Structural Design

We prefer to use the term structural design as a more general term, and avoid the use of the term engineering.

We take it that historically, engineering primarily referred to that which took place at the frontiers of science and technology. Most of what was engineering is now, established technology with an established body of science to allow planning, design, analysis, evaluation and management in a consistent and reliable manner.

So in general you do not want a structure engineered you want it designed. If you need it engineered then you are at a frontier, and therefore there is and can be no prior proof of suitability. The structure would become a real world experiment which could fail in an unexpected and unpredictable way. If the mode of failure is predictable and controllable then there is no engineering.

Unfortunately legislation may define engineering as something different, or not define it at all except in reference to a profession. Whilst professions impose educational requirements which have little to do with improving a person’s ability to complete the task in which they profess expertise. The motivation of professional cults is creating an elite with status and prestige, it is not safeguarding the community.

It is far more important as a community that we regulate technology and publish requirements defining fitness-for-function and suitability-of-purpose, than we license professions.

For example what makes a floor beam fit-for-function? Well I know what doesn’t: we polled a recent studio audience and these are the deflection limits recommended, and now guidelines in AS1170. No mandatory guidelines for floor vibration and resonance due to walking, dancing, aerobics. No mandatory guidelines for connection design. In short a general lack of interest in sharing knowledge essential to ensuring fitness-for-function. Information exists in industry manuals, and the national standards and specifications of other countries. It seems if it doesn’t have Australia written on it, then it’s not relevant. If it doesn’t have code written on it, then it’s not relevant. So it isn’t the status of a profession that we need to be focused on, but the status of information resources.


The basic process of structural design comprises of:

  1. Determination of Dimension and Geometry
  2. Determination of Operating Environment
  3. Determination of Design Actions
  4. Determination of Design Action-Effects
  5. Member Design
  6. Connection Design
  7. Footing Design

Design Tools We Make Available

Dimension & Geometry

  1. Long Section Script Writer for CADD
  2. Spreadsheet tools for working with DXF files
  3. Automating CADD with Scripts
  4. Parametric Sketches in a Spreadsheet
  5. Drawing Framing Plans Using MS Excel Shapes

Operating Environment

  1. Beaufort Windscale Chart

Design Actions

  1. Wind Loading BCA Importance Levels
  2. Wind Loading Risk Assessment
  3. Wind Loading Surface Roughness Length
  4. Wind loading – Pressures on Doubly pitched Enclosed Building
  5. Workbook for Wind Actions on Doubly Pitched Enclosed Building
  6. Wind loading on Barrier and distribution to Post

Design Action-Effects

  1. Workbook for Rigid Frames Using Kleinlogel Formula
  2. Console Based (MSDOS) Plane Frame Analysis
  3. Plane Frame Analysis with Graphics (MS DOS)
  4. Plane Frame Analysis: The Front End Version 1
  5. Plane Frame Analysis: The Front End Version 2
  6. Plane Frame Analysis: The Front End Version 4
  7. Plane Frame Analysis: The Backend Version 1
  8. Barrier Post Base Moment Calculator
  9. Application for Plane Frame Analysis

Member Design

  1. Material and Section Properties Library
  2. Spreadsheet Bundle for Cold-formed Steel Structures Design
  3. Spreadsheet Bundle for Steel Structures Design
  4. Spreadsheet Bundle for Timber Structures Design

Connection Design

  1. Weld Design

Footing Design

  1. Calculation of Soil Heave, and site Classification (MSDOS)
  2. Pocket Footing Calculator
  3. Footing Calculator using Rutledge Formula


  1. Frame Size Check for Fixed Base Doubly Pitched Portal Frame Shed
  2. Frame Selection Charts for Cold-formed Steel Sheds
  3. Design Chart Cold-formed Steel Sheds Wind Terrain Category 3 – Frames at 3m centres
  4. Design Chart Cold-formed Steel Shed Wind Terrain Category 2 – Frames at 3m centres
  5. Design Chart Cold-formed Steel Portal Frame – Frames at 6m centres
  6. Spreadsheet for Structural Design of Timber Gable Canopy


  1. [19/01/2018] : Original