Civil Engineering/Masonry Building


Dear Sir

hope you are well!

my question is there is a building which was designed for the concrete block walls to be load bearing with no any column. now the client want to add one more floor it was just a single floor with reinforced concrete slab and beams. now i was wondering what steps should i follow in order to say if they can or cannot add the floor??
my thoughts: i calculated the dead loads and live loads and then transfer them to the ground floor and then designed the wall for that total load with an additional floor in it, the wall did not fail so can i decide this way?the foundation is also okay!

is there any limitation of spans of beams and slabs in a masonry building?

what is the maximum number of storeys for the masonry structure?

thanks a lot.

Hi Manka,

In Kenya the limit for load-bearing blockwall construction is 4 storeys, and so long as you design them properly and local bearing stresses on blockwork is OK, the slabs/beams can be any span.

I would ensure that you incorporate a ring beam at 1st floor level and at roof level and try and connect the two with nominal 200x200 RC columns at all 4 outside corners of the building- extend these columns down to the foundation and you will end up with a robust building!

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Arshad Khan


I can answer any questions to do with civil and structural engineering consultancy and construction industry in East Africa and the Middle East, and specifically with the analysis and design of reinforced concrete structures. My particular expertise is in the aseismic design and optimisation of tall buildings.


Employment history: 40 years in Construction and consultancy in the UK, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Africa, Somalia, Zambia, Austria, Bahrain, Kuwait, Doha and the U.A.E.

.Fellow of Institution of Structural Engineers (UK) .Fellow of Institution of Civil Engineers(UK) .Member of the Institution of Engineers, Kenya .Registered Engineer, ERB, Kenya .Member of the Architectural Association of Kenya (Engineers Chapter) .Chartered Engineer (UK)

•1984: International Conference on the Art and Practice of Structural Design, London •1994: 3rd Int. Kerensky Conference in Structural Engineering, Singapore •2008: International Conference on High-Rise Towers, Abu Dhabi •2013: IEK International Conference, Kisumu, Kenya

BSc, 1st Class Hons, in Building Engineering, University of Bath, UK MSc in Concrete Structures and Technology, University of London. Diploma of Imperial College, UK.

Awards and Honors
•Science Congress Special Award (for 2-seater Hovercraft - 1968) •Institution of Civil Engineers Award for outstanding performance at Bath University (1975) •Concrete Society Postgraduate study Bursary Award (1976) •Consular Representative for British High Commission, Nairobi. (1995 to 1998) •Examiner for Institution of Civil Engineers Professional Interviews, Nairobi. (1997 to 1998) •Branch Representative in Vienna for PI assessment for Inst. of Struct. Engrs. (1999 to 2010)

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