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Simply put, SCIA Engineer goes further than traditional structural analysis software.

Thanks to its intuitive and productive environment and its wide applicability, it will provide you several benefits:
  • Fast and efficient modelling
  • Advanced analysis
  • Multi-material design
  • Coordinated documentation and reporting
  • Interoperability and collaboration

Discover more about selected highlights of SCIA Engineer features below.

Structural models versus analytical models

Traditional analytical models do not contain the level of information provided by structural models.

SCIA Engineer uses the latter, members contain comprehensive levels of information which means the design process can be more automated, provides an as-built style of rendering for presentation and makes editing simple.

One model for analysis, design, documentation and detailing

SCIA Engineer gives the user the advantage of using one program for the modelling of civil and structural engineering projects.

This means there is no need to supplement SCIA Engineer with other software or pass results from one program to another to complete a design project.

Freehand modelling

No need for grids, just model the project freehand using CAD and BIM–like authoring tools such as snaps, see below:

Geometry manipulations



This simple approach reduces learning time and allows greater modelling flexibility, SCIA Engineer is not just for the design of multi-storey buildings.

Ideal for BIM projects

Using one model for projects will streamline BIM integration because there is only one model to exchange.

This makes BIM interoperability seamless, faster and more efficient than trying to combine several models into one.

Grids & storeys

GridSCIA Engineer comes with a wide range of 2D and 3D grids: rectangular, cylindrical, spherical and arbitrary. Any number of grids can be used in the project, activated or deactivated, and freely rotated.

In the case of multi-storey buildings, storeys will enable you to better navigate your model, quickly switch from one floor to another and to visualise results per floor.



Table Input

Table InputSometimes it is better to generate models by simply typing in the coordinates and connectivity. That is what Table Input allows. Some of the included features are :

Input SCIA Engineer’s structural elements, loads and supports

Copy and paste data from Excel

Link between table input and the on screen model making member and node selections easily identifiable




Powerful filtering & selection tools

FilteringAll structural objects and additional data can be easily accessed via a number of filtering and selection tools, removing the dependency on navigation within the 3D model itself.
Filtering is done by selecting a single item. All other items in the model that share a similar property are then selected .

3D wind generator

3d WindSCIA Engineer will automatically generate and apply 3-dimensional wind loads to your entire structure according to the provisions found in the Eurocode 1 and ASCE 7-05/7-10.  For the ASCE, both the directional (all heights) and envelope (low rise) methods are supported for automatic generation of load cases (including torsional cases) on enclosed and partially enclosed structures.

Furthermore, SCIA Engineer’s graphical interface allows users to easily review and verify the pressure coefficients and surface loads being applied to various locations of the structure.



Free loads

Free Loads PoolFree loading allows users to create loads which are defined independently of the structure’s geometry or meshing, creating flexibility in a variety of load applications.

The range of uses for free loads includes: equipment load on slabs that will be perfectly mapped to the underlying mesh, hydrostatic loads on complex shells and user defined wind pressure.



Straightforward load application

SCIA Engineer lets you model all standard load types: concentrated and distributed forces, moments, support settlements and thermal loads visually as objects. These load objects can then be moved or copied to other members or other load cases while also easily being filtered and modified through the property window just like any other data in SCIA Engineer.


Practical load panels

Load panels in SCIA Engineer are used for the specific task of distributing applied loads to the structural elements of the model. In most applications, load panels represent façades or other non-bearing structural elements. SCIA Engineer utilises these elements to distribute loads using 1-way or 2-way action before analysis, allowing for a reduction in model size, improvement in calculation speed and an increased transparency in applied loads and results.

Meshing with refinements

meshalonglinesSCIA Engineer’s meshing will make sure that the transitions between complex surfaces or various mesh sizes is always smooth, guaranteeing quality results from the finite element analysis. Features include:

* Automatic generation of finite element mesh based on user defined global mesh settings that is consistent and error-free
* Local mesh refinements at specific locations including; around nodes, along lines or edges and on an entire surface
* Option to apply automatic mesh refinement, removes the guess work of finding the optimal mesh and gives feedback on the quality of the current mesh as well as the proposed refinement.

