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-----Original Message-----
From: Lynn Howard <lhoward(--nospam--at)>
To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Sunday, December 14, 1997 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: STAADIII vs SAP2000

>My basic opinion of Risa 3D is:
>Highly recommended for steel structure analysis and design,
>Jury is still out on Dynamic analysis and models requiring plate
>I am sure (as always) that people will disagree with me, and I would
>encourage others with differing opinions to post a reply.

I am not a power user. I do virtually nothing with 3D and dynamic analysis,
however, I do use Risa2D and Fastframe.  I've worked through Risa3D
documentation because I have had to plan check submittals by others who used
Risa3d and I needed to understand the input and output well enough to check
for input errors.
IMHO, I believe that the most of these programs will do the job (2D or 3D)
as far as accuracy and reliability (granting that nothing is perfect) for
most diverse type of projects. The selling point to me, sans pricing at the
moment, is the documentation and tutorials as well as the examples provided
for creative uses of the program.
Considering this, I have found the Risa 2D or 3D manuals and tutorials to be
the best that I have reviewed - and you can take this from one who has
written two manuals for engineering software.  The latest incarnation of
Risa is written to analysis wood trusses as well as problems requireing
mixed materials. This can be done in FastFrame as well and I believe in most
applications that let the user specify the materials and stresses. However,
Risa goes out of it's way to make your calculations work when you are
struggling through node and member releases.
In a recent problem, I had a series of sawn lumber beams with multiple
cantilevers, simple cantilevers and one condition where the beam was
supported by a post in the middle and each cantilevered end was connected to
the cantilever of the beams on either side of it. Fast Frame could not model
this to my satisfaction, Enercalc library did not cover the conditions in
the series of beams module and other programs like StruCalc and Woodworks
could not handle the various conditions.
Risa2D came through on this one like a pro. I did have some problems with
releases, but with a little help from tech support, I had it whipped very

Consider more than steel or concrete frame buildings.  Judge based upon
documentation, tech support responses, tutorials and the ability to solve
creative problems. I think Risa comes out a winner whether 2D or 3D. Now add
in the price and you really can't compare.

Dennis Wish PE