by coordinates in 3D space. It is shown two-dimensionally on the view plane by dash-and-dot lines. A grid can be rectangular or radial.

It is possible to have more than one grid in a model. For example, a large-scale grid for the entire structure, and smaller grids for some detailed sections.

It is also possible to show grids and grid line labels in drawings, and to modify how they are shown in the drawings.

. There is a Plan toolbar, a view toolbar and a customizable data grid. Users can also customize a quick access toolbar too.

The Main Menu

The main menu is accessed by clicking the top left icon.

The Save icon saves the current session to the directory set under the ‘Set Directory’ button
The Save As button saves the current session to any directory selected on the dialog that opens subsequently
Open file allows the user to find an open a previous session
The Set Directory button allows users to set a default save location. This can be on the local drive, network drive or cloud service.

The ‘Log’ button is used by Tekla Structures technical support in troubleshooting and future development. Please include the file created by this command when reporting errors or issues.

The Recent Files area lists the most recently opened sessions allowing for quick access to commonly used files.

The Options Button opens a further dialog allowing more customization and preferences.

Under Program Options, users can set units and accuracy. Data grid layouts can be saved and remembered. The toolbar interface can also be customized and this would be saved and loaded under the ‘Ribbon Layout File’ option.

Other settings are based on user preferences.

  • Assembly main parts are typically used to define the purpose of the entire assembly so this is checked by default
  • Importing and merging data may result in existing data getting overwriting by blank values that may be missing from the import file, so this is left unchecked by default. Users can choose to select this if they wish to supersede all model data with an imported file.
  • Save prompting ensure sessions are not lost by accidental exit clicks.
  • To animate objects at the same time users can set the order to be the same number. If “Renumber” is run then it will assign a sequential sub order to orders with the same value. If an animation is run then it will animate the assemblies with the same order value based on the sub order number.
  • Check this box if when an animation is run it animates based off the sub order number individually. If the box is not checked then objects with the same order will be animated at the same time. NOTE: When the grid is sorted by “Order” it will animate based off of sequential order and/or suborder as described. If it is sorted based on any other column the animation will animate in the current order of the grid.  Ex.  If the grid was sorted based off install date and an animation was run, the tool will animate in that current order of the grid.

The Reference Object Propertiesproperties associated with an object type

Usually a single object property includes a default value that the user can modify.

Dialog allows users to map fields that commonly occur in Reference objects such as SketchUp files (skp), IFCfile format commonly used in BIM that facilitates software interoperability

IFC is an open specification developed by the IAI (International Alliance for Interoperability).

Model can be exported into an IFC file.

Files or DWG objects to typical user defined attributes in Tekla Structures.

The Plan Toolbar

The ‘Add’ Section

The Plan Toolbar is primarily used in online mode (Connected to a Tekla Structures model). 

Use this to manually pick the assemblies or cast units to be erected or placed. The Construction Sequencer interface will minimize temporarily allowing you full access to the model window. Select the objects in sequence to be erected with the left mouse, then click the middle mouse button to complete the command and return the Construction Sequencer interface to the screen.

Items will highlight in red (by default) once they are selected and added to the Construction Sequencer data grid

For larger projects, objects can be grouped together by similar properties for Automatic Sequencing.

To set this up, select the edit icon to open the ‘Sort Options’ dialog.

The Sort Options Dialog allows users to define the automatic sequencing by collecting together groups of objects using the available selection filters. For example: If the steel columns are to be erected before the first floor beams then the Columns filter would be added first followed by the first floor beams filter.
The direction can be defined in the lower half of the dialog box allowing lower beams to be erected before higher beams by specifying the Z direction first. The program will find the beam with the lowest Z value and select it first. Then continue erecting in theX or Y axis from the objects nearest the origin to the objects furthest from the origin.

The example below shows a setup where column, beams and braces are erected in lowest first order, then X direction, then Y direction followed by a ‘fall-through’ filter that includes everything else that is defined as steel in the model. The fall-through does not need to be added but there is potential to miss objects without it.

To add the Sorting Filter Rules select the desired one first from the drop down list then click the  ‘+’ button.

