Centre for

Stochastic Modelling and Reliability of Masonry Walls Loaded in Flexure and Compression


Professor Mark G Stewart
Associate Professor Mark Masia
Conjoint Professor Stephen Lawrence
Emeritus Professor Adrian Page
► Ms Jie Li

Project Description

Limit state specifications for masonry design in Australia, US, Canada and Europe have not been developed from reliability-based calibration methods but rather calibrated to past practice. Although it is commonly believed that current design models are conservative, the actual level of safety of masonry structures is not known. It is unknown how structures designed to the masonry design codes compare to structures designed using other materials in terms of reliability (or safety) and also if different masonry walls and other structural elements have similar levels of reliability. The problem is compounded by the fact that the strength properties of masonry are highly variable.

The project is developing probabilistic models of structural resistance and structural reliability analyses of masonry walls loaded in compression and flexure. The effects of spatial variability of bond strength is also being studied, as this can have a significant effect on structural reliability predictions. Reliability-based assessment of the Australian Masonry Code found that reliabilities were considerably higher than steel and concrete structures, and so a 66% increase in the compressive design capacity of structural masonry was recommended. The research is supported by the Australian Research Council and Think Brick Australia.

Selected Publications

  • Stewart, M.G. and Lawrence, S. (2002), Structural Reliability of Masonry Walls in Flexure, Masonry International, 15(2):48-52.
  • Stewart, M.G. and Lawrence, S.J. (2007), Model Error, Structural Reliability and Partial Safety Factors for Structural Masonry in Compression, Masonry International, 20(3):107-116.
  • HefflerL.M., Stewart,M.G., Masia, M.J. and Correa, M.R.S. (2008), Statistical Analysis and Spatial Correlation of Flexural Bond Strength for Masonry Walls, Masonry International, 21(2):59-70.
  • Lawrence, S.J. and Stewart, M.G. (2009), Reliability-based Calibration of the Capacity Reduction Factor for Design of Masonry in Compression to AS3700, Australian Journal of Structural Engineering, 9(2):97-110.
  • Lawrence, S.J. and Stewart, M.G. (2011), Model Error and Structural Reliability for Unreinforced Masonry in Vertical Bending, Masonry International, 24(1): 23-30.
  • Correa, M., Masia, M., Stewart, M.G. and Heffler, L. (2012), An Experimental and Statistical Analysis of the Flexural Bond Strength for Masonry Walls, Australian Journal of Structural Engineering, 13(2):139-148.