RAM SS V14.03 Release Notes

Release Date: October 6, 2010

This document contains important information regarding changes to the RAM Structural System. It is important that all users are aware of these changes. Please distribute these release notes and make them available to all users of the RAM Structural System.

RAM Structural System V8i is part of the Bentley Systems V8i family of products. It is part of a coordinated release of the entire suite of Bentley programs. Its intent is to create a common identity between all of the Bentley programs, indicating the growing integration between these programs. V8i is not a reference to a version number; this is Release 14.03, or Version 14.03, of the RAM Structural System.


The Tutorial Manual has not been updated but is still valid. The appearance of some parts of the program in this version may differ from that shown in the Tutorial.

Important Notices

Version 14.03 automatically converts databases created in previous versions to the new database format. Note that a backup file is created automatically when a database is converted; the name of the database is the same, with “Orig” and the version number appended to the name. The file has an extension of “.zip” and is located in the same directory as the original database.

Version 14.03 may give slightly different results than V14.02.

The previous steel tables and load combination templates supplied with the program will be replaced with new tables and templates of the same name. If you have customized any Master or Design tables or load combination templates supplied with the program without changing the file names, those file names should be renamed from the original RAM table names prior to installation to prevent your changes from being lost.

Installation Instructions

This version can only be installed by downloading the installation file from the Bentley SELECT web site. It can be found on the Bentley SELECT Services Downloads and Updates web page at:
Select “Search Downloads” and log in using your User Name and Password. Perform a Search by searching for the “RAM Products”, and select the latest version of the RAM Structural System.

Installation Directories

If a previous version of the RAM Structural System was installed on a computer with the Windows 7 or Windows Vista operating system some components of the program may have been installed in directories that were not ideal for those systems. In particular, they may have been installed in directories that required Administrator privileges in order to write to those files. Issues could also arise on XP or older operating systems if strict user policies have been set. As a result, the default directories used in the latest installation program have been revised to use locations as recommended by Microsoft for each operating system. It is recommended that the directories that can contain writable files be moved, if necessary, as explained below.


The ramis.ini file contains all of the user-specified program defaults, including the directory paths for all of the program and data files. That file was previously located in the C:\Windows directory. If it is there, it should be moved to the following location, based on the operating system:

Windows 7 and Windows Vista: C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System

XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System

Default Directories

The current location of the directories can be seen by opening the ramis.ini file in Notepad.exe. The [Directories] section of that file shows the location of the directories used by the RAM Structural System. The figure below shows an example of the [Directories] section of a ramins.ini file. The directories shown highlighted in yellow in that figure contain (or potentially contain) writeable files. That is, the data, tutorial, dxf, reports, cimsteel, tables and working directories are used to store files that may be written to by the program. If any of those directories are located under C:\Program Files, C:\Program Files (x86) or any other directory that restricts writable access to files for standard users, it is recommended that the files be relocated. Note that the program and manuals directories can remain located under write-restricted locations because they do not contain writable files.

To relocate the files manually, do the following:

  1. Determine the proper location for the directories.
    The directories that are shown highlighted in the figure above are based on the new default locations for the directories for Windows 7 and Windows Vista. For these and the other operating systems, the default root directory for these directories is the same as the location of the ramis.ini file listed above. So the default locations for each of the directories for each of the operating systems are:

    Windows 7 and Windows Vista:
    data = C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\data
    tutorial = C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\data\tutorial
    dxf = C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\DXF
    reports = C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\Reports
    cimsteel = C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\cimsteel
    tables = C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\Tables
    working = C:\ProgramData\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\data\working

    Windows XP:
    data = C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\data
    tutorial = C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\data\tutorial
    dxf = C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\ DXF
    reports = C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\ Reports
    cimsteel = C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\ cimsteel
    tables = C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\ Tables
    working = C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Bentley\Engineering\RAM Structural System\data\working

    Note that it is not mandatory that the directories be located in these locations; these are merely the default locations used by the installation program. They can be located anywhere on the computer or on a network that permits write access to all users.

