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How do I get technical support?

Look for your question in the list below.

If you do not find the answer to your question, email gtsoftltd@aol.com. Attach any relevant data file with your question.

We aim to reply to queries within 1 working day.

SupportIT

How do I add a new soil layer?

How do I define different active and passive soils?

How do I show rock (for keying bridge bent footings into rock) in the define soil layers screen?

How do I add a surcharge?

Does SupportIT allow the use of empirical pressure diagrams?

Is SupportIT appropriate for designing braced cofferdams?

Can horizontal loads be applied to the sheeting to model guardrail impacts?

How many levels of supports may be defined?

How do I find suitable support positions?

How do I place a support above ground level?

How do I share load between two supports?

How do I use a temporary support to install a concrete slab?

Why does a frame load not equal the shear force at that depth?

How do I define water above ground level?

Does SupportIT allow a water level differential?

How do I define a slope on the active and/or passive sides of the excavation?

How do I define irregular ground?

Can SupportIT model wood or concrete walls?

Can SupportIT model soldier piles and lagging?

Can I work from elevation positions rather than depth?

Explain the difference between the hinge and area distribution methods.

Explain the difference between modifying K values and the BSPH Approximation for sloped ground.

Is the 20% added to the toe of cantilever and fixed earth support walls an additional factor of safety?

How is the required toe calculated in granular soils in a design with multiple walers?

Can soil parameters be factored, as per CIRIA 104 and AASHTO Tables 5.5.2.C and 5.5.2.D?

How can the factor of safety (FOS) be set or changed?

What method is used for the factor of safety calculation?

How  is water modelled in cohesive soils?

Why did Ka and Kp not change when I changed the value of phi for my soil?

Why does the pressure sometimes remain constant when a design is edited?

Why does SupportIT sometimes fail to calculate sheet penetration?

Why does the same input sometimes give different results?

Why does the pile length change when I select Coulomb then Rankine again or vice-versa?

SupportIT Lite

What are the differences between SupportIT and SupportIT Lite?

SPAN

How do I fix the end(s) of a beam?

How do I use hinged supports?

SupportIT and SPAN

How do I edit a design?

How can I add different sheets, soils, frames or beams to the database and not lose the information?

Why does editing the sheet, soil, frame or beam database not change the output for my design?

How do I change units?

How do I check the safety of my design?

How do I ensure graphics and tables are displayed correctly?

How do I customise SupportIT and SPAN?

Why is some of the displayed output outside the table boundaries?

Why do my graphs not print correctly?

Why do I get a Borland Error Message?

Why do I get an error message with Windows XP?

SupportIT

How do I add a new soil layer?

    1. Open the Soils page of the Define box by double clicking a soil on the active side of a design. 

    2. Click the New Layer button:

    3. Enter the depth of the top of the layer in the Depth box.

    4. Select a soil from the database by clicking the down arrow to the right of the Name box. The soil parameters may be edited. Alternatively, enter a new soil name and properties in the relevant boxes without selecting from the database.

    5. Click the Apply button:

The new layer is not added to the design until the Apply button is clicked.

How do I define different active and passive soils?

    1. Open the Soils page of the Define box by double clicking a soil on the passive side of a design. 

    2. The text box at the bottom left of the Define box will indicate: Editing passive side.

    3. If the Soils page is already open, the buttons at the bottom right control which side is to be edited:

        Edit passive side only.

        Edit active side only.

        Edit active and passive sides.

How do I show rock (for keying bridge bent footings into rock) in the define soil layers screen?

    Define a new soil with appropriate properties for rock, e.g., high cohesion, etc.

How do I add a surcharge?

A standard surcharge (default = 10 kN/m2, Ref: British Steel Piling Handbook) may be defined in the Excavation page of the Define box. Other surcharges (Point, Line, Strip, Area,  Foundation) may be defined as described below:

    1. Open the Loads/Slope page of the Define box by double clicking the area above the top of the excavation on the active side.

    2. Click the New Load button:

    3. Select a load type from the drop-down list.

    4. Enter the load properties indicated in the diagram.

    5. Click the Apply button:

The new load is not added to the design until the Apply button is clicked.

Does SupportIT allow the use of empirical pressure diagrams?

    You can use the Terzaghi pressure model.  You can also enter your own pressure values in the Pressure page.

Is SupportIT appropriate for designing braced cofferdams?

