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RE: Open Web Steel Joist Programs?

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At 04:19 PM 2/3/2005 +0000, you wrote:
Try RAM Advanse from RAM International.

You beat me to it. I'll second the recommendation, given that you are okay with nearly full-on modelling of the joists. This is not a purpose-built program for joists - or anything, for that matter. It is a very good generic modeler with the interface tuned for structural engineers involved with construction. The latest version is up near the top of my software-wants list, as it has a great deal of standard sections included. Better yet, it's "only" about $1800 - which is actually quite reasonable for an analysis program that is this good. Figure 12 to 20 hours of training (self-paced) to get going, depending on how familiar you are with FEM. Their website is

Another possibility is Visual Analysis, from IES software ( which can be had for $400 for the basic 2-d analysis version. I haven't used VA for about 7 years, and the version I used is probably very similar to their "basic" package. It's very manual, and you'll probably end up having to create your own sections library, or buy their $800 add-on package. You'll also be dealing with raw stresses/strains as output. Good for basic analysis or FEM classes, but not terribly efficient in practice. I wouldn't recommend it unless you were (1) very comfortable with FEM an (2) used the trial version to make sure it would give you the data you needed. (My apologies to IES if they've significanlty improved the "basic" interface since I used it in my FEM class in grad school).


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