1) Master in Construction and Rehabilitation Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu,

2) Adjunct Professor, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Department of Civil Engineering,

3) Auxiliar Professor, U. Aveiro, Department of Civil Engineering,

4) Associate Professor, U. Aveiro, Department of Civil Engineering,

5) Full Professor, U. Aveiro, Department of Civil Engineering,


This paper addresses a methodology for the assessment of the seismic capacity of old masonry buildings, based on the load bearing capacity analysis of stone masonry walls. A review of some methods on discrete limit analysis, namely based on the control of shear and compressive strength, out-of-plane and axial stability of masonry walls, is carried out. A case study of an old masonry building is presented. An individual assessment of each structural element is carried out, both in terms of out-of-plane and in-plane shear stability of walls. The collapse mechanisms most likely to occur, given the extensive experience on seismic behaviour and seismic damage, are compared with those provided by the results of the analysis of the building, and the differences observed are discussed. The advantages of simplified assessment methodologies, if well calibrated and tested, are reliable expedite approaches for old masonry buildings, essential in routine inspections or after the occurrence of a seismic event. Simple software tools may support the assessment actions.


Keywords: Old masonry buildings, stone masonry walls, seismic assessment, simplified methodologies