IDEA StatiCa tutorial – RFEM/RSTAB link

Welcome to IDEA StatiCa tutorial. By following it step-by-step, you will learn how to design and code-check a structural steel joint using IDEA StatiCa Connection.

Activate the link Use the link Update the project Known limitations

In this tutorial we will demonstrate how to use the link between RFEM/RSTAB and IDEA StatiCa Connection. Please note that you need to have the COM module installed in RFEM/RSTAB to create the BIM link with IDEA StatiCa.


1 How to activate the link

  • Install the latest version of IDEA StatiCa, get it in the Downloads.
  • Make sure you are using a supported version of RFEM – updates are published in the BIM section.

IDEA StatiCa automatically integrates the BIM link into your CAD/CAE software during its installation. You can check the status and activate more BIM links for later installed software in the BIM link installer.

Open IDEA StatiCa and navigate to the panel BIM and open the BIM link installer. A notification "Run as administrator" may appear, please confirm with the Yes button.


Select the software to integrate the IDEA StatiCa BIM link, click the Install button and check the Installed status.


2 How to use the link

First, we download the source file RFEM steel hall.rf5 and open it in RFEM/RSTAB. There we go to menu Add-on Modules then External Modules and run IDEA Connection.

The Code-check manager opens and by choosing a code we can select a joint in the RFEM/RSTAB model for the analysis in IDEA StatiCa.


Now we select a joint node and corresponding members in the model for analysis in IDEA StatiCa Connection.


The import wizard opens and the wire frame model is displayed, here we can change a bearing member or merge continuous members. We continue with button Next.


In the next window we can manage the load groups. We can see that Load cases are sorted in groups, according to those created in RFEM. Load combinations are transferred as separated load cases and are not combined with other combinations. We continue with button Next.


Here we can manage load combinations and load coefficients. The evaluation "ENVELOPE" in the Combination Properties multiplies the combinations from RFEM/RSTAB with factor "1". Combinations from RFEM import into IDEA StatiCa Steel Connection together with their description for a better recognition. We leave the default settings and click Next.


In Result Classes properties you can select combinations which you would like to check in IDEA StatiCa Connection. The combination "RC1" for ultimate limit state result class from the previous step is added automatically and includes all the load cases listed previously. Then we click Finish and IDEA StatiCa Connection opens.


Result combination "RC1" in RFEM has the same indication as in IDEA StatiCa Connection. You can check which load cases are involved in the result combination "RC1". In the table you can read the description of combinations which are imported as the most unfavorable for any part of the connection. The description corresponds to combinations in RFEM. The setting "ENVELOPE" is recommended for standard check of a connection. With this setting you can easily compare load values in RFEM and IDEA StatiCa Connection.


3 Design

Joint geometry and load effects have been imported, we can start designing the connections.


We will define a set of manufacturing operations to model connections between members. Lets right-click on Operation to add a new operation Cut.


In the next step we add another manufacturing operation End plate and modify its parameters.


Then we add another Cut operation and set its parameters for the appropriate member.


We finish the design by adding a Fin plate operation to connect the last member.


4 Check

We start the analysis by clicking Calculate in the ribbon. Analysis model is automatically generated, calculation is performed and we can see the Overall check displayed together with basic values of check results.


We go to the display tab Check and there we activate Strain check, Bolt forces, Mesh and Deformed and change the deformation scale in the ribbon to get a full picture of what is happening in the joint.


By default, we see the For extreme results envelope of all the load effects, so the most unfavorable results are displayed altogether. If we click on any item (e.g. the fin plate), it shows us which load effect is the most unfavorable for it in the ribbon.


We can also display and browse results for each load effect separately by changing the For extreme option to For current in the ribbon.


5 Report

At last we go to the tab Report. IDEA StatiCa offers fully customizable report to print out or save in editable format.

We have imported a joint from RFEM and designed and code-checked it according to Eurocode.


6 Synchronize models

Code-check manager is a BIM tool to export and synchronize connections from other programs. It is launched directly in the 3rd party applications via a command/icon.

Synchronize - IDEA StatiCa detects changes in already imported entities (changes in thickness, changes in cross-section, modification of properties of welds, bolts, etc.) and updates the project in IDEA StatiCa Connection.

Modify - IDEA StatiCa imports the whole joint again with modified topology (different number of members, new entities, etc.).

Calculate - Synchronize and calculate current item and provide a new set of results.

Calculate all - Synchronize and calculate all items and provide new set of results.


Kindly be aware that IDEA StatiCa syncs with a model of the 3rd party application, not the other way around. If we add operations in IDEA StatiCa and then use the options described above (Synchronize; Modify; Calculate; Calculate all), the additionally added operations will be deleted.


We save the project in IDEA StatiCa and close the application Connection. All joints exported from RFEM/RSTAB project to IDEA StatiCa are kept on the list inside RFEM/RSTAB.


If we modify the project in RFEM/RSTAB (e.g. change cross section of any member or add another loads) we can simply update the project in IDEA StatiCa without modeling it all again. Let’s change the cross section of one of the members.


Now we recalculate the project and open the Code-check manager again. There we select the joint, click Synchronize and repeat the export process.


We can skip the import wizard by clicking Connection Design.

IDEA StatiCa opens and we can see the updated geometry while the design and settings adjust to the new state.

We adjust the design, recalculate the joint code-check and save the project in IDEA StatiCa again and continue with exporting other joints.


7 Known limitations

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



connection, joint, Eurocode, code-check, RFEM, Dlubal, BIM link, import, integration, BIM link installer, update link, fin plate, display load effects, for extreme, for current, load combinations, cut, offset, end plate, joint update, export, Code-check manager, component-based finite element method, CBFEM


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IDEA StatiCa tutorial – How to combine Tekla Structures and SAP2000

IDEA StatiCa FAQ – Bolts are too close to plate edge or outside of the connected plate

IDEA StatiCa FAQ – Save time by copying manufacturing operations

IDEA StatiCa FAQ – Distance between plates when using Bolt or Contact