Improvements in Open Checks in SCIA Engineer 15



After a successful launch of the Open Checks functionality in version 14 of SCIA Engineer, SCIA extends the Open Platform towards the design of plate elements, foundations, and connections (between 1D members or between a 1D member and a plate, e.g., punching). Furthermore, this release features various usability improvements in Open Checks.

Open Checks Platform

Via the Open Platform, users can extend SCIA Engineer with custom calculations and new design checks. User-defined checks run analogously to in-house solutions - they are called via the tree service, their results are plotted on the structure in the 3D window and listed in tables in the Preview window; calculation reports are added to the service tree in the Engineering Report.

Engineers who perform structural analysis and design checks in SCIA Engineer will not go out of their way when filling in for a missing check. All they need to do is (1) type the formulas and conditions that describe the engineering problem, and (2) format the output to a layout of their liking.

New checks are defined in the engineering sheet platform Design Forms. The versatile interface between SCIA Engineer and Design Forms guides the user through a simple, semi-automated linking process, while the results of the checks are displayed on the 3D structure and a report is send to the project documentation in Engineering Report.

The Open Checks Platform is compatible with the most powerful features of SCIA Engineer - the 3D graphical environment and interactive modelling, adaptive FE meshing, different types of advanced analysis, table input and results, etc. The user-defined checks access the input data and analysis results that are stored in the 3D CAE model.

Checks for 2D and 0D elements

  • 2D Open Checks allow for custom calculations performed on 2D members such as plates and shells. The functionality is analogous to its 1D counterpart with the additional contour plots for fast evaluation of results in and around mesh nodes.
  • 0D Open Checks are intended for verification of e.g., steel connections, foundations, punching in concrete plates. While creating and later using the new check, the user can access and reference data from adjacent members that connect to the 0D joint.

Usability improvements

  • Linked checks may now be opened in the script editor directly from within SCIA Engineer, via a button in the Check Manager. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to open Design Forms and search for a file path when editing a check.
  • In a standard run, the Open Check communicates with Design Forms via TCP/IP communication; this speeds up the calculation immensely. The user may now select to run a check using model data files. This, although being slower, allows the user to review all variables and values that are being transferred between the two applications (SCIA Engineer and Design Forms), i.e.,it is no longer necessary to use application switches during debugging.
  • Member data defaults can now be saved from the menu in SCIA Engineer.


A set of worked out examples are provided upon installation. These examples aim to demonstrate the use of Open Checks in a number of engineering problems, and are editable in Design Forms. The existing algorithms may be freely extended or formatted by the user.

  • "EN 1992 Reinforcement design of a rectangular section" -- the example Open Check calculates the necessary reinforcement in a rectangular-section concrete beam according to EN 1992-1-1.
  • "EN 1993 Buckling check" -- the example checks the capacity of steel beams according to the Eurocode, under the action of normal force.
  • "Elastic Stresses Slabs" -- this simple example verifies the Von Mises yield criterion on slabs and shells, taking into account the values of different stress components at the top and bottom surface of a 2D element.
  • "Header Plate Connection" - this extended example performs all necessary checks on a pinned connection with a header plate. Based on the examples given in "ECCS, No 126, European Recommendations for the Design of Simple Joints in Steel Structures."

Other improvements

  • It is now possible to use all layouts defined in Design Forms as an output in SCIA Engineer and, in particular, in Engineering Report. This allows the user to report his checks in different levels of detail (suitable for different purposes). For example, one can create a detailed, normal, and summary output in Design Forms, and customise these to his needs; meanwhile, a tabulated, 'brief' output will be created automatically in SCIA Engineer containing designated 'result variables'.

  • a better error/warning/note message system improves user experience.

In-house implementations based on the Open Platform

  • Concrete design of 1D elements according to the EN 1992-1-1 standard;
  • Steel design according to the Brazilian standard NBR 8800;
  • Composite checks according to the EN 1994-1-1 standard;
  • Composite checks according to the AISC 360-10 standard;


The Open Checks Platform delivers capabilities to move beyond traditional 3D structural analysis; it creates an integrated design workflow, where FEM-based computing is seamlessly incorporated in specialised engineering calculations. Unique features include:

  • WYSIWYG rendering of formulas, customizable numerical and graphical output.
  • ability to generate dynamic 2D drawings based on the outcome of design checks - drawn elements assume values and dimensions obtained after design and optimisation.
  • intellectual property protection - license codes may be generated to protect a design check or sets of design checks.

The benefits are transparency, insight into the used calculation methods, customizable design routines, simplified sharing and collaboration between specialists.