The Benefits of Building with Masonry
As well as structural strength and aesthetic appeal, masonry blocks provide the following added benefits.
The fire protection benefits of concrete masonry are recognised by the Fire Service and the insurance industry. The extra ability to resist fire comes from the type of aggregate used, and the equivalent solid thickness of the masonry units.
Masonry construction provides solidity, permanence and a real sense of substance. Following the Canterbury Earthquakes, there were no reported failures of correctly reinforced and constructed masonry homes. Reinforced concrete masonry should not be confused with the unreinforced masonry that was commonly used pre-1950s.
Concrete masonry is an ideal sound barrier, providing reduced sound transmission relative to the size of the wall.
One of the most valuable advantages of concrete masonry is the cost savings derived from its capacity to store energy and to delay the passage of heat. This unique feature, known as the 'thermal mass effect', allows masonry buildings to be designed with less additional insulation. Hence, material costs and energy consumption can be reduced, and the comfort of living space is improved.
The use of reinforced masonry can result in substantial savings for buildings of up to ten stories. For the construction of structural walls and buildings, the need for formwork and associated labour is eliminated. The savings result from the speed and simplicity of using concrete masonry as a structural frame (load bearing and shear walls with horizontal diaphragms), as well as exterior skin and space divider. Masonry is also a very low maintenance and durable building material which will provide additional savings in the long run.