RAM SS V15.00 Release Notes

RAM Structural System CONNECT Edition Release 15.00

Release Notes


Release Date: September 30, 2015


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.



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 15.0 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.


Installation Instructions:

This version can be found on the Software Downloads web page:

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.



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.



All of Bentley’s CONNECT Edition programs, including the RAM Structural System, allow models to be associated with a project. Multiple models, from any of the Bentley products, can be associated with a given project. This simplifies the process of keeping track of work done for a project, and in the future will enable analytics to be performed and reported for the project.


A new Project Portal enables you and your project teams to see project details required to evaluate team activity and understand project performance.


When a model is first created or opened in this version the program will ask for a Project to which the file is to be associated. Projects can be registered (created) from your CONNECTION Center, selecting the + New command next to the Recent Projects list. Also, refer to Chapter 4 of the RAM Manager manual on information on registering projects and associating models with a project.

See the wiki Bentley CONNECT Overview for a more complete description of Bentley CONNECT and Bentley Cloud Services. There are important instructions on registering user, creating projects, and associating models with projects.



When you sign in to your Bentley account you now have easy access to your CONNECTION Center. The CONNECTION Center gives you easy access to Usage reports, site configuration information, downloads, and Learning information on webinars, seminars and events, and includes a transcript listing the Bentley courses that you have completed. Your CONNECTION Center also lists your recent projects with a portal into analytics on that project. Your CONNECTION Center can be accessed by selecting the Sign In command in the upper right corner of the RAM Manager.


If you do not already have a Bentley ID, go to www.bentley.com/profile and select the Sign Up Now link.


Eigenvalue Analysis

A new option for performing the Eigenvalue analysis (periods and modes) has been added, Lanczos Eigenvalue solver. The new solver has some remarkable advantages over the other two solutions: the new solver is much faster than other two solutions (i.e., subspace iteration and Ritz vectors solution) and it consumes significantly less memory and it is a very robust solution (the Lanczos implementation is an open source code developed by Rice University and widely used in academia and in industry).


ACI Beam Design Bar Selection

If the optimized number of longitudinal bars for beam capacity are not sufficient to accommodate all of the vertical shear bars the program will reduce the longitudinal bar sizes and add bars sufficient to accommodate all of the shear bars. When Analyzing user-specified bars in View/Update, if there are insufficient longitudinal bars for the number of shear bars the program will warn the user. The user can then either proceed as is or add additional bars.


CAN/CSA A23.3 Beam Skip Loading

When beams are designed per CAN/CSA A23.3, live loads are now skip loaded (pattern loaded).


Shear Reinforcement

For CAN/CSA A23.3 and BS 8110 the shear reinforcement design, including bar sizes and spacing, hooks, and shear zones can be modified and analyzed in the View/Update dialog.


Concrete Beam DXF

The sections in the concrete beam DXF file now show the correct link type and the correct number of legs with appropriate hooks.



A significant number of enhancements and improvements were made to the ISM capabilities that all models to be shared with Bentley’s BIM software AECOsim Building Designer, analysis and design software such as STAAD, and detailing software ProStructures. Together with the recently updated ISM Revit Plugin the interoperability with Autodesk’s Revit has also been enhanced. Some of these enhancements are listed below:














Steel Beam View/Update

If a beam has been assigned to be noncomposite but it supports composite deck, the View/Update command now allows that beam to be investigated and designed as a Composite beam. Previously, if a beam had been designed as a noncomposite beam the View/Update command would not allow that beam to be reconsidered as a composite beam.



5/16 inch or 8mm diameter stud sizes can now be specified in the Deck/Slab Property Information dialog box for the Composite Floor System.


