The most common challenges when designing steel to concrete connections

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There's no denying that steel to concrete connection detailing can be tricky. Traditionally, multiple methods are needed to design the different elements in a single connection, which delays the process and limits productivity.

In this blog, we're going to explore the findings of a 2019 survey conducted in association with New Civil Engineer into connections and fixings. We spoke to 100 practising Civil Engineers to find out how they design steel to concrete connections and the challenges they face.

So, what are the most common challenges and how do we solve them?

1. Disrupted Workflow

Disrupted workflow is seen as a constant challenge, as only 6% said they used a single software to design the connection. For example, when it came to how the different elements – the anchor, baseplate, welds and stiffeners – were designed, almost 60% of people said they rely on a combination of different software types, hand calculations and technical guidelines and approvals.

One respondent to the survey highlighted that “the lack of a single comprehensive piece of software to cover the design of connections in general (and steel to concrete in particular) makes the whole process complicated.”

2. The speed of design work

Using various software types is also extremely time-consuming. Although 45% of people said designing the connection took less than 2 hours, 33% of people said it took them 2-4 hours. More worryingly, 11% said it took between 4-8 hours and 10% said it took over 8 hours. Carrying out various design checks - either manually or with different software - requires a lot of effort.

Another respondent emphasised: “We need a design software to speed up design work.” This is reiterated by our Hilti Product Manager for Technical Software, Carlos Taborda, who says that the lack of integrated software was holding Engineers back.

Carlos explains: “Using lots of methods to split up the connection means that there isn't one reliable source to do the calculations. The change from one source to another affects their productivity.”

3. Optimisation of the connection

Let’s not forget about the overall optimisation of the connection, which can be negatively impacted due to a lack of integration. Around 30% specifically said optimisation was ‘difficult and time-consuming with little time for iterations.’ Whilst another 43% said that optimisation and modelling connections with stiffeners and welds in finite element analysis took too much time, and the baseplate rigidity was difficult to check.

There is clearly a problem here, so much so that a whopping 79% of respondents said they would like an integrated design software - which is why we've developed PROFIS Engineering.

The Solution: PROFIS Engineering

PROFIS Engineering goes beyond anchor design. It handles calculations and analysis of the different elements of a steel to concrete connection (including base material, steel plate, anchors, weld and stiffeners) with easy iteration and thorough documentation - all from one cloud-based tool.

PROFIS allows the design of steel to concrete connections as a whole, with in-built checks for steel baseplate rigidity – addressing the issues in the survey.


Want to find out more? Visit our PROFIS Engineering page below or start your free trial today!