CROSS Safety Report
Proprietary software for cantilevers
This report is over 2 years old
A reporter discovered an error in a proprietary software program.
Key Learning Outcomes
For civil and structural design engineers:
It is good practice to check and validate all design outputs from proprietary design software
If you are concerned with any of the output’s, raise this with the software technical support team and seek clarification
Raising awareness is the first step in the process of bringing about improvements to industry guidance and practices
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Whilst checking output of a cantilever beam from a proprietary software package a reporter noted that the section incorrectly passed the lateral torsional buckling check because it failed to check the absolute value of the hogging moment against the allowable buckling moment.
Hence the buckling moment of say 10kNm was greater than the applied moment of -30kNm. They raised this with the product developer who is including an update in the next software edition but asks how this affects those not on a software support contract with them.
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It would be assumed that any reputable software house will have a record of who has purchased software and would advise them of updates. Once again this raises the issue of over reliance on software without background knowledge or indeed basis knowledge. Cantilevers are always to be watched and manual checks made.