Answers to Technical Questions:
Data Base Editor
1. What is the latest version of the software and which Codes and Standards does the version conform to?
2. I believe there is an issue with the software and/or I have a question.
If you believe there is an issue with the software, please first check the FAQ to make sure your question isn’t already answered.
If your issue is related to keycodes or purchasing the software, please contact sales. When contacting sales, please include your software ID and the company name or individual the WoodWorks® software license is associated with.
If your question pertains to a technical issues or questions with the software, please contact support. When contacting support, please be specific about which program your issue pertains to (ie. Sizer, Shearwalls, or Connections), which version of the program you are running (examples: Shearwalls 10.2, Shearwalls 10.31, Shearwalls 10.42, etc.) and provide the file (.wwa, .wwb, .wwc, .wsw, .con) associated with the issue or question. Screen captures are helpful, but it is most important to provide the file associated with the issue. If referring to loads generated by the program or an issue with a certain wall in the model, please be as descriptive as possible (For instance “I believe there is an issue with the seismic loads under flexible diaphragm assumptions along shearline A-1”).
3. I am having trouble installing the software.
Please follow the following troubleshooting techniques for installing the software. Should your installation issue persist after completing all of these troubleshooting suggestions, please contact Software Support., be specific about which version of the software you are trying to install and provide details of what occurs when you run the installation file.
4. Is the software compatible with Windows 10 operating System?
Yes, the latest version of the software is compatible with Windows 10 operating system.
5. I am having trouble installing the software on Windows XP.
As Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, it is highly recommend that you upgrade your computer to a newer operating system. In order to install the WoodWorks® software on Windows XP, please create following folder before running the installation file: C:\Users\Public
6. Is the software compatible with an Apple operating system?
No the WoodWorks® software is not compatible with Apple Operating Systems. To run the WoodWorks® software using an Apple operating system, it must be done using the Boot Camp feature, virtual machines or some other method of running a Microsoft operating system using an Apple operating system.
7. Is the software available in French or Spanish?
The WoodWorks® software is only available in English.
8. Can the WoodWorks® software be installed on a network?
Woodworks® does not support “concurrent-use” network licensing, or monitor how many client computers are running the software at any one time. The network installation requires that a software license be purchased for each user who has access to and runs the software. A registration key code is required for each computer that the software is run on. See the online user guide or Read me files for the instructions for setting up a Network Installation
9. How can I view the New Features implemented into the software?
After every major version or service release of the software, the files at the following links are updated to include the new features information ( Canadian Edition downloads or US Edition downloads). New features can also be viewed in the WoodWorks® folder located in the Start menu or where the WoodWorks® executable files are located:
US – C:\Program Files (x86)\WoodWorks\USA
Sizer new features can be found in the file named “Sizer New Features”, Shearwalls new features can be found in the file named “Shearwalls New Features” file, and the Connections new features can be found in the file “Connections Read me”.
10. What is the difference between a major version of the software and a service release?
A major version (examples: US Design Office 10, CDN Design Office 9) of the software occurs when the software has been upgraded to a new standard or code. For example, the US Design Office 10 was upgraded to conform to the NDS 2012, IBC 2012 and ASCE 7-10. The Canadian Design Office 9 was upgraded to conform to the CSA O86-14. A major version must be purchased.
Service releases to update the software occur as needed generally to fix bugs or to make minor improvements to the software. Service releases are free. Whenever a new service release is posted on the website, an e-mail broadcast pointing users to the download location is sent to each customer or company contact from sales. Only one contact is kept on file from each company. Should a company have multiple licenses, it is the contact’s responsibility to inform the other users in the office of the service release. You can check the latest version available for each country by selecting either the Canadian Edition downloads or US Edition downloads.
11. How do I purchase the software?
To purchase the software, select “Canadian Edition” or “US Edition” from the left menu of www.woodworks-software.com. Then select “Purchasing”, and “click here”. This will bring you to the CWC webstore. Before purchasing, ensure the license agreement has been read. Pricing information can be viewed prior to purchasing by selecting “Pricing” instead of “Purchasing”.
12. How do I download the software?
13. I cannot open the online NDS or CSA standard.
To open the NDS or CSA standard through the software requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. If Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed on your computer and you are still running into issues, please contact Sales.
