Dr.-Ing. E. BREHM

Forensic Engineer, SAMAC Engineering Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, Canada,


Bracing walls are essential members in typical masonry structures. However, design checks of the bracing system are only rarely performed.Furthermore, construction methods and materials have changed significantly over time. However, design codes have mostly been calibrated on the basis of experience. Consequently, the provided level of reliability remains unknown.

In this study, a systematic analysis of the provided level of reliability is conducted. Analytical models for the prediction of the shear capacity of the walls are analyzed and assessed with test data to identify the most realistic model. A complete stochastic model is set up and the reliability of typical bracing walls is determined. The theoretical and “actual” levels of reliability are differentiated by taking into account the realistic utilization of the walls. To obtain a benchmark for the reliability level, the socio-economically optimal value is derived for a typical masonry structure by full-probabilistic optimization.