No doubt many HERA News readers are aware that New Zealand structural steel designers have had access to the free Fabsec FBEAM® design software.

With a total of 159 individual licenses issued in New Zealand, this is a widely-used software package that produces efficient steel designs.

Last year, at least 6,000 tonnes of welded beams have been fabricated with an increased trend showing for the current year. A substantial portion of this has been composite floor beams.

Prior to 2015 the FBEAM® software was available for free in New Zealand thanks to D&H Steel holding an exclusive licence from Fabsec to manufacture its beams in New Zealand.

To ensure wide spread acceptance of Fabsec custom welded beams, D&H Steel decided not exercise its exclusivity rights and permitted others to manufacture Fabsec beams. This was unsustainable and without the ability to recover of the license cost for D&H Steel advised of its discontinuation with the license last year.

However prompted by industry users, a HERA-led sponsorship effort supported by the NZ welded beam stakeholders was successful in securing funding for the continuation of the Fabsec license arrangement for the 2016 year.

The original expectation by the HERA-led software user group was that during 2015, other software options would become available, having both welded beam and web penetration design capabilities. In this regard, OASYS Compos is available as a commercial software programme and the Westok Cellbeam software is freely available from Grayson Engineering.

A condition with the latter is that, as license holder, beam supply is solely by Grayson Engineering. While alternative design software is available, it is also recognised that a number of designers are using, and would like to continue to use, FBEAM® and hence the working group recommended exploring if another year of industry sponsorship could be found to continue funding the FBEAM® license for NZ users.

HERA is pleased to report that the considerable 2016 FBEAM® license fee is again sponsored by industry participants led by a major contribution from NZ Steel/Steltech and complemented by a local steel plate supplier, NZ welded beam fabricators, composite decking suppliers, steel construction companies together with committed local consultants already using the software.

HERA Director Dr Wolfgang Scholz said, “The collective industry effort to sponsor the free license of the widely-used Fabsec F FBEAM® software for another year is an outstanding result, demonstrating that the NZ steel construction industry is supporting innovative and cost-effective steel construction solutions.”

“Being able to offer designers the free use of leading software which allows competitively priced tailored welded beam solutions based largely on a free choice local welded fabrication using local steel plate, is a must-have capability of our steel construction supply chain,” said Wolfgang.

“HERA and SCNZ invite steel construction designers not familiar with welded beam design to have a go with the available NZ composite beam design software solutions.”

Update shared by our General Manager Structural Systems Dr Stephen Hicks