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RE: engineering software

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We've been very happy with RISA and are looking forward to the Windows
version, which has been promised but hasn't arrived yet. The software does
both steel and wood stress checks, which is a nice feature, and the
documentation is clear, well organized, and easy to understand. 

We bought SAP2000 about a year ago, and it has some very powerful and
versatile features which go well beyond RISA, but it doesn't do wood stress
checks. It took me forever to "learn" and I still have a long way to go.
Maybe I'm just thick headed, but I found the documentation very hard to use
and not entirely adequate from the standpoint of walking you through the
solution process. I do think SAP runs faster and is probably a better choice
for large problems than RISA. 

Both RISA and SAP's technical support have been excellent. 

For problems which involve mats on elastic foundations, RISA is easier to
use than SAP, but neither is as simple as PCAMATS for "plain vanilla"
problems. I've come to the conclusion that you will never find one piece of
analysis software that does everything you want.

We don't use GTSTRUDL here, but most of the people who do bridge work around
here use it and I think our state highway department (Washington)is most
familiar with it.

Both RISA and SAP use AISC Steel Construction Manual standard shape tables,
which are based on nominal dimensions for tube sections. If you are using
HSS, you have to manually input the newer section properties (based on
minimum thickness) which are in the HSS Connections Manual published last
year by AISC/AISI/STI. 
-----Original Message-----
From: Bohm, Gabriel [mailto:GBohm(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, November 12, 1999 8:14 AM
To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)'
Subject: Re: engineering software

We started moving away from STAAD a few years ago, after encountering
countless difficulties. Their technical support was slow and a bit rude.
RISA turned out to be a great replacement -  inexpensive, easy to use,
reliable, good technical support, too. Any feedback on RISA's new Windows

Gabe Bohm
Technip USA