    We do, however, strongly recommend that the working directory remain on the local computer, not over the network on a server.

  2. Create the new directories.
  3. Copy the files from the old directories to the new directories.
  4. Delete the old directories.
  5. Edit the RAMIS.INI file to point to the new directory locations.

The root directory entry in the ramis.ini file is no longer used and can be deleted.

Note that extreme care must be exercised in performing these steps in order to avoid loss of data files or program functionality. It may be advisable to backup any data files before proceeding with these steps.

Also note that Steps 2 and 5 (and most of Step 3) can be accomplished by re-running the Installation program and specifying the directories there. Then the data files (in the Data directory) and only any user-customized tables (in the Tables directory) would need to be copied over as part of Step 3, since the standard tables will have been installed in the new Tables directory location.

A final note, if you are not experiencing any problems associated with restricted write privileges with the current installation, you may choose not to make these changes.

Structural Dashboard V8i

The Structural Dashboard is a free program from Bentley Systems, Inc. that assists in managing the data and workflow of projects from start to finish. The Structural Dashboard provides a single interface to utilize Bentley's integrated products for a complete project workflow.

The Structural Dashboard can be automatically launched when the RAM Structural System is invoked, or it can be launched from within the RAM Structural System using the File – Structural Dashboard command or by clicking on the Bentley logo icon on the left of the RAM Manager screen.

The autolaunch feature can be set or disabled within the Structural Dashboard itself. To disable the autolaunch, select the Edit Settings command at the lower right of the window and deselect the option to “Automatically start with Structural applications” on the General tab. 

For more information on the Structural Dashboard, go to:

To download the Structural Dashboard, go to:

New Features and Enhancements

For details on these new features and enhancements, refer to the manual .pdf files available from the Help menu in each module or from the Manuals folder on your hard drive.

CMC Smartbeam Update

Note: it is recommended by CMC, the producers of Smartbeams, that the criteria for Increment of e (for Castellated beams) and Increment of Do and S (for Cellular beams) be modified to use 0.25” rather than 0.125”. The default for dt should remain as 0.125”. For existing models these criteria can be specified in the Criteria – Smartbeams command in the RAM Steel Beam module. For new models the defaults can be changed using the RAM Defaults Utility in the Tools menu in the RAM Manager (or during installation). This will enhance the performance (speed) of the program.

Shear Wall Coupling Beam Design

Partition Loads as Unreducible Live Loads

Note that some Codes may explicitly require that Partition Loads be treated as unreducible. Furthermore, for designs based on the IBC it is commonly interpreted that way; however a clarification from the International Code Council  regarding the IBC indicates that the Partition Load can be reduced when the Live Load is reducible:

Q1: Section 1607.5 explicitly defines Partition Loads as Live Loads. Section 1607.9 defines the Live Load Reduction rules, with reference to loads listed in Table 1607.1. Partition loads are not listed in Table 1607.1. Must Partition Live Loads be treated as Unreduced Live Load in all cases, or can they simply be included with the other Live Loads and reduced according to the applicable Live Load Reduction rules for the Live Load assigned to that area?

A1: The partition load, for partitions that are readily relocated, are considered a uniformly distributed live load and may be included with the uniformly distributed live load from Table 1607.1.
The weight of any built-in partitions should be considered a dead load in accordance with the definition in Section 1602. Buildings where partitions are readily relocated must include a live load of 15 psf (0.74 kN/m2) if the uniform floor live load is 80 psf (3.83 kN/m2) or less. This partition allowance is included under live loads because of its variable nature.

For further clarification the following exchange took place:

Q: Your response “… and may be included with the uniformly distributed live load from Table 1607.1” seems to infer that they can be combined and reduced with those loads, but doesn’t clearly state that they can be reduced. Am I interpreting your response correctly, in that the partition loads can be combined with the distributed live load from Table 1607.1, and then reduced as allowed for that live load?
A: Yes.

Note the following disclaimer that accompanied these responses from ICC. Engineering judgment should be used, and the final resolution is at the discretion of the building official.

