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Masonry diaphragm walls - update

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A recently completed Partners in Innovation contract to investigate the updating of design technology for masonry diaphragm walls has found that the majority of contemporary examples of this type of design relied on the guidance given in existing BDA publications. This is particularly the case for structural design.

A feedback study of current practices, which forms a part of this project, has also established that engineers and architects have found some areas of uncertainty when carrying out the design of diaphragm wall structures. An example is the tying of cross webs to the outer flanges of brickwork when bonded construction is not chosen. Another is related to the detailing of capping beams.

This project has covered both structural and non-structural aspects of masonry diaphragm wall technology, including the provision of thermal insulation to comply with building regulations requirements for higher thermal performance. The project has identified where there is inadequate information and has made recommendations for updating design guidance.

Brickwork masonry diaphragm walls continue to offer advantages of economy and efficiency when compared with framed building construction. All of brick masonry's characteristics can be used to full advantage, not least its structural potential.

This research contract is a collaborative venture with Kingston University Faculty of Technology.

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