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Archives for March 2008

Steel Angle Design Helps Avoid Structural Problems

 Steel angle design software takes the confusion and guesswork out of designing support angles. Calculate too small of angle and your masonry may crack; design too large of angle and your budget suffers.

Steel angles are often used to transfer the dead load of masonry back to the steel framework of the structure typically over doors and windows. Shelf angles, clip angles, and beam flanges are equipped with slots in differing directions to help the builder adjust the steel angle appropriately. The mason readjusts the angle as they work in order to keep the brick flush and squared.

The steel worker or engineer readjusts the steel angle again to provide adequate structural support once the masonry is completed. The beam that supports the steel angle will deflect when loaded and the angle must be spot welded to secure its position. Horizontal expansion joints are often installed directly below the steel angle to accommodate for this deflection and provide additional support.

Quality steel angle design software determines the precise size of angle required to keep costs low. Properly designed angles equate fewer chances of improper installation.  The cost of steel angles is based on the overall weight of the beam and hence an overdesigned beam equates in larger budgets.

If the structural support angles are placed in an environment that draws moisture, a protective flange must be applied to deflect moisture and prevent corrosion of the steel. Regular inspection should be made to ensure that settling and deflection have not affected the supports. A routine structural inspection should also be performed to check for loose fastenings, broken welds, and corrosion.

The use of steel angles to strengthen a brick structure is becoming increasingly popular. This method can significantly increase the strength and stability of a structure when performed properly. Utilizing the exact calculations of a quality design software program not only reduces the workload of the engineer, contractors, and builders, it provides peace of mind for the crew and owner. The steel angle design software eliminates one more potential design flaw and keeps construction moving on schedule.

More and more contractors, builders and engineers are turning to design software to produce structurally sound buildings at a lower cost to the consumer. Steel angle design may be a complicated field, but designing software takes the guesswork out of the calculations involved with these structural support angles.

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StruCalc 8.0 One Page Printouts

The StruCalc Design Team is glad to announce another new feature in our continuing series of StruCalc 8.0 upgrades.

The long awaited one page engineering printouts are here!

  • All design modules all situations are one page auto formatted
  • Each printout includes project information, detail, inputs, calulations, and loading diagrams
  • New features of printouts allow saving, auto-emailing designs, and viewing as .pdfs
  • New ability to place your company logo on the printouts
  • Also use the auto numbering feature to integrate your printouts into a design completion package!
  • Amazing new project print preview and print feature allows a print preview of every member in a project!
  • Previews large projects (100 members+) in seconds

StruCalc Print Out

Here is a quick view of a Multi-Loaded Multi-Span Beam in preview mode. You may also notice the notes section for personal notes that can be either inputted in the program or by hand if you need to add more detailed information.

 We hope you are getting as excited for the StruCalc 8.0 release as we are. Look for more information coming soon and the release in the third quarter of 2008!

Adam Wilson
StruCalc Development Team

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Elements and Examples of Beam Design

The elements of beam design is a topic of great interest for structural engineers and contractors. Beam design is integral in the design and construction of a structure. Most structural beams are comprised of wood, steel or concrete. Each of these construction materials reacts differently under the stress of a load. Each also has its own unique advantages.

Elements and Examples of Beam Design: Concrete Beams

Concrete beams are most often seen in commercial construction, such as in the erection of multi-level parking decks, hospitals, and large hotels. Concrete beams are also commonly used as bridge and highway supports.  Some concrete beams are used in conjunction with steel beams to provide added strength. Newer concrete beams may also contain a hybrid material of traditional concrete mixed with Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) or Carbon FRP.

Concrete is a strong building material, but it is susceptible to water damage and cracking.  Iron bars are often included in the beams to add strength and stability over areas prone to greater stress. Concrete beams area also desirable for their ability to absorb sound and vibration.

Elements and Examples of Beam Design: Steel Beams

One very common type of steel beam is the I-beam. These I shaped beam are strong and moderately affordable. Steel beams are capable of supporting heavy loads without experiencing great amounts of deflection by distributing the load of the structure over the flange of the beam. Steel beams may be treated to prohibit corrosion and oxidation, especially when used near or under water, such as in bridge construction.

Elements and Examples of Beam Design: Wood Beams

Wood beams are common in residential structures. Wood beams may be notched or jointed together for added strength. Wood beams are inexpensive and easy to alter to a builder’s specifications. However, they are also susceptible to rot and insect infestation.  Specially treated wood beams are now available that resist decomposition, moisture and insects, making them an attractive choice in beam materials for most homeowners.

Elements and Examples of Beam Design: Flitch Beams

Flitch beams are specially constructed beams that join a steel plate with adjacent wood panels to form one composite structural beam. These flitch beams are strong, yet less expensive and lighter than solid steel beams.  The construction of a flitch beam results in a reduction of the overall size of the beam, and the wooden exterior also allows the builder to nail the beam to other existing wooden structures in the home.

Elements and examples of beam designs are plentiful. Beam design and selection are an important part of the construction process and the wide variety of beams to choose from allow a builder to meet the needs of each project more easily.

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Architectural Design Software Uses

Architectural design software uses can vary from project to project. The type and quality of the architectural design software often dictates the potential uses of the program. Some common uses of architectural design software are:

  • the planning of a new construction home
  • designing a layout for a remodeling project
  • creating an addition to an existing home
  • adding adequate lighting sources for a home.

Architectural Design Software Uses: New Construction

Homeowners participating in the design and construction of their new home often turn to architectural design software for a two- or three-dimensional visualization of the outlay of their new home plan. Architectural design software uses the input from the owners to establish the placement of electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, support structures, and window and doors. Architectural design software uses this data to calculate a proposed budget for the structure as well.

High-grade architectural design software uses the created floor plans to simulate framing diagrams and even materials lists for the contractor or the do-it-yourself homeowner. These added features make building a new home easier than relying on guesswork as the building project progresses.

Architectural Design Software Uses: Remodeling a Home

Remodeling a home can be a difficult project, especially for homeowners attempting to complete the design and construction process themselves. Architectural design software uses the measurements and structural information of the existing structure to help homeowners create the desired changes without compromising the structural integrity of their home.

Architectural design software also assists homeowners in planning how the new room design will flow with the rest of the home. Door openings, window placement, and electrical outlet locations all contribute to the layout of each room. An extra large piece of furniture or a special selection of artwork may require careful consideration when planning the design of a layout for the remodeling of the room. 

Architectural Design Software Uses: Adding on to Your Home

Adding a room or series of rooms to a home is made easier with the use of architectural design software. The three dimension renderings of the floor plans help point out potential problems with the addition. The software calculates the appropriate construction materials and their placement, from the foundation up.
Architectural Design Software Uses: Lighting
Lighting plays an important role in the design of a room. Too much lighting seems harsh, while not enough lighting can make a room feel dreary.  Proper lighting can make or break the design of a room. Architectural design software uses the homeowner’s desired lighting placement to plan appropriate electrical outlets and wiring diagrams for use during the remodeling of a room.

Architectural design software uses may vary, but the outcome is generally a smoothly flowing building project and a well-planned floor plan.

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