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RISA vs RAM pricing
2

RISA vs RAM pricing

RISA vs RAM pricing

(OP)
Hi everyone,

I recently decided to go out on my own along with two other partners, so we are in the market for purchasing a new 3D structural software (for concrete podium structures and steel structures). 2 of us are experienced in RAM SS, Concept and our third partner is well-versed with RISA-3D and ADAPT, and thinks they get the job done and are fairly easy to learn. Concept and ADAPT seem to be have roughly the same price, so we are most likely going with Concept. However, the price difference between RISA-3D and RAM SS has us in a bind. We are looking to get two licenses, potentially three. For two licenses, we are looking at $7800 for RAM SS vs $3450 for RISA-3D, based on their websites. I understand RAM SS also does foundations which RISA-3D does not, but we are not going to be using that module.

So, my question to those who have been at similar crossroads or have experience with both these programs, is the seemingly large premium (>2X) worth it? Has anyone gone the RISA-3D way over RAM SS and has any thoughts about it?

Thanks!

RE: RISA vs RAM pricing

The first thing you need to make sure of is that you are pricing out what you will actually need / use. And, that it's an apples to apples comparison.

$7800 for RAM SS is probably BOTH gravity and lateral analysis. And, that this includes RAM SS for steel floor systems (i.e. composite beams). As well as RAM Concept for concrete floor systems. Correct?

RISA's got a weird thing where they've got three different slab design programs RISAFoundation (for concrete mat foundation, spread footings, retaining walls and such). RISAFloor ES (for elevated slabs), and Adapt (also for elevated slabs, but including post tensioning as well).

If you want the same thing with RISA, then you'll get RISA-3D (for lateral analysis) as the main program. Then you'll get RISAFloor for composite beam floor systems (which integrates with RISA-3d for lateral analysis). Then if you want to do concrete slab buildings, you'll get the RISAFloor ES (an add on for elevated concrete slabs) or Adapt. Not sure how well Adapt integrates with RISA-3D, that's something to check on. Heck, you might even want to get RISAFoundation.

Caveat:
I currently work for one of RAM and RISA's main competitors (CSI). I'm going to try and sell you on SAP2000 / ETABS, but that gives me some bias against RAM and RISA.

Also, I used to be the VP of Engineering at RISA before they were bought by Numetshuk (in late 2017). So, that was before their parent company acquired Adapt. It's possible that they've combined these various slab programs together in some way. Maybe with bundled pricing or by integrating the programs together. But, I wouldn't know about that.


On a personal note: I suggest you talk to people who have used Adapt recently and interacted with the RISA folks about tech support or such. The reason why I suggest this is because it was my impression that none of the Adapt folks (support, or development) stayed with RISA. At least not for very long. So, that might not be a product that they're capable of supporting very well.

Heck, there aren't any tech support engineers left at RISA from 5.5 years ago when I was there. And, most of the development staff in the US has left as well. It's mostly the Ukraine team and a couple of the younger development folks (Adam and Brighton, who both always seemed capable). The former Sales staff (now upper management) are the ones that really seem to have stuck around. And, they're the ones least likely to respect RISA's customers / users / structural engineers.

RE: RISA vs RAM pricing

2
To the OP, I can't advise you on making a choice between software choices. I have zero experience with RAM or ETABS although I have heard nothing but positive comments about both. Same for CSI products. I used to work with Staad Pro and loved it. I am now working with RISA. I like RISA (for me) because, as a general analytical tool, it seems relatively robust when it comes to wood framed structures (99% of my projects) and cost is attractive to this one-man shop. What I can do is provide a modicum of business advise. Be very careful of fixed overhead costs. That will kill any service business. That being said, point number 2 is use the most productive software you can. If I were in your shoes (I'm not and have no desire to be), I would do a trial of all packages, and I would not exclude ETABS, do a complete analysis using as many features as I would expect to use in a real project and that would include engaging tech support. That evaluation period should include considering a potential pool of future staff. What software is more likely to be familiar by a new hire? The best example I can think of is I have a very good colleague who swears by ArchiCAD. Always, for the last 20 years, my first response is the hiring pool available vs. Revit or even AutoCAD.

My number one piece of advice is to watch your fixed overhead costs like a fox. It can be a killer for a consulting firm, small or large. I would recommend one seat to start off with. When you have the need, get the second seat, etc. It seems to me, no matter what you choose, someone will have to learn a new program. Consider that loss in productivity in your plans. Also, do not put too much weight on the opinion of a disgruntled ex-employee. While he has valid points about integration of the various modules, not all of his data is current as he admits. In my experience, the tech support at RISA has been more than satisfactory. The responses have been timely and thorough and, as a new user (6 months), I've really put them through the test. Finally, keep in mind whatever decision you make is not cast in stone. When you renew your subscription, re-evaluate. Software is always evolving. Testing in the real world is the most important benchmark. Remember YAHOO, you always have other options.

Good luck on your endeavors.

RE: RISA vs RAM pricing

I would say that RISA is a perfectly fine general analysis software, and when I used RISAFoundation years ago, that worked really well, too. Never seen Adapt used. I did spend a long time in RAMSteel, as well, but none of the other Bentley products. I know my coworkers made extensive use of RAMConcept for PT slab design, but that's rare, and even a single PT job should pay for that software in a year, if you need it.

If I was going to buy 1 software, it would be SAP2000/RISA-3D, even if you don't have the special model creation and design features of the other more specialized software, these can do literally anything you take the time to model.

EDIT: I would say that I remember loving SAP about 5 years ago, when I used ETABS/SAP2000 a lot, and when I moved jobs and we only had RISA-3D I was having a tough time, but I got used to RISA, and now it's only a little more clunky than SAP was. SAP was just really snappy and had all the input and output options I could ever imagine, but I also assume it's a little more expensive. I think it may be worth it if you're going to be modeling a lot. I would at least try both of them.

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