### Bracing System - Structural arrangement that ensures stability in Longitudinal Direction

What happens to a building when it is subjected to wind loads? Any building or structures, in general, must ensure stability in two directions (Lateral & Longitudinal) to safely transfer loads from the location of application to the ground. Considering a typical steel warehouse building something similar to the following image, when it is subjected to wind load along the lateral direction, stability is ensured by the portal frame action. Lateral Direction - Along width of the building Longitudinal Direction - Along Length of the building The column and the rafter connected using a rigid joint act as a portal to sustain the lateral loads that act on the building. So, the building is fine in the lateral direction. What if the wind blows in the longitudinal direction?  How longitudinal force gets transferred through the system? In the longitudinal direction, when the force acts on the gable ends of the building, the first component to interact with the load is the cladding materials (

### Excel VBA for Civil/Structural Engineers

Being different from my other blog posts, this particular article will be a walkthrough of the engineering tools which I created and used to optimize the time.

As you might be aware, that I am proficient with Excel VBA and C# programming (which I learned very recently, and anyone with mere consistency could learn the same from free sources available through the internet within months).

I mostly use VBA to create my excel tools as it is handy. If you are a practicing steel design engineer and would like to learn programming to optimize your workflow. Do leave a comment or get to me through my YouTube channel, so that I might provide the necessary guidance for you to learn and work effectively.

The mere purpose of this post is to show, how very little knowledge in basic programming could benefit US (the structural engineers). Also, this post might help to get an idea of how we can leverage the power of automation to our benefit.

The Excel Tools that I prepared are as follows. (These are not some fancy programs that would ease 90% of your work. But these are very tiny tools, that might optimize 20% of your time)

1. Member End Force Extractor Sheet

2. Seismic Joint Weight Extractor

3. Support Reaction Extractor Sheet

4. Slope Correction Program

6. Iterative Joist Design Engine

8. Steel BOM Extractor

And before describing the working of the programs mentioned above. If you guys could come up with any better ideas or suggestions on these tools. I would be happy to implement those changes and it is going to benefit me after all.

1. Member End Force Extractor Sheet

This particular tool will help to extract the member force from the STAAD model to the excel sheet. All we need to do is to select the members in STAAD which is adjoining the node where a splice connection would be present. And then moving to the tool, specifying the required load combinations, and pressing extract would result in the governing member forces at the node joining the selected members. These forces can then be used for the purpose of connection design.

2. Seismic Joint Weight Extractor

While doing a 3D model, applying a seismic joint weight of the critical node is a tedious process. A simple tool that would automate this and will provide you the exact syntax which we can directly paste in our STAAD editor to get the joint weights. The demo of the tool is provided below for better understanding.

3. Support Reaction Extractor Sheet

Similar to the member force extractor, in order to design the base plate and anchor bolts, we might require support reactions. Extracting each and every support reaction manually and grouping them would be a tedious task. In order to simplify that, all we need to do is to note down the node numbers of the supports. Then move to the sheet, paste the copied support reactions using a button, and then just write the node numbers in the tab and press extract. The demo is included below.

4. Slope Correction Program

You would have already seen the demonstration of this particular tool from my YouTube Channel, if not I would leave a link below. Kindly go through it. This is not a simple excel tool, it is an interactive program that uses OpenSTAAD functions and helps the designer, and saves a lot of time.

A demonstration of this program is also available on my YouTube Channel and I am leaving a link below for access. This program makes use of OpenSTAAD functions to apply load on the A-type frames automatically. This can be a handy tool when you are about to apply a wind load for a 3D model with different bay spacings.

6. Iterative Joist Design Engine

The joist design engine is a program that I created to automate the complete process of designing a simply supported beam in STAAD. Based on the range of values specified, the program will create a STAAD model, then apply load to the beam and design the beam and get the results. This process will be repeated until all the possible sections in our initially specified range are checked.

After which, based on the section report, the lightest section will be reported. This all will take place within a minute. The demonstration video link is provided below.

This is one of the important programs, which would completely automate the process of creating a 3D STAAD model from the minimum inputs within a click. This is actually an extended version of a 2D frame generator that would completely model, apply loads, and design parameters by itself.

8. Steel BOM Extractor

Steel BOM Extractor is one of the most useful tools for the current scenario, as steel prices are going up day by day, the contractors and fabricators are in the utmost need to purchase the materials at the earliest. This particular tool will directly extract the plate weights from the 3D or 2D STAAD model, which the in-built STAAD operations could not perform. A demonstration of the tool is provided below.

These are some automation tools that actually make my workflow better and easier. With very little knowledge and some awesome idea, anyone can create such optimization tools. Looking forward to hearing out from my readers, regarding their ideas or viewpoint on the above-mentioned tools.

Also, for those who are interested to learn about OpenSTAAD, I am covering the majority of the topics in my YouTube channel playlist named "Mastering OpenSTAAD". Kindly check it out.