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brick, stucco as shear, CMU hole..

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Brick on PEMB:
I would definitely be strict on the deflection (I always use L/600 for all masonry), but what about overall story drift? With my experience, PEMB companies were comfy with high drifts and deflections, with a drift at the top of the frame of H/120. Can your rigid brick wall move that much without cracking? I would keep away from attaching the brick to the panels for reasons mentioned before (deflection), but also the light gauge panels likely have little withdrawal capacity for a screw attached in it. But it sounds like you are planning on using metal stud and attach the brick tie screws to that...  Whatever you decide make sure you communicate with the PEMB, owner, and most importantly,CYA on your dwgs. No matter what portion you designed, if that brick wall cracks in 5 years, you bet you will be pulled into mediation talks, bring your checkbook...
 
Attaching a wood deck to a brick chimney:
First thought is that sounds like a bad idea. What about the foundation, and more importantly, is this load supporting brick? Double wythe with reinforcement? If it is just normal ol' brick cladding, you don't want to support any structural loads with that stuff. Wood posts and their foundations are cheap, I would frame around it.
 
Stucco used as shear: I would never count on it. And the same with regular gyp (ever seen it wet? think it rains during hurricanes?). My thought is you saw a house where a framer quit for the day or week and will be back to sheath that upper gable. At the least they would use some ext grade gyp I hope. My question is,  was the gable braced via diagonal kickers? I have been doing a lot of forensics lately on residential structures, and lemme tell you, stucco cracks, even on brand new houses. Once it starts cracking, what shear resistance does that have?
 
 
Andrew Kester, PE
Structural Engineering Consultant
Lake Mary, FL