Sales of concrete block in the United States have increased. Brick sales, however, have not grown in the last 25 years. How do we increase the amount of masonry construction? One way is to improve masonry structural technology, so masonry is more cost competitive with concrete and steel. That's the hope of a major research program that's been underway in the United States since 1984. This program, called the U.S. Coordinated Program for Masonry Research, coordinates the work of more than 20 masonry researchers in this country and Japan. COORDINATION IS THE KEY Although a lot of masonry research information exists in the United States, much of it is difficult to compare because of differences in test procedures, instrumentation, data recording, and presentation of results. Hence, much of it hasn't been used to change design procedures or revise building codes. The U.S. research program overseen by the Technical Coordinating Committee for Masonry Research (TCCMAR) is designed to avoid this problem. AN UPDATE Once a year the U.S. and Japanese research groups meet to present their results and resolve technical problems. Here is an update on a few of the projects underway: a new way to make grout test specimens; studying why shear walls fail; better ways to construct floor diaphragms; and testing of two-story shear walls.