CODE & STANDARD REFERENCES
Components of Masonry Structure
So, in this series, we’re talking about different parts of different types of structures.
We’ve talked about Conventional Steel Structure, Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings. We just covered Light Frame Construction in our last video.
But what about masonry? Wasn’t masonry the leading method of construction for most of human history? Where does it fall today?
Well, let’s dive in.
Back in Part I, we said that we have four principal types of materials for building construction; that’s masonry, concrete, wood and steel.
Well Masonry just might be considered the origin of all building materials. Or at least as far as our recorded human history goes, we don't really know how much wood we used initially, but we do know that we used masonry.
Masonry is simply the method of using clay, brick, stone or block by stacking. This method appears in prehistoric times with cave structures, ancient Egyptian temples, and fortifications from the Persian Empire. Masonry uses materials that are local to an area and provides strong and resistant structural material.
In the last couple of centuries, masonry has played a large role in our fire protection picture. Stone and brick exteriors help create a thermal break between buildings that help prevent flames from spreading between buildings.
Our earliest (what I’ll say) modern building codes sometimes mandated masonry exterior construction to help limit fire growth between buildings and become a larger widespread conflagration, like what happened in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.
Despite improved building codes and new construction methods, today, fortunately, masonry is still a construction material and method that’s still around.
So, use of clay, brick, or stone or block is primarily used in two ways in buildings today; the first is as a vertical finish material, and the second is a method of load bearing structure, a load bearing wall.
In our last module we covered light frame construction. Think of that same construction technique, except that (1) exterior walls can be wrapped in stone or brickwork, or (2) that all exterior walls are load bearing from the masonry, or (3) that a combination of interior and exterior walls are load-bearing and use masonry.
Much of the interior structure hasn’t changed in this scenario, only that some or all of the walls features stacked block structure. In other words, we're using light frame construction or we're using conventional steel structures but we're replacing some of those walls with masonry.
IBC & NFPA CODE
In today’s building codes, use of a stone, brick or block exterior with a wood interior is considered Type III Construction. In the IBC, this would fall into Type III-A or III-B, and under the NFPA line, it would be Type III (211) or Type III (200). Interiors are not required to be fire-resistance-rated, but exterior bearing walls are under Type III construction.
Now the use of stone or brick doesn’t automatically mean that we’re Type III. If the interior is all non-rated, non-combustible, well, we could still be considered Type II-B, just as an example.
But historically, if we have fire-resistance-rated exterior bearing walls with combustible interiors, say it like light frame construction, well, that’s Type III construction.
JOISTS, ATTICS & FOUNDATIONS
What about joists, attics, and foundations?
Well, even for a building that uses block, brick or stone for its wall structure, these other components are very similar if not the same as other construction methods. It's really only the walls that we're replacing here. It’s only the walls that are impacted when we have masonry features.
So, what are the components of a masonry structure?
Well, they’re the same as the other buildings and construction methods, except that some or all of the walls are constructed of stone, brick or block.
Masonry can be used as an exterior finish like a siding, or it could bear weight and be considered a load bearing wall.
If we have masonry, load-bearing exterior walls, which carry a fire resistance rating, and the interior has wood light frame construction, then we're probably gonna be considered Type III construction.
Next in our series, we’re gonna take a look at components of concrete structure.
I’m Joe Meyer, this is MeyerFire University.
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