The International Building Code (IBC) has now been adopted as the model design code for most states and territories of the United States of America. For Masonry design, the IBC references the Building Code Requirements and Specification for Masonry Structures (MSJC) for material properties, design procedures, specifications and quality control. Individual state codes then amend the two documents (IBC and MSJC) appropriately.

In high seismic regions of the United States, hollow block of concrete masonry units (CMU) are the material of choice in masonry construction. The CMU’s are built using sand, pea gravel, cement and water. CMU is typically delivered to the job site as a individual units usually sixteen inches long, eight inches high and of thickness varying between six inches to twelve inches nominal dimensions as required. Building of a masonry system requires the use of mortar applied at the bed and head of the CMU blocks and grout to fill in the hollow voids in the CMU where steel reinforcement is used. The mortar and the grout are made by proportioning amounts of cement, sand, pea gravel and water as specified by design codes.

This paper presents teaching methods used to teach undergraduate architectural (with emphasis in structural) engineering masonry design courses. The format used exposes the students to instructors that are current consulting engineers and with vast practical knowledge with masonry. The design using masonry at element level is taught in a lecture format. In this format, factors influencing design of the built masonry unit are investigated by building wall units. This hands on “learn by doing” exposes the students to constructability and quality control requirements. Prism tests are also conducted to familiarize the students to the possibility of debonding of the masonry from the mortar. Design using the materials at a system (building) level is then taught in a laboratory format. In this later format, the students prepare complete construction documents (structural calculations, structural plans and structural specifications) for real masonry structures using architectural plans. Understanding of the construction process of masonry structures is highly emphasized in the process of preparing the construction documents.

As a result of this two tier coverage of design of masonry structures, graduates from this program have earned a reputation in California of “being ready on day one” after graduation on designing these types of projects.


Architectural Engineering

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/aen_fac/59