Span tables etc.

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    Not a professional, just a keen “amateur”. Where is the best place for span tables etc. for common grades of wood (UK based). I have ve built a couple of decks and currently use tables from a US book. This means converting and quite a bit of the timber in the book is not available/hard to source in the UK.

    I’m looking to incorporate what I’ve learnt into a decking program that would do the following:-

    Deck Framing – Free Standing, Beam-Over-Post and Continuous-Post Framing options

    , with and without ledger board, Deck Extensions

    Ground Load Distribution – Automatic calculations based on various ground types (soil, clay etc.)

    Beam Spans – Use lookup tables for different wood species and beam sizes

    Post Sizing – Use lookup tables for different wood species, post sizes and height

    Joists – Use lookup tables for different wood species,

    Decking – Standard deck sizes and types built in i.e. 2×4 and 2×6 softwood and hardwood options. Third party manfufacturer options i.e. MillBoard.

    Automatic Cutting List – Provide full bill of materials and cutting list for decking, joists, posts etc (long term).

    Photo Realistic – Preinstalled textures for common materials. Ability to upload custom textures.

    Customisable – Override standard settings for user specified settings.

    Anyone think this would have a commercial value?


    Your first port of call would be TRADA, they promulgate the span tables and the latest standard is EC5 (EuroCode)

    They also have a decking manual where you can find all of this information.

    My thoughts on a comprehensive decking software are… As there are far too many decking types with too many variations in species, material, dimensions, fixing techniques… this would take an enormous amount of time and cost a fortune and just as soon as you launched it it would be almost out of date.

    Consider one point alone and that being the posts/joists – would you opt for aluminium, steel, timber (hardwood or softwood) or HDPE (plastic), these all have many different fixing techniques and many different calculations…

    Many of the American standards are not applicable in the UK, for instance the standard ledger board is usually fixed directly to the timber of the property with a standard flashing detail – this doesn’t apply in the UK as most buildings are brick or rendered block.

    In the case of how wide, long, fixings etc one should really use a timber engineer or commission TRADA to provide the spec, this would then indemnify you should anything fail over time.

    cheers for now



    Thanks for the info, Ill get Tradas decking manual and see if I can make sense of it. 

    I dont mind spending time developing the software. I’m currently using Sketchup and it’s very good but time consuming if you want to include all the details. I’m thinking of using a program called Unity, which has some great 3D development/workflow tools. Its primarily used for designing games (which I used to do back in the day). Well see!!


    Dean did you manage to make the software? Been after something better than what’s out there for years


    I spoke to TRADA yesterday and they said that the decking manual will be EC5 updated in mid 2018



    Dont suppose you got anywhere with that software?

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