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RE: STAAD vs ...

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-----Original Message-----
From: Nora Miller [mailto:nmiller(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2001 11:35 AM
To: SEA List
Subject: STAAD vs ...

I just started a new job with a transportation firm where I am responsible for starting up a bridge design group.  I have five years experience in bridge design.  At my old company I used STAAD for any frame analysis that needed to be done.  Now I am trying to decide what kind of software to purchase and am overwhelmed by the choices.  Obviously, I am very comfortable with STAAD, but have heard that has a lot of bugs.  I am considering RISA-2D and VisualAnalysis (IES).  Anybody have any advice for me? 
I LOVE VisualAnalysis, but I have to be honest: It really isn't set up to do bridge analysis. But outside of limited applications, neither is STAAD. It has an AASHTO load generator, and some AASHTO design capabilities which VA doesn't, but they aren't much to brag about.
If I were you, I would check out STRAP. It has a module available, called STRAPBridge, that was VERY impressive at least in the DEMO that I saw about three years ago. I didn't pursue this much beyond that (I was also running a bridge group at the time) because I don't like canned demos, and refuse to purchase software based on a canned demo. I talked to the fellow at ATIR (he called ME), who publishes STRAP and STRAPBridge, but couldn't seem to get through to him--he seemed like more of a sales type--why I wanted a USEABLE demo, so I forgot about it.
IIRC, the program uses influence lines/surfaces to analyze the bridge and help guide design decisions. It really was very slick, and if they have improved it at all from the point I saw on the demo, it would be well worth considering.
I think you can get hold of them at
Let me know what you think.

William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
Katy, Texas
Phone 281-492-2251
Fax 281-492-8203