The cost-effectiveness analysis of alternative construction materials adopted for load bearing masonry is usually done either by comparing the cost of masonry units, or by a cost analysis based on thickness of wall. Since these methods do not include the effect of size and strength of masonry units, the author contends that these are not rational. A rational cost effectiveness analysis for load bearing masonry is proposed here, which is based on strength criteria as per the codal provisions of IS 1905-1987. This paper discusses the cost-effectiveness analysis of axially loaded bearing masonry with burnt clay bricks and concrete hollow blocks. The comparison is made by keeping the load bearing capacity of masonry same for the same brick and block strengths of 5 and 10 N/mm2, with different strengths of mortar. The rationality of the cost-effectiveness analysis based on strength criteria over conventional methods based on either thickness of masonry or the property of masonry unit alone is demonstrated here. The economic advantage of concrete hollow block masonry over burnt clay masonry construction is also presented.