MARK G. STEWART and STEPHEN LAWRENCE
Department of Civil, Surveying and Environmental Engineering,
The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, 2308, Australia
Estimates of structural reliability (probability of failure) may be used to assess the safety of various designs of existing structures or of proposed changes in design codes. To date, reliability-based methods have been applied to the development of structural steel, concrete and timber design codes. Very few studies have considered computational methods for calculating the structural reliability of masonry structures. The present paper develops a method to calculate the structural reliability of typical masonry walls subject to vertical bending. Limit states considered are first-cracking and collapse. As such, the probabilistic analysis considers first-cracking, the resulting redistribution of stresses, possible additional cracking (if redistributed stresses exceed bond strength) and so on until collapse occurs. It was found that structural reliabilities are very sensitive to wall width, workmanship and discretising of masonry unit thickness (ie. thickness of constructed masonry higher than design thickness).