---- NOTE: THIS IS OLD. DOWNLOAD NEW PDF-INSTRUCTIONS FROM WAREHOUSE----.AVEVA PDMS/E3D and Tekla Structures Interoperability: PDMS/E3D extension

Last updated April 28, 2017 by Tekla Extensions - General Design tekla.extensions-generaldesign@trimble.com

Software version: 
Not version-specific
Not environment-specific

---- NOTE: THIS IS OLD. DOWNLOAD NEW PDF-INSTRUCTIONS FROM WAREHOUSE----.AVEVA PDMS/E3D and Tekla Structures Interoperability: PDMS/E3D extension


Purpose and description
System Requirements
Additional information

Purpose and description

Tekla Structures – PDMS interoperability has been using SDNF and/or dgn formats. Tekla aims to improve interoperability with this new development. Tekla has created extended ifc file format for the link.


  • In older PDMS link version (20th January 2015 and before) parts that are not extrusion parts (e.g. poly beams/panels, twisted parts) are not imported to PDMS. Importing these objects requires other format that is currently .dgn .
  • Newest PDMS/E3D link version can import also BREP (surface) format  parts as polyhedron objects. Tekla Structures version 21.0/21.1 can export also poly beams / panels as extrusion format
  • Currently link does not support
    • Bolts, nuts, washers
    • Welds
    • Reinforcements
    • Surface treatments

System requirements

New link works with:

  • Tekla Structures 2016, 21.1, 21.0, 20.1, 20.0, 19.1
  • AVEVA PDMS 12.1 SP2/SP4 and 12.0 SP6. AVEVA PDMS 12.1 SP4 uses same package as PDMS 12.1 SP2.
  • AVEVA E3D 2.1

Versions 2016, 21.0, 20.1 and 20.0 have some improvements which not included in 19.1 version. In order to use link, both Tekla Structures and PDMS require installed application.


  • Run the installer.
    • Installer installs Imports from Tekla application to C:\TS_PDMS\”version”/C:\TS_E3D\”version”.
  • Edit DesignAddins.xml and set reference to Tekla Interoperability .dll (TS_PDMS/TS_E3D)

Note: Edited file named in PDMS/E3D is related to module you are running. So
Design --> DesignAddins.xml
Marine,Outfitting --> OutfittingAddins.xml
Draft  --> DraftAddins.xml

The company setup might read files from different locations (e.g. can be read from a server based on company setup). If so contact your PDMS support to get the modifications done correctly. Problem can be that edited DesignAddins.xml file is not read at all.

After installation the button is visible in PDMS (E3D, ribbon Tekla):



  • Create the attributes that are needed for updating a model from Tekla Structures:
Attributes are used to find and update deleted and modified parts in PDMS. If these attributes are not present in PDMS, the items will not be found and a new instance is created. Necessary PDMS UDAs are described in a description document, see attachment :\TS_PDMS\»version»\TS_INTEROPERABILITY_UDA.datal
Recommended other attributes are in TS_INTEROPERABILITY_UDA.datal.


Export from PDMS/E3D application

Create export instance

  • Open PDMS/E3D model
  • Click menu button Tekla Interoperability (Ribbon Tekla -> button Tekla Interoperability in AVEVA E3D)

        Dialog opens, select Export tab:

  • Browse for directory to store exported model (…)
  • Hierarchy item is selected hierarchy item in Design Explorer/Model Explorer. The selected item in Design Explorer/Model Explorer can be any hierarchic object.
  • Pipes, equipments etc. (Mechanical disciplines) can be exported from PDMS/E3D.
  • Press Add to load export settings into datagrid


Export instance

Prerequisite Create export instance
  • Select instance or instances from rows in datagrid and press Export


      IFC package(s) will be created in given folder with IFC package name in addition to UTC (Version). Log file will be created in same folder with same name and extension .log.
Version 16.1 and newer creates also package file without UTC. So easier to update in Tekla Structures side because file name is the same.


