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STAAD Pro vs ETABS – Which is Better?

This debate is common nowadays because of civil engineer’s shifted nature towards AI-based calculations and techniques. These software are used for designing 3D structures, analyzing them, and calculating reinforcements requirements in the building. These are very effective in saving time by engineers, avoiding long calculations that took days, and experimenting with various designs just by clicking on the moderations in seconds. These softwares are allrounder and are compatible with other BIM softwares too. Like for instance, the AUTOCAD drawing file can be imported to STAAD and nodes, and beams can be generated for analysis, and so on.

There are endless possibilities with these softwares, and it varies from person to person, company to companies whether they use these softwares for one motive or the other.

STAAD.Pro belongs to the Bentley Systems Company. With STAAD, one can perform a complete analysis and design for any size or type of structure faster than manual calculations. The PRO CONNECT Edition is a special edition of the PRO CONNECT, and using a physical model in STAAD, one can simplify the BIM workflows. It is immediately turned into an analytical model for structural analysis where one can share synchronized models with confidence for multi-discipline team collaboration and, most crucially, safe and cost-effective designs.

Building design in STAAD.Pro
Fig: Building design in STAAD.Pro
Courtesy: Uniquecivil

Three STAADs can be customized to meet the demands of each company. Advantages include:

STAAD.Pro was the first structural analysis software to use Matrix Methods. The matrix displacement method is used in STAAD.Pro to perform stiffness analysis. The structure is first idealized into an assembly of discrete structural components in the matrix analysis of structures using the displacement method (frame members or finite elements). Each part has an assumed form of displacement at the joints that fulfills force equilibrium and displacement compatibility.

Regardless of which STAAD.Pro version one may choose, they may confidently design concrete, timber, steel, aluminum, and cold-formed steel structures anywhere globally, utilizing over 90 included international design regulations. Further one can:

STAAD.Pro covers almost all the Country’s building codes and takes less memory space compared to Autodesk products. The interface is also user-friendly and is easy to understand.

ETABS belongs to the Computers & Structures, Inc. company. The new, revolutionary, innovative ETABS is the latest integrated structural analysis and building design software package. For almost 45 years, the industry has put CSI Solvers to the test. The SAPFire Analysis Engine can do Eigen and Ritz analysis and handle multiple 64-bit solvers for analysis optimization.

Building design in ETABS
Fig: Building design in ETABS
Courtesy: CESDb

ETABS combines modeling, analysis, design, and reporting into a single user interface. The number of model windows, model manipulation views, and data views are unlimited. A variety of U.S. and international design codes can be used to design steel frames, concrete frames, cement plates, concrete shear walls, composite beams, composite columns, and steel joists. For steel frames, concrete frames, cold-shaped steel, and aluminum frames, ETABS provides a range of Code-based designs. For a wide range of gravitational, thermal, and lateral loads, ETABS offers static and dynamic analytics. Seismic reaction spectrum or accelerogram time history can be included for the dynamic analysis.

ETABS can assess any combination of 3-D frame and shear wall system. The shear wall element is explicitly designed for ETABS and is helpful for modeling elevator core walls, curved walls, and discontinuous walls. The wall element does not require a mesh definition, and the produced output is not in stress but wall forces and moments, unlike STAAD.Pro.

ETABS has unique features such as the ability to design various column shapes such as T-columns, L-columns, and Poly-shaped columns. With this software, beam design with variable depths can be developed that generates shear walls with and without openings following Indian Code.

If a person is designing a reinforced concrete structure, ETABS is preferable to STAAD.Pro. Compared to STAAD.Pro, the user interface is simple, and the analysis values are more accurate and cost-effective. Because the codes and user interface are better integrated into STAAD.Pro, STAAD.Pro outperforms ETABS for steel structure frame analysis. To understand different aspects of structural engineering, one should learn both ETABS and STAAD.Pro in order to have a better grip on the structural design. These softwares are highly recommended for designing purposes as with changing times, more revolutions are brought in structural calculations that had made complex calculations easier. Earlier, certain factors had to be neglected in calculations due to the inability to do it manually. But due to the rising of such softwares, one can look over every minute detail and make changes within a few minutes. Thus, these softwares are an excellent boon for civil engineers.


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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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