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  • Writer's pictureImrul Hassan

Masonry Work - An Exclusive Guide!

Updated: Mar 28

Masonry work is a fundamental part of construction, and it involves building structures using individual units such as bricks, blocks, and stones. Masonry work is essential in the construction of buildings, walls, sidewalks, and many other structures. In this article, we will explore masonry work in the context of block building, brick layering, and sidewalk construction.


Block Building

Block building is one of the most common forms of masonry work. It involves using concrete blocks to construct walls, buildings, and other structures. Concrete blocks are a popular choice because they are relatively cheap and easy to work with, making them an attractive option for both residential and commercial construction projects.The process of block building according to the NYC building code can be outlined as follows:


Design and Planning: The design and planning phase involves determining the structural requirements of the building and selecting the appropriate size and type of CMUs. The NYC building code specifies the minimum size and compressive strength of CMUs that can be used in construction.


Foundation and Footings: The foundation and footings are the base of the building and provide support for the walls. The NYC building code specifies the minimum width and depth of footings based on the load-bearing capacity of the soil.


Wall Construction: The walls are constructed using CMUs and mortar. The NYC building code specifies the minimum thickness of CMU walls based on the building height and the type of occupancy.


Reinforcement: Reinforcement is added to the walls as required to provide additional strength and stability. The NYC building code specifies the minimum amount of reinforcement that must be used in construction.


Lintels and Beams: Lintels and beams are added to the walls to support openings such as doors and windows. The NYC building code specifies the minimum size and strength of lintels and beams based on the opening size and the load-bearing capacity of the wall.


Roof Construction: The roof is constructed using prefabricated trusses or other structural elements. The NYC building code specifies the minimum size and strength of roof trusses based on the building span and the type of occupancy.


Finishing: The walls and other structural elements are finished using plaster, stucco, or other materials as required. The NYC building code specifies the minimum thickness and composition of finishing materials based on the building occupancy and the type of finish.


Brick Layering

Brick layering, also known as bricklaying or brick masonry, is a construction technique that involves laying bricks in a specific pattern to create walls, columns, arches, and other architectural elements. The process of brick layering according to the NYC building code can be outlined as follows:


Design and Planning: The design and planning phase involves determining the structural requirements of the building and selecting the appropriate size, type, and color of bricks. The NYC building code specifies the minimum size and compressive strength of bricks that can be used in construction.


Foundation and Footings: The foundation and footings are the base of the building and provide support for the walls. The NYC building code specifies the minimum width and depth of footings based on the load-bearing capacity of the soil.


Wall Construction: The walls are constructed by laying bricks in a specific pattern using mortar. The NYC building code specifies the minimum thickness of brick walls based on the building height and the type of occupancy.


Reinforcement: Reinforcement is added to the walls as required to provide additional strength and stability. The NYC building code specifies the minimum amount of reinforcement that must be used in construction.


Lintels and Beams: Lintels and beams are added to the walls to support openings such as doors and windows. The NYC building code specifies the minimum size and strength of lintels and beams based on the opening size and the load-bearing capacity of the wall.


Arch Construction: Arches are constructed using bricks in a specific pattern to create a curved or rounded shape. The NYC building code specifies the minimum thickness and design of arches based on the span and the load-bearing capacity of the wall.


Finishing: The walls and other structural elements are finished using plaster, stucco, or other materials as required. The NYC building code specifies the minimum thickness and composition of finishing materials based on the building occupancy and the type of finish.


Sidewalk Construction

Sidewalk construction is the process of building a pedestrian walkway that runs alongside a street or road. The sidewalks are usually made of concrete and are designed to provide a safe and convenient route for pedestrians. The process of sidewalk construction in New York City follows the guidelines set out in the NYC Building Code, and it involves the following steps:


Design and Planning: The first step in sidewalk construction is to design the sidewalk layout and determine the appropriate width and thickness of the sidewalk. The NYC Building Code specifies the minimum width and thickness of the sidewalk based on the anticipated pedestrian traffic.


