Rezaeivahdati, Amir1 and Feldman, Lisa R.2

1 M.Sc. Student, University of Saskatchewan, Dept. of Civil, Geological, and Environmental Engineering, 57 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5A9, amr277@mail.usask.ca
2 Associate Professor and Director of the Saskatchewan Centre for Masonry Design, University of Saskatchewan, Dept. of Civil, Geological, and Environmental Engineering, 57 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5A9, lisa.feldman@usask.ca

ABSTRACT
CSA S304-14, Design of Masonry Structures, continues to include empirical design provisions despite the introduction of rational design methods for masonry structures in Canada in 1965. There are cases in which masonry structures designed according to CSA S304-14 empirical provisions produce less conservative results compared to when they are designed in accordance with the rational provisions. This indicates either the empirical design provisions are not as safe as they should be or the rational design provisions are unnecessarily conservative. One of the cases in which masonry design based on empirical and rational provisions produces significantly different results relates to unreinforced, vertically-spanning, non-loadbearing exterior concrete block walls subjected to wind loads. For walls with certain slenderness ratios, walls designed in accordance with the empirical design provisions included in CSA S304-14 are capable of resisting a greater 1-in-50 year allowable wind pressure than those resulting when designed in accordance with the rational provisions. To ensure economic efficiency and an appropriate level of safety, the two design methods should be reconciled. To that end, different factors affecting the development of design provisions for such walls should be understood and quantified. This paper examines the status quo of the literature related to a number of these factors to highlight potential shortcomings in current knowledge. A research program underway at the University of Saskatchewan with the aim of resolving this discrepancy is introduced.

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