Performance of masonry enclosure walls: lessons learned from recent earthquakes

  • Romeu Silva Vicente
  • Hugo Rodrigues
  • Humberto Varum
  • Aníbal Costa
  • José António Raimundo Mendes da Silva


This paper discusses the issue of performance requirements and construction criteria for masonry enclosure and infill walls. Vertical building enclosures in European countries are very often constituted by non-load-bearing masonry walls, using horizontally perforated clay bricks. These walls are generally supported and confined by a reinforced concrete frame structure of columns and beams/slabs. Since these walls are commonly considered to be nonstructural elements and their influence on the structural response is ignored, their consideration in the design of structures as well as their connection to the adjacent structural elements is frequently negligent or insufficiently detailed. As a consequence, nonstructural elements, as for wall enclosures, are relatively sensitive to drift and acceleration demands when buildings are subjected to seismic actions. Many international standards and technical documents stress the need for design acceptability criteria for nonstructural elements, however they do not specifically indicate how to prevent collapse and severe cracking, and how to enhance the overall stability in the case of moderate to high seismic loading. Furthermore, a review of appropriate measures to improve enclosure wall performance and both in-plane and out-of-plane integrity under seismic actions is addressed.


RC structures masonry enclosure walls infill walls in-plane out-of-plane cracking performance improvement 


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Copyright information

© Institute of Engineering Mechanics, China Earthquake Administration and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romeu Silva Vicente
    • 1
  • Hugo Rodrigues
    • 1
  • Humberto Varum
    • 1
  • Aníbal Costa
    • 1
  • José António Raimundo Mendes da Silva
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Aveiro, Civil Engineering DepartmentCampus Universitário de SantiagoAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Civil Engineering, Pinhal de Marrocos, Polo IIUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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