Report #161: Confined and Internally Reinforced Concrete Block Masonry Building

by Diego Velasquez Jofre, Lars Abrahamczyk, Jochen Schwarz

The February 1976 earthquake caused severe damage to housing and buildings in Guatemala. Because many adobe houses were destroyed during the earthquake, there was greater interest in building with reinforced concrete block masonry structures after the event. This building type can now be found throughout Guatemala. Reinforced concrete block masonry structures are primarily used for family housing, both in cities and in rural Guatemala. The main load-bearing elements are masonry walls with concrete block walls reinforced with vertical and horizontal reinforced concrete elements in addition to internal steel reinforcement bars placed in the hollow cores of the concrete blocks. After the 1976 earthquake several guidelines were published on the construction of masonry block buildings, but the first formal standard/code was established in 2000, the Recommended Structural Standards of Design for the Republic of Guatemala -AGIES. The main parameters for structural design are incorporated in chapter No. 9  Mamposteria Reforzada. Nowadays reinforced concrete block masonry houses are constructed all over the country by governmental institutions for low-income classes. Currently this type of structure is the most widely built in Guatemala.