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Confined Masonry

What is Confined Masonry

Confined masonry is a construction technique that has given good results with regard to earthquake resistance. It is well suited to the needs of small-scale contractors and self-builders constructing low-rise buildings.


It uses the same building materials (concrete, steel, bricks or cement blocks) as the more common Reinforced Concrete (RC) Moment Frame structures but in a different sequence, making it a simpler and safer construction technique for one and two storey buildings.

In fact, with the Confined Masonry system walls are built first and the (tie)-columns and (tie)-beams are cast in a second step to confine and secure the walls against horizontal forces.

Though the end-result looks very similar to RC frame structures, the mechanical behaviour of confined masonry is quite different: the vertical and (earthquake induced) horizontal loads are dealt with by solid and simple confined walls rather than by the slender RC moment frames and their all important but sensitive hinges.


The solidity and simplicity allows for the confined masonry system to be more forgiving to construction deficiencies such as imprecise steel reinforcement or low quality concrete which are major issues in places with limited machinery and an insufficiently trained workforce.

Additional information can be found on the Confined Masonry Network site.

Awareness raising material

How can people learn about safer ways to build?  How can future house-owners be brought to hire trained masons?   How can architects and engineers get convinced of using a building technique they have never heard of at university?  How can decision makers be persuaded that "building back better" is possible by informing people and training workers ?

In this section you will find some ideas and answers to these and other questions.



Here you will find pictures of our on-site trainings

confined masonry house in Pedernales

All training and awareness raising material that we have developed over the years is based on scientific research and documentation made by renown engineers and institutions. Our contribution to the body of knowledge is limited to the visual and educational translation of the scientific expertise. 

In this chapter you will find a small selection of research papers that will help engineers to understand more in detail the bases of our work.


Reference documents

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