Beam Chek – Wood and Steel Structural Design and Analysis Software

Beam Chek Structural Design SoftwareBeamChek is the quick, accurate and easy to use structural design software for residential architects, professional home designers, engineers, and design/build contractors.

Calculate beams, joists, and rafters with confidence and speed. The BeamChek database includes steel, wood, timber, glu-lams, and structural composite lumber.

Advanced Wood Beam Analysis

  • Size beams, rafters, floor joists, hips and valleys
  • Enter up to a dozen multiple, complex loads
  • Solve simple span or overhanging conditions
  • Select from 57 wood species or input custom values
  • National Design Specification® (NDS 97, 01 or 05) values
  • Size steel, glu-lams and Structural Composite beams
  • Design columns with steel and wood
  • Click instant help buttons for diagrams & code information
  • Built-in boundary and error checking
  • Easy to read printout with a loading diagram

Simple User Interface

BeamChek is not just another Spreadsheet requiring Microsoft Excel, nor is it full of cryptic icons just for the sake of having icons. BeamChek is part of a new generation of simple, no-nonsense, software solutions. Our goal is to save you time.

The following features (many requested by users) have helped BeamChek evolve into the fastest and easiest to use software of its kind.

You will find…

  • Fewer menus to hunt through, common default settings, and minimal jumping between forms.
  • Consistent input procedures for beam applications and conditions.
  • More buttons for quick selections of common settings. This means less typing and faster results!
  • Compare acceptable beams in two species groups, each in two grades, before you select a specific member width, depth or grade.
  • Complete boundary and error checking.
  • Instant help buttons with code information, explanations, and diagrams to assist new users.
  • A hard copy manual is provided and the entire manual is also available in the help file.
  • Easy to read, concise printouts show all the necessary data to document your beam selection.

“BeamChek is easy to learn and use…”

Does this sound like advertising hype?

It’s not. Are you wondering why our nearest competitor will charge you for technical support to use their software?

We can’t answer that. We do know that if you have a BeamChek question or difficulty you can always call us for help.

The thousands of BeamChek users call infrequently, so we won’t need to pick your wallet if you do happen to call for assistance.


The BeamChek demo is a “working” demonstration of the most recent version of our software. Only the span entry is limited to between 10 to 11 ft and 15 to 16 ft. All other features are fully functional and you may print sample print-outs. You will find the BeamChek manual in the Help File. Also review the BeamChek Examples, available on the Publications page.

Download Instructions

The compressed download file is approximately 6 MB and requires Windows XP, Vista or 7 in either 32 bit or 64 bit.

We recommend that you save the file to your “desktop”.  After the download is complete, double-click the file to start the installation process. Follow the instructions and after the installation is complete, click on the BeamChek Demo icon to start the BeamChek demo. For best print-outs, set the print-out font to ARIAL.

The demo may be uninstalled by using ‘Add & Remove Programs’ located in your Windows Control Panel.

Please note that use of the demo is governed by the same license agreement as the full BeamChek program. By downloading the demo you indicate your acceptance of the license agreement.


A single user license is only $149.00 plus shipping.


Click “View the PDF version” to view, save, or print the publication.

Note: To view and print Adobe Acrobat PDF files you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not already have the Reader installed you may download it for free from the Adobe Software website at

Please remember, these are all copyrighted works and may not be distributed without written permission. Thank you.

This material is protected under United States federal copyright law and international treaties and may not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of the author. Violations of our copyright and trademark rights are aggressively pursued as allowed under United States and international laws.

1. Introduction to Load Paths and Wood Design

This is a free booklet with basic information for engineering novices. Covers the basics of residential vertical load paths and wood design. View the Acrobat PDF version

2. BeamChek Examples

Example problems demonstrating BeamChek features, proper steps and correct data entry. These are a “must read” when learning to use BeamChek. View the Acrobat PDF version

3. BeamChek 2011 Manual

The BeamChek manual is also available in the BeamChek software “help” file and on the CD in an Acrobat PDF file. View the Acrobat PDF version

4. Structural Composite Lumber Table of Sizes

The Structural Composite Lumber sizes currently supported in BeamChek. View the Acrobat PDF version

5. Structural Composite Lumber Table of Values

Structural Composite Lumber Values. Users needs to keep up to date with values provided from the manufacturers. View the Acrobat PDF version


Multiple, Complex Loads for Beams, Joists and Rafters

Calculate either simple span beams or beams overhanging a support at one end. Up to a dozen live and total loads may be entered for a single beam including six point loads, five partial uniform loads, and a uniform load. You may also size hips and valleys with a uniform increasing load plus a normal uniform load.

