All too many people-including engineers, architects, and contractors, as well as the general public-believe that masonry is more expensive than other building systems. But the truth is, masonry doesn't cost too much, a fact proven by numerous studies of both residential and commercial construction. BRICK IS AFFORDABLE Most people prefer all-brick homes. Consumers surveyed by the Brick Institute of America (BIA) about their housing preferences said brick has personality and prestige, it lasts forever, is durable and requires little maintenance, has good resale value, and is attractive and strong. It cannot be disputed that the initial cost of brick is more than for other types of siding. But when other expenses are considered-such as insurance premiums, return on investment, heating and cooling costs, and maintenance expenses-the cost of owning a brick home is less than most new homebuyers think. COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION Commercial buildings use a wide variety of building systems and materials, including granite and marble panels, a variety of brick and block walls, reflective glass panels, preformed steel panels, synthetic stucco, and precast and tilt-up concrete panels. Within this diversity, masonry offers the advantages of low initial construction cost, lower operating expenses (insurance, maintenance, heating and cooling), and a more prestigious building.