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Definition and new directions of IBS Load Bearing Masonry (LBM) system in construction industry.


Construction is a project based activity and involves multiple parties from separate organization and each with their own interest and expectation [9]. Technology defined as 'man's efforts to satisfy his material wants by working on physical objects and the construction technology defined as the state of the art in construction methods, construction process, construction equipment and materials of construction [15].

A construction industry with technological base is necessary for a healthy Malaysia economy. It is also important for the solution of currents problems in such shortage of materials, labour and delay in construction. The nature of construction are involves from the firm implementing of technology and technology that is adopted by a construction firm must be deployed to construction projects. The effective technology is essential to enable the construction industry to compete with foreign firm [15] and more competitive in construction. Consequently, the adoption of technology in the construction industry is encouraging for the development of the economy and the industry.

Accordingly, the government of Malaysia, through its agency namely as Construction Development Board (CIDB), actively promotes the adoption of a new or modern construction method system, entitled Industrialised Building System (IBS). In general, IBS is defined as a process of total integration of subsystems, components and elements into one overall system which utilizes industrialized production, transportation, assembly and erection on site [11]. It also has been classified as an innovative process of building construction using the concept of mass-production of industrialised systems, produced at the factory or onsite within controlled environment, that includes the logistic and assembly aspect under a proper planning and coordination design process towards enhancing the end users desired values [12]. Similarly [16] stated that this industrialization process is essentially an organizational process-continuity of production implying a steady flow of demand; standardization; integration of the different stages of the whole production process; a high degree of organization of work; mechanization to place human labor wherever possible; research and organized experimentation integrated with production. The benefits which could be gained from the implementation of this system help to speed up the construction process, decreasing cost, labor and wastages on site, and minimizing the effect of risk [11; 12; 17]. According to [18], IBS has massive inherent advantages in term of productivity, indoor quality, and durability. Buildings constructed by this method also have a short construction time and standard quality [4]. CIDB Malaysia divides IBS into six (6) main of categories and one of them is called block work system. This system has variety types of products. This paper however will only focus on load bearing masonry system. A load bearing masonry system widely used in developed countries in such United States and European for housing and building.

2. Definition of Load Bearing Masonry System:

Masonry structural is a simplest technique for the construction and it made form collective units of stones, bricks, blocks and concrete in making a wall. This system has been used in early civilization from the smallest to huge of building, monument and infrastructure. The structure of building was built based on graphical method or simple calculation. One example of masonry structure was the Monadnock Building in Chicago with sixteen storeys, built in the year 1891 [14].

Today, this technology based on rational engineering design and gives several advantages in such economical, reduce the time of construction, flexibility and durability [7] and earthquake resistance. On the other hand, from engineer perspective, this system offers: durability of the product and more strengthen in term of design [19]. Load bearing masonry is a concept where the floors and walls work together as a system and each giving support to others [3]. The load bearing masonry can definition as the system was designed to support the building loads by roof, upper floor slabs, dead, load and lateral loads and making a wall.

2.1 Type of masonry structural:

There are five (5) types of masonry structural and namely as plain masonry or unreinforced masonry, reinforced masonry, pre stressed masonry structural confined masonry and interlocking block system.

2.1.1 Plain masonry or unreinforced masonry structural:

Plain masonry or unreinforced masonry contains no steel reinforcements and is simple to construct. This system relies on the strength of the masonry to bear the building load. Unreinforced masonry is normally designed to zero tensile stress and used in low and medium rise buildings.

2.1.2 Reinforced masonry structural:

Reinforced masonry has steel added in the masonry to provide tensile, bending strength and improve compressive strength. In construction, this enables allow more slender more load bearing masonry building which is slender column and wall. For reinforced brickwork, steel reinforced are encased between two layers of units and bounded compositely using ground and for reinforced block work, the steel reinforced mainly laid inside the cores then filled with grout.

2.1.3 Pre stressed masonry structural:

The pre stressing was first developed in concrete construction and then the experience pre stressing concrete designers were designing the pre stressing masonry. The ideas were to load the masonry with the compressive force that will be offsite the expected load such as wind loads, floor loads and roof loads and best suited to wall. Masonry Standard Joint Committee (MSJC) Code defined pre-stressed masonry as masonry in which internal stress has been introduced to counteract stresses resulting from applied loads.

