Author: The Institution of Structural Engineers
1 April 2014
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The Institution of Structural Engineers
This Technical Guidance Note covers the inspection of structural elements that are typically present within buildings during their construction and/or alteration phases.
Until relatively recently, masonry was the major load bearing component in a building structure. With the advent of steel and concrete frame technologies, masonry has become a part of a building’s cladding envelope and as such is more prone to being exposed to lateral loads than vertical ones. This Technical Guidance Note concerns the design of masonry walls that are subject to lateral loads i.e. they are being used as a cladding element. It will discuss the way in which the material is assessed against how it is being restrained and its geometry. All of these factors have an impact on the design of masonry walls as well as the mortar within them and the exposure conditions. This is discussed in Technical Guidance Note 27 (Level 1) and should be read in conjunction with this guide. (This article was updated in October 2016 to reflect errata issued since its original publication.)
Since the invention of medium-storey framed structures in the late 1800s, there has been a need to clad them with a reasonably robust material that acts as an efficient barrier to the external environment. Masonry delivers the performance required of a cladding system on multiple fronts. It has therefore developed from a load-bearing element within structures to become a component of an envelope to larger framed buildings. This Technical Guidance Note introduces structural engineers to the interfaces between a primary structure that is principally formed from steelwork and a masonry cladding system.