How Concrete Block Structures Are Built with Architectural Masonry

Structural or architectural masonry refers to a construction process in which the building’s walls also have a structural function. In this system, masonry units must be designed and installed in a manner that is capable of bearing the loads of the project. The walls evenly distribute the load to the foundation and ground.

This method of building has a long history of use all over the world. Most of the brick and stone buildings you see today just use bricks as a veneer or cladding, but there are still plenty of buildings that get designed using the principles of structural masonry that provide much greater authenticity.

But how does it work? Let’s take a look.

What to consider when building with structural masonry

In a traditional column-beam system, construction teams use timber formwork made on site, forming molds to which steel reinforcement is later added, and into which concrete or other such materials will be poured.

Once the concrete cures, workers remove the molds to leave the skeleton of the structure, which then gets paired with walls that can be made from a wide range of materials.

Compare this to structural masonry, in which there is no framing, and the units are laid out according to a thorough architectural plan. Every project features different functions for its ceramic or concrete units, and those units will be bonded together with a cement mortar.

In this type of construction, hollow blocks are commonly used for their efficiency and reliability. The vertical holes in those blocks are ideal for carrying electrical conduits or pipes, and U-shaped units used in this type of construction can receive additional structural reinforcement horizontally.

This, in fact, is one of the primary benefits of using structural masonry for construction. Teams are able to fully integrate infrastructural systems (plumbing and electricity) into the structure of the building, which saves a great deal of money and time. In addition, a smaller reliance on materials like wood, concrete and steel makes construction more cost-effective, as the components used in the project are easily replicated via modulation.

But just because the process becomes more efficient and easily modulated does not mean it is less creative. There are plenty of unique designs that can be created with structural masonry, with buildings that are as attractive and unique as they are stable and long-lasting.

Ultimately, the takeaway you should remember when considering structural masonry construction is this: you’ll get a more efficient and optimized construction process, and will save a significant amount of resources, time and money. It has been seeing a surge in popularity in the world of construction in recent years, and is expected to only grow in popularity moving forward.

Interested in learning more about structural masonry construction and how it’s applied in modern buildings, both commercial and residential? We encourage you to contact our team at Beavertown Block Co., Inc. with any questions you have about the work we perform for our clients. We look forward to scheduling a consultation to discuss your project.