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I'm looking into buying an apartment and I'm visiting some locations. During one of my visits I saw this exterior wall of a future apartment building:

exterior view

I'm not an expert but it does not look good to me.

I have two questions:

  1. Are those walls badly built?

  2. What guidelines must be followed when building brick walls?

Here are some more photos of this work (click through for a larger version):

exterior view exterior view exterior view

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@BMitch: Thank you for the edit. It's much better like this. –  gabu Sep 3 '12 at 20:47
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+1 for the photos. It would also help if you include your location since building codes vary. –  BMitch Sep 3 '12 at 20:49
    
It looks like what a toddler would build with toy blocks. Regardless of local building codes, I wouldn't trust this building to hold up to even a minor earthquake. –  maple_shaft Sep 3 '12 at 21:27
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The are not load bearing nor the finished product. The will probably put stucco over it or another product. Filler does not have to look pretty. –  Gunner Sep 3 '12 at 23:36
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@gunner - Local quake here caused the whole front of a brick building to topple into the street, crushing all the cars and thankfully, everyone was inside the building and the internal structure did not collapse. Foul building practices are not absolved by pretty stucco in an earthquake. –  Fiasco Labs Sep 4 '12 at 1:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

In the aeronautical industry, we have this saying "If it looks ugly, it flies ugly" which has proven out in that aerodynamic design needs certain sleek lines and cobbled together garbage just doesn't have what it takes.

Same goes for the building industry. Despite the cosmetics of Stucco and the willingness to absolve the builder because it "doesn't look pretty", if a non-load-bearing wall is this foul, you can be certain that little or even less care was taken on the structural elements of the building.

This is why a 6.5 earthquake in a country with strict building standards can be fairly annoying but in another with unreinforced masonry and no standards, ends up killing 30,000-40,000 people, both areas having the same population density.

Poorly designed, non-loadbearing walls will just shear off the building and fall into the street in a quake.

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I didn't have the chance to enter the building and the concrete pilors couldn't be seen well from outside, but I'm sure that on the structural elements of the building they did a job "just as good" as they did with those walls. –  gabu Sep 5 '12 at 20:43

I'm pretty sure those walls are non load bearing and the buildings structure is supported by concrete walls/pillars not visible here. I would take a look at those.

However, as others pointed out, the overall construction looks pretty crappy.

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