August 2023

Journal For Masonry Professionals

Journal For Masonry

On a daily basis, IMI meets with and educates the people who make masonry decisions. Meetings such as a recent blueprint review in Ohio where IMI showed an engineer how to solve a structural problem with a union masonry solution saved BAC jobs and protected the industry’s reputation.

TMS members work hard on codes and standards to ensure masonry is recognized. One example is the inclusion of self-consolidating grout in code requirements and support for masonry wall bracing.


Masonry contractors often find themselves in legal trouble due to lack of clarity around contractual obligations. Creating daily reports that detail all work done on site can protect masonry companies from potential litigation. It also helps reduce project delays, costs, and risks by identifying issues that could otherwise escalate into larger problems.

Choosing the right building materials is crucial for a successful masonry project. This article explains the selection process and identifies the factors that influence the decision to choose sustainable materials for masonry work. It also describes the development of an aggregation model for incorporating sustainability criteria into a composite index for building material selection.

The Concrete Masonry Association – This trade association provides a wide range of industry information related to concrete masonry. It is a great resource for concrete construction professionals and students. The organization has many publications and technical resources available for download on their website.

Concrete construction is a labor intensive activity, and the risk of injury or death for workers can be high. This is why it is important for all concrete construction companies to take safety measures to ensure worker safety and compliance with federal and state regulations.

This monthly trade magazine provides information on the latest news and updates in the masonry industry, including market conditions, industry regulations, new technology, equipment use and techniques, building performance, sustainable projects, and more. The magazine is available to members of the Mason Contractors Association of America and the free digital editions can be accessed online.

Masonry Standards Joint Committee – This committee develops consensus based standards regarding code language and design of masonry construction. The committee includes representatives of the masonry contractor associations in Canada and the United States.

Canadian Masonry Design Centre – The Canadian Masonry Design Centre (CMDC) is a not-for-profit association funded by its masonry contractor members in northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Brad Crumb, a CMDC engineer in charge of engineering technical resources, says that the organization’s main goal is to bridge the gap between the design community and the masonry construction industry.

The Masonry Society (TMS) – TMS is chartered as a not-for-profit professional society dedicated to advancing the knowledge of masonry, its design, and construction. The organization’s standards are referenced in international codes and are designed to address a broad range of uses, from commercial buildings to residential structures. In addition to writing codes and standards, TMS reaches designers through presentations at American Institute of Architects chapters, Construction Specifications Institute sections, Building Enclosure Councils, and national conferences. The organization’s Design Practices Committee is responsible for a number of TMS publications and is currently working on a Dry Stack Masonry Guide. TMS’ Existing Masonry Committee also disseminates knowledge on masonry evaluation, repair, and rehabilitation through their publications and presentations.

Test Results

Masonry construction demands that all involved have a good understanding of the material, including its strength characteristics. This is especially true for structural engineers who design masonry structures that meet building codes and industry standards. Testing and research are the best tools to achieve this understanding.

To help structural engineers and others understand how a masonry material behaves, TMS offers a number of test results on the website. These test results are useful in determining proper design loads and analyzing the behavior of structures. TMS also has an online database of test results for masonry unit types, which can be used to determine the strength of materials and to verify design calculations.

TMS also has a large library of masonry construction documents on the site, including the TMS Masonry Standard, Guides and Manuals, the TMS Direct Design Handbook and other publications for masonry contractors and designers. These documents provide guidance on a wide variety of topics, from selecting the best masonry for a project to detailing daily job site reports. These reports are essential in communicating with clients and reducing project risks by detailing the work performed each day.

The TMS Masonry Standards Committee has recently developed a new TMS Direct Design Handbook for Masonry Structures that provides a simplified procedure to address the strength design requirements of TMS 402 Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures. The CMDC is also working to host a database of masonry unit test results on the TMS website, allowing designers to access this information for use in BIM software.

Another important piece of TMS’s online library of resources is the Masonry Unit Data (MUD), a database that allows architects and engineers to download standardized masonry unit properties for use in BIM systems. This database can save time during the modeling process by avoiding the need to manually enter data that may be incorrect or out of date. In addition, MUD can be used to verify that a software model contains correct and accurate information. In the future, MUD will be expanded to include a comprehensive list of physical properties for common masonry units.

News & Updates

The masonry industry is working hard to find new ways to get young people to pick up a trowel and build a career. This is a challenge for contractors and union craftworkers alike. The International Masonry Institute (IMI) has been meeting with, educating and selling the union masonry solution to key decision makers — including architects, engineers, facility managers and construction superintendents. And the efforts are paying off. The latest example: IMI recently made a presentation to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter of the Association of Public and Private Property Managers (APPA).

IMI’s National Director of Industry Development David Sovinski discussed the advantages of using union masonry in a project and the value that IMI-trained craftworkers can bring to the job site. He was followed by a panel discussion of APPA members who spoke about their experiences using IMI craftworkers in their projects. This was just the latest in a long line of IMI outreach efforts to promote union masonry.

MCAA members also work closely with other groups representing the masonry industry to educate engineers and designers regarding the strengths of brick, CMU, concrete block, cast stone, and terrazzo in building design and construction. The MCAA also participates in research related to masonry materials and construction practices. The council’s Research & Technical Services Committee oversees and manages the MCAA’s research programs in various areas of interest to the industry.

Research findings are reported in the MCAA’s monthly journal, Journal For Masonry Professionals. The magazine has been in print since 1964 and is available online free to the public. Articles include information on masonry products, construction trends, building codes and standards, equipment use and techniques, labor issues, legal matters, and new technology.

In addition to the monthly trade journal, a number of other TMS publications are available. TMS E-News Briefs, TMS Responds, and the Masonry Testing Night School address common questions from designers, inspectors, contractor personnel and test technicians. The MCAA also publishes its research results in the Journal of Applied Masonry Research. This peer-reviewed journal has a SJR ranking that takes into account both the number of citations to the publication and the prestige of those citing it.

Contact Us

Masonry professionals often work in isolation from each other, but if you’d like to talk to someone about masonry testing or masonry construction, feel free to reach out. We’ll get you connected to the right person, quickly.

The Masonry Society has a lot going on this year. A number of TMS Committees are collaborating to develop new information and resources that will benefit the entire industry. We’ll also continue to offer a wide array of educational opportunities, including TMS Night School and webinars on strength design of masonry, a masonry BIM guide, and an in-person ACI Certification session.

Whether you’re interested in making the world’s most sustainable building, ensuring your brick and mortar can endure for generations, or just want to learn more about the newest technologies, our members are here to help. We’ll connect you with the experts and resources to help your business thrive, and we’ll advocate for a strong and vibrant masonry industry.

TMS’s e-newsletters, e-news briefs and the TMS Journal keep members and friends of the Society informed about what is happening with TMS; answer common and not-so-common questions; and report on masonry research efforts. TMS will also debut a new Masonry Tip Sheet series, bringing practical information to designers, contractors, inspectors and testing technicians.

IMI is committed to meeting with, educating and selling the union masonry solution to the people who make decisions on projects. They’re talking to architects, engineers, general contractors and developers on a daily basis to promote the value of using IMI-trained craftworkers for masonry construction.

The Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 of New York is responsible for the “who’s who” of buildings in the greater NYC area, including Grand Central Terminal, Yankee Stadium, Citifield, the World Trade Center Memorial, and the Chrysler Building. They’re also working on the American Museum of Natural History, Lincoln Center, and the Cloisters – not to mention thousands of office and residential buildings. Brad Crumb is IMI’s Director of Engineering Technical Resources and is involved with CMDC, a not-for-profit association funded by masonry contractor members from northern and southern Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan.