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What Is Reinforced Masonry Construction?

Reinforced masonry construction, just like the name suggests refers to a form of a construction primarily geared towards rendering a wall much more sturdy and strong through the use of a specified range of materials. This includes brick and it helps increase the wall’s resistance to stress and the excessive weight often exerted on these walls. Reinforced masonry is a form of construction that has recently gained popularity due to its cost-effectiveness hence making it preferable in all types of construction projects. This article explains reinforced masonry construction and the exact details involved.

History of Reinforced Masonry Construction

Its development can be traced back to 1813 and it has been growing remarkably ever since.

Close up of industrial bricklayer installing bricks on construction site
However, since its inception, it has never been a mainstream idea as it is often overlooked and unknown to many. In previous years, it has gained traction and has grown significantly. This has been attained through a different approach with relatively new construction designs, methods and procedures. This is premised on the evolution of the construction industry and the need to keep up with new developments to ensure that reinforced masonry construction remains effective by discarding obsolete concepts and employing new ideas. This has been achieved through experimental investigations and extensive research. The construction began with the use of mortar joints where the steel bars were categorically placed. This continued to evolve as it was subsequently followed by the placement in collar joints and the use of fine grout between the wythes. Currently, most of it involves the use of hollow bricks, which entail vertical and horizontal reinforcement.

How Does It Work?

Reinforced masonry construction simply operates through a keen focus on the increase of the brick masonry composite strength which is obtained by ensuring that the two materials, steel and brick or mortar; are able to adequately complement each other in order to come up with some splendid structural end product. The idea used in reinforced masonry construction is almost a replica of the principle used in concrete reinforcement. Reinforced masonry construction has therefore recently been growing in the US mostly attributed to its efficacy and economic viability. More so, it culminates into impeccable performance hence the design principles used herein are very sound. This can be aptly demonstrated by the fact that it is common to hear that these reinforced structures are actually able to survive high magnitude earthquakes without any evidence of structural damage. This is a remarkable feat hence leading to a huge inclination towards this mode of construction by residential, corporate and other industrial constructors.


Reinforced masonry construction entails two varied aspects with regard to stress. This refers to compressive and tensile stress. Composite construction aids the walls to be able to resist any form of compressive stress whereas resistance to tensile stress is attained through internal reinforcements, which could be either vertical or horizontal. It is quite technical but the underlying idea is that this composite construction primarily uses the grout to be able to attain the desirable stress transfer.


This is an element of reinforced masonry construction, which is at the heart of its success. Evaluation aids to pinpoint the exact points or signals of distress including other complex factors such as the establishment of construction geometry. It also helps to trace the path of any other previously installed conduits or metals hence simplifying repairs by having a well-outlined analysis of the whole unit or distinct structure.

Building Codes

It has been covered in several codes hence portraying how it is now universally accepted. This includes the American National Standards Institute, which was the first code to the Masonry Standards Joint Committee Board and the Universal Building Code. This is encouraging and most codes are premised on the allowable stress design, which focuses on the concept mentioned above. This is the resistance to tensile stress hence increasing the composite strength.


The concept has been applied in several areas in the construction of different types of structures. Depending on the country it is been used, it can range from both floor work and roof slabs to vertical construction such as walls and columns. In the US to be precise, it has mostly been utilized in vertical construction with a particular emphasis on the same due to the proneness and susceptibility of most structures to vertical structural damage in the country. It’s been primed as the perfect remedy to this construction flaw and so far it cannot be faulted pertaining to its costs and ultimate effectiveness in withstanding different sorts of loading.

This article has answered the question amply thus you stand to be properly informed about reinforced masonry construction. You can now make the decision whether this is something worth choosing for your own building.