Target Corporation has agreed to use the masonry structural software packages for their designs nationwide as a result of a joint outreach effort between the Minnesota Structural Masonry Coalition and IMI. IMI will also be coordinating a review of their standard specifications at their request which are used as a basis for all their projects across North America and beyond. In addition to the visit to Target, IMI’s Director of Engineering Diane Throop visited Minnesota structural engineering firms along with masonry consulting engineers Scott Walkowicz and Sam Rubenzer and IMI Area Director Mark Wickstrom as part of the kick-off for the Minnesota Masonry Coalition efforts. Another significant development from the January visits was a request for assistance in designing a multi-story performing arts center with masonry.
A repeated theme expressed by the firms was the great opportunity this gave them to pick the brains of the Coalition’s team of engineers on a wide variety of masonry questions. Designed to be highly interactive, the focus of the visits was to give the engineers a clearer understanding of the interrelationship in masonry buildings between materials, architecture, engineering and construction. Throop was also the featured speaker for the Minnesota Structural Engineers Association (MNSEA) which led to another engineer requesting information on using masonry shear walls with steel frames (hybrid masonry-steel structures) which could result in additional masonry for that project.
IMI continues to play a key role in providing funds for the development of structural software and design tools and assisting in the development of coalitions of masonry stakeholders that can bring additional funds to ongoing industry development efforts in the field of structural masonry.