Here’s a handy App that helps you make early design decisions regarding structure. The App is called Concept; it is free; and it is by a Vancouver and Frankfort based structural engineering firm, Fast + Epp, who specialize in architectural structures. The App works on iOS devices. (Click image to the left to download.) An Android-compatible version is anticipated soon.
I like it because it does better guessing (than you would do), faster.
Concept lets you play what-if by yourself rather than involving a structural engineer. Let’s say you have looked at code and you have settled on using a steel structural system. You can get a good idea of how deep the beams will be by entering the span. Maybe you need to match an existing floor to floor height. The App will let you see how much space the structure needs for the span you want. Then you can play what-if to your heart’s content without your engineer becoming exasperated. The results you get will have to be verified, but the info is a good guess and fast and convenient.
The images below will walk you through how the App works.
Fig. 1 This is the screen you see when you open the App. “Calculator” takes you to the program part of the App. “Gallery” gives you examples of how the different structural materials can be used aesthetically.
Fig. 2 You see this when you open the “Gallery”. I suspect these photos of being a brochure of Fast + Epp’s work. If so, they do very nice work.
Fig. 3 You see this when you open the “Calculator”. Select the material you want to use.
Fig. 4 After selecting the material, you select “floor” or “roof” to work with.
Fig. 5 You next enter the span that you are considering, and press “Calculate” at the bottom.
Fig. 6 This screen shows you the answer for a beam or a truss girder.
Voila! You have a good estimate in less time than it takes to write an email or text, or to make a phone call.
Remember: Check that the area per floor, number of stories, and Use Group of your project will allow the Construction Type that you want to use.