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Concrete proposal Consultant W S Atkins has developed software which, it claims, is a major advance in the design of prestressed and reinforced concrete structures. More slender and economical structures could result from its application.Previous computer modelling software provided only partial analysis of designs, says the company, forcing engineers to over-design to be sure of a structure's integrity.Using the new software, called CONCRETE, Atkins says design engineers can analyse efficiently for the first time the full spectrum of in-plane and bending forces acting on structures as diverse as offshore platforms, bridges, and coastal defences.Lead developer of the software Trevor Hodgson, of Atkins Engineering Software, says: 'The results of CONCRETE's analysis enables designers to determine safety margins more accurately and to optimise designs through structural resizing. Weight savings and construction cost reductions are likely as a result.'The software is already being used by Mobil North Sea, Shell Expro and Lloyd's Register. It is based on finite element analysis, in which Atkins specialises, its ASAS software having analysed more than half of the North Sea's jacket structures.It is presently being used to assess the condition of existing North Sea structures such as Beryl Alpha, the world's first deep-water oil production platform installed in 1974. Beryl Alpha was the first of the Condeeps and is planning an extension of some 5,000 tonnes to her topsides. CONSTRUCTION NEWS