Builder Bob Vodicka, president of Lisle, Illinois based Vodicka Masonry Ltd. figured the market was ready for a loadbearing brick single-family home -- a home few traditional builders would care to construct. The masonry industry was also ready. A brick manufacturer had just developed a trademarked single-wythe wall system featuring 4 5/8 x 9 5/8 x 2 3/4-inch hollow brick for use in exterior bearing walls. With a bed depth of 4 5/8 inches instead of 3 5/8 inches, these units have larger-than-usual cores, facilitating rebar placement and grouting.

This 3,550 square-foot colonial-style home features single-wythe, loadbearing brick exterior walls. Wood studs are used only in the interior framing. Designed in accordance with ACI 530-92/ASCE 5-92 and built on a poured concrete foundation, the perimeter walls of the house are approximately 9 feet high. These bearing walls consist of a single wythe of 5-inch nominal brick, reinforced vertically with #4 (1/2-inch diameter) rebar 35 inches on center and grouted solid at the reinforcement only. Horizontal joint reinforcement occurs at 12 inches on center unless otherwise specified. The home is being actively promoted as a prototype for future construction. The concept will realize its potential only if more masonry contractors become home builders.