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Re: Unreinforced foundation walls

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When you say "look at the charts", I'm assuming that you have some data on the soil type, and are reading the charts for silt or clay backfill? I've yet to see a contractor read beyond the GW/GP column in those charts, then backfill with whatever is onsite. Further, most code officials I know don't know enough soils mechanics to understand that CL and GW are not interchangeable for load purposes.

And, for the record, I've seen a cracked basement wall that was 8' high with 6' of backfill, made of 8" unreif. cmu. By the code, 8" is the correct thickness, up to low placticity silt backfill (ML). Without proper equipment, there is no way for lay-person in the field to determine the difference between ML and ML-CL, which would have required a 10" cmu.


At 09:17 AM 2/4/2005 -0500, you wrote:
Again I will say that you, my engineering brothers, mainly commerial engineers will have to get over doing the engineering on unreinfoced block and concrete walls. As I am fond of saying "Don't take my word for it, let's look at the code." I have looked at hundreds of these cracked walls and everytime the wall is undersized per the code charts., any codes. The charts work when applied. I still deal with engineers and contractors that think horizontal reinforcing will help, it does nothing. I will agree that there is a little voodoo when it comes to the connection between the plates and joists, but i have never seen a wall that follows the charts fail.

Jeff Fertich, PE
Gettysburg, PA

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