To remove any filter from the list, click the ‘x’ button

The list can be re-ordered by highlighting a filter in the list then clicking the up or down arrows.

Always Save a Rule setmaster drawing that contains model selection filters and where the properties and drawing settings vary based on the selected model objects

by defining a name then clicking Save.

To delete a Rule Set, select it from the drop down list and click the trash can icon.

Close the Sort Options Dialog in the normal manner by clicking the ‘X’ icon at the top right. This will return the user to the main Construction Sequencer Dialog.

To start an Automatic order select the group of objects to be sequenced (by using window selection, phase managertool that is used for assigning model objects to phases

The phase content can be viewed and modified in the phase manager.

The phase manager can be used to lock and unlock model objects.

See object lock.

, lottingprocess of creating lots and adding assemblies to them

tool or Organizertool that is used for categorizing and managing model information, object properties and object property queries, and model object classification

Organizer consists of two tools, object browser and categories.

) then select the Rule Set from available ones previously saved in the drop down list.

Finally click the ‘Automatic Order’ button to minimize the dialog box and run the Automatic Order Sequencing.

The ‘Remove’ Section

The ‘Remove’ Section of the Plan Toolbar only contains three simple commands and is works on highlighted lines in the data grid or on selected objects in the model.

    To remove a selected row in the data grid, click the Remove button  
    To remove a selected object in the model from an unknown location in the data grid, click the ‘Selected Assemblies’ button.
   To remove all rows, whether selected or not, click the ‘All Rows’ button.

The ‘Order’ Section

     To move a highlighted object further up in the list click the up button     
    To move a highlighted object further down in the list, click the down button
      If items are deleted from the list, it is recommended to renumber the order to close any gaps that may have appeared. Sort the list by Order, Ascending by right clicking on the ‘Order’ column and choosing ‘Sort Ascending’ then click the renumber button to refresh the sequence numbers.

The ‘Exchange’ Section

  The Export option allows users to report data from the tool in various formats.

  • Microsoft Excel 2007 and later (xlsx format) allows opening of the datagrid contents in a spreadsheet
  • Abode Reader (pdf) Format allows for quick printing and sharing of the datagrid in a text format.
  • Extensible Markup Language (xml) is an open source and shareable format that allows for open data transfer to other software packages capable of reading the file format.
  • Comma Separated Values (csv) files can be opened easily by most spreadsheet and database applications
  • Erection Sequence Format (esf) allows for compatibility with the current Crane Console Applicationpart of Tekla Structures functionality that is developed in order to extend the capability of Tekla Structures but that is not included in the Tekla Structures installation

    available as a Tekla Structures Extension and previous versions of the Erection Sequencer

  The Import / Merge function allows for the import of xml files or existing Construction Sequencers (seq) files. If there are contents in the datagrid and Globally Unique Identifiers (GUIDs) can be resolved from the import file into the model then the contents will be merged.

  Open Folder provides a shortcut to the current folder set by the ‘Set Directory’ option.

The ‘Sync’ Section

The Sync section deals specifically with the workflow where some users may be working disconnected from the model in offline mode. Data recorded in offline mode can be temporarily stored, then imported into the model easily when Tekla Structures is running and the model is open. This facilitates tracking of activities without tying up an existing Tekla Structures license or configuration.

The Construction Sequencer can be switched to offline mode and Tekla Structures can be closed. If Tekla Structures is subsequently started and a model opened, users can then switch to ‘online’ (connected mode) and sync any changes with the model. If no model is available, the session can be saved as normal and opened with a connected model for synchronization.

The Construction Sequencer Lite can be started directly from the Start Menu without the need to have Tekla Structures running.

Online / Offline Mode: Use this to connect or disconnect from the currently open model. Remember that any changes made in offline mode will be lost if they are not saved or synchronized back to the model.

The ‘To Model’ button overwrites any information in the model with the changes datagrid in offline mode.

The ‘From Model’ option reads the information in the model and overwrites any existing information in the data grid.

The ‘Select Mode’ Section

This section controls how highlighting of items in the model and data grid behave.

