Because of numerous failures, a lot of money has been spent testing and analyzing brick veneer/steel stud walls. This research shows that brick veneer/steel stud walls fail because of three fundamental design and construction problems: 1. The wall system is vulnerable to structural failure from moisture. 2. The brick veneer cracks under design wind loading. 3. Commercial wall ties are inadequate. VULNERABLE TO MOISTURE Proponents of the brick veneer/steel stud wall system blame any failures on poor design and construction. But poor design and construction can cause failure in all-masonry walls too. What steel stud proponents fail to recognized is that poor design and construction are more likely to cause a failure in the brick veneer/steel stud system. Even minor design and construction errors in a steel stud wall can lead to structural failure. This is because the steel stud system is much more vulnerable to moisture damage. CRACKS UNDER WIND LOADING With steel studs spaced every 24 inches and a soft joint below the shelf angles, the veneer takes about 75% of the lateral wind load and the steel stud backup takes about 25%. At this stud spacing, the veneer is about six times stiffer than the steel stud backup. To increase the stiffness of the backup wall so it carries enough lateral loading to prevent cracking of the veneer, the studs would have to be spaced every 2 inches-and that is certainly not economical. INADEQUATE WALL TIES Wall ties are generally anchored to the steel studs in one of two ways: by self-tapping screws or steel plates. The screws lose their anti-corrosive coating when they are tapped into the steel studs. Steel plates used to clip wall ties to the studs also create problems. They puncture the air and water barrier, allowing water into the steel stud backup wall.