Masonry is used because of its beauty, versatility, availability, insulation, and fire-, wind-, earthquake-, and sound-resistance. AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE Every continent on earth has ample resources of stone and clay, which is part of why 70% of the buildings in the world are built of masonry. BEAUTY AND VERSATILITY Masonry buildings add color, texture, and variety to the built environment. Homes, churches, banks, schools, shops, hospitals, jails, hotels, apartments--the types of buildings that can economically be built of masonry are almost endless. FIRE RESISTANCE Masonry construction easily meets code requirements for "fire-resistive" construction as defined by the National Bureau of Standards. Because of this, fire insurance rates are much lower for masonry structures than for those of wood or steel construction. THERMAL MASS The higher density and greater mass of masonry allow it to absorb heat more slowly and retain it longer than most other materials. SOUND RESISTANCE The mass and density of masonry also give it sound-damping qualities. WIND AND EARTHQUAKE RESISTANCE Reinforced masonry buildings have proved effective at resisting high winds and earthquakes. The steel reinforcement grouted into collar joints or unit cores adds ductility and strength to the wall. The masonry, in turn, protects the steel and bears the load with minimum deflection and maximum damping.