       Exported model can be opened in Tela Structures.

Edit export instance

Prerequisite Create export instance
  • Change export folder by picking 
  •  Open export folder by picking    
  •  Remove instance by clicking      


Import to PDMS/E3D application

Create import instance

  • Open a PDMS/E3D model.
  • Click on the button Tekla Interoperability (Ribbon Tekla -> button Tekla Interoperability in AVEVA E3D).

     A dialog box opens, select Import tab

  • Browse for a file created with Tekla Structures (…).
  • Hierarchy item is selected hierarchy item in Design Explorer/Model Explorer. The selected item in Design Explorer/Model Explorer must then be a STRU or a FRMW.
  • For a STRU selection a FRMW with given name is created below and imported structure added.
  • For a FRMW selection a SBFR with given name is created below and imported structure added.     
  • If the model contains hierarchy object that has the same name as the imported model, the structure will be updated. If that is not desired a new name must be given.
  • Click Add to load the model to the datagrid. 


Import Instance

Prerequisite: Create import instance

  • Select an instance or instances in the datagrid and click Import-Update.

       Instance(s) will be created in PDMS/E3D under selected STRU and with a given FRMW name. Note that the name must not exist in a PDMS/E3D model


Version 16.1 and newer supports also PDMS/E3 hierarchy structure and principle is as follow:
As a default action a dedicated SITE is created in PDMS/E3D for storing information related to import from Tekla Structures when a hierarchy import is set.
Below ZONE, one STRU is created for each imported file name (exxluding UTC), <filename>-FILE. This STRU is always created when import is processsed.
Below the STRU two FRMWs are created:
Here all elements in import marked as deleted in modified import are moved. Notice that for an update where source is PDMS/E3D, all elements in model not found in import file are considered as deleted and moved.
Here all elements that the system cannot find a hierarchic owner for during import are placed. Reason might be problems in definitions etc.
So TEKLA-SITE includes deleted and unplaced elements.

To use or not to use hierarchy definitions can be defined in ProjectSettings.txt file which created when application (Tekla Interoperability) started. Next settings can be defined:
So if modeling started in PDMS/E3D can be defined if objects wanted to be updated by changes done in Tekla Structures. Default is no (false). Also possible to define if hierarchies can be updated in PDMS/E3D by Tekla definitions. Default is no (false). Yes value is true.

See video TS_PDMS_UpdateHierarchiesShortSmallModel.mp4 in Warehouse (included in NEW HELP VIDEOS download)

Hierarchy definitions (SITE,ZONE,STRU,FRMW,SBFR) can be given in Tekla Structures side when exporting (file ...\Links\Aveva\Export\Settings\AvevaHierarchy.txt
See video ExportToAvevaHierarchyExample.mp4 in Warehouse (included in NEW HELP VIDEOS download)

When modeling started in PDMS/E3D and then continued in Tekla Structures it is good to do first export in Tekla immediately after creating native Tekla elements with ifc object conversion command - without doing modifications in Tekla. This means that in PDMS/E3D side it is easier to recognize changes when two export files from Tekla can be used.

  • If a model created in Tekla Structures includes parts that cannot be exported as extrusion objects but as BREP (surface) format objects, such as polybeams (before version 21.0), the model has those objects in a .dgn file that  can be imported to PDMS/E3D. Model exists in “model”.ifcZip folder or .tcZip folder in Tekla Structures version 21.0. Note that if the project origin is moved for the export in Tekla Structures, this .dgn model needs to be manually moved to the right location. Note: also Tekla Structures parts which have “IFC export type” UDA definition as Brep instead of Auto will be included in a .dgn file
  • Note: Newest PDMS/E3D link version can import also BREP (surface) format parts as polyhedron objects. Tekla Structures version 21.0 can export also poly beams / panels as extrusion format.
  • Tekla Interoperability application can be docked in PDMS/E3D GUI:


Edit import instance

Prerequisite Create import instance
  • Change export folder by picking 
  • Open export folder by picking     
  • Remove instance by clicking       


Update import instance

Prerequisite: Create import instance
  • In order to update model.
  • When the dialog box is opened in PDMS/E3D, the application checks if a new update for the model exported from Tekla Structures is available. If an update exits, the row is marked as yellow.
  • Select the row and click Import-Update.


