Concrete Design and Documentation Enhancements in 2011

Solutions Discussed: Structural analysis and design of concrete-framed buildings, drawing production and documentation.

Products Discussed: Structural Synchronizer V8i, RAM Structural System r14.04.00.00, RAM Concept r4.1, Structural DocumentationCenter (future release)


This year has seen, and will continue to see, sweeping improvements to Bentley's concrete structural design and documentation portfolio. One of the most significant of these is the addition of RAM Structural System to the list of ISM-compliant products. A RAM Structural System model can now be written to ISM format. This is done in the main window of RAM Structural System (RAM Manager) using the File->ISM->Create ISM Repository command as shown below. All you need in order to do this is RAM Structural System r14.04.00.00 (or later) and Structural Synchronizer v8i installed on your computer. Note that Structural Synchronizer is a free download! You do not need an additional license to install or run Structural Synchronizer.



When creating an ISM repository from RAM Structural System, not only does the basic geometry get transferred to the ISM model, but also the column, footing, and wall reinforcing in the RAM Structural System model. By the end of the year, beam reinforcing will also be transferred. This supplements RAM Concept's ability to write slab reinforcing to the repository, which was made available earlier in the year.



           Concrete column reinforcing in RAM Structural System's Concrete Column module.



          Model geometry and member reinforcing in ISM repository after creation from RAM SS.


           Detailed reinforcing information in ISM repository.


So a fair question is, "What can I do with an ISM repository that I create from RAM Structural System?" There are two major assets the ISM format provides: interoperability and change tracking. Any ISM-compliant product, whether a Bentley product or not, can create a file of its own native format from an ISM repository. Further, any revisions to the master ISM repository made within the application, and who made them, are tracked and logged when the ISM repository is updated by the application. Getting a little more specific and to the point, here is a list of things you could do with an ISM repository that would be logical extensions to the analysis and design work done in RAM Structural System:

  • Create RAM Concept files from one or more of the stories. Then add the slab reinforcing designed in RAM Concept to the repository, as well as any changes to the slab layout that were necessary.
  • Create a RAM Elements file from the repository and perform component design, such as retaining walls, masonry, and substructures. Then update the repository with new wall and member sizes.
  • Update the RAM Structural System model with as many, or as few changes from other applications as needed, and reanalyze the structure for a final check on the design.
  • Create a BIM model from the ISM repository. Structural Modeler is compliant with ISM. Future releases of Structural DocumentationCenter and Building Designer will also be ISM compliant. In the fourth quarter of 2011, the automatic structural drawing generation process within each of these products will work off of an ISM repository. Thus, floor plans with slab reinforcing, foundation plans with reinforcing, concrete column schedules, and reinforced concrete wall elevations (in addition to all the existing steel content) will all be produced during the creation of a Structural Modeler project from an ISM repository.

Of all the impacts the ISM format has on the design office workflow, one of the biggest is that all the changes hypothesized above are managed in one file. Many of us can relate to the frustration of maintaining numerous files of all formats on our computers and servers. The question of whether the data we are looking at reflects the most current project information is always in the back of our minds. ISM gives you the luxury of having one data repository to which all project team members are committing their most current work. Comparing your working environment to the accumulated work of all project team members can be done simply by updating the application in which you are working with the most recent contents of the ISM repository. You can then update your application file with as many or as few of the changes as you see fit for the specific work you are doing. The idea of maintaining one repository is a major advantage the ISM workflow has over the existing point-to-point links between these various products.

The videos listed below show ISM interoperability in action. Please note that not all features shown in the videos below are complete. Those that are not are expected to be in place Q4 of 2011.


ISM, AECOsim, and RAM Structural System Integration

This narrated demonstration begins with a Structural Modeler project (.dgn format) that holds both structural and architectural information. An ISM repository is created from the Structural Modeler project. A RAM Structural System model is then created from the ISM repository. The structural analysis and design of the building is performed in RAM Structural System. In addition, some modeling changes are made in RAM Modeler. The ISM repository is then updated with both the changes to the model, as well as the reinforcing established in RAM.


Integrated Structural Modeling V8i

This demonstration is similar to the one above, but includes the additional step of sending the ISM repository to ProConcrete for detailing of the reinforcing. This begins at 5:30 in the video. At the end, a REVIT file is also created using the ISM to REVIT plugin.