Advantages and Pitfalls of Unreinforced Masonry Construction (WEBINAR)

Course Number: BD-3007WN
Credit: 3 CPD Hours*
* In all references to PDH: 1 PDH = 1 CPD Hour
Subject Matter Expert: Mary McElroy, P.E.
Scheduled: This webinar will be scheduled again soon. Receive an email when it is scheduled by using the "Notify Me" link
Type: Live Interactive Webinar
Price: AUD $225.00
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In Advantages and Pitfalls of Unreinforced Masonry Construction , you'll learn ...

  • The most commonly used masonry materials and their distinguishing features
  • Why unreinforced masonry construction (URM) is still such a popular construction choice
  • The structural limitations of URM and causes for numerous building collapses
  • Ways to improve or increase the strength of masonry structures


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Unreinforced masonry (URM), such as brick walls or walls constructed of concrete masonry units, has been used throughout history for the construction of various structures, including residential (single family homes), commercial (office space, retail), and assembly (churches, theaters). URM construction offers numerous advantages over other building materials, but there are also some structural disadvantages to it. Fortunately, there are prescribed repairs that can remedy the inherent structural weaknesses of URM construction. One of the main goals of this webinar is to describe those repairs and provide design examples.

We will begin the webinar with a brief look at the historical uses and development of masonry and masonry materials followed by a consideration of the most commonly used structural masonry units in today’s construction. Then we will identify and discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of unit masonry construction. We will also work through sample design problems and solutions for URM bearing walls, basement walls, and retaining walls, as well as for reinforced retaining walls. In addition, you will learn about some famous building collapses and foundation failures throughout the world, which were caused by structural limitations exposed by earthquakes.

Along with the applicable building codes and various articles and documents from the Masonry Institute of America, the main reference source for this webinar is Simplified Design of Masonry Structures by James Ambrose.


Specific Knowledge or Skill Obtained

This course teaches the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • The historical development of masonry from antiquity to the present day
  • Distinguishing features or characteristics of masonry materials
  • Current uses of masonry
  • Structural advantages and disadvantages of various masonry materials
  • Material and/or construction terminology specific to masonry construction
  • Design of URM bearing walls, basement walls, and retaining walls
  • Design of reinforced masonry walls subject to lateral loading
  • Retrofit of URM walls with reinforcement to accommodate lateral loading

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CPD Hours

Our webinars are recognised for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) by the following institutions: Engineers Australia (EA) in accordance with EA CPD Policy dated 19 February 2009; The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in accordance with ICE 3006A; The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) in accordance with IPENZ CPD Good Practice Gudelines dated November 2007. For other institutions, it is recommended you check the requirements from your specific registration board. Following successful completion of the webinar, we recommend that you print off the certificate for your records. This may need to be produced for audit purposes. A copy of the certificate will be maintained by and can be found within your "My Account" area.

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