HERA’s new software tool for best practice in composite design

By Dr Troy Coyle, HERA CEO

The AS/NZS 2327 standard (composite structures design standard – composite steel-concrete construction in buildings), first published in 2017 and amended in 2020, is the first joint New Zealand and Australian standard for composite steel-concrete construction in buildings. It establishes the minimum design, detailing, and construction criteria for composite steel-concrete framed structures, flooring systems, and members (beams, columns, slabs, and joints) in modern multi-storey buildings.

Composite construction is often advantageous because concrete is efficient in compression, while steel is good in tension and compression (depending on member slenderness) – meaning the two can be combined to produce a highly efficient and lightweight design, construction speed and cost advantages, and a lower environmental impact. To pave the way for successful use of AS/NZS 2327, HERA has been working in application software development for the past several years. Its latest solution is an innovative web-based tool for composite beam and slab design that enables engineers to design according to AS/NZS2327 for composite beams and slabs in both normal and fire conditions 1,2, enabling and enhancing best practice.

This provides a time-efficient solution for maximising space and minimising costs while meeting stringent building code and performance requirements 1,2. The software allows multiple slabs or beams to be designed at a time; for multiple components or a one-off element; and for non-composite at the construction stage and the composite slab at the normal service stage 1. The user-selected member can be verified, or a member selected based on least weight (optimised), leading to a series of output options and the ability to customise a final comprehensive report of the designed solutions 2.

It also covers fire resistance design and serviceability limit state checks including deflection and vibration; non-composite and composite design of floor beams using a combination of a hot-rolled or welded steel section along with a concrete flange; and beam design solutions including ultimate and serviceability limit state checks and the influence of partial shear connection on the beam capacity 2.

This means that the software can approximate the limiting temperature of the steel beam flanges and web as well as the shear studs to estimate if the composite beam will have sufficient movement and shear capacity to meet the Fire Limit State demand. These limiting temperatures are quoted in the design report and the designer is able to estimate whether the actual steel temperatures for their specific fire design will be within these calculated limits 2.

HERA’s composite design tool can be found at http://www.hera.org.nz/consultancy/structural-tools/.

Important notes:

  1. While this software does perform the composite slab design, we would recommend the deck manufacturer’s design tools are used to ensure an optimised design.
  2. HERA, developers, and partners of this design the tool makes no warranty, guarantee, or representation in connection with this software and will not be held reliable or responsible in any way – and hereby disclaim any liability or responsibility for any loss or damage resulting from the use of this software. HERA neither recommends nor endorses any product referenced in this design tool. The designers must do their due diligence to ensure that they are satisfied with the software results, and fully understand the design before using them in any way. The designer must ensure the software results comply with building codes and design standards.

Third-party disclaimer:

This column has been prepared for the sole use of NZ Engineering News for the particular brief and on the terms and conditions agreed. It may not be used or relied on (in whole or part) by anyone else, or for any other purpose or in any other contexts, without our prior written agreement. This column may not be read or reproduced except in its entirety.

Dr Troy Coyle brings more than 20 years’ experience in innovation management across a range of industries including materials science, medical radiation physics, biotechnology, sustainable building products, renewable energy and steel. She is a scientist with a PhD (University of NSW) with training in journalism and communications.

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Xpress Engineer NZ, NZ Engineering News or the parent company, Hayley Media.