I currently trying to cross check hand calculations for the design of the lift wall and raft foundation of a 14 storey building(columns & flat slabs) with STAAD Pro v8i by trying to input the whole building on the program. I have used beams to model the columns, surfaces for the lift walls and plates for the slabs. The raft and columns & walls starting from this level have been successfully input on the program. But when it came to the 1st slab level, the program was unable to generate the parametric model, presumably because there was already a large no. of plates and beams(around1300). My question is, what is the REAL limit in terms of no. of nodes and elements that STAAD Pro v8i can handle? (As the limits stated in the technical reference is even much larger) Is there any simpler way to input such a structure?
Well, not really a direct answer to your question, but the easy way is to use RAM structural system combined with RAM concept.
I think you could probably do it with STAAD, but managing everything (and running it) will take forever.
The size of the model that the program can handle is dictated by the 2 GB paging file size limit in 32 bit operating systems.
When you run the analysis, a number of files are created for storing results - nodal displacements, member end and intermediate section forces, reactions, plate stresses, etc. If you add up the size of all those files, if it exceeds 2 GB, the results cannot be displayed in 32 bit OS.
If you have a large multistorey building with a number of slabs and shear walls, the limit will be reached quickly - around 20000 elements and a 100 load cases.
As rforres1 says, the RAM programs are a better choice for such buildings.