I am designing a one-story school. Should I specify masonry prism tests?
Typically it is not necessary to require costly masonry prism tests. Unless the walls have some very unusual loading, a one-story school will have low compressive stresses. Although the ACI 530/ASCE 5 Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures requires architects to specify the compressive strength of walls on the drawings, this strength can be verified in two ways: prism tests or the unit strength method. With the unit strength method, the contractor must certify that the mortar used is the type specified and submit test data showing the net compressive strength of the masonry units. The compressive strength of the masonry wall can then be estimated using tables given in the ACI 530/ ASCE 5 code.