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Reinforced masonry is any type of brick, concrete or other type of masonry that is strengthened or fortified with the use of other building materials to increase resistance to deterioration due to weight bearing or other forms of stress. The actual design of reinforced masonry structures will vary, with some designs calling for the inclusion of steel rods in the construction, or filling hollow masonry units such as cement blocks with additional concrete. With any type of masonry reinforcement, the goal is to create masonry that is capable of withstanding additional exposure to the elements and other factors that could weaken the overall structure and cause it to fail.
One of the most common examples of reinforced masonry involves exterior walls that are created using concrete blocks or clay bricks. Along with the blocks or bricks, steel rods are worked into the structure, often using some type of vertical framework that aids in allowing the walls to bear up under its own weight, and the weight of the connecting walls and floors within the building. When concrete blocks are used, it is not unusual for the rods to be woven through the openings of the hollow blocks, then fill in the cavities with the use of additional concrete. The end result is a wall that is sturdy and capable of withstanding a great deal of stress for a number of decades.
Along with providing additional strength to the overall structure, reinforced masonry also provides the benefit of blocking out noise with greater efficiency than some other construction options. This can be especially important for business offices and similar operations that require a minimum of distraction from the outside world. By using the reinforced masonry for the exterior of the building, it is possible to lower the costs of soundproofing the rooms or chambers within the building, focusing more on preventing the transmission of sound from one room to another and less on minimizing the intrusion of noise from the outside.
The exact configuration of reinforced masonry will vary, based on the intended usage of the building under construction and the building standards put in place by local jurisdictions. This means that whatever method is used must be in compliance with those standards, and be completed in a manner that will pass and inspection conducted by an authorized building inspector. For this reason, architects and construction professionals must be well-acquainted with those local standards and incorporate them into the building plans themselves. Doing so saves a great deal of time and money, as well as makes it easier to select the right materials to manage the inclusion of the reinforced masonry in the overall building design.
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