© 2022 The AuthorsIndustry procedures to assess the risk of settlement-induced damage to masonry buildings ignore key aspects of the problem, such as the influences of building weight, façade openings, and floor structures. Experimental data are needed to characterise the influence of these aspects on damage. This paper describes tests on three brick masonry half-scale building models subjected to settlements. The use of scaling rules in choosing the model materials and kentledge, the settlement apparatus, and the cross-validation of displacement and strain measurements are presented. Comparative evaluation of building responses show that: (i) the distribution of building weight and the resulting in-situ stresses play a key role in determining compliance to settlements, (ii) openings make the structure vulnerable to cracking and (iii) floor slabs stiffen and strengthen the building and prevent the formation of damage in the upper floors, leading to a concentration of damage at the ground storey.