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Seismic Performance of Brick Veneer on Wood Frame Construction – Newmark Structural Engineering Laboratory

Principal Investigator: Prof. J. LaFave

Research Assistant: Dziugas RENECKIS

The effect of seismic activity on existing structures is inconclusive despite ongoing research. Brick veneer wall damage has been observed in recent years resulting from strong winds and moderate earthquakes. A study has been undertaken to evaluate the performance of brick masonry veneer wall systems over wood framing. The objectives of the light-frame construction research were to

  • Identify and characterize typical design and construction practice of residential brick veneer systems in Mid-America,
  • Evaluate “local” (tie connection) performance,
  • Evaluate “global” out-of-plane performance of full-scale walls,
  • Develop simple analytical models, and
  • Evaluate the vulnerability of this type of construction.

Full-scale brick veneer and wood frame walls were constructed and tested on the NSEL shake table to analyze the effect of seismic activity on single family residential homes. The specimens were constructed in conformance with BIA Tech Notes, MSJC Code, and IRC for One-and Two-Family Dwellings. A steel reaction frame and partial concrete foundation supported the wood frame and brick veneer wall.Simulations of recorded earthquakes were run on the walls to provide analytical information regarding the performance of brick veneer when subjected to the dynamic load of an earthquake. Data was compiled and an analytical model of a brick veneer wall system was constructed using ABAQUS software.If you are interested in this project or if you have any questions, please contact Prof. J. LaFave at


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