QuickMasonry 2.0 is a newly upgraded design tool from IES Inc. that automates tedious masonry design calculations, while preserving the engineer's feel for how the process has been performed. It displays all equations and related sketches for the user to review, and generates high quality reports to document the design.
The benefits of using software to automate design calculations are well established. The most obvious is time – the computer can plow through the math much faster than even the sharpest engineer. Time is also saved with the automated production of a properly scaled and dimensioned sketch of the final design. A related advantage is the ability to try several alternative designs before settling on a final configuration.
The biggest area of concern with software usage for many engineers is the uneasiness that comes with becoming “out of touch” with the design calculations when they are turned over to a machine. Without having run the numbers manually, it is more difficult to feel confident that the process was performed correctly. QuickMasonry was designed with particular emphasis on this issue.
The on-screen and printed output displays dozens of formulas, to-scale drawings, and force diagrams detailing exactly how the design checks were performed, with every equation and sketch being specific to the current project. This detailed information allows the user to get up to speed with the software's methodology much faster than reading generalized design procedures out of a user's guide.
Using software also reduces human error. Although software results should always be scrutinized to ensure confidence in the output, once this comfort level has been established the user can be confident that the routine will be performed the same every time, leaving no room for variability or error that can occur with manual hand calculations.
Couple these factors with professional-looking reports, including a concise summary and properly scaled, fully dimensioned drawings of all components and reinforcement, and the software makes a compelling case for being a viable option to hand calculations or spreadsheets.
QuickMasonry is easy to learn, and the design process is a relatively simple five-step approach. Each step takes place on its own dedicated input screen.
1)Choose component type
The user chooses from a menu which lists the five basic component types to design. The software handles bearing/panel walls (out of plane loads), shear walls, lintels, columns, and pilasters. Walls and pilasters are either reinforced or unreinforced.
2)Enter basic criteria
Before starting the design, the program has to know which edition of the MSJC code is to be used (2002 or 2005), whether to use strength design or stress design, load combination options, and what particular assumptions will be made during design (whether to include self-weight, arching action, and other options). This step is also where the choice is made between clay and concrete masonry.
Each component type can handle a specific set of load inputs. Many options exist for how the loads are applied, including applying loads at different locations. Many loads can be specified as either distributed or point force resultants. The program calculates the critical design forces based on these loads.