Working smart instead of just working hard

A major oil and gas company is currently on talk to our company about the possibility of us to offer a system support for them to speed up the process in Tekla modeling, especially in detailing connections. So the Director agreed to it, on the basis of system that I have prepared for the company over the years.

I said yes, since this is what we have been implementing in our office. We have been benefiting from the system, so why not we share it with other companies, and make a profit out of it.

In many projects, usually there’s a general requirement for the connections. Some clients have their own standard connections that should be applied whenever possible. In a joint, the connection detail should be determined, among others:

  • Connection type (shear plate, double angle, etc
  • Connection material (shear plate thickness, angle size, material)
  • Connector detail (number and size of bolts/welds, bolt type (std/TC/DTI), bolt connection assumption (N/X/SC))
  • Necessary cuts (cope, block, bevel, rat holes, etc)
  • Additional connection material (stiffener, haunch, etc)

And the connection detail above depends on many factors, among others:

  • Members type (beam to column, beam to beam, bracing, etc)
  • Type of members’ profile (W, HSS, Channel, Angle, WT, etc)
  • Members’ sizes (including flange thickness, web thickness, etc)
  • Geometry (perpendicular, skew, elevation, etc)
  • The load
  • The loading type (service load ASD or factored load LRFD)

And the result of the connection details above should be checked against the connection capacity:

  • Connection strength vs the load
  • Flexural strength
  • Tearout capacity

As we can see, there are so many factors need to be considered when detailing a connection. One of biggest project that I ever involved was an office complex consisted 21,000 tons of steel, that we split into several models. It was huge we can’t even combine the office complex into a model and make a simple public viewer out of it. That’s when we started to consider migrating to 64 bit system. It’s another subject that will be discussed later.

All of those factors are combined in a macro system that integrates the AutoConnection + AutoDefaults + Excel-Plugin. Below is the diagram that I made yesterday.

Intelligent Typology in connection modeling

In the project with 21,000 tons of steel, there were almost 40,000 joints. It was approximated that there were about 25,000 joints that should follow the standard connections. I did a comparison. By doing the connection one-by-one using loaded components as usual, as well as thoroughly checking the capacity as required, it took me about 5 minutes to complete a single joint. So it would’ve taken me about 2,080 hours to detail all 25,000 joints.

By using a complete automation process, it took me just about 5 seconds per joint. So for all 25,000 joints, it would take just about 34 hours! See the huge difference? Over 2,000 hours! Less headache and more accuracy (reduces human error factor).

How much does it worth? By shifting this extra time into doing another project, and say you bill a mere USD 50 per hour (and I know many companies that bill much more), it would bring you an extra income of about USD 100,000! No bad, right? šŸ˜‰

By the way, automated modeling (connection) above is just one of the automations in our system. We also have it in several other areas that will be discussed in other time.

The point I want to bring is working smart really pays off, compared to just working hard. Agreed?



IA BIMARC 2010: BIM, I’m coming

This coming Friday, July 23rd, 2010, the Director and I will be coming to a seminar on BIM in Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur. For those who are not familiar with BIM, it’s Building Information Modeling. Basically BIM is to facilitate the exchange of information between various software in 3d format within a project, so the information can be integrated for visualization and coordination.

As we can imagine, a commercial or offshore structure consists of many parts, like the structure itself (steel, concrete or both), piping, architectural parts, etc, and each one if it could be designed by various software. At the end we need an integration between the software to make sure everything is in place, no collision occurs, and for presentation purpose to the owner/general contractor, etc. This is when BIM plays its role. With structures come with more and more complex designs these days, BIM is becoming more and more important. Building a structure, only to find a collision with piping on site will cost so much to fix, not to mention it could affect the schedule, which in many projects is essential.

Personally, I have met a respectable person, Stuart Bull of England, he works as BIM Coordinator in Australia. He travels around the world to orchestrate many prominent projects. I would say he’s one of my role model to follow šŸ™‚

So with this IA BIMARC 2010, I expect we would be able to learn and getting more exposure to BIM, as Tekla is one of a leading software in BIM. We want to venture in BIM. The potential is very much there. In fact, BIM is already in need years ago when software (instead of manual hand) starts to hold key in building projects. It’s just the industry itself is yet to realize there’s such technology nowadays. Especially in Asian market, we are lag behind.

For those who have a chance to come to the seminar, it’s highly recommended. BIM experts will come and be the speakers, among others are Ungku Ibrahim of Tekla Malaysia, as well as representation from Bentley (Microstation’s producer).

To those who will attend, send me a message and see you there!


Taken from Tekla website:

IA BIMARC 2010 is the event to present all recent trends, issues, challenges and technologies in BIM processes.Ā  It will address architects and engineers on the integration aspects of BIM design capabilities of the process and regulatory aspects in the region, enhancing the understanding of practitioners with the help of focused presentations by global manufacturers and users.

Ungku Ibrahim, Director of Tekla Malaysia Bhd will be speaking in this event.Ā  Meet all the experts in BIM in person!

