Brazilian Federal Police
Federal University of Santa Catarina, Civil Engineering Department


Thousands of 4 storey buildings were constructed in Recife, a northeast Brazilian city, using masonry of very poor quality with horizontal hollow blocks. Neither Brazilian nor international standards were followed to design and build the buildings. As a result, 11 collapses have happened during the last 10 years. Due to the magnitude of the problem there is a need to develop criteria to determine the safety of the remaining buildings and their reliability for use. Therefore, a structural safety methodology was developed adopting some simplified hypotheses in order to have a quick response. The dead, live and wind loads of every wall are considered separately. The compressive stress of each wall is then associated with both normal and log-normal distributions and coefficients of variation are analytically compared with masonry strength obtained from tests and from literature reviews. The methodology was applied to 2 buildings, one similar to those built in Recife and another designed according to masonry codes. The results show the difference between them.

Key words
structural masonry, reliability, failure, collapse