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Maintaining safe masonry walls in construction work

Masonry structures need to be adequately stabilised to prevent collapse during construction, renovation or demolition.

The collapse of masonry structures during construction has sometimes resulted in death and serious injury. This has occurred when the structure has lacked the support usually afforded by the complete cured product or by other supporting building components.

Injuries and fatalities from the uncontrolled collapse of masonry structures have also occurred during renovation and demolition work. 

How to prevent injury

The following will assist in reducing the possibility of an uncontrolled collapse of masonry walls injuring workers or members of the public: 

  • Masonry walls should be designed to gain stability from other structural components such as walls, piers, roof framework or other sections of the final structure. 
  • If supporting structures are yet to be installed, or are incomplete, or if the wall is freestanding, install adequate temporary bracing designed to ensure the wall can remain stable and able to resist the effects of extreme weather conditions.    
  • If the installation of temporary bracing is not possible, close off the danger area to prevent entry until the mortar reaches full strength. 
  • Before commencing renovation or demolition work near masonry structures, assess the current stability of the structure and the effect that the works will have on its stability. Arrange for any temporary support needed and/or exclusion zones to prevent injury. 

Your local State or Territory workplace health and safety authority may have specific guidance and requirements in relation to temporary bracing during construction of masonry walls and other structures. Make sure to seek this information from their website:

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

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