Moment and Simple Connections

The design of structural steel moment & simple connections in portal and multi-storey frames to Eurocode 3 and  BS 5950.

MasterKey Moment and Simple Connections are the UK's two leading software programs for the design of structural steel connections. The powerful editing facilities and the optional automatic design, enable the software to design and draft multi-storey and portal frame connections with maximum speed, economy, and accuracy.

The software's user-friendly graphical input enables rapid optimisation of the structural design under the full control of the Engineer. Quickly review existing steel connections and automatically or interactively design new connections.

MasterKey Moment and Simple Connections function fully as "Stand-Alone" or "Integrated" software packages.  In "Stand-Alone" mode joints are designed based on user entered geometry and forces.  Running inside MasterFrame or MasterPort in "Integrated Mode" these values are seamlessly transferred from the analysis model giving you maximum speed, economy, and accuracy as well as flexibility of design.

Inbuilt libraries of British, European, American, South African & Chinese sections. You can create your own section libraries and even generate and re-size one-off I-sections at design time.


  • Portal and multi-storey frame connections
  • Multiple loading cases including moment reversal
  • Intelligent automatic design enables you to rapidly optimise your connections
  • Freedom to change and refine automatically designed connections
  • Automatic updating of Graphics and Design Output with every keystroke for full control over the design process
  • All failures are highlighted graphically toenable easy correction and optimisation
  • Easy to use with very short learning curve
  • Dimensions are checked for lack of fit, edge distances and bolt centres etc, preventing the design of bad joints
  • Consideration of un-braced multistorey frames to the ‘Green book’
  • Many input defaults including weld sizes and bolt cross-centres. These are based on detailing recommended values
  • Welds can be fillet, deep penetration fillet, fillet with partial penetration butt weld or full penetration butt weld
  • Standard joint configurations can be stored for retrieval and amendment thus removing repetitive input and standardise details
  • All connection types are for I-sections with design for other section profiles such as Hollow sections and Channels covered in particular joint types, as specifically indicated
  • Dynamic links from MasterFrame and MasterPort provide fully integrated analysis and design thus reducing design time and eradicating information transfer errors from one process to the next
  • Detailed or summarised output
  • Dimensioned DXF output to AutoCAD® provides further reductions in design time and removes information transfer errors
  • PowerPad and Calculation Wizard users can export results and dimensioned graphics to Word

The Software covers the Design of 6 generic types of Moment Connections:

  1. Eaves type ‘beam-to-column flange’ connections
  2. Apex type ‘beam-to-beam’ connections
  3. Stiffened and un-stiffened column base plates
  4. Beam-to-beam splice connections
  5. Column splice connections
  6. Hollow splice connections

All these connections can be used in both Portal Frame and Multi-Storey Frames. Each generic type covers a wide range of connection permutations, as shown in the following few pages.


  • Extended end-plates
  • Haunched or un-haunched
  • Asymmetrical double sided eaves joints (valley joint)
  • Morris, diagonal, ‘K’ and doubler plate shear stiffeners
  • Column flange backing plates
  • Haunch weld and end of haunch stiffener design
  • Re-distribution of bolts between tension and shear bolt groups on the fly for each loading case maximising the joint capacity
  • Automatic transfer of forces at joint interface when linked to MasterFrame and MasterPort


  • Axial or moment base-plates
  • Slab and stiffened base-plates
  • Asymmetrical base-plates
  • Axial up-lift
  • Also designs Hollow sections
  • 11 stiffener configurations
  • Pressure area optimisation to reduce base-plate bending
  • Punching shear design when reinforcement present to improve pullout resistance
  • CHS base-plates with Pitch Circle Diameter (PCD) bolts and radial stiffening
  • Fire Boundary checks
  • Automatically transfer Fire Boundary results from MasterPort
  • Live load reduction when linked to MasterFrame
  • CHS wall bearing checks for stiffeners
  • Shear key and recessed base design
  • Cast in bolts with no washers
  • Triangular or rectangular pressure diagrams


