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CMU Column Ties (horizontal)

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I have a client who created 24” square columns 6’-0” tall that are spaced at approximately 10’-0” on center and surround a pool. Wrought Iron fencing will infill the area between the columns which seem to be installed for looks only. A three foot wide gate will be placed between two of the columns, but the gate will be supported upon its own stanchion.

The client used 4x4x16” CMU in creating the columns and installed #4 vertical rebar at each corner and at 8-inches around the grid. He did not install any horizontal steel and the city inspector (this was done without engineering) will not allow the cells to be grouted until an engineer verifies that the horizontal steel is not needed.

I’m not sure I understand what purpose the horizontal steel has in this case where the blocks are overlapped and the vertical steel locks them together. Also, this is not part of a structure as it is nothing more than a fence post. However, if there is a requirement for horizontal steel I need to know what section of the code I might be violating. I went through the Masonry Handbook (Amhrein’s (?)) but was not able to find a reference for this. Also, this is not brick but concrete masonry units and it is not tied to any structure but is self-standing.


Can anyone help me determine what I should recommend? If this were are masonry wall of a building, a retaining wall or such, I would install the ties or horizontal steel without question. Here it poses a problem for the contract who believes it will interfere with his mortar joints. I don’t think this would unless the block he is using locks which I could not see from the photos he provided. I am waiting for a shot from the top down to see if there would be room to install #3 ties.



Dennis S. Wish, PE