Lachmi Khemlani of AECBytes just published a review on SCIA Engineer. She is the founder and editor of AECbytes and has a Ph.D. in Architecture from UC Berkeley, specializing in intelligent building modeling, and consults and writes on AEC technology.
SCIA Engineer is a structural design tool that includes both sophisticated modeling and advanced analysis capabilities in one application, in contrast to other structural tools that only do either modeling or analysis.
Modern and sophisticated modeling interface that allows for fast and easy modeling; includes ability to easily model as well a s analyze complex freeform geometry; supports both steel and concrete design along with other materials such as timber and membrane; includes a wide range of analysis capabilities along with optimization and auto-design; is flexible enough to be applied to a diverse range of structures; includes bidirectional links with leading structural BIM and analysis tools as well as IFC support for participating in a multi-tool, multi-disciplinary workflow; includes clash detection capabilities for model coordination; allows good quality renderings to be created directly from the application.
2D documentation capabilities are not as comprehensive as CAD or structural BIM applications; limited detailing and shop drawing capabilities for fabrication; slowdown in performance for large models as 64 bit memory and multi-processing are currently limited to analysis tasks only.