RAM SS v17.03.01 Release Notes

RAM Structural System CONNECT Edition Version 17.03.01 SES

Release Notes

Release Date: March 18, 2022

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.

This is a minor release, correcting some issues that affected some users of v17.03. The Release Notes for that version contain important information not included here in these abbreviated Release Notes. They can be found at:


Installation Instructions:

If you have enabled the CONNECTION Client you will automatically be notified of the newest version and will be able to update through that service by simply selecting the update command. Otherwise, this version can be found on the Bentley Software Fulfilment web page by logging into CONNECT Center and selecting the Software Downloads icon. Search for “RAM Structural System” and select the latest version.

Important Notices:  

Models created in this version are compatible with models created in v17.03; no conversion is necessary. This version 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. 

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.

No changes were made to the Manuals for this version. 

Security Risk Advisory:

Not applicable to this release. Every effort is made to ensure that there are no security risks in the software. There are no known security issues, no issues were addressed in this version.

New Features and Enhancements:

Panel Zone

This feature was announced as part of v17.03, but last-minute changes to the program inadvertently disabled the feature. This has now been fixed in this release.

Explicit panel zone elements can be assigned to the beam-column joints in RAM Frame using the Assign – Columns – Panel Zone command. This is applicable to joints of steel, concrete, or any material members. The panel zone stiffness can be either assigned a specific value, or in the case of steel framing it can be automatically calculated (see the RAM Frame Manual for details). With HSS columns the panel zone stiffness can be calculated in the strong and weak axes. This panel zone element provides a more accurate analytical model, rather than trying to approximate the influence of the panel zone through the use of Rigid End Zones. Typically, Rigid End Zones should not be specified when panel zone elements are assigned.

Connection Check Tables

The Reports – Connection Check command allows the engineer to create a table indicating the shear capacity of the typical gravity beam connections, with which the program then reports any beams for which the beam reaction is greater than the capacity listed in the table. Two enhancements have been made to that feature:

Note that the order is important. For example, if "W12" was listed before "W12X14", all W12s -- even the W12X14s -- would use the value listed for "W12"; the value subsequently listed for "W12X14" would be ignored. Also be aware that if an entry is made for "W4" and then subsequently an entry is made for "W40" and/or "W44", all W40s and W44s will be checked against the value listed for "W4" since that is the first entry that matched a portion of the member label. Instead of listing "W4", list "W4X".

This has now been enhanced, the order is not important. The program will attempt to find an exact match between the beam size and the connection table entries first, and if one is not found, then it will check for a partial match. For example, if the connection table includes both “W10” and “W10X30”, a W10X30 in the model will use the connection capacity value for W10X30, and the other W10 shapes will use the value for “W10”, regardless of the order of “W10” versus “W10X30”.

Seismic Provisions Panel-Zone Web Doubler Plates

For the joint checks in the Steel Seismic Provisions module the program determines if web doubler plates are required for strength per AISC 341-16 Section E3.6e(1), and if so determines and calls out the thickness required. The program also checks the minimum thickness of the panel-zone per Section E3.6e(2), but previously it merely reported whether or not the web and doubler plate thickness determined for strength was adequate for that minimum thickness check; if it wasn’t, the joint was reported as failing. The engineer then had to manually determine the doubler plate thickness that would satisfy Section E3.6e(2). This has been enhanced; if the web and doubler plate thickness determined for strength is inadequate for the minimum thickness requirement of Section E3.6e(2), the program now determines and reports the doubler plate thickness required to satisfy that section, and then reports the joint as passing.

Error Corrections:

Some program errors have been corrected for this version. 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 know these errors are disruptive, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.


COMBINED LOADS IN LOADS REPORT: If the option to Combine Beam Loads is selected in the Criteria – Member Loads command in the Manager, the program combines, when possible, similar line and point loads in the Gravity Beam Loads report, in order to minimize the length of the report. However, if the option to automatically calculate and include beam self-weight was also selected, the Point Loads were not getting combined.

Effect: Report error only, each Point Load was being listed separately even when they could have been combined.


SLAB EDGES AND SLAB OPENINGS: The Layout – Slab – Slab Edge Whole Perimeter command sometimes failed to detect the perimeter correctly, and the Layout – Slab – Slab Openings In Bay command sometimes failed to detect the bay correctly.

Effect: Slab edges and slab openings were incorrectly modeled using those commands. This error was obvious when it occurred.

Steel Beam

ABSOLUTE DEFLECTION LIMITS WARNINGS*: Deflection limit failure warnings were not given in View/Update and during Design All if a composite beam failed a user-specified "delta" deflection limit for the precomposite Construction Dead Load deflection case, or if a noncomposite beam failed a user-specified "delta" deflection limit for the Dead Load or Live Load deflection cases.

