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masonry cleanouts

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The 1997 UBC clearly states in section 2104.6.1 that cleanouts are required for all grout pours over 5’.  It also states that, where cleanouts are required, they need to be provided at every vertical bar but spacing shall not exceed 32” oc for solid grouted masonry.  For grout pours 5 ft or less, if you can ensure the grout space is clean and free of debris, a cleanout is not required.  The intent is to make sure that the grout can fill the cells properly and that you don’t have a lot of debris that could cause local weak spots in the wall construction.



Dan Morrow, P.E.

Swenson Say Fagét Structural Engineers

2124 3rd Ave. Suite 100

Seattle, WA  98121

206-956-3745 (direct)

206-443-4870 (fax)

email: dmorrow(--nospam--at)


original message:



From: "Christopher S. Campbell" <ccampbell(--nospam--at)>

To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>

Subject: Masonry Structural Notes and Specifications


I have been put in charge of re-writing the structural notes for masonry construction for our office.  For just about every detail of masonry I can find either code or text to describe the method and requirements. The one part that I am missing out on is the requirements for clean-outs.  If high-lift grouting is allowed, and the grout is consolidated and re-consolidated, how often do cleanouts have to be placed?  I understand that there are vertical as well as horizontal requirements. 


The other part of this that bothers me is that there appears to be a limitation in that you may not need to require cleanouts at all, even with high-lift grouting, but again, the limits of that are completely unknown here. 


Our typical masonry construction uses are in retaining walls - mostly under 6' in height.  I want the requirements and limits to reflect our needs mostly, but also make sure that I understand the needs to clean-outs.