Composite Beams with Zero Studs

In some cases beams that have been assigned to be composite cannot accommodate sufficient numbers of studs to be composite, in that case the number of studs reverts to 0 and the beam is designed as a noncomposite beam. Previously when checking deflection for the Live Load case the program used the deflection criteria designated for composite beams (since the beam was designated to be a composite beam). This has been changed so that in this case the program now uses the deflection criteria designated for noncomposite beams (since the beam is being designed as a noncomposite beam). This will make the design consistent with the design as if it had originally been designed as a noncomposite beam.



The table of shapes for the SidePlate connection has been updated. Several sizes have been added, especially some of the heavier I-shapes. Some design parameters for some sizes have also been modified in accordance with the latest research. These changes will result in even more economical designs.


Metric I-shapes and British UB, UC, UBK and UCK shapes have been added. Members with the SidePlate connection can now be designed using BS 5950.


The SidePlate connection can be used with columns using square and rectangular HSS shapes. Those shapes are now available in the SidePlate table.


Load Combination Generators

When generating load combinations there is now a SelectAll and a DeselectAll button to select and deselect all of the load cases (so that they don’t all have to be done individually).


Load Combination Defaults

In some cases the default values used by the program in the Load Combination generators were ‘valid’ values but not necessarily the correct values for a given project. Users sometimes inadvertently used those values, failing to input the correct values, and the program didn’t give any warnings because the default values were within the ‘valid’ range. A change has been made to all of the IBC 2009 and IBC 2012 load combination templates such that no default value is assigned for the SDS and Omega_0 values, now requiring that the engineer explicitly specify a valid value; the program won’t generate combinations until the engineer has done so.


Previously the load combination templates had to have default values for controls of type Control 1 that fell within the acceptable range of that variable; now the load combination generator has been enhanced to recognize a default value in the templates of -99 to mean “no default”. When -99 is used in the template as the default value for a Control 1 control, no default value will be displayed in the user interface and the user must enter a value before generating combinations.


Load Cases for Reports

The Reports – Select Cases command in RAM Frame now has a SelectAll and an UnselectAll button to select and unselect all of the load cases that are to be included in the various reports (so that they don’t all have to be selected or unselected individually).


Foundation Soil Wizard

If a table of allowable soil pressures is created using the Formula option in the Soil Wizard, the Formula can now be subsequently edited using the View/Edit Formula button in the Soil Table dialog, and the new table of allowable pressures created. Previously the values in the table itself could be edited but the formula used to create the table could not.


Data Echo Report

Partition Load values have been added to the Echo of Input Data report.


Reduced Beam Section Data

The Member Forces report, Member Code Check report, and Seismic Provisions Member Code Check report have been updated to include the dimensional information – a, b, and c – of the RBS cuts.


Error Corrections:

Some program errors have been corrected for Version 15.0. 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.



FOUNDATION LOAD SUMMARY REPORT: When the Foundation Load Summary report was sent to a text file there was a formatting error that caused some of the Frame Column Loads data to be misaligned. This error was obvious when the file was opened in Excel, and made it difficult to use the data without first fixing the problem within Excel.

Effect: The printed report was correctly formatted, but the text file was not, resulting in some columns of data not aligning properly.


Framing Tables – Gravity Loads

DUPLICATE LOAD ON BEAMS/WALLS: If a beam or wall was spanning from one diaphragm to another on a floor layout that had both a diaphragm with a one-way deck and a diaphragm with a two-way slab, its applied loads were duplicated.

Effect: For this unusual configuration, the applied line and self-weight loads were doubled.

RAM Steel Beam

EUROCODE TRANSVERSE REINFORCING: In the Transverse Reinforcing design per Eurocode, when the deck was parallel to the beam and the number of studs required that there be more than a single row of studs on the beam, the calculation of the Total Longitudinal v was incorrect, resulting in an incorrect value of vEd used in the comparison with the Limit for crushing of concrete.

Effect: When the deck was parallel with the beam and there were multiple rows of studs, the value calculated for vEd was conservative, and may have resulted in beams erroneously being reported as failing the Limit for crushing of concrete.