14. When running a model created in a previous version in Shearwalls 11, before generating the design results, Shearwalls produces a warning “Encountered an Improper Argument”.
This is a known issue with Shearwalls 11. The feature in Shearwalls version 10, “Disregard shearwall height-to-width limitations” was removed in Shearwalls 11, as it allowed for the design of light-frame wood shearwalls which did not meet the SDPWS 2015 aspect ratio requirements. To correct the issue in Shearwalls 11, go to the Settings design tab, and click “Reset Original Settings”.
15. When I try to print specific pages in Shearwall’s Results View, the wrong pages are printed.
This is a known issue with the Shearwalls program. When printing the design results, Shearwalls reduces the number of pages compared to the number of pages listed and displayed in the Results view. To avoid the issue, it is recommend to print the Results to a pdf, then print the desired pages.
16. Can skewed or non-orthogonal shearwalls be drawn and modelled in shearwalls?
Currently, it is not possible to model or design skewed walls with the Shearwalls program. There is an existing feature request to include skewed walls in the program. Of note though, our experience is that very few engineers would choose to rely on the skewed walls to resist force. There has been very little technical research about how much load a skewed wall would attract compared to walls which would be parallel to the applied load. Intuitively, as the skew increases, the stability of the shearwall decreases, to the extreme where a 90 degree skewed wall would resist no force. Even at minor skewed angles, the out of plane deflection of the wall could greatly reduce the contribution of the in-plane resistance.
In the software, a skewed wall could be modelled as two separate walls forming a triangle with the skewed wall. The lengths of these two walls representing the skewed wall would ultimately be up to the designer.
The ASCE 7-10 clause 12.5.3a does include provisions when horizontal structural irregularity type 5 (ASCE7 Table 12.3-1 – Non-parallel system).
If a particular structure includes skewed walls, it may be possible to design each full-height shearwall segment individually; by estimating the wind and seismic loads attributed to each shearline and shearwall segment, and then creating single shearwall models. See tutorial 9 which demonstrates how to model a single shearwall.
17. How many structure blocks do I need to create a model?
Structure blocks are used to quickly establish the exterior perimeter of the structure. Multiple structure blocks are meant to be utilized when there are portions of a structure which vary in height (ie. Two storey house attached to a one storey garage). It is not necessary to draw the structure blocks to match the roof shape as it is possible to draw as many roof blocks as desired once in roof block view.
18. How do I determine which walls have failed the design?
After running a model, the quickest method to determine if a shearwall has failed the shear resistance design check is to review the Design summary in the Results View. Use the Go To Table button to quickly navigate to the Design Summary.
When in Plan View of a model, walls which have failed the design check(s) will be highlighted in red. Walls will not appear red if there is a failure of the hold-downs along the shearline, however, the Design Summary will display whether or not the hold-downs have adequate capacity.
19. Can I model proprietary shear resisting wall systems with different rigidities?
There is a shearwall setting, that allows one to manually input the relative rigidity of a shearwall segment. Using this design feature, it is possible to incorporate proprietary shear resisting wall systems with different rigidities into shearwalls. This technique is not applicable to adding lateral load resisting elements for which the stiffness is not directly proportional to the unit length of element, such as a steel moment frame. Tutorial 10 of the user guide provides a demonstration of this feature and shows how to incorporate the stiffness of a proprietary strong-wall in to shearwalls.
20. Some local building codes require that the seismic forces be multiplied by “1.35”, and that the sheathing capacities be equal to those listed in the UBC 97 (ie. multiplied by “0.75”). How does Shearwalls comply with these requirements?
Click Settings/Design, under local building code capacity modification, it is possible to adjust the plywood sheathing shear strengths. The default values are 1.0, but can be modified to conform to local conditions. For example, Los Angeles Building Code mandates or at one time mandated a 75% reduction in shear capacities for seismic design. If the factor is still in effect, users should save or enter “0.75”as their default local building code modification factor for seismic loads. Similarly, there are counties in the Southeast USA that require a reduction in shear strength for high wind loads. Users in these areas should check their local building codes and apply the factor if the locally mandated shear strength differ from those published in the IBC or SDPWS.
