IES, Inc. Software for Structural Engineering

Quick * Easy * Versatile

February 2018
Table of Contents
VA: Misconceptions
VA: Member-Trimming Trick
Build Credibility
ShapeBuilder 10 + CS 1
New and Old: Upgrades

VA: Misconceptions

Customer Survey is Revealing

It Never Fails

Whenever we conduct a customer survey, we get requests for features that the software has had for years. We get complaints about bugs that are either long since corrected or should be reported to technical support so we can dig deeper to solve the issue. And we also uncover misconceptions about the products, such as these from the recent VisualAnalysis survey:

2D Modeling Is Difficult?

No. 2D Models are very easy in VisualAnalysis. Create your model, and then Shift+Click one node. Fix all the nodes in DZ, RX and RY directions, in addition to your normal 2D support conditions. Done.

VA Models Are Too Unstable?

No. This may reflect on 2D confusion above. More likely, you have simply added too many member end-releases in your model, or not considered the full 3D picture closely enough. Search the Help for 'instability' tips.

Can't Check 20 Members without 20 Design Groups?

No. You can use one design group to get as-is unity checks on members of different lengths and shapes. Members must be grouped with those of similar bracing requirements. It is easy to 'take charge' of your design groups too. Uncheck the 'Auto Group' option in the project settings, or simply start removing/adding members from design groups. You can quickly resize members in the Model View to see how it impacts the unity checks in the Design View too.

Background Analysis is Slowing Me Down?

No. Sorry. Your multi-core processor is idle about 95% of the time. We run the analysis in a separate thread, at low priority. You do not need to 'wait' for anything. You can continue to work without interruption. If you switch to another program on your computer, the operating system will automatically give THAT program priority. If we did not show the progress, you would not notice it was happening at all.

You Can't Use Z as Vertical, Like Revit or AutoCAD?

No. You can use any axis as vertical. Make the setting in the project settings. This will affect the gravity-loading direction and will affect the default orientation of member elements which have a local-definition that may require you to use a beta-angle to get the orientation you desire. VisualAnalysis is flexible.

Please Ask or Tell IES

If you are stuck on something in VisualAnalysis, if the software is confusing, the documentation is incomplete, or you think there is a problem, please take a couple of minutes to let us know via the support email. Even when we think the software is clear, it often takes one customer comment to point out how it is not clear. Even when we test things up and down, it takes only one customer project to expose a flaw that must be approached sideways.

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VA: Member-Trimming Trick

Finding Intersection Points

The Problem

Here is a technical support gem. Say you have columns that are intersecting a sloping roof and you don't want to calculate the intersection points manually. If you have the advanced level of VisualAnalysis with the auto-mesh feature for areas, you can use this trick to get the software to find the intersections manually.

Step 1: Turn on the Auto-Mesh

Below we have the roof area meshed, and also selected one of the columns that needs splitting.


Step 2: Select the Columns and Split at Crossings

Right-click to get the context menu, to choose Split Members.

Step 3: Select the Top Nodes and Delete

You can turn off the auto-mesh if you no longer need it. To remove the "tails" of the columns above the roof line, simply select the top nodes and delete them. In the image below we have drawn in a few beams (selected in pink) to highlight the new tops of columns that end in the plane of the roof.


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New and Old

Updates and Previous Versions

How to Install Upgrades

We have recently released a number of major upgrades to products. We are often surprised by how often old-version crash reports are received, or technical support issues arise from the previous version, even when customers have up-to-date maintenance on licenses.

IES Updater help you uninstall the old version and install the new one.

Upgrade Active Licenses

If your license for a product is current, you can normally simply uninstall the previous version and install the new version. If the previous version is not in the Updater, use the Windows Control Panel or Settings to remove the old version. The latest software can also be downloaded directly from our website.

Of course, if you are working under a tight deadline, wait until you complete that project before upgrading.

Upgrade Expired Licenses?

If your license for a product has expired, then you will not be able to use new major versions of products. To upgrade you either need to purchase the upgrade in the Self-Service Portal, or as that may not be available, by calling or emailing IES sales.

Removing Previous Versions Later?

If you uninstall the old version after installing the newer version, you may have strange behavior in your system. Generally reinstalling the latest version will correct things like broken file associations in Windows Explorer.

New Products: CS 1.0 and CB 4.0

These two new products were spin-offs from ShapeBuilder and VisualPlate, respectively. Customers who had active licenses for SB or VP are eligible for a free license to the related spin-off product. If you are looking for the features that were removed from ShapeBuilder 10.0 or VisualPlate 4.0, please contact sales to discuss your options.

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ShapeBuilder + CS

Composite Stresses and More

We asked you what you wanted from ShapeBuilder and then we delivered the most popular requests within a couple of months! The latest iteration of our full-fledged section properties calculator delivers nice benefits.

ShapeBuilder 10.0 Benefits

  • Easier export of results
  • Customizable reporting
  • More graphical built-in reports
  • CAD import options and layer support
  • DWG file import
  • Flitch-beam normal stresses
  • Better performance and reliability

There are other new improvements as well to make ShapeBuilder easier to learn and use. If you have not already upgraded, please do it today.

Flitch beam stress results in ShapeBuilder 10.0

ConcreteSection 1.0

We split off from ShapeBuilder the Reinforced Concrete analysis feature with interaction diagrams, shape capacities (now with ACI 318 phi factors). If you used these features in previous versions of ShapeBuilder, and your license for ShapeBuilder was active when ConcreteSection 1.0 was released, you may obtain a free license for this new tool. Contact Sales to arrange for this license.

Quickly define R/C cross sections in ConcreteSection

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Build Credibility

Improve Your Firm's Reputation

Customer Projects Wanted

IES would like to showcase your work. We would like to help you tell the story of something you accomplished. If you have some story about how you tackled some technical issue, or beat some deadline, or designed something very routine--It is important for us. Our success is built only on yours. We want the world to know why you use IES tools.

National Exposure

This is a good way to get some national recognition for your company. You can use this to build your firm's reputation and have something to show potential clients. We can get your company logo on the back cover of Modern Steel Construction, or in a full-page ad in ASCE's Civil Engineering magazine. Our website is viewed by thousands of people per month, and we can link back to your website to help improve your site's ranking and visibility.

Easy To Do

If you are interested, please send a copy of your project file and a short description of your project to Terry ( It does not have to be long or well written.

Ideally we would also be able to get a photograph or two of the finished or under-construction project, you, your company logo, your team, your office, your dog, etc.

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