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What’s the BEST Structural Design Software For 2020?

What’s the BEST Structural Design Software For 2020?

Today you are going to know EXACTLY what are the most widely used general-purpose structural analysis and design software in civil engineering. In fact, these are the software that helped us to fulfill our various designing goals.

We have gone through the number of software and selected some of the best among them that will help you fulfill your structure design goals.

  1. Autodesk AutoCAD
  2. STAAD Pro
  3. SAFE
  4. RISA
  5. Navisworks
  6. Autodesk Revit
  7. SAP2000
  8. SketchUp
  9. Takeoff
  10. 3d Max

1) Autodesk AutoCAD:

Structural engineering software Autocad

Today, our job is much easier because of AutoCAD. Maybe your boss is forcing you to use AutoCAD, or you have to pass a course. But there are other reasons to use it – some of which may help you pass that course or get home from the office a little earlier.


Here are some CAD advantages:

Accuracy. AutoCAD is equipped for accuracy to 14 critical digits (ask your math professor why one digit is more significant than another). That’s way more precise than the best manual drafter could ever be.


Appearance. AutoCAD-created drawings are cleaner, simpler to use when minimized, and more predictable than literally drafted drawings.

Reuse. It’s easy to reuse because we can directly copy and paste drawings of other projects.


Scalability. You draw things full-size in AutoCAD on a boundlessly enormous drawing sheet.  This not only eliminates the possibility of scaling errors as you draw, but it also lets you print your drawings at any scale.


Sharing work. Drawing files can be shared with consultants and contractors who can add their own information without having to redraft the whole drawing.


Distributing work. Not any more running many prints and having them couriered to clients – utilizing AutoCAD you can electronically transmit drawings by email or transfer them to Webspace.


3D benefits. You’re not limited to 2D space; AutoCAD’s drawing space is three-dimensional so you can create models of your projects and generate drawings from them.


It is the Computer-Aided Design Software also used for Drafting Purposes. It is served as the most powerful tool out of this list. It comes integrated with various enhancements such as AutoCAD Architecture, Civil 3D, Map 3D, Structural Detailing, etc that are useful for Civil engineers.

It is useful in such a way:

  • AutoCAD Architecture Helps architecture to build 3D objects, such as doors, windows with far more intelligent data.
  • While Civil 3D helps engineers to measure accurate data specific objects following all the standards of civil engineering representation and calculations.

Click here to download link 

See how people are using AutoCAD

Prize: $1,288.00 /year





2) STAAD Pro:

civil engineering structural design software



Another Widely Used software available is STAAD Pro that is used for Structural analysis by civil engineers. It supports over 90 different steel, concrete, timber, aluminium codes which makes it different from other software. It is Interoperable with various other application to improve collaboration of various software involved in one project.

It provides various features such as Analytical Modelling, Building Planner, Autodrafter, Physical Modelling, Advanced Concrete, and Slab Design, Earthquake Mode and much more.

This Tool is much popular because of some of the features available in this software that’s not available in other ones.

Example: Earthquake mode served to be a really helpful feature for Civil Engineers as it creates a recommendation for building the structure in Seismic regions to ensure that structure can stand strong even after seismic load without collapsing.

This all the features combined make a perfect tool for Civil Engineers.



Click here to download link (Paid via Subscription)





3) SAFE: structural design programs


From Concrete Floor to Framing, Safe Software creates one Intuitive Environment where engineers can integrate everything involved in a project and provides unmatched Benefits in all Aspects. It can Designs the Whole Foundation with ease because of its comprehensive capabilities.

Importing Options helps to take data from other application and further maximize the work with ease. It is a nice way to design Slabs, Foundation, Beams, Columns, Walls, Ramps, etc with a variety of different shapes and types matching your needs.

It also Offers Posttensioning Features that can be added to slabs and beams.



Click here to download link (30 Day Free Trial) :

FME Desktop Price: starts from $2,279.40

FME Server Price: $14,284.80

FME Cloud Price: $0.90 /hour




4) RISA:


The Name RISA also abbreviated as “Rapid Interactive Structural Analysis”, it designs various structures such as building, structures, stadiums, cranes, etc in a far quicker pace.

Some Integration like Risa Floor, Foundation, Section, Connection can be used for designing and modelling structures layer by layer.

Some Benefits:

  • Easy to Understand
  • Provides Drawing Tools with Advanced Selection.
  • Gives Result in a quick.

TAKE A LOOK AT RISA-3D is right around the corner!

Click here to download link (Subscription): 

Price per year

Components Subscription/Year
RISA-3D: $1600.00
RISAFloor ES: $2000.00
RISAFloor: $900.00
RISAFoundation: $1000.00


RISAConnection: $1000.00


RISA-2D: $600.00
RISASection: $150.00

5) Navisworks:3D design collaboration tool


Autodesk Navisworks is a 3D structure collaboration effort that gives us a chance to import models from different platforms to make an aggregated design. And the last design is a virtual model where you can explore continuously and make walkthroughs that permit a better comprehension of our structure expectation.

This virtual model can be allocated to different groups to discover and fix issues, subsequently, it allows for more productive management and coordination of the project.

Navisworks software can be primarily used by the Industry professionals that enable users to open, combine 3D Models and navigate around them in Real-Time. Real-Time Navigation helps you to experience what you have built beforehand. It can be also used to add lightening and materials to the structure.