    SupportIT is suitable for designing braced cofferdams, as it allows the use of Terzaghi and Peck wall pressure profiles (see the Pile Buck Steel Sheet Piling Design Manual, pp. 118-119). Active pressure below formation level may be found by using the Terzaghi or Rankine pressure model.

    In designing braced cofferdams, SupportIT does not compute base stability; this must be checked separately.

Can horizontal loads be applied to the sheeting to model guardrail impacts?

    Not directly. However, the manual pressure option in the Pressure page may be used to apply horizontal loads.

How many levels of supports may be defined?

A maximum of 20 walers or braces may be defined.

How do I find suitable support positions?

    1. Open the Supports page of the Define box by double clicking an existing support or selecting the Supports tab.

    2. Click the Find Supports button:

    3. Supports will be placed to ensure that the specified maximum allowed sheet bending moment is not exceeded.

    4. The Maximum top support depth, Minimum clearance and SWL entries can be used to specify additional criteria for placing supports.

How do I place a support above ground level?

    1. Open the Wall page of the Define box by double clicking the sheet pile.

    2. Enter an Upstand in the box provided (eg. 1.0).

    3. Open the Supports page of the Define box.

    4. Enter a negative value for the support position (eg. -0.5). The support must be within the upstand.

How do I share load between two supports?

    1. Open the Supports page of the Define box by double clicking an existing support.

    2. Place two frames close together (0.5m or nearer) using the Frames grid.

    3. Select the lower of the two supports in the grid.

    4. Click the Share load check box. The total linear load on the two frames is shared equally. A link is displayed in the main design diagram to indicate that load is being shared.

How do I use a temporary support to install a concrete slab?

    1. Open the Supports page of the Define box by double clicking an existing support.

    2. Place 3 frames using the Frames grid. One of these frames should be near the base of the excavation and its depth should be at the top of the proposed concrete slab. The temporary frame to be removed should be just above the bottom frame.

    3. Select Concrete lowest frame.

    4. Open the Install page of the Define box.

    5. Select Equal Stages or Support Positions.

    6. Select Dig And Push, Pre-drive or Constant Toe.

    7. Select Remove frame above concrete.

    8. Click the GO button:

    9. Move through the stages using the controls at the top of the window:

    The temporary frame is removed in the last stage.

    Concrete can also be modelled by defining a soil with appropriate properties, then applying this soil to the passive side of the excavation. The excavation depth would be calculated from the top of the concrete layer.

Why does a frame load not equal the shear force at that depth?

    A frame load equals the difference between the shear values on either side of the frame, i.e. a frame load equals the magnitude of the discontinuuity in the shear force graph at the frame's position.

How do I define water above ground level?

    1. Open the Excavation page of the Define box by double clicking the margin beside the main diagram.

    2. Enter a negative value for the active or passive water depth.

Does SupportIT allow a water level differential?

    Yes.

How do I define a slope on the active and/or passive sides of the excavation?

    This can be done in the the Loads/Slope page of the define box.

How do I define irregular ground?

    1. Open the Loads/Slope page of the Define box by double clicking the area above the top of the excavation on the active side.

    2. Select the Custom Slope button:

    3. Enter coordinates in the grid provided. Coordinates are measured from the top of the sheet, and may be entered in any order. Positive or negative y values may be entered. For example, enter the values:

    0, 0

    OR

    0, 0

    2, 0

    2, 0

    3, 2

    3, -2

    5, 2

    5, -2

    Click the Apply grid button when the slope has been defined:

Can SupportIT model wood or concrete walls?

Yes. Enter appropriate values for E, I and the other parameters in the wall properties page.

Can SupportIT model soldier piles and lagging?

Yes. The method of support is selected in the Wall page of the Define Box.

Can I work from elevation positions rather than depth?

No. The datum is fixed at ground level.

Explain the difference between the hinge and area distribution methods.

    No difference in single propped walls. In multi-prop walls: 

    Area Distribution: The loads on frames above the lowest are found by load distribution. The top frame load is the total load between the top of the excavation and the midpoint between the top frame and the frame below. The load on other frames above the lowest is the total load between the midpoints between each frame and the frames immediately above and below. The load on the lowest frame is found by a combination of the area distribution method and the value obtained by treating the span below the lowest frame as a single propped wall and using the appropriate method for Free/Fixed Earth Support.

