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What Non-Engineers Need To Know About Structural Masonry

September 12, 2017
11:30 am - 1:00 pm
AIA Chicago, 35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 260, Chicago, IL 60601
Posted by Jeff Diqui


This seminar is for designers, contractors and building owners who would like to be more knowledgeable about typical and not-so-typical structural masonry applications. You will learn basic structural masonry concepts, current structural masonry design methods, review case studies, explore myths and gain a better understanding of structural masonry attributes and how engineers tend to think about masonry. This seminar presents overall concepts of structural masonry to be used in the conceptual phase of a project. If you desire to use tall thin wall profiles or produce economical and aesthetically pleasing masonry designs for your next project, then this is a good seminar for you. At a minimum we will teach you how to spot a masonry design that may be over-designed or where the masonry is being under-utilized. You will also learn how to potentially save money by using structural masonry in foundations, load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls, shear walls, perforated shear walls, shaft walls and fire walls.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review basic structural properties of masonry
  • Explore masonry misconceptions and myths
  • Discover updated design criteria and methods for masonry and realistic height limitations
  • Learn how properly designed masonry can be more economical than other systems


11:30 - 11:55 check-in & seating
11:55 - 1:00 seminar & lunch


Free. Lunch is provided by the Illinois Structural Masonry Coalition (ISMC)

Continuing Education:

1.0 HSW LU's


At the following link:

Limited to the first 60 professionals. Contact Jeff Diqui at or 630-606-8220 with any questions.

Presenter Bio:

Sam Rubenzer, FORSE Consulting


Masters in Business Administration – Marquette University
Bachelor of Civil Engineering – University of Minnesota

Professional Registration
Licensed Structural Engineer (SE)
Professional Engineer (PE)

Sam has 18 years of experience in structural engineering.  Sam spent the first years of his career working in Minneapolis, Minnesota designing a variety of buildings including concrete structures, composite steel floors designs, and load-bearing masonry retail stores.  Also early in his career, Sam was a structural engineer for GRAEF and designed many projects in southeast Wisconsin, including a sports stadium, large exhibition hall, several office buildings, and multiple education facilities. Sam then spent 5 years at RAM International and Bentley Systems, where he managed the structural engineering software training team and provided training to structural engineers on the usage of, RAM Structural System, RAM Elements, RAM Connection, RAM Concept, and other structural design tools.

Sam founded FORSE Consulting in January of 2010 and continues to assist structural engineers with designs on a wide variety of projects, building types, and uses of software programs from Bentley, RISA, TEKLA, IES, SCIA, and others.  He and his staff work hard to master each of the programs used by structural engineers and create presentations comparing the attributes of different software tools.

An expert in structural software programs, Sam speaks at structural engineering conferences nationwide, including NCSEA and NASCC, and also presents at SEA and ASCE events.  One topic Sam highlights is structural masonry analysis and design.  In addition, Sam has been the structural engineering consultant to the Wisconsin Structural Masonry Coalition since 2010.  Sam is also the 2016 Haller Award recipient, an honor that recognizes an individual engineer who has made an outstanding contribution to Structural Masonry Design and Education in practice.