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Re: shear wall program

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I bought Woodworks late last year and just started using there Shearwall
module.  I find this program very raw and cumbersome unless you are
designing boxy buildings with well defined geometry and with bunch of
shear walls at all elevations in low seismic zone.  When was the last
time you have see a building like that?

My gripes are as follows:

1.  There is no way to specify a split level or a hillside building.
Each story height for all building blocks have to be the same.
2.  There is no way to specify a super stiff wall like a concrete wall
or a foundation to trick the program to consider hillside construction.
3. There is no easy way to specify a particular wall with less than 2:1
ratio (such as proprietary wall or a shear wall pier with straps and
blocking at the head and sill).  If you choose to ignore the h/w ratio
it does for all the walls on all the lines of resistance which gives you
wrong results.
4. There is an option to specify the walls rigidity, but you have to
specify them for all stories and all wall lines.  Doesn't that defeat
the purpose for using this software in the first place? Why not to allow
for a custom wall or a custom rigidity for just one wall line and
calculate the rest by default?
5. Since the rigidity is estimated based on the wall capacity how do you
estimate the rigidity of the steel moment or a braced frame?
6.  The interface is very difficult to navigate and they use the old
Winhelp32.dll which is useless in Windows Vista for viewing their online
7.  There are no examples in their online guide.  Following the online
guide when using software for the first time is difficult.
8. For a fairly simple 2 story building I got 28 pages of output vs. 4
to 5 pages of my spreadsheet. Man, it feels like garbage in - garbage

This software is going back if they take it back from me and I am going
back to using my old trusted spreadsheets.  The simplified base shear
calculation is a much earlier option to use rather than doing a rigid
diaphragm analysis using dubious shear wall stiffness assumptions.  The
20% increase in base shear is a good investment as far as I am concerned
anyway for buildings in high seismic areas.  The rigid diaphragm
analysis will have to wait until there is an easy and accurate software
to do it.  If I have to do it, I'd rather do it by hand or on Xcell
where I feel that the results are accurate.

Alexander (Sasha) Itsekson, SE
Enginious Structures, Inc.
Oakland, CA

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