Smart Focus

Elizabeth Young

Design Runs Deep

In this DesIgn issue of SMART|dynamics of masonry, where industry leaders gather and speak, we look at the intricacies of masonry design. Masonry is coursing patterns and colors and quality craftsmanship, but it is so much more than just a pretty face. (Although it Is that and we cover that, too!) It is early and deep conversation about constructability and considerations about backup and anchorage systems. It is preplanning meetings, scheduling and sequencing. It is imagining what is possible and thinking outside of the box to determine how to do it most efficiently.

Read about mason contractors accepting more design and detailing responsibility by assuming Design Assist role in Masonry Collaboration by Heath Holdaway and John Kunz of IMs Masonry and Advancing the Mason Contractor’s Role with Delegated Design by Mike Harman and Brad Maurer of Leidal & Hart Mason Contractors. Having a collaborative role on the team helps ensure productivity and quality execution from the earliest stages of the design process.

Considering how to best make use of masonry’s many attributes and qualities almost always improves schedule and budget items. Further, as HeD’s Megan Crawford, Pe, and Kevin Doyle, AIA, write about in Beautiful Burnished Block Provide Shear Wall Support,modifications to planned walls allowed them to also act as shear walls at AUCH Construction headquarters in Pontiac MI. When a prominent gC/CM firm’s HQ is the project of a leading A/e firm, materials and systems become a showpiece of the quality for which the firm is known and are used for all they are worth.

In Kitsap County WA, a 48′ wide masonry lintel was recently constructed in a school auditorium. Integrus Architecture’s Tom Corcoran, Pe, se, and Casey Moore, eIT, explain how the district’s desire for aesthetic continuity and low maintenance led to engineering such a lintel in What a Huge Lintel!

Other types of material design are coming from architecture students. The nCMA’s annual Concrete Masonry Unit Design competition culminated with presentations by three finalists at the nCMA midyear meetings. Teams of students in university level architecture courses design new, innovative products based on typical CMU molds and materials. Learn about the products designed by teams in materials courses at north Carolina state University, Mississippi state University and Iowa State University who took First Place in National Unit Design Competition.

The BIM for Masonry initiative is making access to masonry materials available in the market easier through the Masonry Unit Database (MUD). The MUD launched in 2017, but manufacturers and industry professionals have been adding units, making it a more robust tool. Jeff elder, special projects director, Interstate Brick and Tom Cuneio, founder of CAD BLOX and 3DiQ, explain MUD’s development in Masonry Unit Database v2 and What is it? What do I do with it?, respectively.

We also revisit Understanding Air Barriers, ICYMI (in case you missed it) when Morris Hershfield’s, Lee Durston and Jose estrada, Pe, wrote in vol 2.1. They explain what constitutes an air barrier system in a masonry wall and how it is tested for code compliance.

Design and performance go hand in hand. We’re excited to share this content. Be inspired!

Elizabeth Young

Elizabeth Young Managing Editor, Associate Publisher

In the Next Issue

RESILIENCE Structural Brick Direct Design Put to Use Building Codes Tornado Shelters ENERGY Single Wythe Details

Share Your Stories

Send us your exemplary projects

Send us your ideas for innovative topics to be featured in future issues

And please share masonry details for a new feature

Submit projects, details and article ideas to