The post tensioning (after the masonry is in place) is commonly used compared to pre tensioning (the masonry being constructing) because it is easier to pre stress the masonry after it is in place. According to [4] there are a few of the advantages of the post tensioned pre-stressed masonry compared to reinforced masonry and there are reducing water penetration, crack reduction, less grouting, promotes lower building weight and improved insulation.

2.1.4 Confined masonry structural:

This confined masonry system is similar to both reinforced masonry and reinforced concrete frame with infill wall. But, noted that this system difference in terms of construction sequence (where reinforced concrete elements built after masonry wall has been completed), complexity and seismic performance. Confined masonry is a system in which vertical and horizontal reinforced concrete elements of small section are included in the masonry [8].

These confining elements are called vertical and horizontal ties, where vertical element (tie-columns) resemble column in reinforced concrete frame except that they tend to be of for smaller cross section dimension, meanwhile horizontal elements (tie beams) resembles beam in reinforced concrete frame [13] and this horizontal beam not function as conventional beam where the confined masonry wall is load bearing.

2.1.5 Interlocking masonry system:

The interlocking masonry system is a system that replaces the constructions brick and block based of construction masonry. Ideally, this system suited for load bearing wall construction since the blocks are on 220mm with and can be made of block strength more than 72 N/mm2 safely used for load bearing construction [5]. This system has started since 1970s for houses construction. It is made from sand-cement, stabilized soil and burnt soil. Also this system widely used for the country likes America, Canada, United Kingdom, South Africa and India.

Concept of the interlocking masonry system in the construction, they are similarly same with the 'LEGO' concept. The interlocking block units were laid in dry condition without any mortar and the features of this system made at horizontal or vertical joint or both. Recently, the interlocking system which popular and widely used were: Interlocking Hollow Blocks, Thai Interlocking Brick, Solbric Sytem from South Africa, Hydroform System from South Africa, Bambo System from South Africa, Auram System from India and Tanzania Interlocking Brick System.

The interlocking system formulated for integrates the production of the construction in result of the cheaper building and labors cost, less of skilled workers, less wastages at site and sustainability of construction. According to the [10] the sustainability can be achieve by using Palm Oil Ash and rice husk ash as replaced of the cement and used recycled concrete and aggregate which are related to construction wastes.

3. Methods and Materials: New Directions in Construction Industry:

Today, the development of load bearing masonry system focuses on sustainability as comprehensive direction through their methods and materials. By review of previous researches, the sustainability of load bearing masonry system as new trend was presented as below:


Load bearing masonry system is one of the construction methods that contribute to the sustainable construction through their materials used. According to the [6], brick contribute to the sustainable through three important factors which are: made of brick, manufactured and the used of brick and the detailed as followed:

i. Bricks were made from the natural resources in such clay and shale.

ii. Bricks manufacturing located in close to mine. It can incorporate waste products in term reduce energy, reduce water use and gas emission and other wasters of fuel.

iii. Brickwork can provide acoustic comfort, thermal comfort, good indoor air quality and fire resistance. Brickwork also meets the requirement of many certificated rating systems in the area of development of density, storm water management, heat island effect, improve energy performance, construction waste management and low maintenance in overseas respectively as reported by [2].

3.1 Methods:

Now day, the most of non-technical issues were taken into consideration of sustainable development. Thus, using some solutions in such selection of good construction methods and applying in construction activities are pursued. Load bearing masonry system can reduce the environmental impact in term of less machinery used [1], minimized the construction waste, the components (bricks and blocks) are manufactured in controlled environmental. Also this system was positioned and jointed without extra site works.


Generally, load bearing masonry system is an alternative or modern method of construction and more sustainable than conventional construction method (reinforced concrete). In general, majorly this system brings advantages in such economical and from sustainability aspects it brings in terms of reducing waste, increase quality, reduction of environmental pollution, better quality control and reduction of energy consumption. For the development of the construction industry in future, load bearing masonry system suggested as new directions and trends in construction technology and thus, the adoption and implementation of this system should be widely use in others countries in such Malaysia.


Article history:

Received 23 January 2014

Received in revised form 19 April 2014

Accepted 6 April 2014

Available online 15 May 2014


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(1)Nor Azlinda Ramli, (2)Che Sobry Abdullah, (3)Mohd Nasrun Mohd Nawi

(1,2'3)School of Technology Management and Logistic, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia

Corresponding Author: Nor Azlinda Ramli, School of Technology Management and Logistic, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
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Author:Ramli, Nor Azlinda; Abdullah, Che Sobry; Nawi, Mohd Nasrun Mohd
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9MALA
Date:Apr 1, 2014
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