For someone who has shared countless hours of committee work in drafting standards to help ensure masonry’s safety, last week’s news reports on the damage from the Napa earthquake was disheartening. From all accounts, the damage shown was from unreinforced masonry walls yet few reporters took time to provide that information.
Our industry has spent tens of millions of dollars in design research and product development yielding strengthening techniques for both new and old walls. But these recent failures demonstrated that the public and even some building inspectors have not followed the call for stronger masonry walls.
Perhaps it’s time to revive an industry wide promotion for strengthening masonry walls.