21. How do I view different Low-Rise and All-Heights wind load cases?
WoodWorks® U.S. Shearwalls is capable of generating wind loads following ASCE 7-10 Envelope (Low-rise) Procedure (ASCE 7-10 Chapter 28, Figure 28.4-1) or the directional (All-heights) procedure (ASEC 7-10 Chapter 27, Figures 27.4-1 and 27.4-8).
For low-rise wind loads the software calculates load cases for wind acting on any corner of the building. Once wind loads are generated, arrows will appear in the plan view on the windward corners of the building representing the unfactored wind loads for the load case displayed. Review the legend at the bottom of the plan view screen. Other load cases may be viewed using the Show button. The wind loads can be displayed for the main wind force resisting system (MWFRS) about either the North – South or East – West directions. By default, the software will first display the West to East, South to North wind direction, but this can be modified to which ever combination. Critical force direction can be displayed after the analysis is run. Wind loads can be displayed for both wind load cases A or B. Shearwalls automatically uses the worst case wind loads when completing the design of the shearwalls.
The All Heights procedure is readily applicable to a wide range of building geometries. The software can handle almost any configuration following this procedure as wind loads are calculated on each wall and roof surface independently. Once wind loads are generated, arrows will appear in the plan view around the building representing the unfactored wind loads for the load case displayed. Review the legend at the bottom of the plan view screen. Other load cases may be viewed using the Show button. The wind loads can be displayed for the main wind force resisting system (MWFRS) about either the North – South or East – West directions. By default the software will first display the West to East, South to North wind direction, but this can be modified to which ever combination. Shearwalls generates both case 1 and case 2 wind loads simultaneously, and uses the heaviest of these loads as the minimum load case. Case 1, Case 2 and minimum load can be displayed in plan view. Shearwalls automatically uses the worst case wind loads when completing the design of the shearwalls in the model.
For the Canadian edition of shearwalls, it is possible to generate wind loads following Figure I-7/8 (Low rise method) or Figure I-15 (unnamed all heights method).
22. How does WoodWorks® Shearwalls apply the Seismic Redundancy factor rho (U.S. only)?
The seismic redundancy factor takes into account structural redundancy in the lateral force resisting system, and is used to modify any forces induced by horizontal earthquake loads as described in Section 12.3.4 of the ASCE 7-10. In general, this factor applies to buildings that are much longer than they are wide, or have very short shear resisting elements along the shearlines. The input for rho in the East-West and North-South building directions is located in the Site information view, with the choices of selecting calculated, 1.0 or 1.3. Users have the option of allowing shearwalls to calculate the redundancy factors or they can circumvent the calculation and select 1.0 (Seismic Design Categories A, B, and C – 126.96.36.199) or 1.3 (Seismic Design Categories D, E and F – 188.8.131.52), based on their own calculations. Note that the program does not consider overstrength factors, as these are not required for light frame construction (ie. Clause 184.108.40.206.5 is not checked by the software). See the help files for further details on how the software calculates the seismic redundancy factor.
23. What do the “Maximum Shearline Offsets” shown in Design Settings represent?
WoodWorks® Shearwalls allows users to specify the maximum plan or elevation offset for walls to be considered on the same shearline. These settings are found under Maximum Shearline Offset in the Settings, Design tab. The maximum plan offset is dependent on the specified plan offset and elevation joist depth. By default, Maximum Plan Offset in the plan is set as 0.5 ft (0.15m) and the Elevation offset is set as 1 joist depth, to account for errors while drawing walls. The above values are recommended to provide tolerance for the automatic shearline generation routine. However, the software allows the user to change the default values at their discretion For example, the CWC Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction, which provides guidance on the design of light-frame wood structures which meet the requirements of a Part 9 prescriptively design structures, allows for a maximum shearwall plan offset of 4 joist depths, up to a maximum of 1.2 m ( 2014 Engineering Guide for Wood Frame Construction Part B Figure 10.1.5). Similarly, in the US, the Wood Frame Construction Manual allows shearwall plan offsets up to 4 feet ( WFCM 2015 Clause 220.127.116.11.c.). The maximum shearline offset feature can be utilized to match similar requirements when modelling a structure.