Site Preparation: The site is prepared by clearing the area of any obstacles, including trees, bushes, and debris. The area is then graded to ensure proper drainage.


Formwork: Formwork is used to create the shape of the sidewalk. This involves placing boards along the edges of the sidewalk area to create a mold for the concrete.


Reinforcement: Reinforcement is added to the sidewalk to increase its strength and durability. This involves placing steel bars or mesh inside the formwork.


Pouring and Finishing: Once the formwork and reinforcement are in place, the concrete is poured into the mold. The concrete is then smoothed and leveled using a trowel to ensure an even surface. The surface is also finished with a broom or other texturing tool to prevent slipping.


Curing: The concrete is allowed to cure for several days before any weight or traffic is allowed on it. The curing process involves keeping the concrete moist to prevent cracking and shrinkage.


Expansion Joints: Expansion joints are added to the sidewalk to allow for expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. The NYC Building Code specifies the spacing and size of the expansion joints.


Clean Up: Once the concrete has cured, the formwork is removed, and the area is cleaned up. Any excess concrete is removed, and the area is swept and hosed down.


Concrete Masonry Units

Concrete masonry units (CMUs), also known as concrete blocks, are available in a variety of types and sizes to suit different construction needs. Here are some of the most common types and sizes of CMUs:


Standard CMUs: These are the most commonly used type of CMU and are available in different sizes, including 4-inch, 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch widths. Standard CMUs can be used for both load-bearing and non-load bearing walls.


Corner CMUs: These blocks are specifically designed for use at corners and are available in different sizes, including 8-inch and 10-inch widths.


Bullnose CMUs: These blocks have rounded edges on one or more sides and are available in different sizes, including 8-inch and 12-inch widths. Bullnose CMUs are often used for creating rounded edges on walls or for creating decorative elements.


Split-Faced CMUs: These blocks have a rough, textured surface on one or more sides and are available in different sizes, including 4-inch, 6-inch, 8-inch, and 12-inch widths. Split-faced CMUs are often used for creating decorative walls or for providing a non-slip surface.


Ground Face CMUs: These blocks have a smooth, polished surface on one or more sides and are available in different sizes, including 8-inch and 12-inch widths. Ground-face CMUs are often used for creating decorative walls or for providing a smooth surface.


Hollow CMUs: These blocks have hollow cores and are available in different sizes, including 4-inch, 6-inch, 8-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch widths. Hollow CMUs are often used for non-load-bearing walls or for creating insulation in a wall system.


Architectural CMUs: These blocks are available in a range of sizes and finishes, including custom shapes and sizes, and can be used for creating decorative walls or for providing a unique look to a building.


Bricks:

Bricks are a versatile building material that is available in a variety of types and sizes. Here are some of the most common types and sizes of bricks:


Common Bricks: These are the most commonly used type of brick and are also known as clay bricks. They are made from clay and are available in standard sizes of 4 x 8 x 2.25 inches and 3.625 x 8 x 2.25 inches.


Facing Bricks: These are clay bricks that have been specifically designed for facing or cladding walls. They are available in a wide range of colors, textures, and sizes, including modular sizes of 3.625 x 7.625 x 2.25 inches and 3.625 x 11.625 x 2.25 inches.


Fire Bricks: These are clay bricks that have been specifically designed for use in high-temperature applications, such as in fireplaces, kilns, and furnaces. They are available in a range of sizes, including 4.5 x 9 x 2.5 inches and 9 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches.


Concrete Bricks: These are made from cement, sand, and aggregates and are available in a range of sizes, including 4 x 8 x 2.25 inches and 3.625 x 7.625 x 2.25 inches. Concrete bricks are often used for load-bearing walls and in areas with high moisture.


Sand Lime Bricks: These are made from sand, lime, and fly ash and are available in sizes similar to common bricks. They are known for their durability and are often used in structural walls and as pavers.


