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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

MecaWind doesn’t address my situation, and I need someone to tell me how to model my
structure in MecaWind?
The single biggest challenge to calculating wind loads is taking your real world structure and
trying to determine how to best approximate it within ASCE 7. The ASCE 7 standards don’t
cover every situation, and so there is a lot of room for interpretation. It’s a difficult situation
and we are sympathetic to your frustration (we have the same issues in our design work);
however, these types of interpretation requests are not questions about the software, they are
actually questions about how to apply the code. We just simply don’t have the expertise or
resources to address these types of questions, we have to limit our technical support to the
software only.

I need technical support, who do I call?

All technical support is handled by email. Please email a detailed description of your request,
and attach the input file (*.WND) that is related to the question being asked. It is very
important to attach the input file, what seems obvious to you will not be obvious to us, it helps
so much when we can see the same file you are seeing. Email to

How do I know if my structure is rigid or flexible?

Flexible structures are tall and slender, such as a monopole, chimney or high rise building. The

How do I know if my structure is rigid or flexible?

Flexible structures are tall and slender, such as a monopole, chimney or high rise building. The
rule of thumb is that a flexible structure has a Natural Frequency less than 1 Hz or a Height to
Width ratio of greater than 4.

Why is the software calculating the area of my C&C incorrectly?

ASCE 7 has a 1/3 rule for calculating the effective area. 1/3 Rule – ASCE 7 defines the effective
area for C&C as the span times an effective width that need not be less than 1/3 of the span.
The software takes the maximum of the width or 1/3*Span in order to meet this rule. This rule
actually helps lower wind pressures, because it makes the effective area larger, which in turn
results in a lower wind pressure that must be considered.

I entered one zone for my C&C and the software is using another zone, why?
The C&C figures in ASCE 7 have a lot of notes at the bottom of each figure. If you read those
notes, often you will see that you have a special situation which requires that one of those
notes be followed. If you have looked at ASCE 7 and still feel there is a bug, email us the details
and the input file and we will investigate.

MecaWind User Guide Copyright 2011, Meca Enterprises, Inc. 1

My building has a Hipped roof with a slope of 40 Deg, why is the software giving me an error?
If you look at figures for C&C in ASCE 7 (All editions) there are limitations placed upon each
figure. For example, the figure for Hipped roofs only covers a theta of 7 to 27 Deg. While we
know it’s not uncommon to have hipped roofs > 27 Deg, we are limited to the information they
have published in ASCE 7. As the designer you have to look at the figures and take a
conservative assumption. For example, for a gabled roof between 27 to 45 Deg, the C&C
pressures appear to be less than those for a roof 7 to 27 Deg. Therefore, we might suggest that
you run this building with a theta of 27 deg, and use the pressures which are probably
conservative. Ultimately this responsibility falls on you, the designer, and we can only offer our

Should I run the Simplified or Detailed options?

ASCE 7 offers simplified methods in an attempt to simplify the calculations for someone who is
only using the standard (not software). Consequently the simplified methods are set up based
upon look up tables, and adjustment factors. For completeness, we offer both the detailed and
simplified methods in MecaWind; however, for someone running the software there is really
not any time savings with running Simplified versus Detailed. For this reason, we would
recommend following the Detailed methods. The only advantage to running the simplified
method is for comparison purposes.

I ran the same building as Simpllfied and Detailed and got different results?
They are different methods, and they will not give the same results.

I ran the same building in ASCE 7-05 and ASCE 7-10 and got different results, why?
There are many calculations within ASCE 7-05 and ASCE 7-10 that are the same; however, there
are many new sections that were added to ASCE 7-10. Depending upon which options you
selected, the methods could have been completely different.

Why do I have two columns of output +/- GCPi, which one do I use?
The output has pressures for +GCpi and –Gcpi. The GCPi term is referring to the internal
pressure inside the building. The ASCE 7 requires that we consider two cases one when the
GCPi is Postive and the other when it is negative. Therefore MecaWind considers both
situations, and indicates whether the pressure is based upon the +GCpi or –Gcpi value. For
designing, typically the largest values are used.

What do the positive (+) and negative (-) signs mean in the output pressures?
The convention in ASCE 7 is that Positive pressures are acting toward the wall and negative are
acting away. If a windward wall is being considered, a positive pressure indicates that it is
trying to push the wall toward the interior of the building, and a negative pressure indicates
that it is trying to pull the wall away from the interior of the building. In the case of a leeward

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wall, the same is true, a positive pressure is pushing the leeward wall into the interior of the
building and a negative is pulling away from the interior of the building.

Why doesn’t the program print the overturning moment and shear?
In past versions of the software, we did have the total overturning moment and shear loads
calculated. Due to the large number of different types of buildings and the way in which these
loads are determined in the different directions, it was prone to mislead designers and have
errors. Therefore we found it best to eliminate these to avoid giving misleading information.

Why is there no longer a Summarized Output option?

The summarized option contained the same data as on the MWFRS and C&C, just in a more
compressed format. Since having the same output data in multiple forms creates the potential
for inconsistencies and bugs, we decided to eliminate the duplication.

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