For more information on the automatic mesh refinement, visit the article posted on


High performance FEA solver

solverFull support for 64-bit processors and multiple cores, SCIA Engineer’s finite element solver is one of the fastest around.

Complex structures or high-rise buildings that have large non-linear or dynamic calculations will not keep you waiting for long; allowing you to run more iterations of your design in less time.




seismicity_irsIn addition to standard eigenmode analysis to determine the eigen frequencies and mode shapes, SCIA Engineer allows you to run all standard types of dynamic analysis and then some: earthquake analysis through modal superposition, harmonic (sinus) loads, Von Karman wind on tubes and full time-history analysis with definition of time functions for loading.

Additionally, the Improved Reduced System (IRS) method vastly reduces the number of eigen modes that need to be considered for an earthquake analysis, thereby eliminating local modes and increasing the overall speed and accuracy of the calculation.



Construction stages

Construction stages in SCIA Engineer allow users to understand the time dependant behavior of a structure:

* Progressive construction of cross-sections.
* Gradual application of loads and prestressing.
* Changes of boundary conditions.
* Removal of temporary structural elements.
* Use of deformed shape from previous stage using non-linear functionality.

In addition, the E-modulus of materials can follow a user-defined time function, to take into account creep or other long term effect.


Larger displacements

largedisplacementsSCIA Engineer allows for 2nd & 3rd order analysis to be executed on any structure type with any combination of 1D & 2D members. These analyses take into account deformations of the structure (P-δ and P-Δ effects) with or without imperfections assigned to members. Additional features include:

* Various iteration methods (Timoshenko, Newton-Raphson, Picard) and boundary conditions (tension only, initial stress, limit force and gap)
* Direct analysis method or equivalent notional loads through the use of global and local imperfections
* True cable analysis with the ability to define as straight or slack (including the definition of either self-weight or other load used to define cable slack)



Material non-linearities

2dsteelmaterialplasticity_baseplateVarious types of material non-linearities can be included in the analysis:

* Input of non-linear hinges and springs by the defining of functions, both on linear elements and on surfaces (edge hinges)
* Nonlinear material behavior (plasticity) can be employed through the use of plastic hinges on 1D members or by using general material plasticity for 2D members
* Concrete non-linearity can be considered through a physical non-linear analysis taking into account redistribution due to precise behavior laws of concrete and reinforcement.

3D displacements & stresses

3ddisplacementsDeformations and stresses play a vital role in determining whether or not a structure was modelled properly and behaves as expected.

As a result, SCIA Engineer provides extremely precise visualisation of these results, on the initial or the deformed shape, displaying results on each fibre of a 1D cross section and on both faces of a surface thereby giving the user an in depth look into the performance of the structure.


Storey results

storey_resultsAfter running a lateral load analysis (wind, earthquake, etc) results can be summarised per storey to include:

Summary storey results: centre of mass, displacements, accelerations, interstorey drift, storey forces
Detailed storey results: internal and resultant forces on individual load bearing elements (columns and walls)


Flexible graphical results

Since there is not a standard way to display results that is optimal for all situations, SCIA Engineer gives users unmatched flexibility in the display of results.

Users can utilise results with different types of colouring, flexible diagrams, filtering/selection tools and adaptable text labels/fonts in order to display an output that is unique to the needs of the project.


Results Tables

tableresultsThe ability to see graphic output is beneficial but sometimes engineers need to review data in a table. Result types can be viewed in the table results tool complete with:
* Customisable columns
* Sorting and filtering of table values
* In-cell colour bars that give visual feedback on where min and max values are located
* Support for direct selection and copy-paste to Excel

ecconcretesdfgraphic2Transparent reinforced concrete design

Concrete member design in SCIA Engineer combines the best of an integrated FEA solution and straightforward hand calculations in order to offer a high level of productivity without the need to worry about transferring data to other external software.