The ad

Top Ryde Shopping Centre Southern Pedestrian Bridge

My latest project is a bridge in Top Ryde City, Sydney, Australia. Its 40m span across the busy Devlin Street is to ease the traffic flow around the precinct. It is also for an alternative access to the new Top Ryde Shopping Centre that was just opened for public on November 5th, 2009. It is now almost completely erected, leaving the 2 signage frames to be erected.

I must say that this was the most challenging project that I ever handled directly. The main chords were made in curves, and the ā€œskeletonsā€ (we called them lacings) were made in segmented curves. The beauty of this design is if we look at the bridge, itā€™s like the chords are twisted to form a helix shape.

The structure itself can be divided into 4 major parts, the main bridge, walkways, lift and stairs. The main challenge other than the nature of its geometry was the Engineer wanted every major part mostly being shop welded. So the team ended up detailed all those major parts only in 9 assemblies! Main bridge (1 assembly), belly frames (2), bridge-to-shops interface (1), external walkway (1), lift (1) and stairs (3).

It was obvious that it’s impossible, eg. detailing the main bridge (complete with the walkway inside) just in 1 assembly. It would be too crowded, full of details, many sheetsĀ and not to mention how long the BOM would be. So it was decided to use “sub-assembly” technique. For those who are not familiar with this, sub-assembly technique is to break down a complicated assembly into less complicated assemblies. In many cases, these less complicated assemblies could be separated again into simpler assemblies, and so on. So we will have a super assembly, and many sub-assemblies and many sub-sub-assemblies. Assemblies in an assembly. In this project, if the main bridge as a super assembly was a level-1 assembly, the “deepest” sub-assemblies were at level-5.

So it took a careful planning to decide an assembly at which level,Ā to ensureĀ it would be in line with the fabrication process later. The concept is pretty much the same as a supporting assembly should be in higher level than its supported assemblies. Maybe I should write about this later.

Anyway, following is some photos of the bridge that were taken by the Engineers. Oh, I just love this baby.

During fabrication

One of the belly assemblies in final touch

The main bridge, 40 m long, was transported in one piece. Pretty amazing, considering it passed through city roads

The main bridge was being erected at night

The walkway, viewed from East side. Still naked, no roof, no concrete decks yet

The West end of bridge, viewed from North

Aerial view, taken after the main bridge has been placed on site. The Top Ryde Shopping Centre at East end of the bridge was being constructed then

The bridge and traffic viewed from South. The external walkway has been erected and connected to the lift

The bridge in full span viewed from North in the middle of traffic at Devlin St

Belly frames viewed from below. Aren't they beautiful? šŸ™‚

The glass lift with its canopy. You can see its rod bracing, tightened with clevises to ensure the "clean" view

Inside the bridge. It gives a warm feeling. The frames at the outside makes you feel being protected. Comfy, isn't it?

The Northern Distric Times (NDT), a local newspaper once wrote about this bridge on November and said “it would symbolise the vibrant and progressive comunity of Ryde”.Ā And it will be named “Rita” after their first Mayor’s daughter. Anyway, I’m glad to be involved in this project. And I believe the folks in city of Ryde will be proud to have this beautifully designed bridge in their community. Next time I go to Sydney, surely I would visit her.

Southern Pedestrian Bridge, Top Ryde Shopping Centre
Owner: Beville Group
Architect: Bovis Lend Lease Pty Ltd
Structural Engineer: Arup Pty Ltd
Steel Fabricator: S&L Steel Fabrications Pty Ltd
Steel Detailer: Seacad Services Sdn Bhd

Steel Detailing team
Team Leader: MC Nugraha
Detailer: Suhaimi Hasan
Detailer: Nungki Martanto Adi
Detailer: Azhar Ibrahim
Checker: Youshij Yousefzadeh

Job opportunities overseas

Here are job opportunities that I know recently.

1. Location: Malaysia
We are currently seeking applications from qualified candidates to join our team in Johor Bahru.
Structural Steel Detailer / Checker

* To detail/check Structural steel shop and erection drawings using X-Steel.
* Have minimum five years experience and must have experience with X-Steel & AutoCAD.

Those who are interested, please contact Lisa, liuleesia(at)

2. Philippines
From KIMMEL & ASSOCIATES, it is informed that there is a need of Detailing Manager in Philippines. Those who are interested, please contact Damon Towe, dtowe(at)
Steel Division
Phone: (828)251-9900, Ext.126
Fax: (828)251-9955

Please mention in case you want to apply for the above jobs.
Wish you luck, guys.



Damon Towe



Steel Division


Phone: (828)251-9900, Ext.126

Fax: (828)251-9955

Tekla Structures 15.0 Launching: Date set

Akhirnya, undangan yang ditunggu-tunggu itu pun sampai juga. Dalam email yang dikirim oleh Ari Nassi sendiri (Managing Director of Tekla Malaysia) tsb, Tekla mengundang untuk menghadiri Tekla Structures 15.0 Launching pada tanggal 21 April 2009 di Technology Park, Bukit Jalil, Selangor, Malaysia.

