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Introduction to Confined Masonry

This website provides a general introduction to the building technology of confined masonry, and it’s generally excellent performance under otherwise damaging earthquakes.

Over the past 30 years, hundreds of thousands of people all around the globe have been needlessly killed by the collapse of their own homes during earthquakes. Typically, concrete frame buildings with masonry infills perform very poorly when subjected to strong ground shaking, as do buildings of unreinforced brick masonry, if not designed and built well.

An alternative construction technology, using the same construction materials, is CONFINED MASONRY construction. Confined masonry is a construction system where the masonry walls are built first, and the concrete columns and beams are poured in afterwards to enclose (confine) the wall. It has typically performed well in past earthquakes worldwide, when built according to code requirements. Its satisfactory earthquake performance is due to the joint action of masonry walls and their confining elements.

Given the universal popularity of masonry and the widespread availability of cement, reinforcing steel, and aggregate, confined masonry is a simple solution. By making some inexpensive and easy changes to traditional construction materials and procedures, the risk of casualties can be significantly reduced. Very few cases of collapse have been reported in past earthquakes worldwide.

This website offers examples of confined masonry construction around the world, as well as guidelines for the design of such buildings and additional video and print resources. Explore the site by using the menu at the top of this page.