  • When importing, ADDED, MODIFIED and DELETED items will be instanciated.
          The ADDED items will be shown in green color.
          The MODIFIED items will be shown in YELLOW color.
          The DELETED items will be removed from model.

Link version 16.1 and newer can show also deleted and unplaced hierarchy elements in -DELETED and -UNPLACED hierarchy positions. See explanation above and video TS_PDMS_UpdateHierarchiesShortSmallModel.mp4 in Warehouse (included in NEW HELP VIDEOS download)
Deleted elements (done in Tekla side) are positioned to own hierarchy -DELETED and colored as red. Then user can see situation and e.g. after that delete permanently in PDMS/E3D. Also elements with wrong , missing hierarchy are placed to separate -UNPLACED hierarchy.


  • Colors are set by turning off the auto coloring in PDMS/E3D. Auto coloring is automaticly turned on again after the import. An update of the view will show all items in the colors defined in representation rules


Mapping of profiles, materials and attributes (UDAs)

Prerequisite: Create import instance

  • Click Mapping to open the Mapping dialog box


  • The dialog box shows mapping settings for profiles, materials and attributes (UDAs).
  • Only profiles and materials present in an instance (model) will be shown in the dialog box.
  • Mapping files are stored in a project folder under TS-PDMS/Mapping.
    • Profile mapping  : ProfileMapping.txt
    • Material mapping  : MaterialMapping.txt
    • Attribute (UDA) mapping : AttributeMapping.txt (from Tekla)
    • Attribute (UDA) mapping : PDMSAttributeMapping.txt (from PDMS)/AttributeMapping.txt (from E3D)

In link version 16.1 and newer mapping folder can also be defined in ProjectSettings.txt file which is created when link application (Tekla Interoperability) started

  • If mapping is not set for a profile or a material that exists in the model, the row will be marked as red in the Mapping dialog box.
  • If All check box is selected, all rules are listed.


  • It is possible to open and save the mapping rules by clicking the Rules buttons. The mapping file is opened with a default text editor. All mapping files can be opened with Microsoft Excel.


Profile mapping

  • There are multiple ways to create rules for profile mapping. All rules need to be mapped to ProfileMapping.txt file.
    • Mapping in rule file is Tekla Structures profile;PDMS profile
    • Library profile mapping:
      • L75*75*5;DIN-SPEC/L75x7
    • Parametric mapping:
      • L:B:*:H:*:T;DESPAR_SPEC/L:B:H:T or
    • Profile to parametric profile mapping:
      • L200*100*10;DESPAR_SPEC/L:200:100:10
    • Note: for IPE profiles extra colon needs to be used in case of rule based mapping to library profiles. So e.g.

                    IPE:H;DIN-SPEC/IPE:H -> parametric profile
                    IPE:H;:DIN-SPEC/IPE:H ->library profile

  • It is possible to do a library profile to library profile mapping on dialog only.
  • If a mapping is missing (empty) the part will be imported as a plate that is extruded from  the object start to end with some small exceptions *).
  • In case of a wrong mapping (mapping to undefined specification), the SCTN will be created but no profile geometry will be present.

*) For example double ledge beams cannot be currently exported as extrusion parts.

  • Rules can be edited only with text editor
Instruction how to get correct syntax for mapping file when different standards (e.g. UK) used in PDMS:
If you set the spref on a SCTN and query the spref for the SCTN you will see the exact text for the spref. That string is going into mapping file. If you write complete spref name in command window (/BS-SPEC/xxxxx) you should get to spref element in  PDMS.

Material mapping

  • Material mappping is direct Tekla Structures material;PDMS/E3D material mapping.