    Hinge Method: The loads on frames above the lowest are found using the hinge method (Ref: BSC Handbook, 7th Edition, pg 5/12; BS 8002). A hinge is assumed to exist at each frame except the top one, and the spans between frames above the lowest are considered as simply supported beams. The load on each frame is the sum of the loads found by analysing each of these simply supported beams. The load on the lowest frame is found by a  combination of the hinge method and the value obtained by  treating the span below the lowest frame as a single propped  wall and using the appropriate method for Free/Fixed Earth Support (Ref: BSC Handbook; Ciria 95).

Explain the difference between modifying K values and the BSPH Approximation for sloped ground.

    Two methods of analysis are available for sloping ground:

    Modify K Values: The K values of each soil are recalculated using the given angle of slope. Note that the formula used demands that the angle of slope does not exceed the angle of soil friction. If such a condition exists, it is assumed that the angle of friction equals the angle of slope in any soil layer where it occurs, and a warning to this effect is displayed.

    Use British Steel Piling Handbook Approximation: As described in BSPH (pg 4/12), it is assumed that soil pressure changes by 5% for each 5 degrees of slope. This avoids the problem outlined above.

Is the 20% added to the toe of cantilever and fixed earth support walls an additional factor of safety?

    No. The 20% factor is applied to compensate for the simplified design method. Once this is applied, the toe should be extended until the program yields the factor of safety you need.

How is the required toe calculated in granular soils in a design with multiple walers?

    When more than one support is present, the toe and load on the lowest frame are found by considering the lowest span as a singly supported wall. Loads on the frames above the lowest are found using the current load model. The loads can be found by the Area Distribution (Ref: Pile Buck Steel Sheet Piling Design Manual) or the Hinge method. The method used is selected in the Supports page of the define box.

Can soil parameters be factored, as per CIRIA 104 and AASHTO Tables 5.5.2.C and 5.5.2.D?

    The active/passive earth pressure coefficients, Ka and Kp, can be modified by a specified factor in the Wall page of the define box.

    A factor can be applied to the cohesion, C, on the active and/or passive sides in the same page.

How can the factor of safety (FOS) be set or changed?

    Select the Defined FOS option in the Wall page of the define box, or use the Manual option to enter a toe manually.

What method is used for the factor of safety calculation?

    Net pressure, Gross Pressure or Burland-Potts may be selected in the Wall page of the define box.

How is water modelled in cohesive soils?

    Water pressure in cohesive soils is treated as outlined in British Steel Piling Handbook (7th Edition), CIRIA Report 104, CIRIA Special Publication 95. Refer to the Help file for more details.

Why did Ka and Kp not change when I changed the value of phi for my soil?

    This can happen if you have started adding a new layer, but have not applied it. See above: "How do I add a new soil layer?"

Why does the pressure remain constant when a design is edited?

    Changes in soil parameters, water tables, etc sometimes produce no change in the calculated net pressure.

    This is probably due to the presence of soils with a high cohesion. In such cases, the calculated soil pressure may be negative, and the pressure values are being calculated using the minimum equivalent fluid pressure, MEFP.

Why does SupportIT sometimes fail to calculate sheet penetration?

    The net pressure graph must cross from the active side to the passive side below the bottom of an excavation if a toe is to be calculated. This does not occur in some soils (eg. very soft clay). In such cases, it may be possible to calculate a toe using the Terzaghi pressure model.

    In some cases the net pressure graph can cross to the passive side below formation, but cross back to the active side at greater depths.  This can happen, for example,  if Terzaghi is selected with Rankine for the active side below formation level in firm clay with a water table, and Apply Hydrostatic is selected in the Cohesive Soils (Hydrostatic) panel of the Pressure page of the define box.  No toe can be calculated in such cases.

    To verify that one of the above is responsible for failure to calculate sheet penetration, select Manual in the Penetration panel of the Wall page of the define box,  then enter a large toe in the edit box provided and superimpose the pressure graph.

Why does the same input sometimes give different results?

    The soil K values have probably been modified inadvertently. Check the K values before and after the changes - they must be the same if the same results are to be found. For example, load Demo2 and note P, waler load, toe, etc. Print the Input/Output page. Open the Excavation page, and select a 20 degree slope - P, etc all change. Now select level ground again - they change again, but do not go back to what they were. Print the Input/Output page and compare the soil K values with the previous page - they are different. This happens because the K values are recalculated to their theoretical values, based on the soil's angle of friction, when slope or level ground is selected. However, the K values in the Demo2 file, which is an example taken from the BSPH, do not agree with the theoretical values, calculated from the angle of friction. Similar things can happen when the pressure model is changed.