Effect: Failures to satisfy the "L/d" deflection limits were always correctly reported, and Reports, Design Color display, and View/Update Demand/Capacity Ratio all correctly indicated when the beam failed either the "L/d" or "delta" deflection limits, but on-screen failure warning messages were not displayed when analyzing a user-specified beam size when the beam failed the "delta" deflection limit for the precomposite Construction Dead Load deflection case for composite beams, or for the Dead Load or Live Load deflection cases for noncomposite beams.

DESIGN ALL CRASH: In models with both beams and walls where self-weight was considered, Design All crashed.

Effect: The design couldn’t be run when self-weight was considered.

L/D LIMIT REPORTING: When a user assigned a Demand/Capacity Limit for Deflection other than 1.0 with the Criteria – Demand/Capacity Limits command, the reporting of the limits was confusing, with the L/D value factored by the user-assigned limit which was then compared with the L/D limits specified in the Criteria – Deflection Criteria command.

Effect: Although the design was correct, the reporting of the deflection results was confusing. Now the program doesn’t adjust any of the reported values, it compares the reported Ratio (of the actual D/L and the user-specified limit on D/L) with the user-specified limit on the Ratio, and indicates if that limit is exceeded.

SHOW MEMBER LENGTHS - PROJECTED: The Options – Show Member Lengths – Projected command displayed the actual length, not the projected length.

Effect: For sloping framing the wrong value (the actual length) was displayed. Both the Options – Show Member Lengths – Projected and the Options – Show Member Lengths – Actual commands showed the same values, the actual length.

EUROCODE DESIGN FY*: Except I-shapes, Channels, and Rectangular and Square HSS sections, the Design fy for sections determined according to Eurocode and Eurocode UK NA may have been incorrect.

Effect: Potentially all shapes with thick sections except W, C and HSS were affected by the Design fy determined by the program. In some instances of thick sections, a value of Nominal fy, rather than the reduced Design fy, was used for design.

COMBINED LOADS IN DESIGN REPORT: If the option to Combine Beam Loads is selected in the Criteria – Member Loads command in the Manager, the program combines, when possible, similar line and point loads in the Gravity Beam Design report, in order to minimize the length of the report. However, if the option to automatically calculate and include beam self-weight was also selected, the Point Loads were not getting combined.

Effect: Report error only, each Point Load was being listed separately even when they could have been combined.

Concrete Analysis

CORRUPT MODULUS OF ELASTICITY FOR WALLS WHEN CONVERTED*: If a model created in v17.00 or earlier had a user-assigned Elastic Modulus for a concrete wall, that value was corrupted when the database was converted to v17.01 or later.

Effect: After the conversion, E contained a random value. If the random value was 0.0, the model would crash in Concrete Analysis. If the value was anything other than 0.0, that random value was used in the analysis for E. likely resulting in invalid results. Note that the error did not occur if E was calculated by the program, it only occurred if the user assigned a value.

Note: To fix models with this data corruption, E must be reassigned to walls.

Concrete Beam

ACI 318-19 SHEAR STRENGTH*: The shear strength, Vc, is given in Table Section requires that the value of Nu/6Ag in those equations not be taken as greater than 0.05f’c. However, rather than taking 0.05f’c as a maximum, the program was using that as a minimum.

Effect: Potentially significantly incorrect shear capacity was used in design for ACI 318-19.

CHINA GB 50010 CRASH: When designing per China GB 50010, the program crashed when designing Frame beams when there were seismic loads in the load combinations.

Effect: Could not design Frame beams with seismic loads.

Concrete Column

INCORRECT END MOMENTS FOR SLENDERNESS CHECKS IN MINOR AXIS*: When determining the need for the column minor axis to consider slenderness effects per ACI 318-19 Section, and in the calculation of Cm used in the magnification factor per Section,  the major axis end moments were used rather than the minor axis end moments.

Effect: Slenderness effects were incorrectly considered and the magnification factor was incorrectly calculated in the design of the column in the minor axis.

OPTIMIZATION OF TRANSVERSE REINFORCEMENT SPACING FOR SMF COLUMNS*: The maximum transverse reinforcement spacing permitted per ACI 318-19 Sec. that was calculated when doing an Optimize was calculated incorrectly, and transverse reinforcement with spacing greater than the maximum allowable may have been specified.

Effect: The optimization didn't correctly consider the maximum spacing limits per ACI 318-19 Sec. The error did not occur when Analyze was performed; the program correctly checked the spacing and gave a warning if the maximum spacing was exceeded.

TRANSVERSE REINFORCEMENT FOR SMF COLUMNS: In rare cases, an erroneous design warning was given indicating that the SMF column failed the transverse reinforcement requirements of ACI 318-19 Table

Effect: Incorrect warning message was given, referencing ACI 318-19, Table Similar error occurred in early versions of ACI 318.

