The column module in StruCalc is set up to design most posts in residential or light commercial projects.  The program first asks the user to specify the type of column to be designed. There are five different types of materials available in the column module:

  • solid sawn
  • glulam
  • structural composite
  • steel
  • tube steel

Each of these materials then has selections from the current National Design Specification in use for species, grade, width and depth.

After the material has been selected the overall height of the post must be entered followed by the unbraced length in each direction. The unbraced length of the column would be the distance between any sort of bracing that might be provided within the structure (drywall, sheathing, kickers, etc.). The column end condition, K (e) is automatically set at 1.0 for pin-pin supported columns and 2.1 for cantilevered columns.

Once the overall conditions of the column have been established the loads must be entered. The module first asks for any vertical load applied to the column followed by the load eccentricity. The load eccentricity is a measure of how far away from the center of the column the load is applied. Looking at the post in plan view there would be both an x and y measurement to how far the load is away from the center of the column, and hence, the module asks for both to be entered.

Once the vertical loads have been applied, the module then asks for any lateral loads to be entered. Lateral loads can be entered in the form of:

  • a uniform load across the entire column
  • point loads placed at various locations on the column
  • partially distributed loads on the column

It will also ask which face of the column the lateral loads are being applied. As well as if the lateral loads are wind and/or seismic loads (for wood, glulam, or structural composite columns).

One other important feature within the column module is the ability to do a stud wall design. This part of the module will verify the adequacy of stud size and spacing based on the length of the studs and the vertical and lateral loads applied to the studs. This part of the module will unfortunately not specify shearwall nailing. Here is a view of how StruCalc applies loads and measurements in stud column design:

Stud Column Design In StruCalc

Here is a view of how StruCalc applies the loads and measurements in its normal column design module:

Standard StruCalc Column

 Finally here is a view of the load entering interface for column design please click the thumbnail for a detailed view:

Cantilever Column in StruCalc