Lateral stability of walls


Lateral stability of walls


Lateral stability of a wall

Most residential properties have sufficient internal walls and floors to brace the outside walls against wind loads.  However, if this is not the case, then it may be necessary to justify the lateral stability of a wall. This can be quite difficilt to do for exposed sites with high wind loads or when there is not much vertical loading on the wall. This type of justification is often asked for by Building Control.

Normally, the walls on either side of the corners of a building have a butressing effect on each other. However, where the building either has an open interior or there are large wall panels, this may not be the case.  Therefore, a detailed analysis may be needed to justify the lateral stability of the wall. 

Masonry is very strong in compression but it is weak in tension.  Wind loads induce tension in the brickwork because of the bending moments induced in the wall.  In large wall panels or where there is not much vertical load on the walls, this can lead to stability problems. Large doors or windows can make this problem worse.

The analysis may prove that the stability of the wall is satisfactory.  However, if the wall is found to be inadequate, there are a number of solutions.  It may be necessary to introduce a pier or windpost to stiffen the wall up. Sometimes it is possible to overcome the problem just by using higher strength materials.  In either case we will come up with a solution.

We need the following information to check the lateral stability of a wall

dimensions of the relevant wall panel (length and height)

position and size of any openings in the wall (doors and windows)

details of the wall construction (eg brick and block cavity wall, solid brickwork wall)

corner details showing the length of wall at right angles to the wall being considered

details of any internal walls buttressing the outside wall

approximate location of the building

Design information

All design work is carried out in accordance with BS5628 and BS6399

The calculations provided will be suitable for Building Regulation approval