VIEW/UPDATE - OPTIMIZE: Optimized beam sizes determined through the View/Update dialog occasionally did not match the optimized size from a Design All process.

Effect: Although optimized beam designs determined via the Design All process were correct, there were optimized designs determined via the View Update dialog box that resulted in designs not consistent with designs from the Design All process. The optimized View Update designs were not consistent because the selected size was from a subset of sizes only made available if the beam had web penetrations. Where web penetrations exist, the Design All and View Update optimized sizes were consistent.


RAM Steel Column

MULTISTORY COLUMN DESIGN MOMENTS*: The design moments applied to columns in a multistory column with primary axes orientations differing from the orientation of the columns at the braced story locations were incorrect.

Effect: When an intermediate column in a multistory column stack had an orientation that differed from the topmost or bottommost columns in the stack where moments were applied, incorrect design moments were applied to the intermediate columns. Intermediate columns within the stack aligned with the primary axes of the columns at the braced stories were designed correctly.


UNBRACED COLUMN MOMENT SPLIT*: An incorrect moment split factor was applied to story moments when the column was unbraced at the story.

Effect: Although correct moment split factors were applied to columns at braced stories, incorrect split factors were applied to columns at unbraced stories resulting in incorrect design moments for the columns.


COLUMNS WITH STUB CANTILEVERS: The design moment for multi-story unbraced columns supporting stub cantilever moments were incorrect (conservative).

Effect: The design moment for multi-story unbraced columns supporting stub cantilevers at intermediate stories was incorrect. Optimized column sizes may have been larger than necessary.


ECCENTRIC BEAM REACTIONS*: Moments from eccentric beam reactions were ignored for braced columns with a user override assignment that rendered the column unbraced.

Effect: If the user assigned a column to be unbraced at a level where beams framed in, any moments from the connection eccentricity of those beams were ignored in the design of the column.


RAM Frame – Analysis

MISSING LOADS FOR MERGE LOAD CASE*: Merged load cases were not correctly applied if the following conditions occurred in a model: the model included one or more Semirigid diaphragms and the merged case was composed of a User-defined diaphragm wind load case and a Nodal wind load case.

Effect: Loads from the User-defined wind loads were not included in the analysis of the merged load case. The error did not occur if the diaphragms were not Semirigid nor if the merged load case was composed of a generated wind load case rather than a User-specified wind load case.


OFFSET LATERAL BEAM*: If a lateral beam with an offset was sharing its offset with another beam then the supporting column reaction was reduced by one of the beam's gravity reaction.

Effect: The smaller load may have resulted in unconservative design/forces in the uncommon condition described above.


BUCKLING RESTRAINED BRACE STIFFNESS FOR LATERAL LOAD CASES*: When the option to exclude BRB stiffness for gravity cases was selected, the option to reduce stiffness per the Direct Analysis Method of AISC 360 was ignored for the BRBs if gravity and lateral cases were analyzed at the same time. The error shown itself when all these conditions were met: model includes BRB member; both lateral and gravity cases were run together; steel member axial stiffness to be reduced as per AISC 360; and the option "Exclude BRB from Gravity Load Case" was selected in the Criteria – General command.

Effect: Member stiffnesses were not reduced resulting in incorrect member forces for lateral load cases.


HYBRID DIAHRAGM DEAD LOAD*: In some cases, when diaphragms had both one-way and two-way decks, the calculated dead loads on the two-way decks may have been off by the self-weight of the beams.

Effect: The applied loads on members under two-way decks were unconservative in some situations and were off by supported members’ cumulative self-weight. The loads were conservative in situations where beams under two-way deck were Gravity beams.


DISCONNECTED NODES: If the user disconnected nodes manually from the diaphragm and then changed the story height, the program lost the disconnected node information and reset them to default.

Effect: User disconnection information was lost after story height was changed.


RAM Frame – Steel Standard Provisions

CODE CHECK SUMMARY: The member code check summary report did not correctly indicate "Shear" as the controlling interaction when shear controlled.

