WoodWorks Announces Agreement with RISA Technologies, LLC to Incorporate Advanced Wood Design Features into Building Design Software

Staff | September 28, 2010

The Wood Products Council’s WoodWorks educational program has reached an agreement with RISA Technologies, a leader in structural analysis and building design software, to incorporate advanced wood design features into building design software. This joint venture will expand RISA’s popular software to give architects and engineers greater flexibility and choice in the selection of materials for non-residential buildings.

"This partnership between WoodWorks and RISA is a natural fit," said Kelly McCloskey, executive director of the WoodWorks program. "Both organizations are focused on making life easier for engineers and other users of building design software. RISA’s software is known for helping designers more accurately plan and budget their buildings—and it will soon offer the same benefits to individuals who also want the advantages of a wood structure, such as lower material costs and a smaller environmental footprint."

Once the RISA software is updated, it will incorporate information on building code requirements, gravity design, diaphragm modeling and design, shear wall modeling, analysis and design, lateral force design, hybrid design and several other features. The upgrade will be Building Information Modeling (BIM) compatible and will be released in two stages throughout 2008. The first software release, set to occur in August, will incorporate flexible shear wall design. The second release, slated for December, will allow the design of wood diaphragms.

"Our software sets the standard for building design" said Bruce Bates, president of RISA Technologies. "The addition of a wood design component is something we’ve been planning for some time, and this partnership with the Wood Products Council has allowed us to increase the pace while also benefitting from the expertise of engineers who work with its partner associations like APA – The Engineered Wood Association. It will open up a world of possibilities to designers wanting to work with wood."

For engineers with current licenses for RISA software, the new wood design features will be received automatically as part of their regular upgrades. WoodWorks will also be working directly with design professionals who agree to design a non-residential building with wood and with  RISA to provide training on the updated software.

The WoodWorks program was established in 2007 to support architects, engineers, contractors and others using wood for a full range of non-residential building types, including: retail, offices, hotels, schools, industrial, churches, recreation, public, health care and multi-family. Regional field staff are available to discuss specific issues and have the expertise to provide a wide range of architectural, engineering and code support, either in person or through in-house presentations to an entire firm or design team.

"A lot of people don’t realize how many advantages there are to using wood in non-residential buildings," said McCloskey, "For one thing, it’s the only major building material that’s renewable and sustainable over the long term. It performs well in earthquakes and heavy winds, it’s strong and durable, and it offers greater design flexibility for less cost—all while meeting code requirements. With the new software upgrades, designers will be able to consider wood purely in light of its merits and not because the design process is more time consuming or difficult."