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Related Articles


Blockwork shear walls

Blockwork shear walls

Blockwork shear walls

Hi all,

I am trying to justify an existing 2 storey RC building in the UK, to take some additional loading. The building was constructed in the 1950s. There is no evidence of any RC shear walls and as such we had assumed the structure to be acting as a sway frame for stability. The problem I have is that I am struggling to get the 1st floor columns to work under this condition. The feeling I get is that they are too slender 225-270mm and lightly reinforced (4 R12s) to have been designed as a sway frame. The blockwork walls in the building appears to be built tight up to the columns and beams. Therefore my question is whether buildings have historically been designed using blockwork walls as shear walls?



RE: Blockwork shear walls

If the walls are tight against the columns and beams, I would bet they are acting as shear walls whether they were intended to or not.

RE: Blockwork shear walls

Historically, buildings have not been explicitly designed for lateral loads at all. For a 1950's RC building, I'd say that's a pretty good bet.

I like to debate structural engineering theory -- a lot. If I challenge you on something, know that I'm doing so because I respect your opinion enough to either change it or adopt it.

RE: Blockwork shear walls


Usually, if the masonry goes to ground and sits on a strip footing of some sort, then it will invariably behave as a shear wall.
Generally, these old masonry buildings were highly cellularised on plan, due to the small tributary widths which the blockwork could take. As such, you would get a bit of a 'honey comb' on plan which would give great shear transmission when properly founded.

Hope that helps.


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