The creation of the Direct Design Handbook (TMS 403) was a remarkable step forward in the accelerated design of basic masonry buildings. It eliminated many of the steps necessary in a conventional design and handles detailing for all parts of the wall, including lintels and control joints adjacent to openings. However, it still left the engineer with a considerable time investment to work through the steps and then produce construction drawings for each wall. From the outset, the question was raised whether software could automate this process and make the design even easier.

Enter Direct Design Software. Newly upgraded in mid-2014, this tool fully unlocks the power of the Direct Design approach. The tedium of table lookups and repetition of simple steps is now automated, as is the detailing of every block and reinforcing bar. Both the Handbook and the software are based on MSJC-11 (TMS 402-11/ACI 530-11/ASCE 5-11 Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures) and deemed to comply with the 2012 International Building Code and International Residential Code. The program also supports the first edition of the handbook (TMS 403-10) based on MSJC-08.


Time Savings

Enter a few input criteria, specify the plan layout and opening locations, and the software does the rest. Every wall is detailed simultaneously. Some iteration may ocur as problem areas are identified, but this process is much faster than the similar cycles that occur with a conventional design.

Direct Design drawing


A popular feature is the clarity of the fully-detailed wall elevations. Every opening, block, and reinforcing bar is shown. The illustration of the individual blocks in the wall makes locating items easy. The software prints full-page drawings of each wall for distribution to contractors or draftsmen. The level of precision in each drawing eliminates time and confusion. View Screen Shots

Interface development

Exposed Calculations

One major concern engineers face when using software is the fact that they are staking their integrity and reputation on calculations performed by a machine rather than as a product of their own expertise and experience. Direct Design Software helps to mitigate this by displaying the full text of every calculation and decision made by the program. The user can verify every step as necessary to ensure full peace of mind.