900 East Main Street, Suite 109

Grass Valley, CA 95945


1250 East Ave #10

Chico, CA 95926


Tools and Technology

Jackson and Sands Engineering Tools: Resource and Code Manuals

At Jackson & Sands Engineering, Inc, a wide array of tools are available to us to create effective solutions for you. In our industry, like many others, not one tool can complete every job and not all tools are needed for every project. Much like a carpenter who has their most commonly used tools in their tool bags, yet more tools in their tool box, and even more tools that are rented for specialized projects, we find ourselves using our core tools on most aspects of every project, other tools may be used less frequently on most projects, and even more tools are needed on a case by case basis. The most commonly used tools for us include:

AutoCad– Computer aided design and drafting (CADD) products revolutionized our industry and has been a staple in many offices for 30+ years.  CADD software removed the long rows or drafting tables and replaced them with smaller desks and computers.  For its versatility, ease of use, and numerous addons, AutoCad is our CADD product of choice.  Our plans are all produced with the clear, crisp lines of AutoCad.

Jackson and Sands Engineering Tools: Enercalc

Enercalc – Enercalc is our go to program for determining gravity loads on timber and steel products, as well as concrete foundation and retaining wall designs.  Enercalc has a wide variety of materials to choose from when analyzing load cases. 

EnergyPro– This is a software that allows us to model residential homes for energy compliance. We can create tradeoffs utilizing this program, such as modeling a less efficient HVAC unit and at the same time increasing insulation in the roof and or walls and upgrading windows to balance out the energy consumption of a home.

Jackson and Sands Engineering Tools: EnergyPro
Jackson and Sands Engineering Tools: Forte Web
Forte Web

Forte Web – a web based timber beam calculator.  We find this tool very useful in determining the bending and shear capacities of wooden beams and joists.  The layout is more cumbersome than its desktop version predecessor, however we have made the adjustments needed and find this tool very useful in our designs.

Microsoft Excel – Excel and other spreadsheet software are a staple in our line of work.  We have several excel sheets set up for every project.  Some spreadsheets track progress, others are used as standard forms, and yet others compute complex equations that are nested within multiple sheets.  When our other calculation type software, such as Enercalc and Forte, hit their limits for certain projects, we can trust that excel will take us the rest of the way by creating new spreadsheets and equations to calculate and determine our desired results.

Jackson and Sands Engineering Tools: Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel

Pen and Paper– In today’s climate, it seems technology produces the finest tools. However, for us, we have always found the need to utilize our trusty pen and paper on every project. This is the first tool used for conceptual sketches, jotting notes from conversations, and redlining plans and notes produced from our technological tools.

Product Technical Data Sheets- Technical data sheets are routinely provided by manufacturers. These data sheets contain the design loads and strengths of materials that we then account for in our designs. Some products are covered by blanketed industry data, such as sawn lumber and standard nails, while specific products, such as screws, truss hangars, and j bolts, all come with their own design data to be utilized. Most often used is the Simpson Products catalogs.

Jackson and Sands Engineering Tools: Resource and Code Manuals
Resource and Code Manuals

Resource and Code Manuals– We constantly find ourselves referencing the required design manuals such as the ASCE 7-16 and California Building Code as well as industry generated manuals from the National Design Specification for Wood Construction and publications by the Engineered Wood Association.

Wisdom from Experience– This is a tool that keeps growing and adapting to the times. Our years of experience in the industry greatly contribute to completing innovative and efficient designs. Our experience is compiled on top of the experience of those before us, as they trained the next generation of engineers. Something we are eternally grateful for and will continue the tradition by training our next generation of engineers to come.


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