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Masonry structures

Overview of Australian Standard AS 3700 which sets outs the design and construction requirements for masonry structures.

Overview of the Standard 

AS 3700 sets out minimum requirements for the design and construction of masonry elements of the following types:

  • Unreinforced, reinforced and pre-stressed masonry using manufactured units of clay or concrete laid in mortar.
  • Unreinforced masonry using manufactured calcium silicate units laid in mortar.
  • Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) masonry laid in thin-bed mortar.
  • Square-dressed natural stone laid in mortar. 

This Australian Standard outlines the minimum requirements for any built-in components within masonry walls and piers such as flashing, lintels, wall ties and tendons.

What does it include?

AS 3700 is broken into 12 sections (with illustrations and tables) consisting of: 

  • Section 1 deals with the scope of the standard, references and the definitions / explanations of components and systems.
  • Section 2 deals with general design requirements, including serviceability and load.
  • Section 3 deals with specific design properties of all components for masonry construction, including ties and reinforcing.
  • Section 4 deals with the individual design aspects of masonry construction, from moisture prevention through to control joints, mortar bonding, connections, sills and corbelling.
  • Section 5 deals with durability requirements in different proximity and climate zones.
  • Section 6 deals with required fire-resistance design outcomes, including insulation.
  • Section 7 deals with the structural design requirements of unreinforced masonry and includes a number of detailed tables and figures.
  • Section 8 deals with the structural design requirements of steel reinforced masonry; being in addition to the requirements at Sections 4 and 5.
  • Section 9 deals with the specific design requirements of masonry reinforced with pre-stressed steel tendons, either pre- or post-tensioning.
  • Section 10 deals with the required design considerations for earthquake actions.
  • Section 11 deals with material component compatibility requirements for masonry construction.
  • Section 12 deals with the requirements for site control, workmanship and any construction and testing requirements for special masonry, such as recycled brickwork etc.

The standard also contains 9 appendices consisting of:

  • Appendix A talks to the assessment of strength values from specific or control test results.
  • Appendix B sets out the method for evaluating specific or control test results.
  • Appendix C specifies compressive strength test methods.
  • Appendix D specifies the tests for the flex strength of mortar ‘perp’ joints, using the bond-wrench or beam-test method.
  • Appendix E details the durability of in-situ masonry mortar testing procedure, using the scratch-test and index reference.
  • Appendix F sets out the method of bow measurement in a masonry member.
  • Appendix G outlines the test procedures for either compressive or flexural strength of in-situ masonry, if required, including preparations.
  • Appendix H provides for guidance on the use of masonry in restoration work, including structures using square-dressed natural stone.

Is the Standard referenced in NCC or other legislation?

Yes, this standard is referenced in both NCC Volume One and Two providing design and construction requirement for masonry structures. For Volume Two it provides solutions for structures outside the building geometric limitations of AS 4773 (masonry for small buildings).

Who is the Standard for?

The primary users of this standard are engineers, building designers, bricklayers, blocklayers, brick and/or block manufacturers and suppliers, builders, building certifiers and surveyors and site supervisors.

Related Australian Standards

  • AS 1170 Structural design actions series.
  • AS 1720 Timber structure design series.
  • AS 2699 Built-in components for masonry construction series.
  • AS 2870 Residential slabs and footings
  • As 3600 Concrete structures
  • AS 2904 Damp-proof courses and flashings.
  • AS 4773 Masonry in small buildings series

Related HIA Information Sheets

Getting a copy of the Standard

An electronic copy of this Australian Standard can be purchased through the Digital Australian Standards webpage.


To find out more, contact HIA’s Building Services team.

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