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kozac

structural software

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Hey guys. So I work for a dynosaur and we don't use computer software for analysis/design. I figured its time for me to learn the current standards. What is the mainstream/standard software being used in the industry right now?

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I can only say some of what I use, and a lot of them have free demo versions that you can download and try the examples or tutorials. RISA-3D. Ram Structural System. RetainPro. Enercalc. Structure Point (spSlab and spColumn). Adapt PT. RisaFoot. Staad.Pro

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Thanks.... nothing is easy in this life huh? I was hoping for a maximum of 3 different ones, heh.

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Well, if you are doing everything by hand now, then enercalc will be a major boost to productivity. Ideal for design of components... beams, footings, joists, etc. Can handle almost any component in steel, wood, masonry etc. Also does seismic per IBC/ ASCE They really do not do a great job of marketing, though, so you will not see much of them in industry mags, etc. Though they have been around since the 80's when it was on a lotus 1,2,3 platform. Enercalc has a 2D frame analysis aspect that is good for designing steel frames and trusses too.

For large or multi story structures you may want to use one of the 3d analysis programs to handle the multiple loads and load combinations, etc. But I have been in business for 3 years now and the only software I have used is Enercalc. There is a sister program called retainpro that does some extra configurations of retaining walls that enercalc does not handle.

For lateral loadings and analysis I use a fairly simple spreadsheet system I created.

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You could get a little help by using http://www.onlinestructuraldesign.com. It's a new site for structural design calculations, fairly new concept: web-based software, no installation required,

There are also a lot of other sites that can help you, just search if you don't have the money for expensive software.

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I think the larger programs in use are: Risa, Staad, Ram and maybe some others.  I'm a big proponent of Visual Analysis (VA) from IES.  Its by far the most user friendly program I've used while still having capabilities  that can match some of the bigger brand names.  Our company uses RISA and VA.  

I'm sure that people who use RISA frequently can get good at it, but the program interface just makes  no sense to me.   It fees like the program was set up 20 years ago when spreadsheets were the only thing that existed and they never bothered to upgrade anything and just have continued to use the same platform ever since.  It's truly 3d structural design done almost entirely in spreadsheet form.  Spreadsheets are great... I just dont want to do my full 3d models entirely in a spreadsheet...

A few people mentioned enercalc.  We use that as well, it's strictly a 2-D single element analysis program.  It works... sort of, but there are some serious bugs with a majority of their design modules.  I've found too many bugs in enercalc that seriously skew results that it just doesn't earn my trust much anymore.  

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Enercalc is an excellent program for beam calcs and 2d analysis, and the RetainPro (same company) update made the program very useful.  You do have to know what you're doing in calcs because bugs do present themselves on occasion.  I'm interested to know in the consensus opinion on enercalc vs updated free software.  The compression elements would be sacrificed but I'm thinking of supplementing my own spreadsheets, or those by Daniel T Li, with the free joist/beam software by Weyerhauser or Boise Cascade for lumber calcs.

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On 1/11/2017 at 5:40 AM, smahurin said:

I think the larger programs in use are: Risa, Staad, Ram and maybe some others.  I'm a big proponent of Visual Analysis (VA) from IES.  Its by far the most user friendly program I've used while still having capabilities  that can match some of the bigger brand names.  Our company uses RISA and VA.  

I'm sure that people who use RISA frequently can get good at it, but the program interface just makes  no sense to me.   It fees like the program was set up 20 years ago when spreadsheets were the only thing that existed and they never bothered to upgrade anything and just have continued to use the same platform ever since.  It's truly 3d structural design done almost entirely in spreadsheet form.  Spreadsheets are great... I just dont want to do my full 3d models entirely in a spreadsheet...

A few people mentioned enercalc.  We use that as well, it's strictly a 2-D single element analysis program.  It works... sort of, but there are some serious bugs with a majority of their design modules.  I've found too many bugs in enercalc that seriously skew results that it just doesn't earn my trust much anymore.  

I've been slowly catching up to RISA.  I am competent and use it frequently, but I don't quite love the feel of it.  I am very interested in VA, which I haven't hear of previously.  Do they update frequently?  What are the limitations of the program?  What's the best way to get more info on it?

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