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Masonry wall top course construction
- To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
- Subject: Masonry wall top course construction
- From: Jim Wilson <wilsonengineers(--nospam--at)yahoo.com>
- Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2006 08:36:29 -0800 (PST)
Typical "accepted" residential (and commercial) masonry foundation construction here in northeast Pennsylvania consists of hollow 8" or 10" block with a top course of solid blocks and anchor bolts mortared into the joints. Sometimes the top course is reduced to 6" solid to match wall thickness and provide a shelf for the floor slab at slab-on-grade conditions. Needless to say, I am often called to look at wall failures for this type of construction.
I have reviewed the IRC, IBC and ACI 530 for a note or detail that I could refer to when critiquing or even detailing this condition. Is there a proper standard detail for top of masonry wall conditions? And one that is possibly referenced by the Code? Why are bond beams not always required at this location.
*Soap box on*
It seems rather short-sighted that the new IRC code is requiring very stringent anchor bolt
spacing requirements. The failures I see at this location are due to poor block construction and inadequate reinforcing details, not anchor bolt failure. What good are anchor bolts at 16" o.c. if the top block is still not tied to lower courses with reinforcing? That's a lot of additional effort aimed at correcting the wrong side of the problem, IMO.
*Soap box off*
Jim Wilson, PE
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