Click here to download link (Free Trial) :

pricing starts from $522.11/ Year





6) Autodesk Revit:

Revit Architecture software


Products of Autodesk used for Modeling. Autodesk is a building information modelling software for structural engineers to design structure, building, and components in 3D and gives access to the building information from the building model database. Due to the Revit Rendering Engine, users can make objects more realistic.

It comes with predefined materials that can be modified as per users’ needs. Modifications can be done by applying various textures, changing size, shape, brightness, hue, saturation, intensity, etc.

With the maturity of Revit Architecture in recent years, more and more firms and users are switching from AutoCAD. General contractors and owners are realizing the potential of BIM and Revit Architecture and requiring it as a deliverable. Although easy to learn, Revit Architecture is nonetheless a complicated product, and most advanced users would agree that they learn something new every day.


Click here to download link (Free Trial): 

See what’s new in the Year 2020


subscription/ year: $1,373.63





7) SAP2000

Designing and analysis of the structural systems for civil engineering



SAP2000 is a general-purpose software used for civil engineering for designing and analysis of the structural systems. It is built with various templates that the user can start from and have a broad range of modelling options.

SAP2000 allows civil engineers to build their design and then it is gone for analysis and then software tells how the structure will behave under every condition and tells it weaknesses.

The SAP name has been synonymous with state-of-the-art techniques since its introduction more than 30 years back. SAP2000 follows in a similar convention featuring a refined, natural and adaptable UI powered by analysis engine for engineers working on, public works, transportation, and industrial works.

From it’s 3D article based graphical modeling condition, to the wide variety of analysis and design alternative totally incorporated across one amazing UI, SAP2000 has demonstrated to be the most integrated, productive and general purpose structural program on the market today.

Download link 

Watch & Learn about the SAP2000 structural analysis and design program

Pricing: starts from 2000 USD



8) SketchUp:

3D Design tool

SketchUp is another software used for drawing purposes for civil engineering designs. It also allows surface rendering, supports many plugins from the external site called Extension Warehouse to add more capability. It is available as Paid and Free Versions.

SketchUp is the best design software that gives engineers and designers the adaptability they have to outline in a 3D world. SketchUp was once viewed as valuable just for preliminary schematic designs; however, if you incorporate techniques taught in The SketchUp Workflow for designing, SketchUp is good to do considerably more.

The design process has been trimmed down into four fundamental stages for SketchUp: Construction Documents (CD), Design Development (DD), Site Analysis (SA), Schematic Design (SD).

With sketchup we can gather a wealth of 2D and 3D information about the site in a very short amount of time, including site plans, site sections, topography lines, and building context.

Click here to download link

Pricing: starts from 119 USD /year






9) eTakeoff software


The main task of takeoff is the most tedious and error-prone part of construction cost assessing.

eTakeoff Dimension software and tools quicken the pace of exact takeoffs with modern gatherings, a protected symbol scan for auto counting, latest database technology, innovative work breakdown capabilities and that’s just the beginning.

eTakeoff Dimension is so outfitted to simplify how estimators work, even Dodge Data and Analytics chose their Basic version for use in its designing of rooms.

Click here to download link

10) 3ds Max:

cutting-edge rendering tool 3DS max

3DS Max is commonly utilized by civil engineers for a 3D perception of their designs. While AutoCAD can be used for drawing purposes, you can import it to 3DS Max to render photorealistic representation to it.


  • It is user-friendly in modelling.
  • Supports Material Editor for editing materials and maps in the scenes.



Autodesk 3ds Max gives designers best rendering technology, simple to-utilize building architectural materials, improved communication with other tools and software, upgrades to modeling and tools, and better viewport interactivity ever before.

Each new version of 3ds Max incorporates fresh and exciting tools to enhance your capabilities and workflow while also increasing the performance of the program on your computer system. Utilizing these new features is key to improving your skills and decreasing the time it takes to complete your projects.



New Features and Essential Skills Movies/What’s New and Learning Path

The new features and additional skills movies are located on the Autodesk website, and an active Internet connection is required to view them. When you no longer want the dialogue box to appear as 3ds Max opens, simply uncheck the Show This Dialog at Startup option in the lower-left corner. The dialogue box can then be opened by choosing Help? Learning Movies from the menu bar.

Graphite Modeling Tools The new Graphite Modeling tools provide over 100 new modelling features for organic sculpting, texture painting in the viewports, and advanced polygon modelling.

Containers Containers are a new toolset within 3ds Max designed to improve project collaboration and workflows by aggregating multiple objects into containers.

Material Explorer The new Material Explorer is a hierarchical display that allows you to review and manage all materials in a scene

Exposure lighting validation When architectural or engineering visualizations are being created, accurate simulation of lighting conditions can be vitally important to a project’s success.

xView Mesh Analyzer The xView Mesh Analyzer feature allows you to check your models in the viewport for common mesh errors such as overlapping UV coordinates, isolated vertices, duplicate and flipped faces, and other geometry errors. This new feature can help you avoid potentially costly modeling mistakes before projects proceed too far down the production pipeline.

Render Surface Map The Render Surface Map in 3ds Max can create grayscale bitmaps of selected UVW-mapped poly objects based on the unique properties of the objects. The four types of maps that can be rendered are Cavity Map, Density Map, Dust Map, and SubSurface Map.


Click here to download (Free 30 Day Trial) :

Pricing: $1,185/year


This tools makes modelling of structures and breaks down costs significantly, subsequently minimize the time and exertion required for the limited analysis.

I hope today’s post has helped you with choosing the right design software for your upcoming project.

Now we’d like to hear from you: Which software from today’s guide are you going to use first in your project?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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