To realize the benefits of today's technology, how does one make a determination which quality structural engineering software to employ? The issue of quality and reliability is by far the most important concern in any use of structural engineering software. The difficulty, of course, is to make informed decisions regarding the selection of software for use in the practice of structural engineering.

This part three of four parts describes additional points to consider when assessing structural engineering software quality. In particular, a useful subset of guidelines for assessing the quality of structural engineering computer software can be summarized as follows.

Does the software vendor:

  • Conform to stringent engineering software quality standards? An example of such standards would be those required by the U.S. nuclear power industry:

    • American Society of Mechanical Engineers for the American National Standards Institute "Quality Assurance Requirements for Nuclear Facility Applications (ASME NQA-1-2008 and NQA-1a-2009, which is the 2009 Addenda Subpart 2.7).

    • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Rules and Regulations, Volume 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 50, Appendix B, Quality Assurance Criteria for Nuclear Power Plants and Fuel Reprocessing Plants (NRC 10CFR50, Appendix B).

    • U.S. NRC Rules and Regulations, Volume 10, Chapter 1, Code of Federal Regulations - Energy, Part 21, Reporting of Defects and Noncompliance (NRC 10CFR Part 21).

  • Offer user documentation, providing in-depth descriptions of the software's features, capabilities, and limitations?

  • Operate a detailed quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) program whose procedures are documented in a manual and subject to regular audits by qualified auditors and professional engineers?

Part four of four parts will be continued in the August Newsletter.

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Vol.2 | Issue 7 | July 2015

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GT STRUDL is reliable, you can trust it will last. For each new version of GT STRUDL‚ its source code, executables, associated user and QA/QC documentation, records of developer qualifications, records of software changes, and other important relevant information are archived in an offsite and three-hour fire-rated professional storage vault facility for a period of 60 years.

This is the part four continuation of the 2015 February Monthly Tip on nonlinear analysis consequences and impacts on steel design procedures. The third major consequence is the issue of combining nonlinear static analysis results with response spectrum seismic analysis results given that superposition principles are not valid when nonlinear analysis results are involved. In particular, when the response of a structure to ground motion is not predominated by a single mode with a very high mass participation (e.g., the case for many industrial structures), it is not acceptable to perform an equivalent lateral load linear analysis whose results could be combined with response spectrum seismic analysis results. Rather, for such cases, only a rigorous response spectrum seismic analysis is acceptable, but results should be combined with nonlinear static analysis results according to procedures that are generally accepted by the structural engineering profession. Such generally accepted procedures are needed.

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Leroy Emkin
GT STRUDL Executive Technical Director

July 28 - GT STRUDL Webinar: Response Spectrum Seismic Analysis Using Gupta Mode Combination Methodology. Learn more