Thanks to the SCIA Design Forms technology, reinforced concrete design of columns and beams is:

Transparent: all code formulas are available in the report, showing original mathematical notation, intermediate numerical values and final results
Complete: all cross-section shapes and internal force situations are supported; including normal force, bi-axial bending, bi-axial shear and torsion
Fast: supporting all available cores for parallel processing

Structural steel design

scia-engineer-steel-hallPerform section design of steel members according to EN1993 and AISC 360-10 as well as a wide range of legacy codes. Member design includes Autodesign of a very wide range of profile library cross sections as well as built-up or arbitrary profiles.

Additionally, Open Web Steel Joist design is supported using the Steel Joist Institutes new virtual joist methodology, allowing engineers to incorporate member stiffness in the overall building model.

All necessary effects are also considered: section resistance to normal forces, bending, shear, buckling, torsional buckling, lateral-torsional buckling, local buckling, etc. Additionally, buckling lengths are automatically determined and can be reviewed graphically and numerically.


Composite beam design

3-compositeFully integrated technique utilising a true multi-model staged approach allowing for the execution of construction and composite stage analysis and design without the need for modifications to the model. Features include:

* Manufacturer libraries for steel studs and decking
* Design and optimisation of steel profiles and studs per Eurocode 4 and AISC 360-10 (LRFD & ASD)
* Detailing checks for concrete slab, steel deck and studs
* Serviceability checks (with respect to camber) for both construction and composite stages
* Fully transparent output with rendered formulas and all calculation steps


Steel connections

7-connections_1SCIA Engineer provides users with the ability to model steel connections within the 3D model. Connections can be defined as either rigid, pinned or diagonal with plates, bolts, stiffeners, haunches and welds defined. Once a connection is fully modelled its stiffness can be determined and then used as a hinge type in the building model. Additionally, with the implementation of SCIA Design Forms users can apply specific connection types to FEA nodes to execute a full limit state design with dynamic graphics and fully transparent output.

Timber, aluminium & scaffolding

SCIA Engineer’s unparalleled support of the Eurocodes also includes:

Timber (EN1995): section and stability checks of timber beams. Includes special checks for creep, variable height and curved elements.
Aluminium (EN1999): standard and custom aluminium profiles can be defined and checked. Includes the calculation of effective properties and the influence of heat affected zones.
Scaffolding checks according to EN 12810 and EN 12811: tube & fitting or system scaffolds are fully supported.

Prestressing & post-tensioning

pttendonlossesFully integrated solution for modelling, analysing, designing and reporting prestressed and post-tensioned 1D and 2D members. SCIA Engineer allows users to complete both linear and time dependent analysis in order to accurately achieve results over the life of the structure. Additionally, design checks according to EN 1992-1-1 & EN 1992-2 are included while design verification for ACI 318-14 is currently in development.






Cold-formed steel

scia-engineer-cold-formed-steelSCIA Engineer performs the analysis and design of structures containing cold-formed steel elements; the thin-walled members can be assigned both standard and elaborate (user-defined) cross-section shapes.

Supported design functionality:

* Derivation of effective shape for arbitrary members taking into account local buckling and distortional buckling of internal and edge stiffeners.
* Overall design includes allowances for shift of neutral axis, use of average yield strength and steel core thickness.
* Advanced design verification includes web crippling and shear under local transverse forces, also in the case of sections with stiffened webs
* Specialised Purlin design includes the derivation of free flange geometry, advanced loading determination, etc.
* SCIA supports both the European standard EN 1993-1-3 and North American Specification AISI S100

Read a benchmark study by John Hopkins University here

Engineering report

engreportThe engineering report is an integrated documentation platform that allows users to create detailed calculation reports with a table of contents, model input, loading, analysis and design results as well as model views and graphics. Items added to the report are available in the navigator, allowing for simple user modification. Additionally, since the report is dynamically linked to the model, all items will regenerate automatically to reflect recent changes.


