Special/Critical Inspections

Masonry Inspection

The sophistication of masonry has evolved over the years to be more complex. As the complexity of design increases, so too must the inspection to verify that such work in the field is being done as per design.

Inspection is a way of ensuring that builders are doing what the design professional intended, and ultimately, that the owner is getting what they want. There are many details that require inspection as your masonry construction is in progress. Masonry construction includes but is not limited to a variety of details many of which require verification that the materials have been installed properly. A good inspection program includes a pro-active approach that includes the special inspector, construction manager and contractor to verify the proper CMU and brick are being used, in addition to the steel reinforcement and anchorage, vapor barrier and drainage systems, expansion and control joints, weep systems, seismic control systems, jointing, grout, mortar. To avoid problems in the future, are penetrations required to have reinforced openings and are they in place as the partitions are being constructed, has access been considered for the fire stopping trade that follows. Inspections need to verify the materials are compliant not only by visual parameters, but there are requirements to test the materials to verify performance. Prism samples need to cast by the contractor and tested in our laboratory. Prism samples of each type of brick or block every 5,000 sq. ft. are to be constructed and tested, Grout samples need to be taken each day the contractor is grouting in the field, and proportions of grout mix and mortar mix are to be verified. The size and spacing of the reinforcement needs to be verified. Is the reinforcement placed at the proper dimension from the face of the block? Will you have proper coverage of grout to encase the reinforcement? Is there any other anchorage that needs to be installed with the masonry construction? Specific details may require pre-stressing of reinforcement which would require to be monitored. Welding of the reinforcement, seismic supports, or other system that would also require to be monitored to insure work complies with the specification and governing codes. If Pull Tests are required of anchorage systems, they need to be tested before they are no longer accessible. If the work being performed is in the summer or winter months, has the contractor submitted a hot or cold weather plan, and is it being followed? A simple temperature monitoring systems would be put in place to verify the contractor is protecting the work from the elements and are acceptable temperatures being maintained. Are the materials being stored in a clean and dry location when they are not in use? A pre-construction conference with the masonry contractor, the construction manager and the special inspection agency is very important if not a requirement of the specification; we would request a kick-off meeting prior to the start of work. A location on the project site would need to be dedicated for our inspector to cast samples and also for the contractor to construct prism samples to be cast and left undisturbed until the respective ASTM allows ,they can be transported.

Masonry Inspection

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