Advantages for Municipalities

“A community owns a home forever.”

-Heartland Brick Council

“Neighbours know that when we build a masonry home, the quality of construction and the look and feel of the neighbourhood will be upheld.”

Neil Hetherington, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Toronto


Sustainable development is a big part of what makes a community thrive. As civic leaders plan for the future, the link between the aesthetics and durability of a neighbourhood, and its appeal as a place to live, work, shop, and play is a critical component. More and more communities are choosing homes become standard, many North American municipalities are setting a minimum requirement for the use of masonry in residential, industrial and commercial buildings.

Here’s Why:

  • Sustainable communities
    Communities built with masonry don’t just look better; they last longer. Masonry requires less maintenance than stucco, wood or siding, and masonry uses green materials that are re-usable and recyclable. Buildings made of masonry stand for decades beyond, and still look like new.


  • Healthy communities
    Masonry-built communities are also healthy places to live. Masonry lowers the risk of health and environmental problems that may arise from other non-masonry building materials, such as toxic mould associated with wood and synthetic stucco (EIFS), out-gassing of volatile organic compounds or VOC fumes that inhabit the air we breathe from treated wood and other materials, and the toxic gas emitted from vinyl if it catches fire. People breathe easier in a masonry home.


  • Fire Safety
    Ask your fire chief – masonry construction is highly non-combustible, fire-resistant, and helps prevent the spread of fire from neighbouring buildings – minimizing the devastating impact fire can have on a community. Its inherent strength and integrity help resist damage from high water pressure streams used by firefighters and impacts of collapsing debris and explosions. Masonry protects neighbourhoods and saves lives.


  • Extreme Weather Protection
    Masonry resists impact and makes the ideal protection for buildings in extreme weather. Torrential rains, high winds, floods and fire are resisted by masonry. Recent studies have showed that a 2 x 4 piece of lumber hurled at a wall in hurricane force winds will not chip the masonry, but travels right through vinyl or fibre-cement.


  • Energy Efficiency
    Masonry communities use less energy, and emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions. A masonry building is proven to be 8 to 13% more energy efficient than those built with other materials such as stucco or siding. That’s because masonry absorbs heat, stores it, and then gradually releases it. Masonry cladding remains warm or cool long after the heat or air-conditioning has shut off, reducing heating and cooling loads and therefore energy consumption.


  • Resale Value
    Masonry raises and maintains property values. Aesthetics alone make a home more desirable because curb appeal makes a powerful impression. Recent studies show that 89% of home owners prefer a home built with masonry. And even more compelling is the proof of economic return – the real estate industry estimates that masonry homes sell, on average, at a price that is 6% higher. Add to this the fact that a masonry building only costs 2% to 4% more to build, costs less to maintain and saves on energy bills, and there are instant returns for the home owner or building owner.


  • LEED Points
    Masonry’s characteristics contribute significantly to sustainable construction design. LEED green building ratings are determined by the following categories:

+ Site-related sustainability

+ Indoor environmental quality

+ Innovation and design process

+ Energy use and atmosphere

+ Water efficiency

+ Materials and resources


Masonry products contribute to point ratings in every category.

“Masonry offers the most potential for synergy within the LEED rating system. For example, masonry used for the building wall system can contribute towards points in reduction of construction waste, recycled materials content, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and of course durability.”

industry expert, Christine Subasic, P.E., LEED AP


Municipalities can have confidence in masonry to produce and enhance communities that last. The benefits for communities include quality of life for residents and increased revenue for the municipality. A recent study by the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architectural and Urban Planning studies that show the adoption of masonry ordinance results in:

  • Increased property values for homes in a community;
  • increased revenue generating capacity for communities both through property taxes and sales tax, and;
  • continued population and housing growth.

The research also concluded that the adoption of a masonry ordinance “does not significantly increase the owner cost or rental burden for residents and does not make housing in the community any less affordable.”


A sustainable community attracts residents, and keeps them comfortable and happy to stay in the neighbourhood. Masonry contributes to sustainable communities with compelling benefits in durability, safety, aesthetics, and energy efficiency. When compared to alternative cladding choices, and considering resale value and maintenance costs over the life of the home, choosing masonry makes even more economic sense. The long-term cost benefits of a masonry home is important to entry-level buyers who are stretching simply to purchase a home, and have little additional cash to spend on upkeep, and seasoned buyers choose overwhelmingly to purchase a masonry home.