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Why Masonry

Why Masonry

Why Masonry? To answer this question, we must ask you, in the spirit of renowned architect Louis Kahn, "What do you want your building to be?" If you desire a new or renovated structure that will bring lasting beauty, solid economic savings, and an enhancement to your company's reputation and standing in the community, then using a masonry system for your next project is an imperative. Timeless masonry is the perfect material for all categories of construction in the built environment. Be it a hospital, office center, school, government/institutional facility, apartment/residential project, or any other creative construction challenges.

Masonry is elemental. It comes from and speaks of the earth. Its past is still with us preserved in great wonders of the world. Its present is all around us, the buildings we admire as we travel around America and the world. Its future is limited only by the designer or constructor's inability to consider a masonry perspective on a challenging assignment.

Why are so many buildings invariably built of masonry? Have you noticed which buildings you admire most in your community? Image is the key. The quality image of a masonry building is one of excellence and permanence. No other material leaves as lasting an impression of strength, quality and substance as that conveyed by brick, block and stone. Masonry is a building system that has survived the test of time and remains unmatched in design, quality and flexibility. Architects and engineers throughout the centuries have applied masonry to their simplest and most challenging design work. Building owners and users who have cared about the image created by buildings in their communities have selected masonry as an expression of themselves and their businesses for both the present and the future. No other building material can convey the permanence and stability of your business, year after year, like masonry can. Masonry units with their great choices of sizes, colors and textures provide the design flexibility to make your new building stand out from the crowd-a unique design to be a source of pride in your community. Building owners and users who care about their image are quickly moving away from the splashy sales pitches for look-alike metal buildings and stark tilt-up concrete and toward masonry-brick, block and stone. Using a Masonry System to construct your next building will produce a business structure that you can be proud of and one that your customers and clients can relate to and feel comfortable with. Let a masonry building be your business' affirmation of its strength, permanence, quality and substance.

Let's explore the Facts, Features and Benefits of Masonry. After you have thought about the following, endless possibilities of Masonry, and by visiting the entire MasonySystems.org website, we hope that you will answer the opening question Why Masonry? with a resounding and enthusiastic Why Not!

Masonry Myths and Facts

Masonry Myths & Facts

Masonry is often thought of as a facade or cladding material and not capable of supporting the entire structure. This is a myth. The fact is that structurally engineered masonry can bring great physical and economical strength to your buildings. When a masonry system approach is used, especially with a brick and concrete block cavity wall, you will find unequalled performance and satisfaction. Another myth is that mason contractors and skilled craftworkers are undergoing a manpower crisis and that they are hard to line up for your projects. The fact is that the masonry industry is rebuilding its manpower strength through comprehensive apprenticeship schools throughout the country. Not only are new craftsworkers learning to construct new buildings, they are also learning the skills needed to retain the beauty of your historical structures. Contacting your local resource will provide the latest manpower availability information to you.

Masonry has been the material of choice for shelter for thousands of years for a number of reasons including availability, thermal mass, fire resistance, durability and sustainability.

Ancient masonry buildings were loadbearing in the sense that masonry resisted all of the imposed loads.

Savings on Insurance Costs. Masonry provides the best fire resistance of any building material because it cannot burn, melt or bend. This fact is acknowledged by insurance companies and is reflected in the premiums for insurance on the building and its contents. The use of fire resistive building materials throughout provides maximum security for future business performance. Many businesses cannot survive the devastation of a fire and the interruption to their normal flow of goods and services.

Savings on Maintenance Costs. A masonry building requires a minimum of maintenance primarily because masonry does not rust, shatter, warp, dent, buckle or rot, and there is no need for cleaning or repainting. Consideration of the vulnerability to damage of building walls is also important. Whether a careless fork lift operator or strong winds with hail hits the wall, or a heavy object is propped against the wall, masonry can handle the abuse.

Contrary to a belief entertained by some, masonry construction is not slow. In fact, in almost every case, using a masonry system is a faster process. If the owner decides today to start that new warehouse construction can literally begin tomorrow. If footings take a day, brick and block from local sources can be on site and be laid down the next day. There is no lag time for shop drawings and off-site fabrication.

