CAPACITY OF A TYPICAL SCHOOL BUILDING IN NICARAGUA MADE BY CONFINED MASONRY TO THE SEISMIC SHEAR FORCE REQUIRED IN THE NICARAGUAN NATIONAL REGULATION OF CONSTRUCTION
Supervisor: Hideo ARAKI
In Nicaragua it might be said that Confined Masonry is the most common construction method used, due to many factors, which are primarily its economical construction cost and short construction period in comparison with other construction techniques like monolithic reinforced concrete. This kind of masonry structures can provide an adequate seismic resistance as long as experts design it with materials of good quality in conformance with building codes. It has been shown that Confined Masonry (CM) is a method of constructing the reinforced concrete frame after laying the concrete blocks allowing an easy placement between the reinforcement and the joint bars in the block wall. Taking it into account, the depth of the Reinforcement Concrete member (RC) should be the same thickness as that of the concrete block wall.
Low-rise masonry structures sometimes are constructed by owners without any guidance from engineers, omitting good construction practices written on both national and international building codes. Also in Nicaragua the government build schools with this kind of construction method (CM) for either one or two story buildings with combined intermediate slab of galvanized sheet and concrete. With a good construction practice and adequate design of materials and size of the members, these school buildings should resist gravity loads as external loads without sinking or leaning. But sometimes CM buildings are deceptive to make us believe that they are safe enough because of their own weight so it doesn’t give a certain prediction of what might happen to their members due to external forces and the type of loads experienced during an earthquake. If concrete hollow blocks are in fact a good choice to protect life and above all in school buildings, for this reason it is indispensable to know the allowable stress of the concrete blocks used in typical construction and to make a comparison with the seismic shear force required in the National Regulation of Construction (RNC-07) used as an example for typical school buildings.