Ahead of the official release, you can sign up and start using the current release edition of MASS Version 3.0 today

MASS Version 3.0 introduces a new set of 2014 masonry standards which are used for calculations and designs previously done using the 2004 versions. It has been in development over the past half year and is just about ready for release. While all of the individual changes have been tested in great detail, CMDC also uses new release candidates in-house for all masonry design work for a period of time to ensure there are no unintended consequences when it comes to making changes to the code. This post outlines the changes to MASS that are new to Version 3.0 and lets you know how you can get an “insider preview” before the official release.

What is new in Version 3.0?

MASS™ Version 3.0 is the first version of the software to design using the updated CSA S304-14 masonry design standard. All calculations as well as equations, code references, and bitmap symbols have been updated to bring MASS functionality from older versions to now design with this new standard. The biggest change is found in shear calculations for beams, which has been overhauled within the standard to more closely follow the process used for reinforced concrete. The scope of MASS Version 3 has not been changed from Version 2.2. Below is an overview of other changes made to MASS Version 3.0 which can be expanded upon by left-clicking the header.

Click here to see what else has been changed in Version 3.0

Shear wall bar spacing selection now checked against assemblage dimensions

Shear wall designs with vertical reinforcement spacings that exceed the length of the wall or horizontal bond beam spacings that exceed the height no longer result in successful designs. Previously, designs with larger reinforcement spacings were allowed to pass with the bars being placed at a lesser, allowable spacing which would not match the highlighted user selections corresponding to that design. If none of the default selections in a shear wall design have been changed, there will be no difference in design results. However, if only selections which are too large to fit within the shear wall are selected, the design will fail accompanied with an error message explaining the reason for the failure. The vertical reinforcement is checked during moment design and the horizontal reinforcement is checked during shear design.

Different file type added: “.masonry14” Project Files

You can read more about this change in a post here. A new file type, .masonry14, was introduced in order for the program to differentiate between MASS project files designed in accordance to the 2014 CSA S304 masonry standard from the projects created in Versions 2.2 and previous which were designed in accordance with the 2004 edition of the same CSA standard. While the original .masonry file format can be opened by newer versions of MASS, the user will immediately be prompted to save the .masonry project as a .masonry14 project with the same inputs and parameters. This change was implemented to prevent confusion as to which edition of the S304 standard was used for any saved MASS projects.

Fix for Recent Projects crash experienced by Windows 10 users

Version 2.2 users running the Windows 10 operating system had been experiencing a crash upon program start-up related to the added “Recent Projects” tab on the welcome screen. This has been addressed in the release of MASS Version 3.0.

Unhandled Design error for shear wall design fixed

A bug has been fixed where in previous versions, a shear wall passing moment design then failing shear design would display an “unhandled design” error for moment design under certain conditions. This would occur when the moment design would pass using the highest block size and strength made available via user input selection. When shear walls in this situation fail shear design, MASS attempts to find another passing configuration using a higher unit size and strength. However, since there are no larger sizes and higher strengths to attempt, the “unhandled design” would be displayed rather than correctly showing the user the shear design failure message. This has been fixed for Version 3.0.

When closing a new or modified project, MASS now properly saves and closes

MASS now promptly saves and closes .masonry14 projects when the user attempts to close a project without saving their changes. This change has been made to follow the expected behaviour of conventional software (Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint) to improve the overall user experience.

The biggest technical changes that affect MASS in its current scope include:

  1. For reinforced masonry, a 0.6 factor has been implemented to more accurately reflect the non-linear behavior of masonry in compression. Previous version of MASS used a factor of 0.5 which was not part of the S304.1-04 standard but instead implemented by the judgement of CMDC as “phi,linear”
  2. No. 30 bars have been removed from all MASS modules in accordance with the changes to S304-14: 12.1.2
  3. Minimum steel areas and ratios were reduced
  4. Maximum bond beam spacing when bond beams are used to resist in-plane shear now takes wall dimensions into account.
  5. Intermediate steel placement for beams has been changed
  6. Deep shear span conditions have been changed and beams no longer automatically fail shear design without further analysis
  7. The masonry component of beam shear resistance is no longer divided by 2 for beams without stirrups
  8. Maximum stirrup spacing is no longer limited by d/2. Much more has been written on this topic here
  9. Factored shear is now designed at distance dv rather than d away from the face of the support

Note that the addition of Chapter 16 of S304-14 falls outside the scope of MASS however it is the next order of business to add seismic design (including the ductility verification).

If you have more specific questions regarding changes to the masonry design standards, please do not hesitate to contact CMDC. Below is the FAQ which will be updated as more questions roll in:

Do I need to upgrade from Version 2.2?

No. This release is optional, only intended for those looking to start designing using the 2014 CSA standards. Once you have transitioned to designing using the more recent building codes, you will want to no longer be designing using the older standards.

Does signing up to use Version 3.0 mean no longer using the version installed now?

No. in fact, unlike other MASS releases, Version 3.0 has been designed specifically to be run alongside your current Version (2.2 is the newest release designing in accordance with 2004 standards). Even the file structure has been changed so that you do not have to worry about designing a project using one version and accidentally switching CSA standards by opening it using the other version. Read more on the new “.masonry14” file type here.

If I am interested, how do I get a copy of Version 3.0?

To start using Version 3.0, contact CMDC to request a copy today to be sent a download link with instructions.

What is next for MASS?

Chapter 16 of the 2014 CSA S304 Standard introduces new steps that can be taken to obtain higher seismic force resisting system ductility performance. An Rd value of 3.0 for non0squat shear walls with a detailed plastic hinge can now be obtained compared to 2 which was the highest achievable value in the 2004 edition. Multi-storey shear wall design is also being worked on which will be incorporated in a new module. If you would like to request a new feature, please do not hesitate to let us know!

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Brad Crumb

Brad is a Masonry Design Engineer with CMDC. Starting in 2011, his main role with the CMDC has involved developing the masonry design software, MASS, as well as handling the engineering related technical support questions that come in on a regular basis. If you've called or emailed the CMDC office about MASS, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Brad.