There are not a lot of choices for doing full-compliance design on
multi-story wood framing. Keylat is part of Keymark's "Keybuilder.com"
package which is an extensive collection of modules intended to design a
building from the roof down - both gravity and lateral loads.
With this said, there are issues yet unresolved. I am working with
Keylat now. There is a steep learning curve and because the program is
written as part of a larger program that provides builders with a very
elaborate materials take-off, the program is unforgiving and unrelenting
in its demand for exact dimensions from finished floor to top of plates.
The obvious negatives at this point (which no other "commercial"
software can handle either) is the lack of support skewed shearwalls.
I've worked on a project where we are using the program "creatively" to
address this issue, but there has been no resolution made that was coded
into the software.
Another difficult issue is the lack of a simplified static method
design. From my experience with Keymark/Simpson on this, the Simplified
Static analysis would take away some of the desire of the program which
is intended to work through the rigid diaphragm analysis with ease
(other than when skewed walls are involved).
The program also assumes that every-thing is constructed of wood, so if
you need to introduce steel, you will have to start with a wood member
and then manually transfer to another material such as steel.
Furthermore, the software will provide you with the shear at a
soft-story, but will not do the analysis for embedded columns. In all
fairness, the program does allow some latitude for the user to define
the cantilevered column, braced frame or other proprietary material as a
specific stiffness based on the load and deflection values. It is still
a creative solution but not a bad one.
On the plus side - Simpson offers a service that inputs your model and
readies it for lateral analysis for a nominal fee. You need to check
this out with Simpson (the work is being done at the Strong-tie offices
in Dublin California) but the prices earlier in the year to set up the
model (translate your manual drawing including plate heights and sloping
roofs) and to work with you for load distribution was $0.15 per square
foot - a very reasonable price. For an additional fee, they will design
your gravity load members including roof trusses (which Keymark is most
widely known for).
I have two projects in the house right now but I have not started the
design of either. The models have been created and they do look
impressive. Inasmuch as I had difficulty finding a structural
draftsperson to convert the architects manually drawn plans to cad - I
chose to let Simpson/Keymark do this for the above fee. The Keylat model
can be exported to DXF files and inserted into an Autocad drawing. This
is why I feel the fee was very reasonable for what I am getting.
We are at a stage on one of the homes where we are discussing strategy
for the lateral design as each home has skewed portion. I have created a
discussion forum for Keybuilder.Com on the Structuralist.Net Discussion
- Software Users Forum were we are discussing how others are addressing
this issue. I think there are some reasonable creative solutions that I
have posted and wouldn't mind input from others.
Is it worth the money? I can't honestly answer this one. I do believe
the program has tremendous possibilities as long as Simpson is willing
to invest in the software development. There isn't anything on the
market that comes close (actually there is only this software, WoodWorks
newest version which I have not reviewed yet, and our own public domain
spreadsheet that was created by David Merrick and myself).
Check the Structuralist.Net Discussion forums for further information
and comments by others. Please feel free to jump in to the discussions
even if you aren't using the software as the creative solution is
important for most of us who struggle through realistically complicated
custom homes that require some creative professional opinions.
Dennis S. Wish, PE
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: YI [mailto:YI(--nospam--at)summit-sr.com]
> Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001 3:54 PM
> To: 'seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org'
> Subject: Keylat from Keymark
> Does anyone has any experience using Keylat? Any opinion on
> the program? Thanks
> Yi Yang
> Santa Rosa, CA
> * This email was sent to you via Structural Engineers
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