ETABS 2013

The eternally-pending release of ETABS 2013 is a recurring topic of conversation in my office these days. As a major factor in my productivity and thus my bringing home the necessary bacon, I have a great deal of interest in the new release myself.



Overheard in my office: “2013? We said 2030.” It was late 2005 when ETABS 9.0.0 was released; more than seven years later, CSI has been promising ETABS 2013 in “the next few weeks” for some time. Recent support inquiries have been answered with “wait for the next version, coming soon.” CSI has told me that for the last few years, other sectors (bridges, oil and gas) have been hot while buildings have decidedly not been, which has certainly slowed the development. I expect that the new version will actually and finally be released this spring.

What to Expect

  • “SAPification” – If you use SAP v15 or SAFE v12, you should not be surprised by anything in the new interface. Improved graphics will be appreciated so long as they don’t make the program seem less snappy.
  • “Web-activated licensing schema” – This info comes from a recent support response. ETABS 2013 will apparently be the first CSI product licensed via the web, a la Bentley. If done well, this will be helpful, particularly if it allows occasional over-usage for deadline days (as RAM products do).
  • Advanced shear wall design tools – This was in the works all the way back in 2009. I expect better visualization of bars and the ability to more easily check boundary zones.
  • Improved composite beam design – Check this under-construction page on CSI’s website for more info.
  • Goodbye to keyboard shortcuts – I use custom keyboard shortcuts in ETABS incessantly and will be chagrined to see ETABS 2013 follow the “what we give you is all you get” path of SAP and SAFE.
  • A few problems – Past experience with major upgrades says that one might do well to wait a few months to make the jump, unless you want to be the one wrestling with the bugs. At the very least, test ETABS 2013 against the current release as much as necessary to develop trust.

What are you looking forward to in ETABS 2013?



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6 Responses to ETABS 2013

  1. Gustavo says:

    Dear Daniel, do you have any news about this new version?? Or have you been only hearing ..” in couple of weeks”

  2. Kirk Arnel says:

    Hi Daniel, I am a new user of ETABS and would like to ask a couple of question about the software if you won’t mind. When dealing with Response spectrum analysis how would you design the foundation since all the forces from RSA are positive. Do you manually input the story shear force from RSA and apply it as lateral static force at the center of gravity or just use the Equivalent static Shear Force for foundation design. Your reply is very much appreciated. thanks…Kirk

    • Dan Popp says:


      Thanks for your comment. Unless you have a firm grasp of both response spectrum analysis theory and the program’s specific implementation of it, I would strongly recommend using Equivalent Lateral Force loads for foundation design. I nearly always use response spectrum results for the design of lateral elements but do not always use them for foundations, particularly those under cores.

      I’m preparing a post on foundation design that will touch on this subject. Look for it this week. Thanks for reading.


  3. Kirk says:

    Thanks Dan, actually i am quite familiar with the concept of response spectrum theory. The Equivalent Lateral Force is also what I am using when doing foundation design in Staadpro and RSA results for the frame . The only issue that I have with using ELF is that the base shear is not representative of the actual base shear for irregular structure since RSA base shear will yield two base shear values in the orthogonal directional to take into account the torsional effect of the lateral loads applied though the target base shear for design is still the ELF.

    In staadpro they have a new concept in order to put a sign on the output of the RSA using the sign of the predominant mode of vibration which can be used directly for foundation design. I do not know if this is available in ETABS. I have researched some forum on ETABS some suggested to use the story forces from RSA and apply it manually to the center of mass for each story and solve the reactions using static analysis. I do not know if that procedure is ok or not. The CSI knowledge base is recommending to use ELF for foundation design is this the usual procedure you are doing even for multi-story building?

    I am looking forward for your blog about foundation design


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