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Re: FIRE - Fire damage to unreinforced brick wall.

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First of all congratulation on your (alleged) passing of the P.E. exam.
Welcome to the world of liability.

The URM buildings (pre 1933 construction) usually have LIME MORTAR
and is weaker than mortar used today. The whitish color is the indication
of presence of lime. 
Without seeing the building it is hard to speculate, but what you are seeing
is probably the exposed part of the wall above the neighbors wall (parapet
maybe)
that has been weathered by rain and water splashing. 

Normally when we do shear tests on the URM walls it is expected to get lower 
mortar values at the parapet walls and walls on the alleys exposed to water
splashing. If you can remove the mortar with your key or sharp object then
you
have a problem. It can easily be corrected by repointing.

Repointing is usually achieved by removing one inch of mortar at head joints
and
bed joints. New mortar is applied under continuos inspection of the deputy
inspector
and the trick is to pre wet the wall for good performance.

Since the wall does not have any rebar in the middle and elevated temperature
could
not harm the brick I would say you are OK and all you need is to take care of
the
bad mortar joints and have the owners  hire you to prepare full compliance
plans
for seismic retrofit.

Good luck.


Ara Maloyan P.E.   :)