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Renovation of Masonry Facades

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Instructor Information: Alexander Newman, P.E., F.ASCE

Course Length: 1.5 Hours

This webinar was co-sponsored by ASCE's Structural Engineering Institute and ASCE Continuing Education

Purpose and Background

Structural engineers rarely study masonry façade behavior and problems in engineering schools, and must educate themselves in order to discuss these issues on an equal footing with the architects.

The purpose of this webinar is to help engineers in this endeavor by providing an introduction to the subject. Based on the instructor’s design and forensic experience, participants will learn the basics of recognizing masonry façade problems, understanding their origins, and fixing them – in that order. The discussion of various methods of repair, including replacement where needed, is included.

The masonry façade has three main functions. The first one is structural: It needs to resist the forces of nature (wind, seismic, etc.) applied to the building. The second and third function are protecting the interior from the weather and providing an architecturally pleasing face of the building. Because of the latter, the architects tend to take the lead in design and renovations of masonry façades, and structural engineers often consider this work mostly architectural. As a result, masonry facades are often designed and renovated with little structural engineering involvement. This deprives the project of the vital engineering expertise and sometimes makes the first function of the façade difficult to meet.

Learning Outcomes/Benefits

  • Explore various masonry materials used in building façades
  • Learn to recognize typical problems of masonry façades and examine their causes
  • Study practical approaches to repair or replacement of masonry façades
  • Become familiar with various types of masonry cracks and what they tell about the distress being experienced by the façade
  • Examine the issues of water penetration through masonry walls and leakage mitigation

Intended Audience

Structural and civil engineers, architects, facility managers, and building officials seeking to broaden their knowledge of façade renovation will benefit from this webinar.

Webinar Outline

  • Masonry materials used in building façades
  • Barrier vs. cavity walls
  • Investigation of masonry façade
  • Masonry problems and methods of their repair or mitigation
  • Leakage through the masonry façade