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Unreinforced foundation walls and PE/SE debate

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Stan wrote:

"Don't you use the soil pressure and calc. the masonry wall
stresses? If you do, you find that reinforcement is required
for any height of fill."

Not necessarily.  Especially with a larger house, there is a significant
dead load placing the wall in compression.  In areas of lesser wind loads,
most of this dead load may always be there.  This compression plus the
minimal tensile capacity of the mortar joints provide some bending capacity.
So, even if an engineering analysis were performed, a wall of a given height
and thickness, unreinforced, can withstand  a certain height of fill/lateral
load.  I believe that this analysis, plus tons of empirical experience,
resulted in the foundation wall tables of CABO, now IRC.


I am a PE only (not "only a PE"), licensed in several east coast states.  I
took the civil exam, and answered every structural-related question I could
find.  It was the first year I heard of the SE exam being offered, but I
wanted the flexibility of being able to proctice both civil and structural.
Good thing, because I have done both.  I now (for the last 5 years) practice
structural only, and am intrigued by the SE license/tests.  I do not think
it would benefit my practice significantly, but may add weight in a conflict
between two engineers, especially at the legal level.  So, finally to my

Could someone please expalin to me what the three tests are, how long they
are, how difficult they are, and what SE states require which tests?  Could
you please reply directly to dbryant61(--nospam--at) as I am in digest mode.


Donald R. Bryant, PE
518 Bushnell Drive
Virginia Beach, VA  23451
fax 757-428-6473

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