You do have a good point.
Right now this plugin is a work in progress. For that reason I can’t charge more for it.
Ultimately, I would like it to become a full fledged design tool which coupled with the “Medeek Structural Plugin” will also allow a design professional to run all of the vertical and lateral engineering calculations.
I agree, the engineer has no use for gutters and the designer typically has no use for pages and pages of calcs.
Wouldn’t it be nice though if you could use a software to design a structure and then seamlessly take that model into an integrated software module that then ran all the engineering.
The disconnect between the design phase and engineering is the gap I am hoping to eventually bridge, especially for residential structures.
As far as design parameters or design criteria, as with anything, garbage in equals garbage out. One needs to know the appropriate wind speed, ground snow load and seismic parameters for their project location, once these are input the program can take it from there, calculations are based on industry standards: AWC NDS, AWC SPDWS, ASCE 7, IBC, IRC, ACI and the TPI for MPC trusses. Other design parameters would include lumber type and grade.
I’ve created a number of calculators (mostly in Excel: http://design.medeek.com/resources/resources.html) for crunching the numbers on beams, posts, footings, roof snow loads etc… All of this can easily be programmed into a plugin like this. If you can program it in Excel you can do it twice as fast with Ruby.
The structural plugin should be able to automatically crunch the numbers on all headers, beams, joists, rafters, posts, footings, walls, sheathing, shearwalls, truss uplift and portal frames and format the entire calculation package into a nice PDF document. There should not be any manual entry of loads on these members or at least very little, the plugin should be smart enough to propagate the loads through the structure, that would be the game changer, especially for the vertical calcs.
Even more impressive would be the ability to automatically draw a structural floor plan that shows the location of shearwalls with the callouts for the holdowns, anchor bolts etc…
A small residential structural job that normally takes me 2-3 days to prepare could probably be completed in less than an hour. Efficiency equals time and effort saved which equals money…