Report templates

Report TemplatesTemplates allow users to save custom report layouts (including all results and graphics settings) in order to accelerate the creation of everyday reports.




3D PDF support

Exporting from the engineering report to Word, Excel or PDF (including 3D PDF) makes finalising and sharing reports straightforward.




General arrangement drawings

gadrawingsAutomatic creation of plan and section views of the structure according to predefined building stories and line grid planes.
Views and sections can be added to customisable layout pages which can include labels, dimensions, additional graphical model views and table results.
All drawings are directly linked to the model and therefore will automatically update after any model modifications.
Drawings can be exported to PDF or other image based file types, while also being saved as DWG, DXF or VRML files for use in other BIM/CAD tools.

Certified IFC 2×3 support

ifcimageAs a co-founder of the Open BIM Program, SCIA Engineer was the only structural analysis software to implement import and export support for the IFC 2×3 format. Because of this, it is possible to exchange data utilising IFC (Industry Foundation Class) files with over 150 different BIM offering tools, making the OpenBIM workflow the most robust and flexible interoperability solution on the market.

More info


BIM Toolbox

bimtoolboxSCIA Engineer includes a set of practical tools to support the reference-model based workflow of Open BIM:

TrueAnalysis: both the structural (reference) and the analytical models are handled
Member recogniser: to transform an imported solid into a 1D or 2D equivalent analytical object
Alignment: to connect and align members and surfaces properly at the joints/intersections
Revision management: to compare a new version of an imported IFC file with the current project data

Thanks to these tools, a workflow based on IFC becomes not only possible, but practical as well.


Revit Link

interoperability-workflow-scia-revit-linkSCIA Engineer is the perfect complement to anyone working with Revit. The bi-directional link between Revit and SCIA Engineer means that you can start a project in either package and a change made in one will update the other. The link supports:

All types of geometry and materials: slabs, floors, walls, shells, beams, columns and bracing in a variety of materials (steel, concrete, timber) either straight or curved.
Analytical elements: supports, hinges, loads and load combinations
Results back into Revit: Deflections, stresses and beam end reactions
Change management: All changes are tracked and highlighted so you can easily see the edits coming in from the other program


Interoperability with Rhino 3D & Grasshopper

grasshopperandrhino3dAn emerging workflow particularly among high end designers, is utilising Rhino and Grasshopper to create complex geometry. There are a number of ways that this data can easily be plugged into SCIA Engineer.

Complex 3D geometries can be imported into SCIA Engineer where they can be converted into analytical members, loaded, analysed and designed.

Text based output from Rhino can be pasted into SCIA’s tables for automatic model generation. This can be be made more robust with the use of XML.

There are a number of Grasshopper plug-ins that allow you to connect directly to SCIA Engineer, as well as complete workflows for linking Grasshopper, SCIA Engineer and Revit through Dynamo. For more information on these emerging workflows contact us.


Tekla interoperability

teklatosciaSCIA and Tekla are both part of buildingSMART alliance’s Open BIM initiative and promote IFC as the preferable format for data exchange of 3D structural models.  In addition SCIA Engineer offers a bi-directional link that makes it easy to exchange steel models.

Steel structures and components can be easily modelled in SCIA Engineer, analysed and optimised, then sent to Tekla for final documentation and detailing. Reversely, models created in Tekla can be pushed to SCIA where the design can be optimised and then pushed back to Tekla for final documentation.






Allplan structural model link

SCIA Engineer links to AllplanBased on the Open BIM workflow and with high-level IFC support of both Allplan Engineering and SCIA Engineer, models can be sent to and from both packages with ease. Reinforcement can be designed in SCIA Engineer to be further detailed in Allplan or modelled in Allplan to be verified in SCIA.

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