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Free Spreadsheet Program Helps Estimate Steel Frame Cost

RAM Estimator 2.0 allows the user to compare not only the steel quantities of various framing options, but also the cost implications of each scenario

February 03, 2004 From American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc.

A new spreadsheet program that helps steel fabricators, contractors, and designers quickly approximate the structural framing cost for a steel building is now available at no charge from the American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc.

RAM Estimator v2.0 is the latest in a group of Steel Tools™ from AISC that can be downloaded at no charge by visiting www.aisc.org/steeltools. A Visual Basic-enhanced Excel file, RAM Estimator works with the RAM Structural System and allows the user to compare not only the steel quantities of various framing options, but also the cost implications of each scenario.

The user begins by designing the structure using the RAM Structural System and then uses the RAM Estimator to estimate the overall frame cost of the building. RAM Estimator allows the user to enter cost data for steel weight, shear studs, moment and brace connections, cambering of a beam and much more. The cost data is applied to the quantities determined from a RAM Structural System analysis file.

Using the RAM Estimator, the speed and power of the RAM Structural System is extended to include timely cost estimates as well as steel quantities. The user can rely on their expertise or that of their consultants. They also may contact AISC’s Steel Solutions Center for additional cost and schedule information.

“RAM International and AISC have been promoting the benefits of conceptual estimation to the design and fabricating community,” explains Brian Quinn, P.E., RAM International Regional Engineer. “The RAM Estimator greatly enhances the ability of RAM Structural System users to prepare comprehensive estimates in a matter of hours.” (RAM Structural System is a trademark of RAM International.)

Other free Steel Tools™ include:

Parametric Bay Studies v4.1
This tool helps engineers answer questions such as: “Is it less expensive to increase the size of the beams than to camber?” and “Is it more efficient to frame the beams in the long direction or the short?” Parametric Bay Studies v4.1 designs a typical bay in a composite steel framed structure and optimizes the design for either the overall weight or the relative cost of the framing system.

Clean Columns v3.1
Clean Columns helps engineers reduce the overall cost of steel framing on their project in a matter of minutes by comparing the cost of stiffening the connection to the cost of the additional steel due to increasing the member size. Clean Columns v3.1 calculates the minimum weight column section that can be used without stiffeners and/or double plates to develop a specified percentage of a selected beam’s plastic moment capacity based on the criteria in AISC Design Guide #13.

For more information contact:

Scott Melnick
VP of Communications
(312) 670-8314


American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information.

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Chicago IL 60601
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