  • Axial, shear and moment splice design
  • Major and Minor axis moments
  • Automatic calculation of minor axis moments due to Strut Action
  • Internal and external plates
  • In-line or staggered bolts
  • 2 or 4 bolts per row
  • Bearing & non-bearing Splices
  • User definable load distribution between web and flanges
  • Counter sunk bolts
  • Cap & Base column Splices
  • Welded Packers

The Software covers the Design of 7 generic types of simple connections as follows:

  1. Beam-to-beam Flexible end-plate connections
  2. Beam-to-beam Fin-plate connections
  3. Beam-to-Beam Angle Cleat Connections
  4. Beam-to-column Flexible end-plate connections
  5. Beam-to-column Fin-plate connections
  6. Beam-to-Column Angle Cleat Connections
  7. Slab Base-Plate (concentric axial loaded bases) NEW


  • Vertical Shear and Tie Force Loading
  • Beams can be channel sections
  • Horizontal notching into column web
  • User definable notch depths and lenghts
  • Notched/stripped section capacity checks
  • In-line or staggered bolts
  • Bolt clash detection


  • Flush, extended and partial depth end-plates
  • 2 or 4 bolts per row


  • 1 or 2 bolts per row
  • In-line or staggered bolts
  • Columns can be Hollow sections
  • Full punching shear checks on hollow section columns
  • Flange stripping


  • 2 or 4 bolts per row
  • Single or double angle cleats
  • Single angle cleats checked for torsional forces
  • Different bolt pitches for toe and web bolts

POWERPAD and POWERPAD Plus include both MasterKey Moment and Simple Connections. You will be able to design and export connection graphics without limitations, however printing of results is limited to connections with an applied moment of up to 300 kNm and applied axial and shear forces of up to 300 kN.

Connection Types

Moment Connections - In Portal and Multi-Storey Frames

  • Eaves type 'beam-to-column flange' connections
  • Apex type 'beam-to-beam' connections 
  • Stiffened and un-stiffened column base plates
  • Beam splice connections
  • Column splice connections
  • Hollow section splice connections

Simple Connections - Shear & Axial Connections

  • Beam to beam Flexible end-plate connections
  • Beam to beam Fin-plate connections
  • Beam to Beam Angle Cleat connections
  • Beam to column Flexible end-plate connections
  • Beam to column Fin-plate connections
  • Beam to Column Angle Cleat connections
  • Slab Base-Plate (concentric axial loaded bases) NEW

Design Codes

  • BS EN1993-1-8:2005 Eurocode 3: Part 1-8: Design of Joints  
  •      SCI P358 Joints in steel construction: Simple Joints to Eurocode 3
  •      SCI P398 Joints in steel construction: Moment-Resisting Joints to Eurocode 3
  •      UK National Annex to Eurocode 3 Part 1-8 (you can add your own national annex data) 


  • BS 5950
  •      SCI P212 Joints in steel construction: Simple Connections
  •      SCI P207/95 Joints in steel construction: Moment Connections
  •      SCI P002 BS 5950 worked examples (blue book)


PDF File of Joint Configurations

For more information click on the Video, Brochure & Output Links above
  • Valley Eaves Joint in a MasterPort Multi-Bay Portal Frame
  • Beam to Column Angle Cleat Simple Connection linked to MasterFrame �
  • New Press Hall Mail Room - Gifford and Partners
  • Column Splice with countersunk bolts using the Moment Connections in Stand-alone mode
  • Beam to Beam fin-plate in a MasterFrame Building
Contact us about this product

Free Connection Design Webinar: 31st January @ 1pm GMT

Join us for this live webinar where you will be able to see the software in action and ask the developers questions.

For more details & to register click here


Request Your Free 30 Day Trial Version Today

This will allow you to try a fully functioning version of MasterKey Moment & Simple Connections, absolutely free, in your own office on your own jobs without obligation for 30 days.  

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  “How refreshing it is to use a connections design program where we are allowed to act as structural engineers. The high level of user control is perfectly balanced with the incredibly intelligent automatic design. The input methods are so clear, and most importantly the design output leaves nothing to the imagination.”    Ron Swift, Severfield Reeve Structures Ltd