Cost Savings & Availability Make Concrete Masonry Ideal for Demanding Building Applications
Words: Michael Vaughn
Photos: Echelon Masonry
The construction marketplace has changed dramatically over the past few years, with wood being the framing choice for multi-family and other commercial construction mainly due to cost. The shortage and rising cost of lumber coupled with the impact of global climate change have combined to drive owners, developers and contractors not only search for material alternatives, but also question the ongoing viability and cost effectiveness of wood framing. This includes strongly considering the advantages of concrete masonry in their designs as a cost-effective alternative. In addition to the structural benefits, studies show for the first time that the overall and upfront construction costs for building with masonry are now lower than wood.
In fact, recent independent studies conducted in Dallas and Atlanta found that load bearing masonry wall systems were less expensive than other alternatives like conventional wood framing, light gauge steel framing and ICF walls and precast planks. It reported that the costs in these markets for conventional light weight wood framing systems were 5.9% higher than load bearing masonry wall systems with precast concrete plank floors.
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