CAD software can be very expensive. Testing model software can be too. I like to work on personal projects, and cannot afford the big software suites civil engineers with city budgets can afford. However, I did find a structural program and some others online that were available for free that were really helpful to my hobby. My wife and I wanted to build a house. I wanted it to look like a regular home in the community but be specifically engineered to be special. Over the years I have been working on fire safety ideas to build into the home to make it easy to survive any fire no matter when it might occur. This included picking specific materials in home construction as well as having fire warning and suppression systems.
A few years ago we actually experienced an earthquake. We just do not get them where we live. It shook the whole house we were living in at the time. Hydraulic fracturing in a state south of us was blamed for the earthquake. I decided to look into a structural program that would add earthquake protection to our new home we were going to build as well. Since we experience a lot of mine subsidence in our region, I think it would be helpful for protection against damage from that too. Another thing we insisted on for the construction of our new home was extra protection against intrusion. The rate of home invasions seems to be going up everywhere. And even though we have property in a quiet little suburb, you have to remember that criminals have cars and can travel.
The structural program helped me with choosing construction materials and methods to keep bad guys out and to build a safe room that even experts could not get into. The expenses for the extras did increase the cost of our house, but we think it is worth it. One of the keys to its safety is that you cannot tell when visiting that these safety features are there. Even the sprinkler system is not obvious. Making the home super energy efficient is actually paying for the additional costs for the other features.