24. How do I view the Wind and Seismic equations used to generate the loads Shearwalls?
In WoodWorks® Shearwalls, when you click the “Generate Loads on selected levels” button on the “Generate Loads” form, a log file detailing the load calculations is created. The log file will automatically become available at the top of the Shearwalls menu. The log file is also automatically saved under the same name of the project file (with extension .log) in the same folder. Before the analysis is run, the log file includes information on how both the wind and seismic loads were generated. A summary of the site specific wind and seismic parameters, list of equations and resulting calculations are provided. If seismic loads have been generated, once the analysis of the model is run, the log file will update to include the torsional analysis results for the seismic loads.
25. Can Shearwalls design L-Shaped and U-Shaped buildings?
Yes, with caution. Shearwalls has been programmed to follow the codes with respect to code defined “regular” shaped buildings. Certain “irregular” shapes will not provide expected results, and engineering intuition will be required to determine if the results are acceptable for each situation.
An example of an L-Shaped building design in the online video Tutorial 1 (US & CDN). This shape is handled adequately by the software.
Caution must be used in the case of a gap between two walls, where the gap is actually external to the building such as in a U shaped structure. Where the walls are along the same shearline and separated by a gap, diaphragm shearline force/unit length is assumed to continue across the gap (even though there is no diaphragm external to the building at the gap) and drag strut forces are shown. In other words, the software assumes the gap is really an opening such as a window or door and can transfer shear across it. This issue can be worked around by modifying the “Maximum Shearline Offsets” in the Settings, Design tab.
26. How are snow loads entered in Shearwalls?
In the US, where the design roof snow loads are less than 30 psf, they are not required to be included in seismic load calculations. For higher roof snow loads, a percentage of the snow load is used in the calculation for the weight of a structure (20% as per ASCE 7-10 – 12.7.2). In fact, local building authorities may overrule the code and require up to 100% of the roof snow load to be used. In Canada, 25% of the roof snow load is used in the calculation for the weight of the structure.
To include the correct snow load for seismic loads generation, input the total roof snow load and the percentage of roof snow load to be included in the Settings, Default Values tab “Weights for Seismic Load Generation”. Note, that modifying the default values in the Settings menu requires the user to start a “New” file to take effect.
In the “Generate Loads” dialog box, under the “Seismic Loads” column the total roof snow load entered in the Settings Default values will appear with a note under it indicating what percentage of that load will be used to calculate the total roof self-weight for weight calculation purposes. This can be modified as desired.
Remember to base the dead load and snow load on the horizontal projection of the roof. The snow load is considered to extend over the entire projected area of the roof minus the overhangs, as if it were a flat-roof load.
27. How do I modify an exterior wall segment to be specified as non-shear?
To modify a wall segment to be specified as non-shear, the Design in group feature must be turned off. Below are the 4 steps to complete.
1. Split exterior wall into multiple segments by tracing over the wall.
A standard wall can be saved with the “design in group” feature already disabled.
28. Sizer crashes whenever I click on Loads input View.
This is a known issue with Sizer and is due to some background programming in Microsoft Windows. To resolve the issue, enable the “Show loads view in a pop-up Window” feature in the Settings, Preferences tab.
29. Can I import a CAD drawing into Sizer’s Concept Mode?
At this time it is not possible to import a CAD drawing into concept mode. To create a model of a structure, it is recommended to either generate a grid based on the specified snap increment (Settings, View tab), or to place gridlines manually by clicking on the blank concept mode screen. When a specific gridline is clicked on, it is possible to remove the gridline by clicking the delete key or the gridlines name and location can be modified in the data bar.
30. Are live and snow loads input as factored loads?
All loads which are input into Sizer are unfactored. Once the design has been run, Sizer automatically factors the loads based on the appropriate load cases for the applicable code and standards the software conforms to.
31. How can I design Structural Composite Lumber (SCL) such as PSL, LVL, or LSL using Sizer?
A growing amount of manufacturers of SCL products are sharing the cost to include some of their SCL products in Sizer. A list of participating manufacturers is included on our website under the Proprietary Products section.
a) Provide a database to designers that can be added to the software database
If the manufacturer you typically specify products from is not already included in the software, it is recommended that you contact them and ask them if they have an updated material database for you or would be willing to create one for you. You can request that they contact us should they wish to have their database included with the installation of the software.
