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Old 6th March 2013, 09:02 PM   #1
Jackboy
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Default How difficult is Superbeam for a novice

I used a structural engineer before to get calcs for a loft conversion I did. I'm now doing another one and would like to do the calcs myself but not sure if I am up to it. I have good mathematical skills but not sure how to actually use the program or how it actually works.

I'm doing a simple loft conversion but how do you calculate loadings etc.

Is superbeam for the amateur or really for people more familiar with this sort of thing?

Thanks
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Old 7th March 2013, 01:40 AM   #2
Tony Bryer
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Default Re: How difficult is Superbeam for a novice

The guidance we generally give to prospective purchasers of our software is that if they are capable of doing calculations manually and are looking for a way to produce them far more quickly and efficiently, then buy the appropriate program(s) - the cost should be recovered within a week or two. Although our programs are easy to use, they are classic GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) apps, and rely 100% on the user having sound knowledge of the underlying engineering principles, design codes, loadings etc.

It sounds as if you first need to enhance your knowledge of engineering if you want to produce your own calculations. You might like to check out some of the books on our book page http://www.superbeam.co.uk/booklist.htm if you want to pursue this.
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Old 7th March 2013, 11:19 AM   #3
Jackboy
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Default Re: How difficult is Superbeam for a novice

Thanks for your reply. I think I will probably get my next calcs drawn up by an engineer then. I think if I get the structural engineers handbook it will give me a better idea of how much things weigh i.e. a flat roof, then I will be in a better position to do my own calcs next time. My engineer did the calcs from my drawing so there must be a book that says a pitched roof weighs this much, a flat roof weighs this much etc. I've played around with the demo version and I think I will come up with what I think is suitable and then see if it's the same as the engineer. If it is then next time I will give it a go myself. All the calcs get rechecked by Building Control anyway so I would like to be able to do these myself. So hopefully, i'll buy the program in the future and do these myself once I've increased my knowledge a bit.

Thanks
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Old 11th September 2013, 12:02 PM   #4
motorphotos
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Default Re: How difficult is Superbeam for a novice

Hi Jackboy

Not wanting to put you off here but the engineer probably has been to college and has a few years experience to suppliment the calculations.

As stated before in this thread the program takes the druggery out of calculating the beams/posts but you really need to know why the structure
is designed including the theory behind the design. The nukber of times I have to explain to the buidlers that dormers on one side of the roof with a pitched roof the other needs a ridge beam as the ridge board is just that a board and forms a balance point not a support etc etc

I had this a few years back where the 'architect' bought superbeam to do his own calculations and then emailed me to provide calculations for bearings, lintel, connections and check the existing construction - all bought up by the checking engineers (and whcih I did not do actually as it then becomes a liabilty issue) and its not just the design of the beams that are considered on any project and this can include the check on the rafters which sometimes become overspanned by the new knee wall positions

I would normally do about 20 pages of calculations for a simple roof conversion which would include a drawing of the beams and details for the builder showing how the joists attach to the beams, connections etc

Also dont rely on the building control check to make sure you have not made a mistake some local authorities do not check the calculations and in some instances the builder has started before approval is granted.

If your not sure then please use your engineer it will probably save you any problems in the long run and the fee is only a small percentage of the project cost for piece of mind

Motorphotos
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Old 13th September 2013, 11:58 AM   #5
Tony Bryer
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Default Re: How difficult is Superbeam for a novice

Thank you Motorphotos - I agree with your sentiments.
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Old 4th October 2013, 01:20 PM   #6
Colin Mitchell
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Default Re: How difficult is Superbeam for a novice

If its any comfort, about 30% of the work I do is 'rescue' jobs for clients who have had designs carried out using computer programmes by people who don't have even a rudimentary understanding of structural theory and practice - which is what its all about.

The sacrifice of money, time and trouble these 'rescue' jobs incur far exceeds the savings the client made by avoiding the structural engineer's fee.

It never ceases to amaze me that clients put at risk houses worth hundreds of thousands of pounds for want of professional advice from a qualified and insured engineer.

As the old proverb has it "the bitter taste of poor design will linger in your mouth long after the sweet taste of a saved fee has been forgotten".


Last edited by Colin Mitchell; 4th October 2013 at 01:38 PM. Reason: clarity
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