Masonry Work

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Masonry Work


construction work performed during the erection of stonework on buildings and structures made of natural and artificial masonry materials.

Masonry work is a complex of processes that includes, in addition to the basic processes (the laying of brick or other stone in mortar, the delivery and laying out of the stone, and the smoothing of the mortar), related auxiliary processes (the erection of scaffolding and trestles and preparation of the materials at the construction site).

In ancient times, skilled masons erected stone buildings and complex engineering works (towers, arched bridges, and domes); however, the masonry work was done slowly, and the methods changed little over the centuries. Masonry work was done by hand; the master masons usually performed all the preparatory and transport jobs at the site and prepared the mortar and delivered it to the work area themselves. In building walls, cumbersome scaffolding was erected to their full height. The work was done only in the warm seasons. In the early 20th century, measures were taken in the developed countries to improve masonry work (mechanization of the delivery of materials and the preparation of mortar).

In the USSR, the technology of masonry work began to change substantially in the 1930’s, a period of intensive development of construction. During the five-year plans in the Soviet Union, new principles were developed for the organization and mechanization of construction from masonry materials, and advanced, effective methods for performing masonry work, as well as efficient tools, attachments, and supplies, were introduced. The step-by-step method was widely introduced, making possible continuous performance of masonry work by combining it with the installation of prefabricated elements and other accompanying operations. The brigade method of labor organization was introduced, and the brigades were divided into teams, in which the work of the masons was clearly differentiated according to their skills. The methods for laying the mortar and stone in the structure and work procedures to be used under winter conditions, as well as the means for delivering the mortar and the stone from the producer plant to the work areas, were also improved, leading to increased labor productivity, improved quality of work, and more economical consumption of materials.

In modern construction a distinction is made among the following basic types of masonry work (stonework), depending on the materials used: brickwork on walls, columns, and other parts of buildings and structures, made with ordinary (fired) and silica brick without facing; with faced brick or ceramic stone; with hollow ceramic stones or solid or hollow slag concrete stones, which are used mainly for the walls of frame buildings or for the load-bearing walls of buildings with a limited number of floors; with sawn stone, predominantly light natural stone (tuffs and limestone); and masonry work with large concrete, reinforced-concrete, or brick blocks. Quarrystone masonry made of natural stone (hard rock) with a compressive strength of at least 40 meganewtons per sq m (MN/m2), or 400 kilograms-force per sq cm, is used for the underground parts of buildings and structures (foundations, the walls of cellars, and retaining walls). However, in erecting foundations and basement walls in modern large-scale construction, labor-intensive quarrystone masonry has been replaced by prefabricated reinforced-concrete and large-block elements.

The most widespread type of masonry work is the erection of solid brick masonry using individual bricks set in mortar. “Light masonry,” consisting of two parallel face walls each one-half a brick thick and filled with a light concrete, loose slag, or another insulating material, is sometimes used. Such brickwork ordinarily is used for buildings not more than two stories tall. The masonry work on the walls of high-rise housing is performed simultaneously with the installation of all the prefabricated structural elements of the building, including stairways, floors, window and door units, partitions, and balconies. Ordinarily the masonry work is done with standard trestles, which provide safety and are quickly set up, disassembled, and moved to a new place using an erection crane. Suspended scaffolding, as well as building scaffolding, which is assembled from individual elements during the process of masonry work, is used for constructing the walls of industrial and other buildings more than 5 m tall. The masonry materials and mortars are also delivered by erection cranes, including the tower and jib (crawler and tire) and track types. Brick is delivered to the work areas in packets on wood and metal pallets or in packets without pallets (silica brick), and the mortar is delivered in special containers. For large volumes of work, mortar is supplied by pipe using a mortar pump.


Materialy po istorii stroitel’noi tekhniki: Sb. St., fasc. 1. Moscow, 1961.
Rukovodstvo po organizatsii truda pri proizvodstve stroiteVno-montazh-nykh rabot, chap. 7: “Kamennye raboty.” Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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