Fitzroy Systems

Software for Structural Engineers

SPADE *** Structural Parts And Details Ensemble ***

SPADE is a computer program for producing drawings for a variety of components. SPADE is not just an electronic drawing board, it is an 'expert detailer' which does the drawing for you, producing to-scale details.

The details produced by SPADE are text files, written in HPGL (Hewlett-Packard Graphics Language) and may be:

  • sent directly to printer (thus the SPADE detail may be printed on any printer which is supported by Windows)
  • edited by the supplied program called TAPE (Translator And Plot Editor) and then printed
  • converted to .DXF and read and edited by your own CAD system.

SPADE is an 'expert system' which knows about detailing and builds the detail using the knowledge contained within the SPADE database. The engineer merely has to guide SPADE by giving answers to the various questions which SPADE asks. This does not mean that SPADE is restricted to the knowledge contained within itself, for SPADE incorporates an easy to use drawing program called TAPE which allows the user to add to or amend the SPADE detail to incorporate the engineer's own expert knowledge.

Thus SPADE offers the best of both worlds:

  • the skills of an expert detailer
  • the means to add the engineer's expert knowledge and thereby produce a detail tailored to the job.

A current list of SPADE programs follows:

Portal Connections.

310 Portal eaves haunched connection
320 Portal apex haunched connection

End Plate Connections.

410 Flexible end plate connection - beam to beam
412 Flexible end plate connection - beam to column
416 Extended end plate connection - beam to column

Angle Cleat and Angle Seat Connections.

420 Double angle cleat - beam to beam connection
422 Double angle cleat - beam to column connection
430 Angle seat - beam to column connection

Fin Plate Connections.

440 Fin plate - beam to beam
442 Fin plate - beam to column

Moment Connections.

450 Tongue plate connection - beam to column
452 Direct welded connection - beam to column
454 Tee connections - beam to column
458 Beam stub connection

Miscellaneous Connections.

460 Beam over beam connection


490 Beam splice
492 Column splice

Column Bases.

510 Column base plate
512 Welded gusset column base plate

Shop Details.

540 Shop detail - non skew beam - drilled
550 Shop detail - column - drilled

Fire Casings.

580 Beam and column fire casing - timber framing - up to 1 hour
582 Beam and column fire casing - steel angle framing - up to 2 hours

Location Drawings.

590 Location drawing - single bay portal frame
592 Location drawing - multi-storey frame


605 Raft foundation - wide toe
608 Raft foundation - deep edge beam
610 Raft foundation - plain edge detail
612 Raft foundation - plain internal wall support
613 Bored pile foundation to resist uplift
614 Bored pile foundation
615 Masonry walls
616 Trench fill foundation
618 Traditional strip footing with concrete floor
619 Traditional strip footing with suspended timber floor
620 Wide strip foundation
622 Pad and stem foundation for loose fill
624 Precast driven segmental pile foundation
630 Granular layer beneath slab venting through trench
632 Granular layer beneath slab venting through trench with riser
634 Granular layer beneath slab venting through slotted pipe & riser


801 Graph plotting
900 General notes on SPADE
908 Component detailing using SPADE
920 The COMMAND prompt
940 Printing of a filed SPADE drawing
941 Editor
952 Setting page length
960 Demonstrating SPADE or lecturing about detailing
966 Printing out the SPADE Reference Manual
967 Printing out the SPADE help file
996 How to compose a SPADE proforma detail

Historical Background.

The LUCID system is limited to reinforced concrete detailing; SPADE has been developed to extend the principles of LUCID to steelwork, masonry and timber detailing. During the development of SPADE the following publications were consulted:

  • Manual on connections for beam and column construction to BS449 by JW Pask; published BCSA.
  • Manual on connections - volume 1 - joints in simple construction to BS5950 by JW Pask; published BCSA.
  • Metric practice for structural steelwork; published BCSA.
  • Plastic Design of Low-Rise Frames by MR Horne and LJ Morris; published by Constrado (now SCI).
  • Steel Designers' Manual - Fifth Edition 1992; published by BSP.
  • Steelwork Design Guide to BS5950; published by SCI.
  • Steel Detailers' Manual by Alan Hayward and Frank Weare; published by by BSP.
  • Structural Steelwork Design to BS5950 by LJ Morris and DR Plum; published by Longman Scientific & Technical.
  • Verification of design methods for finplate connections by DB Moore and GW Owens; published by The Structural Engineer - Feb 1992.
  • Foundations for low-rise buildings by MJ Tomlinson, R Driscoll ,& JB Burland; published by The Structural Engineer June 1978.
  • Raft foundations in mining areas, correspondence by J O'Rourke; published The Structural Engineer October 1983.
  • Structural design of Masonry by Andrew Orton; published by Longman.