Before the age of the computer, designing a steel structure was hellish. You would have to toil, crafting the sketches on paper. This was a long process that is both time-consuming and tedious. Thankfully, now we have steel structure design software that makes the whole process relatively easy. In this article, I will be sharing with you all I know about these software.

Steel Structure Design Software

From the foregoing, it is easy to explain what a steel structure design software is. However, if you still haven’t caught up at this point, I’ll help out.

A steel structure design software is an app that carries out structural designs. With it, you can design the steel structure for a building from start to finish.

There are quite a number of them available now. Their increasing popularity is tied to the fact that they make the process relatively easier. You also get to accomplish a lot more using software than creating the design by hand.

Finally, you can gauge how strong the building will be simply from the output by the software. This is important because ordinarily, you would have to wait till the building is completed to ascertain its strength. However, with a steel structure design software, you wouldn’t have to.

Below is a list of some of the best steel structure design software you could consider.

1. AutoCAD

This stands for Automatic Computer-Aided Design.

AutoCAD is perhaps the most popular design software in the market. It is the creation of Autodesk.

This software allows you to create designs in 2D and 3D. It further gives you flexible room to do virtually anything else. With it, you can anticipate and make quick modifications.

Some of its pros include an intuitive user interface, a wide array of tools for various functions, and the ability to integrate the design with multiple platforms.

2. Advanced Steel

This is also another offering from Autodesk.

This software is modeled after AutoCAD. Thus, with it, you can also create 3D structured steel designs. It comes with tools that allow you to create railings, stairs, etc., within your design.

If you need to obtain data about specific parts of the project, you can easily do so with this app. You need only isolate the part in question and then request the data you want.

One of the attractions of this software is that several users can work on the same project at the same time. You can also color-code different aspects of the project, focusing on the status at each point. This makes for easy collaboration.


This is software that combines tools for designing almost all of the engineering designs you could think of.

With SAFE, you can start and finish your design with minimal stress. You get the ability to create layouts, draw detailed designs, and assess local foundation systems.

Some of the perks include support for conditions and loadings. SAFE also has many existing templates that could help you to run your design quickly.


This is another design software for creating 3D designs.

This software is highly intuitive. You can also integrate it with others, such as the RISA Floor and RISA foundation.

Specifically, you will find steel design codes on this platform. It makes the design process relatively straightforward.

5. RAM Steel

This is an offering from Bentley and has quite the reputation in the market.

It has features you could implement regardless of the stage of your project. With it, you can easily create structural steel plans.

Some perks of this software include its compatibility with automation. You can automate some parts of the process, saving both time and energy. Furthermore, you can test the strength of your design. You can apply pressure from winds, rain, seismic loads, and so on to gauge how the building will fare in real-time. It is also ideal for cross-platform integration.

Understanding Steel Structure Design

Structural design refers to the process of creating a framework for any building. It is one of the preliminary actions a civil engineer engages in before the building takes off formally.

For steel structures, the structure design refers to the skeletal framework of steel materials used in the building. A building can be wholly made from steel. In that case, the structure design is an outlay of every part of the structure.

The first step in this process is the research stage. The engineer carries out some research to ascertain no discrepancies between the building and its intended load. That is that the planned structure will be strong enough to carry the people/items inside it.

Furthermore, they consider the forces that could potentially impact the building. Bearing this in mind, they procure materials that would be appropriate for use in building the structure. Here, their role is preemptive.

In structural design, the engineer carries out two crucial tasks. The first, already hinted at, is ensuring the safety of the building. They prepare the building to withstand forces that may come against it.

In carrying out the analysis, they consider the size of the force, its position, as well as its direction, and its potential impact on the building.

The second role is the selection of the materials to be used during construction. For structural steel design, the engineer has to consider the types of structural steel to use. In coming to this decision, the engineer considers several factors, which include:

● Nature of the building

The building in consideration would determine the type of structural steel the engineer would use. You cannot imagine that the same steel used for building a skyscraper would be the same for a train station. This consideration is one of the most crucial that the engineer checks.

● Flexibility

Buildings are remodeled all the time. This could be in a bid to keep up with the current trend. Also, it could be to accommodate expansion efforts. It thus means that the choice of structural steel should consider this.

So, at the design stage, the engineer should favor steels that can be easily altered. The alteration should not affect the integrity of the material. That is the only way to preserve the building’s strength over time.

● Local Practice

What the specifications are within the locality influences the choice of steel. This could be in the form of formal laws and legislations. The local laws may only permit the use of certain types of steel in construction.

On the other hand, there may not be any strict rules regarding the choice of material to use. Your choice could then be influenced by prevailing practice. If engineers in that locale are wont to use a certain type of steel, you may be well advised to toe that part, too.

● Cost

This is a huge consideration for structural steel type to settle for. Usually, the cost of the building is commensurate to the type being built.

Generally, most steels are low cost. This is because of a couple of factors. The first is that the average cost of steel has remained constant over the years. This is unlike lumber and other materials. Furthermore, steel buildings have low insurance rates. This is because they are durable and fire-resistant. Also, they take a shorter time to set up.


You’d have to be totally anti digitalization not to acknowledge how indispensable steel structure design software is today. It introduces efficiency to your work while also saving time and enhancing speed. It might be a good idea to pay them some attention if you hadn’t already. In the above discussion, I’ve explained these software while also showing you some of the popular ones you could consider.