This opinion is based on the information which you have provided.  We have made no independent effort to verify the accuracy of this information nor have we conducted a review beyond the scope of your question.  As this opinion is only advisory, the final decision is the responsibility of the designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code.

Thus based on this interpretation, under the IBC the Partition Loads can merely be included with the Live Load if desired and do not need to be specified separately. The user now has the option to have Partition Loads treated either way by the program, either reduced as part of the reducible Live Load (by including it with the Live Load) or as a distinct unreducible Live Load (by specifying it as a Partition load).


Eurocode EC 3 Steel and EC 4 Composite

Chinese Code

RAM Frame

RAM Concrete

UK Deck Table

Westok Cellular Beams

3D Graphics

Menu Icons

Error Corrections

Some program errors have been identified in V14.02.x and corrected for Version 14.03. Corrections made to graphics, reports, Modeler functions, program crashes, etc that were considered minor are not listed here. The noteworthy error corrections are listed here in order to notify you that they have been corrected or to assist you in determining the impact of those errors on previous designs. These errors were generally obscure and uncommon, affecting only a very small percentage of models, or had no impact on the results. The errors, when they occurred, were generally quite obvious. However, if there is any question, it may be advisable to reanalyze previous models to determine the impact, if any. In each case the error only occurred for the precise conditions indicated. Those errors that may have resulted in un-conservative designs are shown with an asterisk. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


ADD COLUMN: The Parallel/Perpendicular to X / Radial Grids options in Add Column were backwards for radial grids.
Effect: When adding a column to a radial grid intersection, “Parallel to” performed the function of “Perpendicular to”, and vice versa.

Framing Tables

POINT LOADS ON WALLS*: User-specified gravity point loads applied direct to the wall end may not have been accounted for properly. In some cases they were applied twice, in other case they were not applied.
Effect: Potentially incorrect wall loads.

RAM Steel Beam

 DEFLECTION CRITERIA*: Deflection criteria other than the first "Default" criteria that were added using RAM Defaults Utility would not be assigned correctly to beams. They would be ignored and the Default criteria would be used. This error would not happen if the deflection criteria had been added or modified in the Steel Beam program before being assigned, it would only occur if the deflection criteria had previously been created using the RAM Defaults Utility.
Effect: Beams may have been designed to the “Default” deflection criteria rather than the assigned criteria.

CAMBER*: Cambering for composite Smartbeams and Westok Cellular beams were based on deflection values not amplified for shear effects. The deflection calculations were correct but the recommended camber was incorrect:
Effect: Camber for composite Smartbeams and Westok Cellular beams may have been less than desired.

RAM Steel Column

THIN-WALLED HSS: Slender HSS sections were classified incorrectly when designing per AISC 360-05 resulting in incorrect moment capacities.
Effect: Conservative moment capacity values where used in design for HSS sections.

TAKE OFF REPORT: Improper listing of HSS shapes in Take Off report.
Effect: HSS shapes were incorrectly listed under W shapes in the Take Off report.

AISC 360-05 COLUMN SUMMARY HEADER: The column summary header for both AISC 360-05 LRFD and ASD displayed Pu, Mux, and Muy.
Effect: Report error only. The AISC 360-05 ASD code displayed an incorrect header in the column summary report.

COLUMN AXIAL DEAD LOAD*: If two or more columns framed down onto a column (as could only occur if one or more of those columns were sloping columns), the axial Dead Load in that supporting column did not include the self-weight of the sloping columns.
Effect: The supporting column design did not include the column self-weight from the sloping column lines above. Note that the axial Dead Load from those sloping columns was correctly applied to the supporting column; only the self-weight was missing.

SLOPING COLUMNS*: The eccentricity used in calculating the unbalanced moments may have been incorrect, it may have been based on an incorrect slope angle.
Effect: Potentially incorrect unbalanced moments used in design. The amount of error will generally only have a minor impact, if any, on the column design.

RAM Frame – Analysis

NODAL LOADS ON PSEUDO-FLEXIBLE DIAPHRAGM*: When the diaphragm at a level was specified as Pseudo-Flexible, nodal loads on nodes that were located outside of the diaphragm were not included in the analysis even though they were on a frame.
Effect: Loads on such nodes were not included in analysis.

