a global expert in materials testing, analysis and consultancy, has published
a Design Guide for Masonry Reinforced by Bond Beams to Resist Lateral Load (www.ceram.com/structures).
The Guide outlines the use of a bond beam system commercially known as the WI
Beam System to replace wind posts as the means of subdividing large walls and
strengthening them against lateral loading. The report is the result of a three
year study to assess lateral load resistance of walls built using this system.
The study on which the design guide is based involved the testing of four walls,
each 8m long and 5m high, under lateral load. “Instead of subdividing
the walls using wind posts, we used bond beams placed at approximately one third
and two thirds of the height,” explains Dr Geoff Edgell, Head of Building
Technology at CERAM.
“The bond beam in itself is not a new idea; it is essentially a series
of trough shaped units where the void is reinforced with steel and concreted.
However, the system we used in this study introduces shear transfer rods –
an innovative method of providing additional support for large walls.”
Shear transfer rods connect the bond beam with the blockwork courses above and
below it. In this way the three courses act compositely to provide a stiff reinforcing
The study has demonstrated that such walls can resist significant wind loads,
in excess of 6kN/m2 before failure, and the Design Guide lays out general recommendations
as to the design of concrete blockwork walls using the WI Beam System. The Guide
has been co-authored by Neil Tutt (Jenkins and Potter), Andrew Best (Buro Happold),
Geoff Edgell (CERAM) and Hamish Corbett (Wembley Innovation).
As one of the leading testing facilities in the UK, CERAM provides testing
of raw materials, finished products and full scale structures both in the laboratory
and on-site. CERAM’s experts have developed new and bespoke testing solutions
for the most intractable construction and materials problems.