ClearCalcs Customers

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Victoria, Australia

SMARTBuild Engineering

Discover how SMARTBuild Engineering is leading sustainable building and social housing design with a forward-thinking approach that combines cutting-edge technology with eco-friendly materials like Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) and Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT).

SMARTBuild Engineering, founded by Sameer Ramgoolam, is at the forefront of sustainable building and social housing design. The company uses an innovative approach that combines cutting-edge technology with eco-friendly materials like Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) and Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT).

In this case study, we had the opportunity to sit down with Sameer and discuss how ClearCalcs has become an instrumental part of his toolkit for driving change in the construction industry.

About the company

Sameer is originally from South Africa. He has three postgraduate qualifications: a national diploma and a Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering. With nearly thirty years of engineering experience, he has worked with Vela VKE (now merged with SMEC) in building design and Transnet, a South African rail, port, and pipeline company, where he worked in the port engineering division.

Upon moving to Australia, Sameer completed a Master's degree in Civil Engineering and secured professional registration with the Building Licensing Authority (BLA). This registration is crucial as it authorizes him to sign off on designs and certifications, ensuring compliance with the National Construction Code (NCC) and other relevant Australian Standards.

Sameer also holds registrations that allow him to operate across various Australian states. These include signing Form 15 in Queensland and similar certifications in Tasmania.

Sameer’s deep understanding of structural engineering and commitment to eco-friendly practices led him to establish SMARTBuild Engineering in 2017, which has been running successfully for six years.

“We do predominantly building design. Specifically, we do sustainable engineering design—using sustainable and renewable products and looking at the whole life cycle assessment of the project”, explained Sameer.

smart-build-engineering-SIPs-modular.jpg Image 1: An example of a residential building with modular SIPs construction (Reference: SMARTBuild Engineering Pty Ltd)

“We've done a lot of projects—passive house designs and 7-star energy-efficient homes using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). Now, I want to explore using cross-laminated timber for the same purpose.”

The challenge

Serving a clientele base consisting of architects and architectural firms, as well as product suppliers and manufacturers within the construction industry, Sameer handles between 10 to 20 projects annually, each bespoke and tailored to the unique requirements of his clients.

With his business emphasizing sustainability, Sameer aims to reduce carbon footprints by advocating for timber over steel and minimizing the use of concrete in his projects.

In addition to sustainable engineering design, Sameer believes in aligning his business practices to the shift of Construction 4.0 - this means utilizing digital technologies to optimize his engineering design and off-site prefabrication to improve the construction supply chain.

“I strongly support off-site prefabrication, especially for rapid construction to meet Victoria's social housing needs.”

Based on his strong finite element analysis and structural simulation background, Sameer initially used SOFiSTiK, a high-end FEA analysis package well known for its bridge engineering design.

As he grew his business in Australia, serving clients to design Class 1 and Class 1a buildings, Sameer searched for a more straightforward beam and column design solution that complied with Australian standards.

“What I really liked about ClearCalcs is its simplicity. It's simple and easy to use, and the output is also very, very clear. You can see all of the output results for enveloped bending moment, shear, and deflection.”

Rapid preliminary design assessments for beams and columns

Sameer currently integrates ClearCalcs into his overall toolkit for efficient engineering design.

“So there is a hierarchy of software that I use. I have ClearCalcs for very quick and fast design to see whether something works or doesn't work. Then I got Robot Structural Analysis Professional, an AutoDesk product, and Ansys Composite PrepPost for layered composite analysis”.

Sameer’s engineering design workflow usually begins when he receives a drawing plan. He initially reviews the provided architectural plans or preliminary drawings, focusing on crucial aspects such as spans, load widths, and overall design intent.

smart-build-engineering-structural-elements.jpg Image 2: An example of beam and column elements in Sameer’s projects (Reference: SMARTBuild Engineering Pty Ltd)

Using ClearCalcs, he inputs critical parameters into the software to instantly calculate the performance of beams and columns under various loads. This rapid assessment allows him to determine the feasibility of structural elements and make informed decisions about material selection and design approaches.

smart-build-engineering-clearcalcs.jpg Image 3: ClearCalcs easy-to-use timber beam and column calculator interface allows Sameer to quickly check whether his selected structural members are passing or not during the design process (Reference: SMARTBuild Engineering Pty Ltd)

“This [ClearCalcs] works fantastic because to do this manually will take too long. And we want to have very, very quick results to see whether it works or doesn’t work - especially when we're doing preliminary sizing or costing to give the suppliers to say, can this work or not? We just want a yes or no answer.”

Sameer then transitions to advanced analysis software such as Robot Structural Analysis Professional or ANSYS for more complex structures or when further refinement is needed.

Concurrently with the design process, Sameer also develops a detailed 3D model of the structure. This model helps visualize the project, coordinate with architectural elements, and identify potential issues early in the design phase.

Clear calculation output and customizable structural reporting

Once Sameer finalizes his design, he uses ClearCalcs' reporting feature to generate the structural computation reports.

According to Sameer, ClearCalcs’ export or print feature is particularly valuable because it provides clear and detailed results for the structural elements he designs. This clarity is crucial when he compiles the computation report, a mandatory part of Victoria's Regulation 126 Certification process.

“ClearCalcs gives a choice of one-page or detailed reports, which I quite like. I can easily merge them into my main report.”

A single tool for multiple building codes and standards

Due to his work with SIPs suppliers and manufacturers worldwide, one key feature of ClearCalcs that Sameer enjoys is the ability to select different design codes within ClearCalcs, which enables Sameer to adapt his work to local regulations seamlessly.

smart-build-engineering-barwonheads.jpg Image 4: An example of a design project involving SIPs and Glulam materials from different countries (Reference: SMARTBuild Engineering Pty Ltd)

“So if I'm looking for LVL or glulam, it might come from Germany. If I'm looking for spruce-pine-fir (SPF), which comes from North America, I'll have to design according to the CSA 086, which is a Canadian code. I have to use Eurocode 5 if it's coming from Europe, and if I have to use anything local here like VicBeam, I’ll use the Australian codes.”

“One project will have three different codes depending on what materials are being used,” added Sameer.


For Sameer, a good day for him as an engineer means achieving specific milestones and successfully solving complex problems within his projects.

“Since I'm the only one in the business, I do the business development, I do the marketing, I do the execution of the projects as well. For the most part, one of the questions I did have was how I spend my time during the day and how I split it on any project?”

Sameer’s use of ClearCalcs has significantly streamlined his workflow. ClearCalcs’ user-friendly interface and ability to quickly assess designs against various international standards have made it an indispensable tool in Sameer's engineering toolkit.

Ready to experience the benefits of ClearCalcs for yourself? Take the leap and try it today to streamline your structural engineering workflow, gain valuable insights, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having a reliable and user-friendly tool at your fingertips.

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