STAAD.Pro BIM link for connection design

In this tutorial, we will demonstrate how to use the link between STAAD.Pro and IDEA StatiCa Connection. By following it step-by-step, you will learn how to export a connection from STAAD.Pro and make the design and code-check of the joint using IDEA StatiCa Connection.

1 How to activate the link

To integrate the IDEA StatiCa plugin into STAAD.Pro, open the BIM link installer: under the BIM tab, select Activate your BIM link (1). You may be asked by the operating system to confirm access (2). 

Select the Install button (3) next to STAAD.Pro. You should see the "Installed" status now.

BIM link integration

To finish the integration, you need to add the plugin to the User tools inside STAAD.Pro as well. Open STAAD.Pro project (you can use the tutorial project). 

Under Utilities in the top ribbon, select User Tools - Configure (1). Here, add the plugin as a new user-defined tool (2):

  • Menu items (3): IDEA StatiCa
  • Command (4): C:\Program Files\IDEA StatiCa\StatiCa 20.1\IDEAStatiCa.vbs
  • Initial Directory (5): C:\Program Files\IDEA StatiCa\StatiCa 20.1\
BIM link integration

Confirm by OK (6). 

The IDEA StatiCa plugin has been added and can be accessed under User Tools now.

BIM link integration

Please see the remarks about the limitations of this BIM link.

2 How to use the link

Now, we will have a look at an example of how to export one connection from STAAD.Pro and design and code-check it in IDEA StatiCa Connection.

Download and open the STAAD.Pro project file (STAAD.Pro+IDEAStatiCa steel hall.std) and run the analysis. Go to Utilities - User Tools and open IDEA StatiCa plugin.

IDEA StatiCa Code-check manager will appear. 

How to use the link

In the first step, select the desired standard. Please note that it is not possible to change it afterward. In this example, please select AISC and press Continue.

How to use the link

The code-check manager will store and manage all the items exported from the STAAD project into IDEA StatiCa applications. At the moment it is empty and ready to add the first item/connection. 

In STAAD.Pro, change the cursor to Geometry and select node #80 together with all connected members.

How to use the link

In Code-check manager, select Connection import in the top ribbon.

How to use the link

Configure the exported connection as follows: select member M203 as the Baring one and Merge M203 with M207. Continue with the Definition of loads.

How to use the link

In this wizard, you can manage the exported: load groups, combinations, and result classes. Load combinations are transferred as separated load cases and are not combined with other combinations. 

How to use the link
How to use the link

In Result Classes, you can select combinations which you would like to check in IDEA StatiCa Connection. The combination "6: COMB_STRENGTH" for the ultimate limit state is added automatically and includes all the load cases listed in the previous window. Finish

How to use the link

Finish also the connection configuration.

How to use the link

Everything's ready to open the connection in IDEA StatiCa Connection.

How to use the link

3 Design

Joint geometry and load effects have been imported from STAAD.Pro project and you can start designing. 

In this example, the Imperial system of units is used (see how to change the system of units).

Code-check manager commands

Code-check manager commands

The Code-check manager is a BIM tool to manage and synchronize structural details (connections, members) imported to IDEA StatiCa from other programs. It is launched in the other programs via integrated commands/icons. The command bar slightly differs depending on whether the source program is CAD or FEA type.


  • Connection - imports selected node to application IDEA StatiCa Connection.
  • Member (FEA programs only) - imports selected beam to application IDEA StatiCa Member.

Actions for current item:

  • Open - opens the selected item in the appropriate application.
  • Reset (FEA programs only) - deletes all actions on the imported joint and restores it to the original state.
  • Calculate - synchronize and calculate one project item and provide a new set of results.
  • Synchronize (CAD programs only) - detects changes in the source project of an already imported project item (changes in thickness, cross-sections; modification of properties of welds, bolts) and updates the IDEA StatiCa model.
    Note: Does not update the connection model with new or deleted plates or members, changed positions, etc.; in such case, it is necessary to delete the current item and import it again
  • Delete - deletes selected item

Actions for all items:

  • Calculate all - synchronize and calculate all project items and provide new sets of results.
  • Synchronize all - detects changes in the source project of all already imported project items (changes in thickness, cross-sections; modification of properties of welds, bolts; new load effects) and updates all the IDEA StatiCa models.
    Note: Does not update the connection model with new or deleted plates or members, changed positions, new or deleted loads, etc.; in such case, it is necessary to delete the current item and import it again

Important notice:

Please be aware that IDEA StatiCa syncs one way with a model of the other program, not the other way around. 

  • FEA program - sync does not affect design operations (cut, end plate, ...).
  • CAD program -  sync does not affect load effects.

If we change any parameter (cross-section, load combination, operation) in an imported model in IDEA StatiCa and then synchronize it with the source project, all the changes (except the mentioned above) will be lost and replaced with parameters of the source project.

E.g. If you modify a designed connection in IDEA StatiCa Connection on a model that was previously imported from Tekla Structures, and then synchronize it, the modifications done in IDEA StatiCa Connection will be replaced by the current design in Tekla Structures.

Known limitations for STAAD.Pro

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 the proper positions. Imported internal forces include the eccentricity effects, only the geometrical offset is missing.

Known limitations of STAAD.Pro link
Known limitations of STAAD.Pro link

Sample files


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