brick wall support

I've got three brick structures with adjoining walls. At some point in the last 110 years, an unknown joker decided that he wanted to add a couple of doorways through the common walls. Rough holes were knocked though the walls never being properly braced or supported. Amazingly, there aren't yet any stress cracks or related structural damage but I don't care to press my luck.
The walls are 12" thick and approx 3' wide. I'm guessing that I need to just knock a few more bricks out across the top and add some horizontal wood supports. My question is what type of wood is appropriate here. I'm sure that the typical HD 2x12 pine plank is totally insufficient for that type of load. Any thoughts?
-BB
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The walls are 3' wide? Or the opening is 3' wide?
How much brick / structure above the opening?
How much support you need depends on the load above the opening.
cheers Bob
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BobK207 wrote:


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If it were my problem, I'd pay a structural engineer to look at the holes and surrounding conditions above and below. Interview engineers until you find one with experience in existing masonry structures. Some engineers are excellent at new work and not comfortable with old work.
(E.G., 100 year old brick building in an area of questionable soils with large stepped crack in one outer wall. One engineer recommended tearing it down while a second recommended monitoring the crack width for movement. Thirty years later, the building is still standing.)
TB
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Steel might work nicely. As others have pointed out, the tributory load above each door will determine size and material of the header.
There's an interesting article in the June 2005 Journal of Light Construction on adding a 12 foot wide exterior door in a brick wall 12 inches thick and 30 feet high...
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