Attribute mapping

  • Attribute (UDA) mapping is set by the user.

      Note that to get the mapping in PDMS/E3D the UDA to set must exist. If a UDA is not defined in PDMS/E3D, the attribute value will not be set to the PDMS/E3D object.

  • Attribute mapping is between PropertySet Property and PDMS/E3D UDA. PropertySet property is defined in Tekla Structures and it can be a report field or a UDA. A property needs to be mapped as PropertySet.Property. Desired properties are selected in Tekla Structures using application Export to Aveva. There in settings tab page report fields or UDAs can be selected and a property set name Project is used for prefix. So e.g. if MATERIAL attribute/property is selected and exported it will be named as Project.MATERIAL. It will be then mapped in PDMS/E3D like Project.MATERIAL;String;:MATERIAL;String. Attribute names which need to be mapped can be seen when importing exported .tcZip file in Tekla Structures and using inquire command to see attribute names. Other possibility to check attribute names is to open in Tekla Structures Export IFC command and there open additional property set Aveva_PSets which is automatically created and used when Export to Aveva application used. See example from AttributeMapping.txt file in Mapping folder after installation PDMS/E3D application.


       Note: in newest Export to Aveva application versions correct name attribute is Project.NAME (and not Tekla Common.Name)
       If Project.NAME is BEAM, it appears in attrubute list after import.


  • There is a separate mapping file PDMSExportAttributes.txt/ExportAttributes.txt for Export from PDMS/E3D to IFC. It needs to also at project folder under TS-PDMS(TS-E3D)/Mapping. Note: UDAs for mechanical objects (pipes, equipments) can be exported only in PDMS 12.1 version
  • PDMSExportAttributes.pdf is a description document that shows the use of mapping file with examples

In new Export to Aveva versions (Tekla Structures side, versions 2016.1.1, 211.3.1, 210.5.1) also PDMS/E3D hierarchies can be used. When application started it creates under model folder file ..\Links\Aveva\Export\Settings\AvevaHierarchy.txt
- where PDMS/E3D hierarchies (SITE,ZONE,STRU,FRMW,SBFR) can be used. Tekla side UDAs and report fields can be used. If comment mark // used in front then hierarchies are not used. UDAs can also be combined. Example of file content cound be
//not used SBFR;Uda=SBFR
Several rows e.g. to FRMW definition can be used and if first one is undefined then later one used.
If optionmenu UDAs used and text values wanted to be used then need to use rep=USERDEFINED.TEKLA_CI_CAT. It returns the text value. Uda=TEKLA_CI_CAT would return serial number in optionmenu list.
There is also Check Hierarchies button which can be used for checking hierarchies which used in PDMS/E3D import.
See video ExportToAvevaHierarchyExample.mp4 in Warehouse (included in NEW HELP VIDEOS download)

In new PDMS/E3D side link application, version 17.1, update handling has been improved. When application started a file ProjectSettings.txt will be created (if not exist) and  next settings can be defined : UpdateAvevaCreatedObjects and UpdateAvevaCreatedObjectsHierarchyBasedOnTeklaExportedHierarchy. Both have default value as True. Also CheckAndRecreateAvevaModelDeletedObjects (default value = False) is set. It defines how deleted members in PDMS/E3D handled (recreated or not in next export from TS). This has been done if e.g. by accident user deleted members in PDMS/E3D. 

Basic rules when handling settings are

- Most common case (=default case) : UpdateAvevaCreatedObjects=True and UpdateAvevaCreatedObjectsHierarchyBasedOnTeklaExportedHierarchy=True
This means that even modeling started in PDMS/E3D, modifications done in TS are taken into account and also members moved to hierarchy defined in TS if different than in PDMS/E3D

- UpdateAvevaCreatedObjects=True and UpdateAvevaCreatedObjectsHierarchyBasedOnTeklaExportedHierarchy=False
This means that members originally created in PDMS/E3D will be modified by TS modifications but hierarchy not modified. Only new members created in TS will use hierarchy defined in TS.

