1980s Office Building with Failing Brick Slips

Imposing 1980s quadrangle designed head office building in Essex with failing brick slips. The contract for remedial fixing of the brick slips was awarded to Action Wall Ties.

case study 56e19e50dc7c07.67894388 - 1980s Office Building with Failing Brick Slips

The subject building was an imposing 1980s quadrangle design commercial head office building, over four floors, in four wings with entrance towers to each corner.

case 48 a - 1980s Office Building with Failing Brick Slips

This building was undergoing a major refurbishment for new occupants Cofunds when some detached brick slips were noted. Action Wall Ties was invited by Como Interiors to undertake an inspection of the brick slips and any associated defects, and to report our findings and recommendations.

case 48 b - 1980s Office Building with Failing Brick Slips

case 48 b 1 - 1980s Office Building with Failing Brick Slips

case 48 b 2 - 1980s Office Building with Failing Brick Slips

case 48 b 3 - 1980s Office Building with Failing Brick Slips

case 48 b 4 - 1980s Office Building with Failing Brick Slips

Action Wall Ties inspected Mayland house building, identified the defect, reported on our findings and recommended AWT designed fixing of some 20,000 brick slips.

Action Wall Ties was instructed and successfully completed the fixing of 20,000 brick slips to this building on budget and on program. Our work met with the approval of both Como and Cofunds.

The Structural Problem

The building was found to be of concrete frame construction, with cavity brickwork infill walls, an external skin of stretcher bond reddish multi-stock bricks constructed on each concrete floor beam with brick slip facing, and with windows up to the underside of the floor beam above in-between brick clad columns.

The external brickwork infill walls were found to be supported on the floor beam by approximately 60mm, with 50mm protruding to accommodate finishing and with brick slips bedded in front of the concrete floor beam, thus giving the appearance of brickwork. To each wing the brick slips formed a full brick soldier course with three courses of stretcher bond to the return wall and the entrance towers.

Since this building was built the concrete frame had shortened, and the bricks’ first irreversible expansion had taken place. We believed that these movements, together with thermal movement, had resulted in the sand and cement bedding mortar becoming detached from the concrete floor beam. Any further movement within the brickwork, and/or erosion/deterioration of the pointing mortar, could un-lock the brick slips allowing them to become dislodged and fall. Present-day practice is to mechanically fix all brick slips.

The Structural Repair Solution

Action Wall Ties have considerable experience in remediating brick slip defects and have developed methods and equipment to enable the successful fixing of brick slips in situ, avoiding damaging (i.e. cracking with impact hammer type drills) the delicate brick slips. With specially sharpened drills, developed to enable rotary drilling of the slips to complete the fixing, we inserted a special colour matched epoxy putty into the pre-drilled hole then drove a stainless steel fixing into the epoxy putty to fill hole, providing not only a mechanical fixing but bonding all the elements together. We then made good and sealed the access hole with coloured epoxy putty.

case 48 c - 1980s Office Building with Failing Brick Slips

Action Wall Ties have developed a unique approach to fixing brick slip issues on low rise and high rise concrete frame buildings. Using their specialist drilling techniques and carefully designed fixings, AWT can repair brick slip defects in an economical manner that maintains the appearance of the building and minimises disruption.

Kent based AWT provide their expertise to customers in Kent, Essex, Sussex, Surrey & London. To arrange a survey or to discuss your project, please call us on 01227 721 255, email us or fill in the contact form.

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