DISPLAYED FRAME STORY SHEARS*: The frame story shears displayed were incorrect if there were frame members were outside of a diaphragm; their shear was not included in the story shear values displayed.
Effect: The reports and analysis results were correct. This error only affected the displayed values.

DUPLICATE LINE AND POINT LOADS*: If a floor layout had both one-way and two-decks, user-specified line and point loads on Frame members supporting one-way deck were applied to those Frame members twice.
Effect: Only for the condition indicated, user-specified line and point loads were applied to Frame members twice. This did not affect tributary loads, only user specified line and point loads.

TRANSFER COLUMN LOADS *: Transfer column loads on two-way deck were not applied or incorrectly applied to the two-way deck.
Effect: Member forces may have been incorrect in models with transfer columns supported by two-way deck. This error did not occur if the transfer column was supported by a girder or wall.

DEAD LOAD ON FRAMES*: If a model had stack of walls sitting on a lateral beam which was supported by lateral columns then the lateral columns would have incorrect loads applied on them, the wall self-weight was incorrectly duplicated.
Effect: The member forces may have been incorrect in such a case.

SELF-WEIGHT AND MASS FOR SMARTBEAMS AND WESTOK BEAMS*: Self-weight and mass from Smartbeams and Westok Cellular beams were not included in gravity load values used in notional loads or in the diaphragm mass calculations.
Effect: Analysis results for static load case (notional loads) and dynamic load case (Eigenvalue) did not include self-weight and mass contributed by Smartbeams and Westok beams.

STUB CANTILEVER ON LATERAL COLUMN: If a Frame column had both a knee brace framing in along its height and a gravity stub cantilever framing in at the top, the stub cantilever moments were being applied to the column twice.
Effect: Extra gravity moments applied to the Frame column for the condition indicated. The error did not occur if there was no knee brace or no stub cantilever, only if both occurred.

RAM Frame – Steel Standard Provisions

TEE CAPACITY PER AISC 360-05: The axial capacity of Tees in braces in compression was calculated incorrectly per AISC 360-05 ASD and LRFD. There was an error in the calculation of yo used in Eq (E4-7) and Eq (E4-8).
Effect: Incorrect value for Fcr and, hence, Pn was calculated. The results were conservative.

THIN-WALLED HSS: Slender HSS sections were classified incorrectly when designing per AISC 360-05 resulting in incorrect moment capacities.
Effect: Conservative moment capacity values where used in design for HSS sections.

RAM Concrete – Analysis

TRANSFER POINT AND LINE LOADS*: Any user point or line loads applied to transfer walls sitting on two way decks were incorrectly applied (duplicated) in the analysis.
Effect: The member forces may have been incorrect when walls were supported directly on the slab.

TRANSFER POINT LOADS *: Any user point loads applied to transfer columns sitting on two way decks were not applied in the analysis.
Effect: The member forces may have been incorrect when columns were supported directly on the slab.

RAM Concrete – Beam

BEAM DESIGN: The provided moment capacity for beam designs according to EN1992 (EC2), was reported as 0 in reports. The provided moment envelope did not appear in the V/U dialog.
Effect: Report error only, the design was correct.

BEAM DESIGN: Longitudinal reinforcement was not curtailed effectively along spans of beams designed to EN1992 (EC2).
Effect: More reinforcement than necessary may have been called out.

RAM Concrete – Shear Wall

AUSTRALIA AS3600: When using the Australia design code (AS 3600), in View/Update and in the Section Cut Design Summary reports, the listed values for major axis shear capacity and the minor axis shear capacity were inverted.
Effect: Report error only, the design was correct.

AUSTRALIA AS3600*: When using the Australia design code (AS 3600), in the Section Cut Design Summary, the Minimum Horizontal Reinforcement Ratio limit was always shown as 0, even when walls were longer than 2500mm.
Effect: The code requirement for minimum horizontal reinforcement for walls longer than 2500mm was not imposed.