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Re: Question regarding best analysis/design software

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I agree that you will not find one program to do everything. As the programs continue to evolve, they are doing more and more things. Maybe someday they will all merge and  will be one that can do just about everything including steel, concrete, wood, masonry, light gage, foundations, analysis, code checking and member selection, connections, detailing, etc. It would be great if it would also send out your bills, collect them and transfer all your phone calls to the golf course.  That day, however, has not yet arrived.  In the meantime, the following would be my recommendations:

Ram International for multi-story steel framed buildings with joists, non-composite and composite beams. It includes lateral analysis and auto generation of loads. Does not yet include drifted snow load determination.

PCA Series of programs for concrete framed buildings including ADOSS, PCACOL, IRRCOL, PCABEAM, etc.

Visual Analysis / Visual Design for 2D and 3D static and dynamic analysis, code checking and design of steel, concrete and wood.  Plate elements, tension or compression only members,  etc. Generation of standard structures including trusses, frames, tanks, etc. Custom output. Good graphics. Also check out their Shapebuilder program for computing section properties.
Eagle Point's Quickwall for retaining walls and Mwall for masonry walls (includes unreinforced and reinforced walls). I also like Daystar's masonry wall program (only reinforced walls).

C-Stud Analyzer II  for load bearing stud design and analysis and the Builder's Edition for light gage non-load bearing walls including framed openings.

Woodworks for wood design including shear walls and connections.

Enercalc also has a good selection of programs.

I also supplement these programs with about 50 Exel spreadsheets for doing repetitive problems that there are no commercially available programs for.

Jim Kestner, P.E.
Green Bay, Wi.

Michael Sloey wrote:

You will not find a software package that will do all the things in your wish list.  For steel frame building design I would recommend Ram International.  My company has been using the Ram packages for over 6 years with great success.  When we first purchased the program it did only beam design (which I thought was great).  They have since added column and baseplate design and now lateral analysis and code check.  The support is excellent and they are always receptive to changing the program if users say "I want it do this ...".  Another big plus for me is that it is written by engineers.

Mike Sloey, PE
Sverdrup Facilities
St. Louis, MO

>>> "Steven P. Osborn" <sposborn(--nospam--at)> 01/26 2:28 PM >>>

-------------Forwarded Message-----------------

From:   Steven P. Osborn, 105422,501
To:     SEAINT, INTERNET:admin(--nospam--at)

Date:   1/26/1999 11:42 AM

RE:     Question regarding best analysis/design software

I am looking for recommendations on the best structural analysis and design
software to purchase.  Ease of use, detailed output, fast processing, and
good support. are obvious criteria.  I am currently evaluating Risa
Technologies, Research Engineers, CSI and Enercalc, RAM International
products.  I am interested in 3D as well as 2D analysis capabilities and
smooth integration with design modules and AutoCAD release 14.  Typical
projects might include complex single story, long span steel framed
structures or multistory office buildings (steel or concrete), combined
lateral load resisting systems (e.g. braced frames and shear walls in same
structure), steel or wood trusses, tilt-up concrete panels, tall masonry
walls, single and combined spread footings, continuous wall footings, pile
cap foundations, cantilever retaining walls, supported concrete floor
slabs/beams (one-way and two-way), concrete columns (square, round,
rectangular), steel beams (continuous and simple span, non-composite and
composite), steel columns and beam/columns, steel connections (moment,
shear-tab, simple), etc.  There doesn't appear to be one vendor that offers
a universal package to cover all types of structural systems.  Any thoughts
would be greatly appreciated!

Steve Osborn, P.E.