RAM Structural System Outline Tutorial


The RAM Structural System can be used to design nearly every structural component of a building structure, from the foundations to the gravity beams and columns to the lateral framing system. This tutorial provides you with step-by-step instructions for using the RAM Structural System. Every attempt has been made to create a tutorial that addresses the many different uses of the program, but some features are still not covered. Refer to the on-line documentation for each of the program design modules for more complete information. The tutorial includes a chapter for each design module. If you do not own licenses for all of the modules, or if you do not wish to perform every chapter, then you can skip sections that do not apply. If you do not wish to model the structure from scratch, a completed model has been included in the installation. Just open the file called RAMTutorial_v14_US.rss in the default Data directory and skip to the design chapter that you are interested in.
Throughout this tutorial, action items are made in bulleted lists. References to menu commands are made in bold text and a hyphen between words indicates a sub-menu selection. For example:

Means to click on the "File" menu at the top of the screen and from the sub- menu items pick "New". When you are expected to type specific the words in a particular edit box the instructions are written in courier font as follows:

The term "Click" is used to indicate a single left-click with the mouse and "Fence" is another way of saying hold the left mouse down while you window an area. It should be noted that nearly every menu command that is available in the program is also available as a toolbar icon. These buttons allow you to access the various commands more rapidly, saving time. To guide you, each button is equipped with a pop-up tool tip indicating its function that will appear when you position the cursor over the icon.
The tutorial is written for use with both the English (Imperial) and SI systems of units. When input is required the English value will be given followed by an SI equivalent in parenthesis. For the English units model the IBC 2006, AISC 360-05 LRFD and ACI 318-08 codes are implemented. For the SI model, the latest British codes are used.

RAM Structural System Outline

The RAM Structural System is an assembly of several distinct modules. These individual modules each provide different capabilities and functionality to the RAM Structural System. The RAM Structural System is comprised of up to eight modules, all of which are described below:

RAM Manager

The RAM Manager is the hub through which all of the RAM Structural System design modules are activated. Using the RAM Manager you will create or open your structural model and establish your global criteria (such as units). Some of the output generated by the other modules can also be printed from the RAM Manager. Whenever you open one of the design modules, the RAM model or database is locked until you close that module and return to the RAM Manager. Traffic signals in the center of the RAM Manager screen indicate the status of the current model.

3-D viewer

The 3-D viewer is a program that can be launched directly from RAM Manager or from RAM Modeler once a file has been opened. It allows you to view the entire structure in 3D with a variety of view controls. Some of the design modules (e.g. RAM Steel Column and RAM Concrete) have been incorporated into an interface that is identical in appearance to the 3-D viewer. No software license is required to view the model in 3-D.

RAM Modeler

The RAM Modeler is used in the creation and modification of all RAM Structural System models. Modeling a structure from scratch is done by defining the floors or levels and then specifying the floor-to-floor heights in the story data. The program is set up for the layout of building structures but with a little ingenuity other types of structures can also be modeled.

RAM Steel Beam Design

This module is a powerful tool to perform a rapid, interactive, design of all your steel gravity beams using a variety of steel design codes. The program optimizes steel composite and noncomposite beams, open web steel joists and SmartbeamsTM. Tributary loads for each member are automatically calculated by the program based on the geometry of the members and the decking. Only the gravity loads applied to one-way decking are used as design loads. The program can also be used to evaluate user selected members.

RAM Steel Column Design

This module designs of all your steel gravity columns and base plates. Tributary loading, including the effects of pattern loading is automated and the columns are checked not only for axial loading but for the effects of connection eccentricity as well. With the addition of sloping columns to the modeler the RAM Steel Column program automatically divides the vertical gravity loads based on vertical angles and designs all columns based upon column line dependencies. The Steel Column module and the Steel Beam module are always licensed together and are sometimes referred to simply as RAM Steel. The steel column design loads are the contribution from the loads in the one-way decking areas only

RAM Frame

This module provides an interactive lateral analysis of the structure with braced frames, moment frames or shear walls in any material. It is further subdivided into sub-modules which are licensed separately. These include the Steel Standard Provisions mode and the Steel Seismic Provisions mode for aiding in the design of steel lateral systems as well as the Drift Control mode for performing a Virtual Work analysis of the structure to determine the hardest working components of any system. A special interface for reviewing shear wall forces in more detail referred to as the Shear Wall module can be launched from the RAM Frame as well.

RAM Concrete

This module focuses on the analysis and design of one and two-way concrete framing systems. It can design all of the gravity resisting concrete beams and columns as well as concrete moment frames when used in conjunction with RAM Frame. The exact loading of each member is automatically calculated through finite element analysis with options for patterning the live load and retrieving lateral forces from RAM Frame. Similar to RAM Frame, the RAM Concrete design module is broken up into separate modes for Concrete Analysis, Concrete Beam design, Concrete Column design and Concrete Shearwall design. When designing flat slab structures (post-tensioned or conventional reinforcing), you can also import the concrete column reactions from a RAM Concept file and use those forces in the Concrete Column design.

RAM Foundation

This module performs an interactive design of concrete spread footings, continuous footings and pile cap foundations. Loads are automatically calculated based on the results of the gravity and lateral analysis. RAM Foundation requires at least one of the analysis modules above (RAM Steel, RAM Frame or RAM Concrete).


Links with Other Programs

In addition to the design modules outlined above, RAM Structural System models can also link with other programs. Here's a list of the available external links to RAM International software from Bentley:

Additionally, there is a two-way link between the RAM Structural System and Bentley AECOsim Building Designer, a powerful BIM program. Models can be created or modified in either, and passed back and forth to the other.
There is a similar link with Autodesk Revit™.