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Brick and Mortar Columns

Brick and Mortar Columns

Brick and Mortar Columns

I've got a project repairing impact damage to a commercial carport structure. The structure was constructed circa 1980 with non-reinforced brick and mortar columns and reinforced concrete lintel beams supporting a wooden truss and shingle roof. The carport was hit by a van damaging and displacing one of the concrete lintel beams and two of the four brick columns. I am recommending replacing all columns and beams with steel members but am running into an argument from the insurance adjuster. He insists the structure should be returned to its original condition. I, however, believe a 2400' concrete lintel beam simply resting atop a brick and mortar column is an unsafe condition and should be modified to ensure there will be no catastrophic failure if another vehicle impact should occur. I am not a structural engineer and don't know the IBC inside out. Can anyone tell me if there are any code sections which would support the replacement of these members with steel members? Also, what is your opinion? Is this an unsafe condition or not?

RE: Brick and Mortar Columns

Do you have a sketch of the plan and a building section? If lasting since 1980, then it could be OK and you may be overly concerned. A sketch might help and the building can be cosmetically identical, but reinforced to current codes.


RE: Brick and Mortar Columns

Brick and mortar has worked for centuries when used correctly. Need more info

RE: Brick and Mortar Columns

Here are some pictures of the structure. This should illustrate the post and beam construction. The concrete lintel beams simply rest atop a brick width ledge at the top of each post. No reinforcement in the columns and no connection from column to beam. My fear is that any vehicular impact to a column could bring the whole structure toppling to the ground and these beams weigh 1400 to 2400 lbs each. Thanks for any input.

RE: Brick and Mortar Columns

You are justified in your fear that the whole carport roof would come down if impact knocked out the pier. Might also take part of the main building with it.

Based on the details which you attached, I think this is a perfect illustration of a structure built without any competent engineering input. The details are architectural in nature, and the architectural drawings were probably the only drawings. Unfortunately, there are a lot of structures around which are not tied together.

Unreinforced brick piers, in addition to being susceptible to impact damage/demolition, have little lateral capacity, and there is nothing other than dead weight to resist wind uplift on this roof.

Good luck with the insurance adjuster, but in fairness, the brick piers themselves are latent defects.

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