Breaking Down the Barriers

by Ashraf Habibullah, (M.ASCE), Pres.; Computers & Structures, Inc., 1995 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 6, Pg. 39-41

Document Type: Feature article


The structural engineering of multistory buildings is a complex and time-consuming chore, but new design and analysis tools can greatly simplify the task. The article traces the development of these tools over the past several years, and describes the most important recent advance: the integration of drafting with design and analysis. Now, the engineer can create the initial framing system design through a computer-aided drafting (CAD) program and transfer it automatically to the finite element analysis package to verify structural integrity. Then the optimized member sizes go back to CAD and automatically update the initial design. Data entry is reduced tremendously—saving hundreds or even thousands of hours on a typical project. Potentially costly data-entry errors are also eliminated. As the technology for integrating design and analysis with drafting spreads through the structural engineering field, it will have a major impact on the design of multistory buildings.

Subject Headings: Computer aided design | Structural analysis | Mid-rise buildings | Automation | Finite element method | Frames | Computer analysis | Verification

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