Spanman is an elegant cloud based parametric design tool for the sizing of timber and steel structural members, that is fast and easy to use. Traditional engineering software is designed to analyse forces and deflections for a particular member and provide outputs based on the analysis. However the determination of the particular forces and the required load combinations to be adopted can be a time consuming process.
In running a consulting practice it is clear that providing quick responses to clients not only saves money for the client, but also for the consulting practice. Furthermore a client is really only interested in the final member size, based on a given set of parameters.
In creating SpanMan, the authors analysed the complete design cycle for a building. Seeking to understand the needs of an architect (or building designer), client, engineer, and builder. An architect wishes to know what material is the most economic, sympathetic to their design, and of appropriate depth to be accommodated within their designs. A consulting engineering practice, wishes to provide quick and accurate responses to architects and clients. Whilst a builder wishes a economic and buildable alternatives. Unfortunately there are so many suitable alternative structural products in the market, and it is very difficult for engineers (and specifiers) to compare apples with apples. Secondly engineering software is designed to be used on a PC or laptop. It needs to be downloaded and installed. Updates need to be checked and downloaded. The engineer is desk bound. The authors wished to free the engineer to be able to meet with their client, architect, building designer, or builder on site or at the clients office and provide alternatives whilst they were having a direct discussion. Furthermore they considered that in making the software portable and user friendly with built in controls, there is no reason why building designers and/or builders should not use the software to undertake preliminary designs and look for alternatives.
SpanMan was created as a platform, in which the requirements of the various codes are incorporated. AS1170 loading codes, AS4100 steel code, AS1684 Light timber framing, AS1720 Structural timber, NASH standard, AS4600 light gauge steel. On this basis with a large selection of timber and steel products contained within the software, the user is able to quickly Design alternatives in various materials, all rigorously calculated through mathematical parametric algorithms.