The latest version, Consteel 17 is officially out! In 2023, our main focus for Consteel development is improving usability. New features prioritize efficient model manipulation, easy modification, and clear information presentation across Consteel, Descript, and our cloud-based platform, Steelspace. In this comprehensive video, we walk you through a step-by-step workflow guide, demonstrating how to leverage Consteel 17 to its full potential.

If you would like to delve deeper into the new features, check out our detailed blog post for an in-depth exploration of Consteel 17’s capabilities.

When applying design rules in load combination filter, the most frequently used utilization type is Steel – Dominant results. What results are exactly considered by this option and what do corresponding limitations mean?


There are four ways to apply load combination filter: based on limit states and load cases, manually, and by rules. Unlike the other three methods, filter by rules is only possible based on analysis and/or design results.

The most effective way to reduce the number of load combinations is definitely the use of design rules.

With design rules, load combinations can be selected based on utility ratios. Utilizations are available from several design checks, including dominant results and detailed verifications for steel elements, such as general elastic cross-section check, pure resistances, interactions, and global stability.

Design rule dialog in Consteel 16

The meaning of the dominant check

The dominant check is not always the check which gives the maximal ratio but the one with the maximum RELEVANT ratio. Typical example: if plastic interaction formulas are valid, those results will be dominant over general elastic cross-section check results, although the latter are higher.

Steel – Dominant results

Steel – Dominant results option contains the utility ratio of the dominant check at every finite element node, in all load combinations. Meaning that there are as many utilization values as the number of load combinations calculated, in every FE node.

It is also important to understand the difference between the utilizations of Maximum of dominant results and Steel -Dominant results. Maximum of dominant results option contains the dominant utility ratio of the dominant load combination at every node, like an envelope of Steel-Dominant results. Meaning there is only one utilization value in every FE node. Also, it is the same as the dominant result table on Global checks tab.

When a rule is applied, the utilizations of the chosen utilization type are compared against the limitation. The load combinations which give the results that correspond to the limitation, are selected by the rule. Every FE node of the selected model portion is examined.

Limitations in case of Steel – Dominant results

Let’s see an example of a simple 2D frame for better explanation. Right-side beam is in the portion for which three design rules were applied. Five points are selected for representation but of course all the nodes of the portion are examined against the rules’ limitations.

2D frame example with the designated FE nodes

The utilizations of the five dedicated FE node in all 11 load combinations are shown on the below diagram. (To find all of these utilizations in the attached model, global checks must be calculated for the load combinations one-by-one.)


Consteel offers a range of load combination filtering options, which can be applied based on limit states, load cases, and analysis and design results. By applying different series of filters, designers can streamline their workflow and reduce calculation time.

Filtering options

Filtering is realized through the Load combination set definition window.

Filtering by limit states and by load cases are handled together with the checkboxes under the Limit states and Load cases buttons.

The 3-state checkboxes affect each other as they are not only used for selection but also for indication of the content. They can be manually set only to checked or unchecked. The middle state only appears when other filters are applied.

Filtering by limit states or load cases does not require any calculation results.

Filter by rules, on the other hand,is based on the actual analysis and/or design results. Different types of rules can be applied one by one or at the same time to select the desired load combinations.

When a rule is applied, all the load combinations that are selected on the Load combination set definition dialog- either with filtering by limit states/load cases or checked in manually- are examined at every position the rule indicates. Load combinations that meet the rule’s criteria are selected (remain checked in), while those that do not, become unchecked.

Interaction of the different filter types

Filtering by limit states, load cases, and rules can be used together, with rules being applied only to load combinations that are checked in and have the necessary calculation results.

Let’s see an example.

It is a simple 2D frame model, with 27 load combinations of various limit states generated. Analysis and design results are calculated for all load combinations.

If applying design rule to select only those load combinations which result dominant utilization over 50%,

4 load combinations will be selected (Load combination set 1):

But if ULS Accidental limit state is turned off before applying the same 50% filter,  

only one load combination is selected (see Load combination set 2).

Application of multiple rules

Applying multiple rules together results in the sum of the lists that would have been created separately.


In Consteel 16, we introduced the function of load combination filter. Filtering is possible based on the load combinations’ limit state, load cases, and corresponding analysis and design results. The goal is to create different sets for the different steps of the optimization and reduce calculation time while making sure that all the relevant load combinations are considered. Let’s see what a conscious design workflow looks like in practice!


It is a significant problem in almost all structural design projects that the standards define many possible load cases and combinations to evaluate. Although most of these load combinations are never relevant or provide decisive design situations, it is usually not evident which ones might be neglected safely, especially when considering, that different load combinations can be relevant for different parts of the structure, like primary or secondary structure, connections, etc. Accordingly, the optimization process is overloaded by a large amount of unnecessary calculations.

With the load combination filter function, a reduced list of load combinations aka a load combination set can be created and saved for the different steps of the optimization.

The optimal workflow for the filter may vary for the different purposes the sets are created for, but there is a recommended general process that can serve as the basis for all of them. First, run the simplest calculations and use the results for a rough selection which will already decrease the number of load combinations noticeably.  Then one can increase the complexity of the calculations and further reduce the list of combinations by using stricter filters. If needed, this step can be repeated. This iterative process allows us to avoid complex and time-consuming calculations for all the thousands of load combinations.

load combination amount with and without filtering

1 – all load combination, no filter;
2 – initial set with broad filter;
3 – working set with strict filter

Detailed process


The base of all optimization processes is a correctly built structural model. So, the first step is geometrical and structural modeling and load definition. It is advisable to run a first-order analysis for only one or two load cases and diagnostics to find possible modeling errors. Load combinations can be created after that. Every limit state that will be used during the whole design of the structure, should be defined. Consteel’s automatic load combination generation function is an efficient tool to do it.

Calculation and filter

On the Load combination set definition dialog, it is possible to create load combination sets by selecting the combinations based on their limit state and/or the load cases they contain. But usually, filtering on specific analysis or design results will likely be more effective in reducing the number of combinations. Using the above-described general workflow, the steps are as follows:


Consteel 14 is a powerful analysis and design software for structural engineers. Watch our video how to get started with Consteel.



The problem

Even if all of the load combination generation formulas of EN are implemented in Consteel for the automatic generation of combinations, standard formulas may not cover every necessary combination cases.

A quick fix

Of course in this case it is possible to define the missing combinations manually, but it is very likely, that the missing combinations are available, probably in a table form.

It is good to know, that Consteel is able to receive combination data, by the general Ctrl+C & Ctrl+V method. If you have the factors for load combinations stored in table form e.g. in Excel, just copy the data of the factors to the clipboard with Ctrl+C, and then Ctrl+V paste them into Consteels’s load combination table: