Computer Software for Steel Professionals

Structural Material Manager Version 12.5 Upgrade


Introduction: This information summarizes the improvements that have been made to the Version 12.5 Structural Material Manager software system.

Structural tubes are often referred to as HSS, which stands for Hollow Structural Sections. The Version 12.5 upgrade gives Structural Material Manager the ability to recognize the HSS designation.

HSS is available in Square/Rectangular and Round sizes. A total of 495 HSS items have been implemented in the 12.5 upgrade's size library: 367 Square/Rectangular HSS items and 128 Round HSS items.

Square/Rectangular HSS and Round HSS are discussed in separate sections below.

Square/Rectagular HSS: Square/Rectangular HSS is designated as Face A x Face B x Wall Thickness. HSS 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1/8 is one example. American Institute of Steel Construction (A.I.S.C.) standard practice dictates that fractional dimensions are to be used, thus the HSS 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1/8 designation instead of HSS 3.500 x 2.500 x 0.125.

When A.I.S.C. began specifying Square/Rectangular Tube (type TS) under the newer Square/Rectangular HSS designation, there was no actual change to the physical items. The switch from TS to HSS was in name only. Thus, HSS 4 x 4 x 1/2 is the exact same item as TS 4 x 4 x 1/2.

Despite the fact that the switch from TS to HSS is only a nomenclature change, A.I.S.C.'s printed Steel Construction Manual - formerly known as the Manual of Steel Construction - at one time listed lower HSS item weights than were previously published for the very same TS items. That situation existed up to and including the 13th edition of A.I.S.C.'s tables, but it was fortunately corrected with the release of the 14th edition tables. Published HSS item weights now match their TS counterparts exactly, and Structural Material Manager bases all HSS weights on the updated tables.

Note that all Square Rectangular HSS sizes can be alternately entered as TS if you wish, but not every TS can be represented as HSS. For example, HSS 5 x 4 x 3/8 can alternately be entered as TS 5 x 4 x 3/8; the two designations represent the exact same item. TS 1 x 1 x 1/8, however, cannot be expressed as HSS 1 x 1 x 1/8 since the 1 x 1 x 1/8 size exists only as TS without a corresponding HSS designation.

Round HSS: Round Hollow Structural Sections - or Round HSS for short - have been used in Canada for many years. More recently, the Round HSS designation was introduced by the American Institute of Steel Construction (A.I.S.C.) for use in the United States.

A Round HSS item is specified as an outside diameter followed by a wall thickness. Although items of the Round Tube (TR) type are also designated by diameter and wall dimensions, it is important to note that Round HSS sizes are not necessarily the same as TR Sizes. Contrast this with the case of Square/Rectangular HSS in which the HSS items are nothing more than Square/Rectangular TS under a new name. Such correspondence does not occur between Round HSS and TR, as Round HSS is an entirely new material type. Any overlap between existing Round Tube sizes (or existing Pipe sizes, for that matter) is purely coincidental. For example, when a Grade A500 Round HSS size is specified for a structural project, and availability and/or cost considerations mandate substituting a similar Grade A53 Pipe size, that Pipe is not simply the Round HSS item under a different name.

A.I.S.C.'s standard practice dictates that Round HSS is specified using decimal numbers to (3) places. For example, HSS 5.563 x 0.258 indicates Round HSS with an outside diameter of 5.563" and a wall thickness of 0.258". A leading zero is always to be used if a value is less than 1.000, thus the 0.258 thickness designation rather than simply .258 in the HSS 5.563 x 0.258 example.

Although Structural Material Manager always reports Round HSS to (3) decimal places with a leading zero when necessary, it does not require you to enter any insignificant zeroes. For instance, you can enter HSS 7.500 x 0.250 very conveniently as HSS 7.5 x .25, and the system will properly expand the designation to HSS 7.500 x 0.250 on the display screen and all printed reports.

Differentiating Between Square/Rectangular and Round HSS: By industry-standard practice, printed bills of material typically do not place the adjectives Square, Rectangular and Round before HSS. Instead, HSS is usually all that is displayed. That means that one basic designation - HSS - is used to refer to two very different varieties of items: Square/Rectangular HSS and Round HSS.

The fact that decimals are used for Round HSS sizes helps to visually distinguish those items from Square/Rectangular HSS, as Square/Rectangular HSS uses fractions instead of decimals. For instance, when you see HSS 3.50 x 0.250, the decimals immediately clue you in to the fact that it is a Round HSS item. On the other hand, the presence of fractions in designations such as HSS 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 1/4 and 2 1/2 x 2 x 3/16 instantly lets you know that these are Square/Rectangular HSS items.

If it were not for the visual cues provided by decimal versus fractional representations, you'd be forced to count description fields knowing that HSS with a pair of description fields (Diameter x Wall) represents Round HSS, and HSS with a description field trio (Face A x Face B x Wall) is Square/Rectangular HSS.

Sample Screen Shot: Here is a screen shot of the Version 12.5 Material Entry Screen showing some Square/Rectangular HSS items followed by a few Round HSS items:

Upgrade Price Quote and Ordering Info: If you are an existing customer with an older Structural Material Manager version, please e-mail us at to obtain a price quote on the latest upgrade. You can then use the Online Upgrade Order Form to conveniently place the order for the latest Structural Material Manager upgrade.

Other Upgrade Versions: This page specifically covers Version 12.5 upgrade features. For information concerning other upgrade versions, visit our main Structural Material Manager upgrade page which contains links to pages describing improvements in each software release from Version 10.1 (circa 2007) to the present.