Banyak yang tidak sabar (termasuk saya) untuk men-test drive feature-feature baru di Tekla Structures 15.0. Salah satu pengembangan yang ditunggu-tunggu adalah kompatibilitas Tekla Structures dengan arsitektur Operations System (OS) berbasis teknologi 64 bit, yaitu Microsoft Windows Vista 64 bit. Salah satu kelebihan dengan mengakomodasi teknologi 64 bit adalah tidak terbatasnya besaran memory yang dapat digunakan. Walau sebagian orang berpendapat secara praktek kapasitas memory yang dapat digunakan secara optimum adalah 8 Gb. Namun tetap saja ini adalah 2 kali lipat dari kapasitas maksimum memory saat ini. Sebelumnya, dengan hanya mengakomodasi teknologi 32 bit (Windows XP), besarnya memory yang dapat digunakan adalah maksimum 4 Gb. Artinya, Tekla Structures yang secara umum memang haus akan memory, nanti akan bisa berjalan dengan lebih leluasa, lebih cepat. Setidaknya inilah yang diharapkan.

Sementara itu, mari cari-cari bocoran tentang feature-feature baru Tekla Structures 15.0 sebelum Launching, syukur-syukur bisa test drive duluan, jadi nanti nggak bengong-bengong amat.. hehehe

Oh, hampir lupa… acara yang dimulai jam 9 pagi itu akan diakhiri pada jam 5 petang, dengan acara “Bowling”. Hmmm.. mudah-mudahan Tekla tidak salah tulis šŸ™‚


Author DetailingTheWorld: Santo

Hari ini DetailingTheWorld mempunyai tambahan seorang Author lagi, yaitu Wahono Hadi Susanto, atau lebih dikenal dengan “Santo”. Selain memiliki pengalaman yangĀ luas dalam bidang steel detailing sendiri, beliau punya kelebihan dalam pengembangan program yang berbasis .NET (baca: dot net), untuk bisa menjadi program tambahan (macro) dalam Tekla Structures, maupun yang di design untuk jalan beriringan (stand alone) dengan Tekla Structures.Ā 

Kelebihan dalam bidang .NET inilah yang membuat saya “melamar” beliau untuk bergabung di DetailingTheWorld, supaya kita bisa saling belajar lebih banyak dalam hal ini. Alhamdulillah, beliau bersedia menjadi salah satu Author di DetailingTheWorld.

Saya sendiri melihat program tambahan berbasis .NET ini sejalan dengan waktu akan menjadi alternatif penting untuk menjadi alat (tool) yang membuat Tekla Structures bisa lebih powerful. Salah satu contohnya adalah aplikasi “Radial Grid” yang ditanya oleh Tayosi.

Untuk lebih jelasnya, kita tunggu saja diskusi dari rekan kita yang saat ini bekerja di salah satu steel detailing consultant di Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia ini.


2009: Tough year still

Yah, begitulah kira-kira..

Setidaknya itu yang dialami beberapa rekan lain. Setelah gelombang pemutusan kontrak yang terjadi diĀ beberapa perusahaanĀ (lihat post 2009 tough year), beberapa rekan yang lain akhirnya juga terkena imbas perekonomian saat ini. Mereka adalah orang-orang yang dipertahankan oleh perusahaannya sampai saat ini. Tapi karena memang dasarnya proyek sedang seret, akhirnya mereka terkena pemotongan gaji… phew…

Trus nerima? Dalam kondisi seperti ini, sepertinya sih kebijakan itu “bisa dimengerti”, walau belum tentu bisa diterima. Trus gimana? Ya menurut saya seperti biasa ketika menghadapi kebijakan perusahaan yang tidak bisa dinegosiasi. Terima saja, tetap kerja sebaik mungkin, dan rencanakan apa kira-kira yang jadi kompensasinya jika nanti ekonomi sudah membaik.. hehehe…

Kalau tetap tidak terima? Anda harus punya dasar kenapa anda tidak terima akan hal ini. Pertanyaannya, jika anda memilih resign dan kerja sendiri, apa hasilnya akan sebaik yang anda terima sekarang? Atau jika anda memilih pindah ke perusahaan lain, apa ada perusahaan yang bakal menerima anda dengan paket gaji dan benefit (minimal) sebaik yang anda terima sekarang? Jika jawabannya adalah ya, maka memang sebaiknya anda wiraswasta ataupun pindah ke perusahaan lain saja. Mudah kan?

Namun jika jawabannya adalah tidak, maka baiknya berpikir positif saja, daripadaĀ “marah tidak beralasan” yang ujungnya justru menurunkan performa anda. Hal ini justru berpotensi membuat anda menjadi “kandidat kuat” untuk didepak jika ada pengurangan karyawan lagi.

Jadi, tetap semangat!