I have been a beta tester on the new Woodworks 2000 which is due out very
shortly. I am not familiar with Ram Steel but what you describe appears to
be within the scope of what Woodworks will handle.
There are three basic modules with WW - design of Gravity load members
(Sizer), lateral loads (fully compliant with 97 UBC Chapter 16) called
Shearwall and a third module (Connector) that designs wood to wood
There is a learning curve to most any of these types of programs. The
Lateral design module allows the user to take a WMF file (Windows Metafile
Format - graphic file) and import it into the Shearwall module. The user
then sets the scale of the imported drawing and begins to define shearwalls.
Once the physical attributes are defined, the program will begin the
calculation process and define, according to code, shearwalls including
walls with openings (based on the latest perforated shearwall design
There are a few limitations that exist with each of the programs currently
on the market for lateral load design. These include:
1. All walls must be orthogonal - with the exception of the spreadsheet
design software I donated (available from the SEAOC website) each of the
programs by AF&PA or Keymark will ignore skewed walls. This creates a
problem in custom homes with irregular footprints that use skewed walls to
resist lateral forces.
2. Each program will allow the user to define certain types of proprietary
shear elements, but I do not believe either program will consider
cantilevered columns or steel moment frames mixed into the lateral restraint
system. I believe that Woodworks will allow some creativity in this matter
by allowing the user to adjust the wall stiffness to allow for different
types of proprietary walls.
I do not remember if Woodworks will design gravity load columns that are not
wood members. In other words, you must define columns as wood and manually
change them to steel using another program to justify the design. I must
admit that I am not sure about this one and hope that no one makes their
decision on my memory alone.
Woodworks does have a very good gravity load design program. It is actually
hidden in the Sizer program which devotes a great deal of "hype" on creating
a graphic model in order to automate the gravity load process. Most
designers who I spoke with that used the software (before the latest
release) found the graphic cal interface a bit difficult to learn (creating
a footprint of the building and locating all load carrying columns and
bearing points for beams and joists). However, the design module can be used
without establishing a graphic model and it does a great job.
I hope that this information helps. I strongly suggest you contact the AF&PA
(American Forest and Paper Association) who is marketing Woodworks 2000 and
ask them more specific questions to satisfy yourself. They also included the
latest copy of the NDS in each software package in PDF format. This was
indispensable and I hope they have not removed it from the final package.
The price, as I recall, was not too hard on the pocketbook either.
I'll have more to report on Woodworks once the package hits the market.
Dennis S. Wish, PE
From: KTarlow(--nospam--at)aol.com [mailto:KTarlow(--nospam--at)aol.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2000 5:44 PM
Subject: Wood works
Anyone buy the wood works progragm.
I am interested in its ability to act like Ram steel. Either input a auto
cad drawing or draw the structure and apply the loads to and then it sizes
the elemnts both for vertical and lateral systems, and the program outputs
the sizes. (geez I won't have to do anything)