Structural

Masonry walls explained

Masonry or blockwork is a very common way of creating structural and retaining walls. The New Zealand Concrete Masonry Manual describes it best: Blockwork masonry units are hollow and are filled with concrete and allow for the integration of reinforcing steel, a feature essential for earthquake resistant design' (Page 1, 2011, (7)).

masonry wall install.jpg

At this point, we do want to make it clear that we do out of environmental reasons have a bias against concrete masonry walls at present. The University of Bath in the UK established a list that shows the CO2 emissions of building products and concrete/cement does not do well at present. While concrete sometimes appears unavoidable, we believe the use of masonry does not belong in that category as of 2019. A copy of the report is available below...

Advantages of Concrete Masonry walls:

  • Low maintenance and high life expectancy

  • Good thermal mass, storing heat gained during the day and releasing it later

  • High resistance to fire

 

Disadvantages of Concrete Masonry walls:

  • High release of CO2 during its manufacture

  • High cost to break down and potential landfill of non-biodegradable material

masonry wall blocks.jpg

Sources:

(7) New Zealand Concrete Masonry, New Zealand Concrete Masonry Manual, Page 1, 2011

(8) University of Bath, 'Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE) Version 2.0, Authors: Proff. Geoff Hammond and Craig Jones, January 2011