RCI-IIBEC Foundation Supports Research on Adhered Masonry

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March 8, 2021
By Rick Gardner

The RCI-IIBEC Foundation has approved funding for research and testing of adhered masonry in collaboration with the Thin Masonry Consortium. The research project will be working with Portland State University seismic research lab to produce an independent third party structural engineer’s report for various wall assemblies which will quantify allowable adhered-masonry heights according to seismic codes.

A panoramic of what is colloquially referred to as the “shake lab” at Portland State University.

“We are excited to add this information to the ‘field of knowledge’ in the industry,” said Sean Scott, architect, building scientist, and technical advocate with Ankrom Moisan in Portland, Oregon.

ASCE 7 is the national code using 800 pages to say, ‘Keep your stuff on the building.’” Scott says “stuff” means glazing, cladding, and roofing, while “keep” means ensuring adequate adhesion during seismic and wind events.

“Does anyone have proof that adhered masonry stays on the façade during an inelastic seismic event? After three years and dozens of experts, the consensus was that neither testing nor calculations are available.”

The Thin Masonry Consortium is leading a group of architects, engineers, and manufacturers who are seeking to fill that void and find answers through seismic testing.

According to Scott, “We have developed a testing methodology to give two types of results for three assembly types. 1) What is the height on a façade that it can be installed given test results. 2) What is the maximum weight of a single piece of debris falling from the test mockup, for a desired façade height.”

Funding for this research is coming from the RCI-IIBEC Foundation’s general fund for research and education. Additionally, the Thin Masonry Consortium has received support from several BEC chapters, the IIBEC Northern California Chapter, the Masonry and Ceramic Tile Institute of Oregon, the Masonry Institute of Washington, various manufacturers, the International Masonry Institute, the National Concrete Masonry Association, and more organizations and industry members.

“The Foundation is very pleased to be part of this research,” said Sid Hankins, treasurer for the RCI-IIBEC Foundation. “We look forward to the Thin Masonry Institute sharing their results from this research with our members, especially those members in areas with seismic activity. The results will help clarify an area of the codes necessary for advancements in adhered masonry technology.”


Rick GarnderIIBEC Foundation Development Officer Rick Gardner

Gardner has advocated for IIBEC’s foundations via fundraising, networking, and innumerable phone calls since 2014. You can reach him via email at rgardner@iibec.org.