HOW TO MAKE A DETERMINATION OF QUALITY STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING SOFTWARE
(Part 4 of 4)
Quality Software Determination
To realize the benefits that today’s technology provides, how does one determine the quality of structural analysis software? The issue of quality and reliability is by far the most important concern in any use of structural analysis software. The difficulty, of course, is to make informed decisions regarding the selection of software for use in the practice of structural engineering.
In particular, does the software vendor:
Maintain records of proof of its software developer qualifications? These qualifications should be available for review, covering the following areas:
Knowledge in their respective areas of specialization
Awareness of and commitment to its QA/QC procedures
Keep detailed records of all changes made to each new version of the software, in addition to records of the development and running of verification and validation test problems?
Verify and validate the software by running a comprehensive collection of structural analysis and design test problems and documenting the results? An example of a comprehensive collection of test problems would be around 5,000 test problems.
Archive each new version of software for an acceptable period of time, such as that used in the U.S. nuclear power industry, which is 60 years? This archive should include:
Records of developer qualifications
Records of software changes
Conduct regularly scheduled audits (approximately four to six times per year) of its QA/QC procedures? These audits should be conducted by qualified and certified professional auditors, professional engineers, and end-users of the software.
Finding Perfect Harmony
Structural engineering software with proven quality – as used by competent, knowledgeable, and experienced engineers – will deliver great benefits to clients and the public in terms of:
GT STRUDL has been qualified for the analysis and design of safety-critical structures in the nuclear power industry of the USA since 1983. In order to continue such qualification, the GT STRUDL development team and its QA/QC related procedures and activities have been subjected to audits by its end-users and by NIAC and NUPIC member companies on a regularly scheduled basis that occur approximately four to six times per year since 1983. These audits are conducted by qualified and certified professional auditors and experienced engineers.
Following the combination of static analysis and response spectrum seismic analysis results, member design code checking is performed at a number of internal section locations. During the design code checking, internal member section forces must then be correctly computed. In order to do that, the internal member section forces from the response spectrum seismic analysis must be computed so that they can be combined with the internal member section forces from the static analysis results. The internal member section forces from the response spectrum seismic analysis must be calculated in exactly the same manner that the member end forces were calculated. This can only be done by following the exact same sequence of steps that were used to calculate the member end forces from the seismic analysis. GT STRUDL will do this automatically.
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Leroy Emkin GT STRUDL Executive Technical Director