Masonry offers high quality facing materials that are cost effective for large projects but also down to the smallest scale. It can also provide structural elements: vertical load bearing and stability walls as part of the building enclosure or as internal partitions, providing fire enclosure, additional security and acoustic separation. It’s robustness and durability means it is particularly useful for reducing maintenance in areas likely to suffer high wear and tear.
- Brick cladding on public buildings is aesthetically pleasing and conveys warmth and dependability.
- Rendered concrete block cladding is becoming more common, often perceived as modern and provides colour options.
- Concrete block facing on industrial buildings is functional: it provides security and is resistant to damage from moving plant.
- Concrete blocks as internal partitions provide strength to support fixings, are low maintenance because of their robustness and provide good acoustic performance.
- Concrete blocks as fire walls (providing fire separation when an internal partition) because of concrete’s inherent fire performance credentials.
Masonry can provide the building envelope which together with internal walls or columns can be designed to provide structural requirements of vertical load bearing and stability for low rise buildings (typically up to 4 storeys) . For taller buildings it can also form the building envelope, but tends not to be part of the vertical load bearing structure but rather as facing or infill. Taller buildings can be constructed from masonry cross wall construction, but this is far less common nowadays.