    To summarise: if toe, frame load, bending moment, etc change, then it's a result of a different pressure graph. If the pressure appears to have changed, then check the K values at each depth.

Why does the pile length change when I select Coulomb then Rankine again or vice-versa?

    The soil coefficients are changed when you switch from Rankine to Coulomb and back again. Each time you switch, the K values revert to their theoretical values under the selected model. The pile length changes because a different pressure is being calculated due to the changed soil coefficients.

SPAN

How do I fix the end(s) of a beam?

    1. Open the Supports page of the Define box by double clicking the area below the beam and above the ruler.

    2. Use the Fix left and Fix right check boxes to fix either or both ends:

How do I use hinged supports?

    1. Open the Supports page of the Define box by double clicking the area below the beam and above the ruler.

    2. Select a support in the grid, then select the support Type using the drop-down list:

SupportIT and SPAN

How do I edit a design?

    1. Open an existing design, or start a new one.

    2. Double click with the mouse pointer anywhere in the main design window. The Define Box opens, and is used to edit various aspects of the design.

How can I add different sheets, soils, frames or beams to the database and not lose the information?

    You need to "post" a change after making a new entry, by selecting another record or clicking the "tick" button on the navigation bar - see the Help files for more details.

Why does editing the sheet, soil, frame or beam database not change the output for my design?

    Editing the database only changes the database, not the current design. Similarly, changing a soil or sheet in the current design does not affect the database.

How do I change units?

You can change units in the Setup page of the Define box.

How do I check the safety of my design?

    1. Click the Report button on the toolbar:

    2. This lists any potential design problems identified by the software (eg. bending moment exceeds maximum allowed sheet/beam bending moment). The report is displayed in a dialog box.

    A printed report can be obtained in SupportIT - click the Reports tab in the main design window.

How do I ensure graphics and tables are displayed correctly?

Your computer should be set to Small Fonts when using SupportIT or SPAN, or some tabular output will extend beyond the right edge of the window or overlap. To reset your computer to small fonts:

      1. Click Start > Settings > Control Panel > Display

      2. Select Small Fonts on the Settings page of the dialog box.

How do I customise SupportIT and SPAN?

You can replace the default logo displayed in the area at the left side of the title bar below the main design area. Create a bitmap file called MyLogo (for SupportIT) or SPANLogo (for SPAN), and replace the current MyLogo or SPANLogo file(s) in the Data folder of the install directory directory. The bitmap will be plotted in the appropriate area.

The bitmap may be any size as it is scaled to fit the space available. However, as the maximum display area provided is 266 pixels x 70 pixels, the bitmap used should not be much larger than this.

Your company address and other contact details can be displayed in the title bar below a design. They can be altered in the Setup page of the Define box. Double click anywhere on a design and select the Setup tab for this page.

Why is some of the displayed output outside the table boundaries?

    If this is happening on the screen, refer to: Computer Settings in the Help file.

    If the problem is when printing, then you may have the wrong driver selected - check the driver agrees exactly with the printer in use. 

Why do my graphs not print correctly?

    Check your printer driver is correctly installed.

    In some cases, color printers will still have problems, in which case turn the color graphics off in the Setup page.

Why do I get a Borland Error Message?

    SupportIT uses the Borland Database Engine (BDE).  An error message can be displayed (usually during installation) if other Borland products are already installed.

    Check which Borland products are installed. If there are no other Borland products, or one(s) that you will not be using simultaneously with SupportIT, it should be OK to proceed with the installation.

    If this is not the case, and there are other Borland products, locate the following files on your hard drive: USA.BLL, EUROPE.BLL, CEUROPE.BLL, CHARSET.BLL, OTHER.BLL, IDAPI32.CNF. You should have "Hidden Files" switched ON to locate them, and they should all be in the same folder "Program Files\Borland\Common Files\BDE." If they are not in this folder, reinstall your other Borland product(s), using the suggested default folders.

    However, none of this may be necessary, as  SupportIT may operate properly if the program installation is completed.

Why do I get an error message with Windows XP?

    If you have an error reading 

      "Network initialisation failed. File C:\PDOXUSRS.NET"

      "Access violation at address 004ccb59, read of address 00972974" 

    or similar, the problem is probably due to a lack of admin rights on the desktop. To fix it, the user should have full access rights to the folder where SupportIT is installed.

Please email any further enquiries concerning SupportIT and/or SPAN to gtsoftltd@aol.com. Attach any relevant data file with your question.

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