Sizes, Grades and Species

Solid-sawn members range from 2 x 4 to 14 x 16, and include multiple, built-up 2x members (up to four). Grades No.1 & No.2 are offered in twelve species groupings (57 species in all) using National Design Specification® Values. Custom grades and species may be evaluated for most species with user entered values. Glu-laminated members are available in two species groupings, Douglas Fir and Southern Pine, with four grades for each (two grades are for overhanging beams). Sizes range from 3-1/8 x 9 to 10-3/4 x 31-1/2, which meets almost every use encountered in typical residential construction.

The Criteria Form

Set the basic criteria for your beam, rafter or joist in one form. Enter the duration of load, wet use, deflection limits, and unbraced length. A calculator, load diagram and note pad are one click away. The small raised grey squares provide instant help. Could this be Microsoft’s original inspiration for “tool tips”?

Please note: v 2005 thru v2010 are nearly identical and operate similarly.

Beam Chek Structural Software Criteria Form

The Selection Form

BeamChek quickly calculates hundreds of beam possibilities filtering out all but the most appropriate sizes and presents them in an easy to compare table that includes two grades in two species groups and glu-lams too. The sizes listed are easy to read nominal sizes!

Beam Chek Structural Software Selection Form

The Beam Report

The report lets you readily determine if a beam is adequate without scrutinizing a jumble of numbers. The percentages compare critical to actual attributes of your selected member and the status of each is plainly listed as OK or FAIL. You may change the width or depth with a mouse click and have it recalculated instantly without leaving the form! The dead load deflection can be reviewed for its impact on the beam’s appearance in the project and a camber height is recommended.

Beam Chek Structural Software Report Form

Custom glu-lam grades, glu-lam ‘header’ sizes, and LVL beams in common stock sizes from several manufacturers may also be analyzed with user entered values. Values may be saved to disk for repeated use. Non-standard timbers may be sized in half- inch increments from 5×5 to 12×20 using the custom values form.

Steel Beams

BeamChek will size 36 ksi and 50 ksi wide flange steel up to W 30 x 127, standard flange up to S 24 x 121, channels up to C 15 x 50 and A46 rectangular tube shapes to T 20 x 8 x 5/16. Analysis includes web yielding and crippling with minimum bearing area in lieu of web stiffeners. Steel plates for use in Flitch beams may also be sized with wood used solely for connection purposes and stability.

Beam Chek Structural Software Steel Form

Solid and Built-Up Columns

Built-up and solid wood columns to 10 x 10, plus steel columns in round and square shapes complement our wide selection of tools for the residential designer. We have recently added analysis for wind loading on studs.

Beam Chek Structural Software Column Form

The Data Record

Before you print or save your calculation, view the beam data record for complete specifics of loads, conditions and beam characteristics which may include analysis of:

  • Reactions, live load reactions, and possible uplift.
  • Maximum moment, shear, and reduced shear.
  • Total beam weight and beam weight per foot.
  • Total load, live load, and dead load deflections.
  • Suggested camber for simple span glu-lams.
  • Minimum required bearing area for both reactions.
  • Base values, adjustment factors, and the adjusted Fb, Fv, E, Fc values.



for installation on one business computer and/or one laptop or home computer if the licensed single user is the prime user of both. $149.00


for installation on up to 10 computers or workstations at one location. May be purchased in multiples for large offices or multiple locations.

Minimum User Requirements:

Licenses are available for use in the United States and Canada. The proper software use requires a fundamental knowledge of structural design, local building codes and construction practices, as stated in the license agreement. BeamChek is a design tool for experienced structural design professionals.

Minimum System Requirements:

IBM Compatible PC running Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or 7 in 32 bit or 64 bit. Individual PC installation (of approximately 6 MB) is recommended for networks.

Software is provided on a CD ROM and ships with a printed instruction manual. Examples and additional documentation is available on the CD.

We do not have a MAC version, however several offices are successfully running BeamChek with emulation software or Macs with the Intel chip and Windows.

Satisfaction Guaranteed:

We know you’ll be satisfied with BeamChek software. But if you’re not, whatever the reason, you may return all documentation and software in good condition within 30 days to receive a prompt and friendly refund of the purchase price, less shipping and handling costs. Please call first for a return confirmation number and shipping/insurance instructions.

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