Classification of Masonry Elements by Structural Function

Nonload-bearing masonry: Supports vertical loads from selfweight only, plus possibly loads from out-of-plane wind or earthquake.
Load-bearing masonry: Supports vertical loads from roof or overlying floors, plus possibly loads from in-plane shear, plus possibly loads from out-of-plane wind or earthquake.

Although these two types of masonry can be approached using exactly the same tools of engineering mechanics, they have been distinguished historically.

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