- UpdateAvevaCreatedObjects=False
This means that members originally created in PDMS/E3D will be stored (remained) and not modified by TS members even same member in case.
Instead new members will be created in PDMS/E3D. Usecase is that if for some reason original PDMS/E3D model/members wanted to be stored.
In this case user needs to carefully plan work process. There is a way (using "IFCGUID") to know if member is an original PDMS/E3D member or from TS.

Below example of default settings in file ProjectSettings.txt. Mapping folder is empty by default but user can define it



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it seems in version 12.1SP2.121.1, the dialog box has changed. Button now is Import/Update
and the process for the updating is no more exactly as shown in this help, the lines are not coming in Yellow by default.
Is this help going to be updated?
Thanks in advance
Best Regards

by Petri Heinonen

This change is only ”cosmetic” and done because same button will be used for import (first time) and also update (if updates, yellow color, available). Behavior should be similar to older dialog.
Main reason was only that users “understand” that also updates can be handled. And it was not “logical” in old dialog that pressing import actually meant update.
If there would be two buttons (import and update) then users need to know which one to use. And surely mistakes can/will happen.
One solution perhaps would be that only other button is active and other with grey color (not usable) but this development has not been done.
Dialog colors work so that if update model found then yellow color appear in dialog and pressing button means update. In other cases pressing button means import.
Regards Petri

by Jim Dunford

In the Warehouse you have one download for 2 versions of PDMS. 12.1SP2 & 12.1SP4.
This is causing issues for the ICT team supporting the PDMS user.
Is it possible to split these so that they have a separate download and naming on install.
Or at least a pick list for each version.

by Petri Heinonen

The link version of PDMS is compiled with 12.1SP2. So there is no separate version for 12.1SP4 because same 12.1SP2 version is ok also for 12.1SP4
Perhaps this information is enough at the moment for ICT team (?)
regards Petri

by Mohamed Auswath Khan Zameel Ahamed

Hi ,

Can we export Pipe and equipment to Tekla from PDMS through .ifc.

Bcoz the .ifc interportability interface is not listing the Pipe and equipment ,it shows only the structures in PDMS .

by Mikko Huovila

Yes it is possible to export pipes and equipments with link when you use 12.1 PDMS version. 12.0 link version does not support them as good as 12.1 today.
Mikko Huovila

by Steven Clark

So I am utilizing 12.1 PDMS and can export steel fine, but am seeing only Stru level to export. I see UDA Attributes to extract Mechanical (Pipe-Equipment) but am unable to select Equip in the hierarchy. Is there a way to change the hierarchy to extract a SITE or ZONE? Is there a specific Naming convention required to pull Equipment or Pipe(assuming cable tray is similar as it's a 'tube')?

by Petri Heinonen

Workflow is simple, just select a hierarchy item in PDMS (SITE, ZONE, STRU, FRMW) and press add in Tekla Interoperability dialog. The line will be shown in grid. Just mark it and press Export.
Regards Petri

by Steven Clark

Thank you, after some looking I got that figured out. I was over thinking it. Thinking you had to use drop-down to select hierarchy not just the CE as the element for selection. Is there a way to remove the revision tracking from the export, meaning the date suffix on the file aside from renaming the file itself? I use the export as a reference file, and have to reload\import every time I export new files which can be daily or weekly depending.

by Petri Heinonen

Good point. We have discussed about removing revision tracking for files when importing Tekla because date suffix is mainly needed in handling revisions when importing to PDMS/E3D. So option to do that in PDMS/E3D side. This would be good e.g. when exporting pipes, equipment from PDMS/E3D. If different revisions wanted to be used Tekla user can rename or backup files manually when needed. General development discussions perhaps better to continue in Discussion Forum like: Tekla Discussion Forum → Tekla Warehouse Forums → Tekla Extensions
regards Petri