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Concrete Masonry Load Bearing Buildings

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I am a structural engineer employed by an architectural firm. We do mostly
education (80%) and medical facilities (20%). Recently the partners of my
firm requested we do schools as masonry load bearing rather than steel
frame due to costs. Our projects are all in the north east and usually 1 to
3 stories. I don't really care for the load bearing system. Perhaps it's
because I am so accustomed to doing steel frame. It seems I can handle
lateral loads and changing roof and floor elevations better with steel.

Does anyone have any thoughts on masonry load bearing vs steel?

- Cost, steel vs masonry?

- Resistance to seismic and wind loads?

- Quality control of construction?

- Anything to look out for?

- etc etc

Randy Diviney
Structural Engineering Dept.
Hayes Large Architects
Altoona, Pa