Effect: Although member code checks were correct, the summary report did not indicate "Shear" as the controlling interaction when shear governed the code check.


SUMMARY REPORT: Correctly reported Summary Report "Interaction" error note did not match the design interaction reported in the View Update dialog nor the Design report.

Effect: When code checks could not be performed due to limitations in calculating parameters such as B1, the View Update dialog and Reports erroneously displayed the last valid interaction from evaluated load combinations and failed to display the encountered error in the determination of some design parameters. The Summary Report however correctly indicated the error encountered.


USER ASSIGNED COLUMN K-FACTOR: User assigned K-Factors were not correctly applied during column code checks for the Canadian S16 codes.

Effect: Columns with a user specified K-Factor were not correctly designed to account for the specified K-Factor in the CAN S16-01 and CAN S16-09 codes. K-Factors assigned in all other codes were correctly applied during code checks.


RAM Frame – Steel Seismic Provisions

AISC 341-10 OCBF BRACE REPORT: The reported governing load combination numbers for Tension and Compression for OCBF Braces designed under the AISC 341-10 were not correct.

Effect: Report error only, no impact on design. The code checks for OCBF Braces designed under the AISC 341-10 code were correct, but the reported governing load combination numbers for Tension and Compression were incorrect.


COLUMN SPLICE SHEAR STRENGTH*: The reported column splice shear strength for all Braced Frames, Ordinary Moment Frames, OCCS and SCCS columns code checked using AISC 341-10 were incorrect.

Effect: Although all other code checks were correct, the reported column splice strength required was higher by a factor of Ry for all Braced Frames, OMF, OCCS and SCCS columns under the AISC 341-10 code.


EBF LOAD COMBINATIONS: When checking section 15.6a or F3.5a for EBF braces, the code check investigated all the Steel-Standard Provisions load combinations rather than only the selected combinations in the list of load combinations.

Effect: Although the code checks per section 15.6a or F3.5a were correct, the set of load combinations evaluated should have been restricted to those selected by the user in the load combination dialog box.


ISM / Structural Synchronizer

Several errors were corrected in the ISM capabilities when creating or updating ISM repositories from the RAM Structural System model or when creating or updating RAM Structural System models from an ISM repository. These included conditions that caused the members to import or export incorrectly or caused the program to crash. As a result, the interoperability capabilities are much more robust than in previous versions. Some of the more common error corrections are described below.


SPLITTING WALLS AT INTERSECTIONS: When importing a model containing two walls that intersect to form a tee the wall that forms the “flange” must be split into two wall segments in order for the program to perform the analysis. This wasn’t always being done, in some cases the wall was not getting split.

Effect: Walls were sometimes getting imported with configurations that could not be analyzed by the program.


WEB OPENINGS: When creating a repository for a model that used typical layout types, web openings in gravity beams were only exported for the beams in the top-most occurrence of that layout type, not for the beams at the other levels using that same layout type.

Effect: Only the openings in the beams at one level were exported.


STUDS ON BEAMS WITH USER-SPECIFIED SIZES: When creating or updating a repository, the studs on beams with user-specified sizes where not exported.

Effect: The studs for beams with user-specified sizes were missing from the repository.


LOAD RESISTANCE: The Load Resistance property for elements in the repository were not getting properly updated if the member was previously defined as Frame member but then consequently was redefined to be a Gravity member.

The element in the repository was still identified as Gravity and Lateral. The member end fixities did get updated correctly, however; they were changed from Fixed to Pinned.


CAMBER: If a change in the model results in a change in the value of camber, the camber value was not updated when the repository was updated.

Effect: Potentially old values of camber were attributed to beams in the repository.


GRID SYSTEMS: When a repository was imported into RAM the grids were frequently not assigned to the layouts.

Effect: Layouts were missing their associated grid systems, and those grids had to be assigned by the user in the Modeler.