How does the use of spliced reinforcing bars in place of unspliced bars affect a masonry wall? Manufacturers and contractors argue that placing masonry with unspliced reinforcing is too costly. Many engineers, however, argue for unspliced reinforcing. Similar arguments occur over solid grouting and partial grouting of masonry walls. Until the Technical Coordinating Committee for Masonry Research (TCCMAR/US) research effort in 1988, little knowledge was available concerning splicing or grouting.

The Research

  1. Two simultaneous research programs, closely coordinated under TCCMAR, involved out-of-plane testing of clay and concrete masonry walls under dynamic loading. The major objectives of the tests were to:

    Verify the analytical models for out-of-plane loadings

  2. Support the development of strength design procedures for masonry walls
  3. Evaluate the seismic response of tall slender masonry walls as designed under current building codes
  4. Evaluate the effects of significant parameters in masonry design and construction, including splices and grouting


  1. In conclusion, the research from the testing indicates the following: A wall containing spliced reinforcing bars has greater stiffness (or resistance to deflection) prior to cracking than a wall with unspliced bars.
  2. Until it cracks, a wall grouted solidly is stiffer than a partially grouted wall and consequently will deflect less.