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RE: Masonry Column, Ties Required?

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I have had the same situation come up several times lately.  The only difference is these columns did have some axial load to them, just not a lot for the size of the column.  I went ahead and ask for the ties although it really seamed excessive.  I had to listen to some static on the jobsite, but after I let the general read the section in ACI he understood where I was coming from.  The mason (in this case a pretty good one) said it really wasn’t that big of a deal.  They were bending the ties on site and putting them in.  Sure they (and I) didn’t think they were totally necessary but in the end no real big deal.  I even have a client who is now showing the ties on their drawings.



Joseph R. Grill, P.E. (Structural)

Shephard - Wesnitzer, Inc.

Civil Engineering and Surveying

1146 W. Hwy 89A Suite B

Sedona, AZ  86340

PHONE (928) 282-1061

FAX (928) 282-2058



-----Original Message-----
From: Will Haynes [mailto:gtg740p(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2005 5:06 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Masonry Column, Ties Required?


Yeah thanks, but I already knew all of that. My concern is ACI 530's defiinition of a column and what the plan checker is going to expect. If the arch dwgs say "column", it looks like a column,  and ACI's definition of a column does not mention axial load, then he will expect ties to go in no matter what you and I consider to be a column. I am looking for something in ACI I may have missed that let's me treat it as a beam, by code. If you look at ACI's definition of a column, it does not mention loads taken. And what I have, would be included in the definition.


From: ASQENGG2(--nospam--at)
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Masonry Column, Ties Required?
Date: Fri, 16 Sep 2005 03:54:50 EDT

The word column and beam are terms to describe structural members. Beams generally are subjected to flexure while columns are those that carry large axial loads.  Since the member you describe does not carry large axial loads but instead is subjected to bending moment then it should be treated as a beam.  The main function of ties is to prevent buckling of the reinforcement.  Since there is no chance that the reinforcement will buckle in the absence of large axial loads, then there is no need for ties.  Structural members should not be designed for their name or call outs but on the nature of forces or loads they are being subjected to.


ASQuilala Jr., P.E.



In a message dated 09/15/05 1:56:55 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, gtg740p(--nospam--at) writes:

I have an equipment yard with 16" brick columns (4" brick around perimeter with an 8" solid grouted  core). They are about 9ft tall and at 10ft spacing with a nearly solid metal fencing between them. The only axial load the pilasters are taking is their own self weight.


Are ties required?  It appears ACI 530 requires ties for "columns" no matter if they are taking vertical load or not. The "columns" seem to be acting more like cantilevered beams to me. The wind shear is only about 1400 lbs at the base of the columns.






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