Skip to main content


Designers Knowledge Base

This includes brickwork, stonework, blockwork, pre-assembled composite masonry/brickwork units, bearings/supports of pre-assembled elements, reinforcement in masonry work, jointing materials etc. It does not include masonry cladding, gabions/crib block walls or post tensioned masonry.


In specifying the use of masonry the designer should take account of the following principal hazards which could be encountered.

Possible principal hazards and risks

  • health hazards of handling and using hazardous substances such as cement, lime and mortar mixes, chemical grouts, additives and dust
  • falling objects such as the collapse of unpropped construction, elements being overloaded, horizontal chases etc.
  • falling from height caused by unsafe access or unsafe working platforms
  • unsafe access for delivery and off loading, restrictions in working space, obstruction by other building elements etc
  • handling hazards caused by the weight and shape of elements
  • manual handling hazards associated with masonry texture, wall ties, sheet metal, insulation etc
  • contact with moving machinery and plant


Consider how the units will be handled, transported, cut and jointed and what will be used as masonry ties? Are there any temporary conditions to be taken into account and can safe and healthy installation procedures be adopted?

Possible design options to reduce hazards

  • is the use of masonry essential? Alternatives will generally be in-situ or pre-cast concrete. If masonry is essential design masonry with familiar details
  • study alternative routes for access and ensure adequate working space for operatives and materials
  • plan the sequence of work to avoid bad weather, the winter months and a congested site
  • avoid the site cutting of materials such as sandstone and specify factory preparation of stone work
  • avoid blocks above 20 kgs in weight
  • consider components that are pre-formed and jointed on site
  • on congested sites design areas for delivery and handling of materials as close to the work station as possible
  • specify non-corrosive and non-abrasive materials wherever possible
  • wherever possible design in service runs to avoid cutting
  • consider designing in lifting points on units which have to be craned