In this paper, a contribution of various types of masonry infill to the behaviour of reinforced concrete frames under lateral loads is presented. As a part of the bigger project, ten one-bay, one-storey reinforced concrete frames were designed according to the EC8, built in a scale 1:2.5, infilled with masonry and tested under constant vertical and cyclic lateral load. The masonry wall had various strength properties, namely, high strength hollow clay brick blocks, medium strength hollow clay brick blocks and low strength lightweight autoclaved aerated concrete blocks. There were no additional shear connectors between the masonry and frame. The results showed that the composite ‘framed wall’ structure had much higher stiffness, damping and initial strength than the bare frame structure. Masonry infill filled in the load capacity gap from very low (0.05%) to drifts when the frame took over (0.75%). The structures behaved as linear monolithic elements to drifts of 0.1%, reached the maximum lateral capacities at drift of 0.3%, maintained it to drifts of 0.75% and after that their behaviour depended on the frame. Masonry infill had severe damage at drift levels of about 0.75% but contributed to the overall system resistance to drifts of about 1%. At that drift level, the frame had only minor damage and was tested to drifts of about 2% without any loss of capacity. Improvement of the ‘infill provisions’ in the codes could be sought by taking into account the contribution of a common masonry that reduces expected damages by lowering the drift levels. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.