Reinforced Masonry Engineering Handbook

Clay and Concrete Masonry – 7th Edition (2012)

By David T. Biggs, P.E., S.E.

The handbook is jointly published by the Masonry Institute of America (MIA) and the International Code Council (ICC). Now in its seventh edition, the handbook continues to be a must-have reference for both structural engineers designing masonry and inspectors. The original author was James E. Amrhein, P.E., S.E. who continued developing the handbook until his passing in 2011. For the last two editions, co-authors have assisted Jim. This edition was capably co-authored by John M. Hockwalt, P.E., S.E. of KPFF Consulting Engineers, Seattle.

The MIA states that “The Reinforced Masonry Engineering Handbook (RMEH), 7th Edition, is based on the requirements of the 2012 IBC, 2011 Building Code Requirements and Specification for Masonry Structures (TMS402) and ASCE 7-10. The RMEH contains detailed explanations and applications of Allowable Stress Design and Strength Design procedures, more than 70 step-by-step examples, distribution and analysis for lateral forces, details of reinforcing steel and much more”.

Although the RMEH is not a textbook, many engineers (including this reviewer) learned masonry design from Jim Amrhein and his handbook. The original editions were based upon the Uniform Building Code but are now based upon the TMS 402 and the IBC; so, the handbook is applicable to all structural engineers in the United States. It is clearly written with numerous tables and worked out examples.

All the chapters contain useful information, especially Chapter 3, Loads which includes lateral loads, wind and seismic. It also explains components and cladding loads for wind. Chapter 4 includes lateral distribution and diaphragms.

Another particularly useful feature is the highlighted sections within the text that address specific criteria of the TMS 402 and the IBC. Finally, there are also two case studies for a one-story industrial building (Chapter 11) and a seven-story masonry loadbearing wall apartment building (Chapter 12) that are rarely published in such detail.

The handbook has a companion CD that includes:

  • RMEH 7th edition
  • Code Master, Allowable Stress Design for Masonry using the 2011 TMS 402 and 2012 IBC.
  • Code Master, Strength Design for Masonry using the 2011 TMS 402 and 2012 IBC.

Structural engineers will find the Code Master documents provide a practical step by step design methodology. Masonry inspectors will also appreciate the handbook because the CD includes some handy references:

  • Reinforced Concrete Masonry Construction Inspector’s Handbook, 7th Edition.
  • Inspector’s Handbook for Reinforced Grouted Brick Masonry, 15th Edition.
  • Reinforcing Steel in Masonry, Fifth Edition.
  • Code Master, Masonry Materials using IBC 2006.
  • Code Master, Special Inspection of Masonry using IBC 2009.

Practitioners and someone taking the PE or SE exams will benefit from using the RMEH. It is available from the MIA, the ICC and The Masonry Society.

David T. Biggs, P.E., S.E., is with Biggs Consulting Engineering in Troy, NY. He is a Fellow of SEI, Distinguished Member ASCE, Fellow ACI, and Honorary Member of TMS.

Comments are closed.