You can create your own custom SCL database using the databases editor:
Once the file has been placed in the above locations, it will be necessary to open the database editor and ensure that the database is set to “use”. The next time you open Sizer, the database will be available for selection.
32. What is the difference between balanced, unbalanced and uniform glulam? (US only)
Glulam allows the manufacturer to place wood species in the lay-up to the material’s best advantage in resisting applied stresses. The whole premise of a glued laminated beam is that you are trying to put the high strength material in the extreme zones of the cross sectional member, so when the beam is loaded, the high strength material is located where the stresses would be the highest.
In an unbalanced beam lay-up, the grade and stress values for the lams on the compression side are not as high as the stress rating for the tension laminations. Since wood is weaker in tension, higher strength material is placed on the tension lams than in the compression laminations. This particular beam has a designated top and a bottom, and is popular in simple span applications. Thus, “Glulam Unbalanced” is used where the top is in compression.
In a balanced beam lay-up, the laminations that are used on the extreme ends of the section on either side, top and bottom, are the same grade and stress rating. This means that this beam has no designated top or bottom and could be used in either orientation. Balanced beams are popular in continuous spans and cantilevers because of moment reversals. Thus, “Glulam Balanced” is used where the top is in tension.
In a uniform beam lay-up, the grade and stress values of the laminations in the compression zone, the tension zone and the inner zone are the same throughout. “Glulam Uniform” is used mainly for resisting axial loads.
33. How do I enter an actual size of a member that is the same as one of the existing nominal sizes?
For the US edition of the software, it may be that the actual size you wish to enter is the same as a nominal size in the Sizer database.
Example: if you wish to enter the full 2″ width of undressed lumber, rather than the 1.5” planed width. Sizer will in this case select the nominal size when you type in the number “2”. However, if you type in 2.001, Sizer will interpret this as an actual size, and even though it rounds the number and shows it as “2” the nomenclature for the width and depth input will display “in” rather than “nom in” and treat it as an actual size. When following this method, it is necessary to input the exact depth as well, if the depth is left as unknown, then the design results will revert back to nominal dimensions.
For the Canadian edition of the software, it is possible to input the exact dimensions of a member by specifying the material as “Rough Lumber”. Using the “Rough Lumber” material allows the user to input specific member dimensions.
34. Can Sizer be utilized to calculate the shear and moment at different points in a member?
The Point of Interest button located on the toolbar is used to investigate the shear and moment at any point along the length of a beam or column. A point of interest is generated by specifying a “Location from Left” to perform the analysis, and clicking “Add” to add this to your list. Several points of interest can be specified. After performing a design, the results for the points of interest will be shown in the Diagrams window and in the Analysis results output.
35. Does WoodWorks software link to other software?
WoodWorks Sizer is capable of interfacing with cadwork® and Revit®. Third party interface programs are capable of automatically sizing beams either by opening Sizer and running the design, or by running Sizer in the background. The resulting beam size is automatically brought in to the cadwork® or Revit® model. The cadwork® link is imbedded directly in the program. The Revit® link is done by a third party program created by Structsoft solutions. Please see the following link for more information on 3rd party interface with Sizer.
Data Base Editor FAQs:
36. Where are the database files stored on my computer?
For Canadian Design Office 9:
The two folders are duplicates of each other. Previously made custom database files must be placed in both folders otherwise they will not be visible in the database editor.
37. How do I create a new custom beam database?
See Tutorial 15 of the WoodWorks® Software User guide Tutorial document. Also, related, is “How can I design Structural Composite Lumber (SCL) such as PSL, LVL, or LSL) using Sizer?”. The following questions provide guidance on creating custom beam databases, but the procedures would also be applicable to custom column databases.
38. How do I create a custom beam database based of an existing custom database?
See Tutorial 16 of the WoodWorks® Software User guide Tutorial document.
39. How do I create a custom beam database based of an existing standard database?
Start WoodWorks® Database Editor.
40. How do I retain custom databases when installing a new version?
When installing a major version or service release, during the installation process you will be prompted whether or not you would like to retain the existing databases on your computer. If you have custom databases, and want to make sure you do not loose them, make a copy of the following two folders, which are duplicates of each other, before installing. Any custom databases will be stored in these two folders along with all of the default databases which come with the installation.
For Canadian Design Office 9: