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[SEAOC] masonry shear wall design survey

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I have several general questions about masonry shear wall design which I
would be  interested in getting feed back on:

1.  Are you using working stress design or strength design and why?

2.  In strength design, when boundry elements are required, how are you
     confinement (rebar ties, dur-o-wall seismic comb bedjoint reinforcement,
     confinement plate at bedjoint with same profile as block openings,

3.  To avoid rebar congestion in 8 inch concrete block walls or larger, such
as for jamb        steel in the boundry element, are you using couplers?  At
what bar size do you  
     require couplers instead of a lap splice.

4.  Does anyone have input regarding if it is really more expensive to use
     Rebar fabricators have told me yes it is more expensive,  while of
course the sales        reps for the coupler manufacturer say it can be
cheaper in the long run because of         ease in field installation and
less required rebar due to elimination of lap splices.  I 
     know the end product using couplers is better, but is it really much
more expensive  
     to eliminate lap splices and use couplers.

Michael Cochran
Brian L Cochran Associates
Los Angeles, CA