  Highlights the selected object in the model window that is selected in the data grid

  Select and Zoom will find and highlight the object in the model that are selected in the data grid and will also zoom to those specific objects.

  Find from Model will highlight the data grid with the selected object in the model.

The View Toolbar

The View Toolbar contains functions to view animations and set colors and representations of objects in the model. Commands on the View Toolbar are available in online or offline mode.

The ‘Animation’ Section

This section is used to view erection sequences either automatically at a desired speed set in the ‘Options’ Section

The Controls operate in the same manner as any regular media player. ‘Play’ runs the animation automatically. ‘Stop’ ceases the automatic animation from playing. The back  and forward buttons can be used to step back and forward in one line increments of the data grid contents.

The ‘Colorization’ Section

This section controls how items look when they are added to the list and is used to track what has been planned and what remains to be added and planned. It can be useful to set the representationthe way that the information included in a model is represented visually

of unplanned items as transparent to make the planned items appear clearer during the animation.

The ‘Options’ Section

The speed slider is used to set the rate of animation. At the left most setting, the animation will pause for approximately 1 second between items. The right-most setting will process the animation as fast as the computer hardware can handle. Clicking anywhere on the setting line will snap the slider left or right accordingly. For more refined setting the slider can be dragged to the exact and desired location.

The ‘Select In Model with Animate’ highlights each object as it animates.

The ‘Tracking’ Section

The tracking section is used to record activities quickly and easily during the erection process. It is best employed in offline mode at the construction site while erection is taking place. Project Managers can record activities with a simple click or can select all the items that were delivered or erected that day and record the date in the respective fields easily.

To use this section, set the current date, then highlight the objects delivered or erected in the data grid. Complete the command by clicking the ‘Write Delivery Date on Selected Rows’ or Write Install Date on Selected Rows button.

Users can stamp each item as they progress through the planned activities by selecting the ‘Record Date with Forward / Back? Option and then, using the media buttons to record the Install Actual Date as the project progresses.

The Data Grid

The data grid is where all the planned items appear with their respective properties and attributes. The grid can be customized extensively and conforms to normal windows standards

  • Columns can be dragged to new locations
  • Columns can be sorted in ascending or descending order, grouped or set to hidden or visible by using the column chooser available by right clicking on any column header.
  • Drag columns to the Group Panel to Group by common attributes
  • Enter Search terms to Filter the entire data grid for specific terms
  • Use the Filter Editor to define more complex search terms
  • The ‘Best Fit’ option will stretch or shrink all or selected columns to the maximum contents in the column fields.

Use the ‘Fixed Style’ option to anchor the selected cells to the left or right side making attributes easier to see without losing the Assembly positionposition number that is assigned to an assembly or a cast unit

(Piece Markmark that includes a set of selected property elements related to a part

Part marks are used for identifying constructions, for giving information about welding, for giving information about assemblies to a workshop, for giving information about how parts should be connected to each other, and for creating bills of quantities, for example.

In the US, the term piece mark is used to refer to position number.

) from the side of the data grid.

Additional information

Order, Sub Order and Hierarchy Level.

In some cases the site might want to pre-assemble a part of the structure then erect the assembly in one lift. This can be defined by setting a ‘Sub Order’ The chart below has modified vales in the data grid, showing that parts with order number ‘1’ will be assembled in a specific sub order before being lifted by the crane into place.

Another method of defining pre-assembly is to use the Hierarchy Level setting built into Tekla Structures. A complete truss might be made up of sub assemblies but may be lifeted on site as one unit. If sub-assemblies or super-assemblies are defined then the Construction Sequencer can take advantage of these settings.

The image and chart below shows a frame consisting of a sub-assemblyassembly in a nested assembly that is subordinate to a parent assembly

Reference Objects

Reference objects such as site equipment or other trade supplies can be added to the data grid but may have different fields and data than expected.

In the example shown, the reference objects are mapped to properties in the data grid.
From the Options on the main menu, the attributes are mapped.

The attribute ‘ref_logical_name’ is mapped to NAME in the data grid. ‘VENDOR’ is mapped to ‘PROFILE’

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