EUROCODE EN 1992 SHEAR REINFORCEMENT*: For concrete columns designed under EN 1992-1-1:2004, VRd,c was compared with the design value of the applied shear force VEd considering the shear sign, rather than using the absolute value.

Effect: Negative values of VEd with magnitude greater than VRd,c resulted in an underestimation of shear reinforcement because it skipped Sec 6.2.3.

ULTIMATE SHEAR VE IN COLUMNS FOR SEISMIC PROVISIONS: When Ve  is initially calculated for ACI 318-19 Section 18.6.5 and earlier codes, the moment Mpr is correctly split between the column above and the column below, but when subsequently selecting Optimize or Analyze in the View/Update dialog, Mpr is not split between the column above and the column below, resulting in erroneous larger Ve being displayed and used in design.

Effect: In some cases the shear reinforcement shown as required for the seismic provisions may have been greater than necessary if design was performed in View/Update.

Concrete Wall

LIGHTWEIGHT FACTOR NOT CONSIDERED IN SHEAR CAPACITY*: In ACI codes, the concrete shear capacity includes a factor that considers a reduction of the mechanical properties of lightweight concrete. The program always used a value of 1.00 as for normal weight concrete for this factor. 

Effect: Unconservative shear design of lightweight concrete walls. Note that the Concrete Wall manual indicated that the factor was not include for ACI 318-19 and ACI 318-14 but did not indicate that for early versions. The lightweight concrete factor is now applied when lightweight concrete is specified.

OUT-OF-PLANE SHEAR FAILURE*: When a concrete wall is under significant tension, ACI 318-14 Section applies. When the Vc result is negative, the program limits this value to zero. However, the program failed to give a design warning.

Effect: For ACI 318-14 and earlier, the report listed a demand greater than the capacity but the program did not give a warning that this was a design failure.

Frame – Analysis

USER-DEFINED PANEL ZONE ELEMENT: The program ignored user-defined panel zone element assignment during analysis and produced an erroneous error message indicating that a special connection existed at the same location as the assigned panel element. Analysis was completed without panel zone elements being created.

Effect: The ability for the user to define panel zone elements was touted as a new capability in v17.03, but last-minute changes to the program inadvertently disabled the feature; panel zone elements could not be assigned.

INSTABILITY FOR INVERTED CHEVRON AT FOUNDATION LEVEL: When a foundation supporting inverted chevron braces had been raised using the Modify Elevation command in the Modeler, that node was not tagged as a foundation node and the program returned an instability error.

Effect: The program reported an instability error and terminated the analysis.

GRAVITY LOADS ON COLUMNS OFFSET FROM BEAMS: The program miscalculated gravity loads on Frame column if the column was offset from a beam using the Layout – Beams – Offset command in the Modeler.

Effect: Calculated load on column was greater than it should have been.

DISPLAY OF BEAM TORSION VALUES: With the Process – Results – Member Forces command, the Torsion values displayed for beams were always 0.00.

Effect: This was a display error only.

DIAPHRAGM DISCONNECTED FROM WALL*: If a gravity column was supported by a Frame wall, and the diaphragm at that location was Semirigid, the program may have incorrectly generated the mesh for the wall and the diaphragm in such a way that the diaphragm was partially or completely disconnected from the wall (i.e., some mesh nodes along the wall were correctly common between the wall and the diaphragm, but other mesh nodes along the wall were not).

Effect: Portions or all of the wall may have been detached from the diaphragm, impacting the interaction between the two, resulting in an incorrect distribution of forces.

Frame – Steel Standard Provisions

IBC/ASCE 7 DYNAMIC LOAD COMBINATIONS: When generating load combinations that included dynamic (Dyn) response spectra load cases and Snow loads (Sp) using the IBC/ ASCE 7 load combination templates, combinations of Sp + Dyn were generated with a factor of 99999.992 on Sp if the Snow Factor f2 option "Do Not Include in Combination with Seismic" was selected.

Effect: Corrupt values for load combinations that included both dynamic and snow load cases were used in design.


MULTIPLE COLUMNS ON PILE CAP: If columns are relatively closely spaced such that the column from an adjacent pile cap aligns precisely with the perimeter edge of a pile cap, the program was inconsistent in reporting the error message that multiple columns are supported by the same pile cap; sometimes the error wasn’t reported.

Effect: Inconsistent behavior. Note, however, that whether the error was reported or not, the pile caps from the two columns substantially overlapped and were not constructible as modeled.

MOMENT ON PILE CAPS SUPPORTING FRAME COLUMNS: If the option to Include Moment Due to Shear in Column for Pile Caps was selected, the additional moment in pile caps supporting Frame columns was much larger than the moment that would be generated by the shear in the column.

Effect: Design moments on those pile caps were much larger than necessary.

ACI CODE REFERENCE: Some ACI Code References in the Spread Footing Design report were incorrect or missing.

Effect: The designs were correct, but some references indicating what controlled the design were incorrect.