Engineering Bricks: These are dense, hard-wearing bricks that are designed for use in civil engineering applications, such as for constructing retaining walls, manholes, and sewerage systems. They are available in a range of sizes and colors.


Decorative Bricks: These are specialty bricks that have been designed for use in decorative applications, such as for creating arches, patterns, and designs in walls. They are available in a

wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors.


Mortar and Grout

The New York City Building Code provides guidelines and requirements for the use of mortar and grout in construction. Here are the basic steps involved in the process of using mortar and grout according to the NYC Building Code:


Preparing the surfaces: Before applying mortar or grout, the surfaces of the building blocks should be clean and free of any dirt, dust, or debris. The joints between the blocks should also be clean and free of any loose material.


Mixing the materials: Mortar and grout should be mixed according to the manufacturer's instructions, using the appropriate proportions of cement, sand, water, and any additives. The mixing should be done in a clean container and with the appropriate equipment, such as a mortar mixer or grout pump.


Applying the mortar: The mortar is applied to the surface of the building block using a trowel, making sure to completely cover the surface and fill any gaps between the blocks. The mortar should be applied evenly, and excess mortar should be scraped off the surface using the edge of the trowel.


Laying the building blocks: Once the mortar is applied, the building blocks are placed onto the mortar bed and pressed down firmly. The blocks should be leveled and aligned with adjacent blocks using a level and string line.


Curing the mortar: After the blocks are laid, the mortar needs to be cured for a certain amount of time according to the manufacturer's instructions. This allows the mortar to harden and develop its full strength.


Applying the grout: Once the mortar is cured, the joints between the blocks can be filled with grout. The grout is applied using a grout bag or grout pump, and excess grout should be removed using a grout float. The grout should be allowed to cure for the specified time before any further work is done.


It is important to follow the NYC Building Code guidelines and requirements for using mortar and grout to ensure that the construction is safe, durable, and meets building code standards.


Process of Masonry Work

The process of masonry work in New York City (NYC) is governed by the NYC Building Code, which sets the minimum requirements for the design, construction, and alteration of buildings within the city. Here is a general outline of the process of masonry work according to the NYC Building Code:


Design: The design phase involves developing plans and specifications for the masonry work. The design must comply with the NYC Building Code and other applicable laws and regulations.


Permits: Before any construction work can begin, permits must be obtained from the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). The permit application must include the plans and specifications for the masonry work, and a licensed professional must apply.


Site preparation: The site must be prepared for the masonry work. This may include excavation, grading, and the installation of footings and foundations.


Masonry construction: The masonry construction process involves the installation of the individual masonry units, such as bricks or blocks, using mortar. The construction must comply with the NYC Building Code and other applicable standards and specifications.


Inspections: The DOB conducts inspections throughout the masonry work process to ensure compliance with the NYC Building Code and other applicable laws and regulations. The inspections may include verifying the placement and spacing of reinforcement, the installation of flashing and weep holes, and the construction of fire-rated walls.


Completion: Once the masonry work is complete, a final inspection must be conducted by the DOB to ensure that the work has been completed by the NYC Building Code and other applicable standards and specifications.


Sign-offs: After the final inspection, the DOB issues a Certificate of Occupancy or Letter of Completion, which certifies that the building is safe for occupancy and the work has been completed in compliance with the NYC Building Code and other applicable laws and regulations.


In summary, the process of masonry work in NYC involves design, obtaining permits, site preparation, masonry construction, inspections, completion, and sign-offs. The NYC Building Code sets the minimum requirements for masonry work, and compliance with these requirements is critical to ensure the safety and integrity of the building.


Conclusion:

Masonry work is an essential part of construction, and it involves using individual units such as bricks, blocks, and stones to build structures. Block building, brick layering, and sidewalk construction are three common forms of masonry work. Each form of masonry work has its unique advantages, and the choice of which to use depends on the specific requirements of the construction project. Skilled masons are required to ensure that structures are constructed correctly and are safe and sound.

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