Category: Columns

Tech Talk: Arches

  Figure 1. Arch terminology from BIA Technical Notes 31. The arch is the most common, traditional method of spanning openings with masonry. The arch makes use of the high compressive strength inherent in masonry and, with proper geometry, doesn’t need reinforcing or supplemental support. The arch is an aesthetically pleasing form and one that just looks “right” in masonry. There are a fair number of arch specific terms that should be defined before we get into a discussion of masonry arch construction. Figure 1 below is taken from the Brick Industry Association’s (BIA) Technical Notes 31 and visually shows many of the commonly used terms related to arch construction. There are a number of common arch types including the jack arch (no rise), the segmental arch (pictured above), the semi-circular arch, the gothic arch, various multi-centered arches and several other less commonly used arches. For further information, BIA’s Technical Notes 31 provides examples of most masonry arch shapes. Arches can be formed with standard units with rectangular faces by tapering the mortar joints. Visually, arches constructed with special tapered units and uniform mortar joints have more aesthetic appeal. Figure 2. Garage openings on this project ranged from 9’ 8” to 12’ 8” in the veneer, however the architect specified a constant rise of 7 inches and a single soldier course depth for all the arches. As a result, many arches over the...

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Painter’s Corner: MCAA Magazine

MCAA Magazine Jerry Painter   Subject:“The Masonry Building Code and You” On the way back from the annual Masonry Society (TMS) meeting and the TMS 402/602 Committee meeting recently, I practiced what a great pundit from my youth once said. “Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometime I just sits” (from the comic strip, Pogo). I know I am good at sitting, so I started the thinking process wrangling with the mason contractor’s participation in the development and maintenance of the Masonry Building Codes and Standards. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) develops thousands of standards by using hundreds of committees that have thousands of members. It is a consensus process of voting. That means nothing moves forward without resolving any negative votes. Members fit into 3 categories: Producer, User, and General Interest. There are rules of balance that prevent any category from dominating the process. For mason contractors the issue is one of participation. ASTM Committees C12 and C15 are the two main committees that interest mason contractors the most. C12 is the Committee on Mortars and Grouts for Unit Masonry and C15 is the Committee on Manufactured Masonry Units. On committee C12, mason contractors make up less than 6% of the voting members. And on C15, mason contractor’s participation is slightly better at 7% of the voting members. TMS 402/602 is the Building Code for...

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Painter’s Corner: MCAA Magazine

MCAA Magazine Jerry Painter   Subject: Masonry Testing Protocols HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope everyone had a great 2017. I am believing that it will be a better than ever year for the masonry industry in 2018. As I began to think about starting a new year, I looked at it similar to starting a new building project. As you review the specifications for the materials you will submit for approval you see the section on quality assurance. If it is a small project you will probably take care of it with paper work in your submittal. But if the project is a large project, it will probably include onsite testing. Serious thought and planning should be put into the testing procedures to be used. Chapter 3 of the TMS 402 Code says that “Masonry design requirements in this Code are valid when the quality of the masonry construction meets or exceeds that described in the Specification.” The designer will set up the QA (Quality Assurance) Program based on one of three requirement levels. The program will also describe the procedure for reporting and review as well as resolution of non-compliance. The QA Program will also state the qualifications of the testing laboratory and inspection provider. You will notice the last three sentences had mandatory language, such as “will” in them. This is not optional. If this is not provided, you should...

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Shop Talk

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks Words: Joel Guth Can you teach an old dog new tricks? We have all heard that statement many times. Today, let’sapply it to ourselves. Whether you are just beginning in the trade or a seasoned masonry professional, you need take time to learn and to grow yourself; learn to become a lifelong learner. What does that mean? It means that you are continually educating yourself and you are always looking for new, innovative ways to improve your career or business. As a third-generation mason by trade, I have witnessed many changes in the Masonry industry throughout my life and career. Starting out as a laborer and eventually becoming a mason contractor, I had to keep myself attuned to the changes and innovations in the trade to grow my business. Through my grandfather, my father, my colleagues, and coworkers, I gained invaluable knowledge about masonry. It’s a humbling experience to be the young pup amidst the old dogs of the trade. I knew that I would not grow without other’s help and insight. There was more to be learned and I needed to figure out where to find that information. After working 10 years in the industry, I attended my first tradeshow dedicated to concrete and masonry professionals. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I needed to go. I remember...

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Government Affairs

2017: A Look Back at MCAA in Washington D.C. Stephen A. Borg It was not that long ago, that I wrote a column for this space giving an update on the beginning of 2017. Fast forward just a fewshort months and the time in between that article and the New Year seems to have been a year within itself in Washington, D.C. I honestly wish I had one more month to write this article as groundbreaking massive news and rumors are being unleashed faster than the Grinch’s transformation from evildoer to chief Christmas celebrant. As I type this article new rumors are flying around about what Member of Congress will be exposed for sexual harassment next, the House and Senate are fully engaged in wrapping up final text on a massive tax package, and the White House is beginning to talk up that they will soon release their long awaited infrastructure investment package in January. And while all of this is shaping up to make 2017 a year unlike any other, it was also an amazing year for the Mason Contractors Association of America in Washington, D.C. as well. Over the past 6 and ½ years since I have been working with the Mason Contractors Association of America, we have seen massive growth, not only in the number of Members (which skyrocketed in 2017), but also in the amount...

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