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Risa 3d Alternate?
2

Risa 3d Alternate?

Risa 3d Alternate?

(OP)
So I was looking into getting risa for myself, my boss owns it but only risa 3d and foundation and old versions, and really have a problem with just "renting" the software. I've read many threads regarding the pros and cons, but I just cant spend the money and in the end have nothing. So I'd like to know what alternates you would consider to risa 3d. More so regarding that you can design in every material type. I've considered Robot Structural Analysis and was very disappointed it does not have AISI code to use with cold formed members. It uses a eurocode and gives no other option. I don't work on large buildings, no more than 10,000 sq.ft. (schools mostly and sometimes 2 floors), but use a lot the cold formed members, wood and masonry. Of course Steel and Concrete, but these materials most competitor softwares do it.

Thanks,

RE: Risa 3d Alternate?

2
I wonder how much market share RISA is going to use with their new / militant approach to licensing. I know they're thinking about how to make their revenue stream more consistent (and increasing profits for Nemetschek). But, I can't help feeling bad for all those engineers that have been loyal to the RISA brand over the years that the company is now turning their backs on. It's a little sad for me to watch....

Regardless, as an alternate to RISA, I would view the following programs as competitors (with pros and cons listed where I could give them). My vote would probably be for the Visual Analysis guys, then maybe S-Frame. I would think you'd have to at least consider SAP/ETABs in the conversation as well.

Visual Analysis:
Pros: I've talked to these guys a few times (even as a competitor) and they're great guys. There are real people behind the software that you can contact and trust. The way RISA used to be when Bruce, Roger and I were there. It's a well used general purpose software. I believe the price is pretty good, and they definitely still sell perpetual licenses.

Cons: I don't think it will compete as well with the Building software (RAMSteel, ETABs, RISAFloor) for composite beam systems or such.

STAAD:
Pros: A widely used general purpose software.

Cons: Same as Visual. But, an added drawback is that I don't see much of a future for the program. The Bentley guys seem to view STAAD not as a general purpose program but as a niche for the heavy industrial guys. Probably cannot purchase the software either.

RAM & RAM Elements:
Pros: RAM and RAM elements are clearly the flagship programs for Bentley's structural analysis division. Competes well on all types of projects. Lots of engineers love these programs. Allan Adams is still over there, so there is still a real engineer involved in the development.

Cons: Probably not as powerful for dynamic analysis as RISA, STAAD and Visual. Can't really handle much non-linearity. They can do P-Delta and P-little delta, but they do it in a relatively simple way. This is probably fine for the vast majority of structures, but I don't believe it is quite as robust as what the other major programs are doing. Also, probably can only rent.

Robot:
Bleech.... All kidding aside, I don't know much about them. I know they are mostly focused on the Euro market. They would try to break into the US market every 10 years or so. Then give up after failing to make any inroads. However, this may change now that they are owned by AutoDesk.

SAP/ ETABs / CSI:
Pro: Analysis wise they can do just about anything.... linear, nonlinear, static or dynamic. Cost isn't as bad as you'd think. They still sell perpetual licenses.
Con: I'm not a fan of their interface. I get the sense that their development staff are pure academics and don't think like engineers.

S-FRAME ANALYSIS:
Pros: They are a pretty good program. They have had some pretty good people behind them too. Competes well with Revit interaction, general analysis, building systems / composite beams and such.
Cons: I think they are a British company. So, their program isn't "born and bred" with the US market in mind. Probably some terminology differences, may not be as quick with US code updates. I'm not sure if they sell a perpetual license or not.

Dlublal:
I don't know much about them either. German company now with an office in Philly headed up by a former RISA employee (Amy Helig).

GTStrudl:
I'm not sure they're still around any more.

Midas:
Not really much of a presence in the US. But, popular in Australia, I believe.



StruCalc:
I don't know enough about them to comment.

RE: Risa 3d Alternate?

(OP)
Josh, thanks for this post. Its very helpful! I couldn't remember the name to Dlublal and I was so close , but could find it in my email searches. Thanks for posting on it. I will look into them as I had seen them before and was interested. I was considering SAP or STAAD Pro, but I feel like their descriptions are so vague and that may just speak of my needed level of engineering software. I really just want to be able to use the 5 materials with it, but I guess that's not gonna be the case. I actually like Robot, but honestly its such a bummer on the lack of AISI code even though it may seem to be not important. I will continue to research these software. Thanks again for the post!

RE: Risa 3d Alternate?

I used Visual Analysis in college. It is very similar to RISA 3D. I would recommend it. I think they have add ons like RISA does. If they have good technical help, that is really valuable. Personally, I prefer the intuitive interface with RISA. It is worth me spending several grand a year on, especially because I know the programs nuances so well. All of the companies are moving toward comprehensive design packages. That is nice, but the more complicated these programs become, the better understanding of their capabilities and limitations is required. I like that RISA is integrated with Foundation, Connection and TNX Tower programs. If you do any cell phone towers, it integrates nicely with that program.

SAP is a nice program for more advanced analyses. The last time I used it for non linear analyses. The interface is inferior to RISA or Visual Analysis. So, I would only use it when higher level analyses are required.

RE: Risa 3d Alternate?

I think CCox makes a really good point. I would very much prefer to "own" a copy of RISA. And, I know that there is other software out there which offers this option still. However, the amount of work it would take for me to get to truly know the ins and outs of another program would cost me way more (in time and energy) than the amount of money I would save by switching.

Different engineers are in different situations. So, it's not like this argument applies to everyone. But, it is definitely something to keep in mind when weighing your options.

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