While discussing myths, let's not overlook the usual: "hot and cold weather delays masonry too much." As an industry, updated all-weather practices such as the All-Weather Council's "Recommended Practices and Guide Specifications for Cold Weather Masonry Construction" have resulted in a much greater construction season without fear of weather damage or delay. The old practice of closing down during January and February becomes obsolete.

Masonry Features

Masonry Features

Masonry's adaptability to design forms, richness in texture, its modern adaptation for structural requirements, minimum maintenance, and cost competitiveness with other materials make it the preferred material for today's buildings. The innovative features of masonry will help meet and exceed your needs of function and aesthetics.

Specifically, here are some of the features that using a masonry system can bring to your current or planned building project:

Masonry can start as soon as tomorrow. You can tell your client that a contract can literally be signed in one day, and move equipment, materials and craftworkers on the job the very next day. Compare that flexibility with the lag time between design and actual construction with metal buildings.

Masonry keeps the job moving. Mason contractors stay with a project until it's closed in. Most projects can be pushed if necessary by adding more craftworkers. This results in a momentum to the job that can motivate other trades who move on and off frequently.

Masonry projects go up with fewer errors. Because mason contractors get on the job and stay, you get the feel of the project and are able to make minor adjustments without delays. You also have a continuity developed with the masonry crew that serves to reduce errors and major problems.

With a masonry system you can get the kind of building you expected. Due to continuity, reduction in problems and the great flexibility of adjusting walls to cover up differences in site and job conditions, your new building will be a custom job coming in at a competitive price with local people and materials.

Masonry Benefits

Masonry Benefits

Using a Masonry System for your next project will help you deliver a completed, structurally sound building in the shortest period of time. Masonry buildings go up fast and last! Another significant benefit of masonry is its performance under fire conditions as well as favorable insurance policy premiums for fire-safe masonry. When it comes to life safety, cost-benefits analysis, and mold resistance using a masonry system is the way to go. We hope that you will visit and read the entire website and think about, and hopefully make the decision to "go masonry" on your next project.

From a community standpoint the economics of using Masonry System construction is significant because local labor and local masonry materials are used. The benefit of jobs and goods and services that follow masonry construction projects create an economic ripple effect 4 to 10 times the construction dollars spent in the community. Certainly, these attributes should not be overlooked when the type of construction system is being considered. It is difficult to understand why any other type of building material is used for governmental and local business structures.

The real economic advantage offered by masonry construction is a result of the construction technique and performance of the system. No other construction method can compare with the "multitude of functions" that a single building element constructed of masonry provides. Basically, the loadbearing Masonry System eliminates the cost of the frame because the structure is also the enclosing wall. That of course is significant, but then consider that this particular wall may also act as an interior finish surface, provide a fire resistive structure, is infiltration free, provides a large amount of mass for maintaining temperature, stability and is resistant to sound transmission.

The loadbearing Masonry System is truly one of versatility and economy. In masonry it is easy to build an arch, circle, or change wall directions. Masonry provides the owner and designer with unequaled value and flexibility at a reasonable cost.

Using a Masonry System means that construction can begin immediately and continue without delay because no shop drawings are necessary. Masonry construction avoids waiting for fabrication and the problems associated with the accumulation of fabrication tolerances.

Single contractor responsibility, fewer trades on the job and immediately available local materials provide the loadbearing Masonry System with one of its greatest attributes, construction momentum. Continuity of progress on the jobsite helps to reduce construction problems as the crews return to the same job day after day. The resulting time savings in construction is important to the owner from an interim finance and an early occupancy standpoint.

The energy saving characteristic of a Masonry System wall is second to none. A total thermal break in the wall can be provided with materials that will not lose their energy efficiency or allow infiltration. With mass on both sides of the insulation, as in a loadbearing cavity wall, large temperature swings are effectively moderated. Rising heating/cooling costs make the energy conservation aspects of using masonry more valuable.

Building relationships with great people in our industry has been invaluable.”

Alan Johnson
IMS Masonry, Inc.
MCAA member since 1996

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