Severely Distorted Window Masonry, London

Unstable Period Window Masonry, South West London

This Victorian townhouse in Brixton, London SW9, had severely distorted masonry and large gaps around the top floor windows. The brickwork would collapse without immediate action to repair the structural problems. The defect was also impacting the neighbouring property.

Appropriate structural repairs were urgently required to preserve the period features and the property’s value. Previous attempts to repair the defects by traditional building methods had failed. AWT’s specialist repair techniques allow them to repair period brickwork without visible fixings or slow, messy rebuilding work. This is especially helpful where structural defects are affecting adjoined properties and flats.

The Structural Problem

The visible outward leaning of brickwork and masonry lintels to the front top floor had reached the point of instability. If not addressed rapidly, it would result in the failure and collapse of the masonry. This would then require longer, more disruptive and expensive rebuilding work. It would also cause damage to the property’s period features and impact the resale value.

Wide gaps had opened up between the windows as the brickwork bulged outwards. A large gap had also formed above one window and the masonry and lintels were no longer straight.

AWT’s survey found significant outward leaning of the top floor brickwork pier between the windows shared with the adjoining property. The top floor masonry and lintel lintels also showed movement and distortion. AWT diagnosed a progressive structural defect due to ageing and ineffective/inadequate restraining of the masonry.

Previous attempts to repair the structural problem by repointing the area and filling the gaps with mortar had failed to fix the underlying structural issues.

The Structural Solution

Standard building methods tend to provide temporary, cosmetic repairs rather than tackling the root cause of the structural issues. AWT’s specialist knowledge and equipment allow them to remedy masonry defects, add tensile strength and reinstate the integrity of the brickwork. The result is a long-term repair that is not only cost-effective but also requires minimal disruption to residents.

After installing temporary supports to prevent the masonry from collapsing, AWT used specialist structural repair techniques and equipment to restore the structural stability:

  • Realignment of Brickwork & Lintels using AWT Designed Realigning Cramping Equipment
  • Forming Load Bearing Beams in the Brickwork using Heliforce Bars
  • Restraining Bowed Masonry using Thor Restraint Ties
  • Reconnecting the Internal Partition Wall using Thor Grout Ties

AWT use precision diamond drilling techniques to install the stainless steel fixing precisely where required. The result is a repair with no visible fixings. The vast majority of the work is completed from the outside of the property, keeping disruption to a minimum.

New, colour-matched mortar is used to restore any areas of disturbed mortar. Stonework, window frames etc are left ready for repainting if required.

Action Wall Ties are specialist structural repair contractors with the skills and experience to repair and restore period properties.  AWT works on large and small projects for property owners, structural engineers, architects, project managers and local authorities.

AWT are available in London, Kent, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. To arrange a survey or to discuss project details, please use our contact form, email us or call us on 01227 721 255.

Boot Lintel & Wall Tie Repairs, Thanet, Kent

Remedial Wall Ties & Boot Lintel Repairs for 60s/70s House in Thanet

This detached house in Broadstairs, Kent, has a typical 1960s/1970s design and construction. Many similar properties are now developing the same structural problems.

A structural survey of the property indicated issues with the concrete boot lintels and the wall ties. The new owners called in AWT to stabilise the superstructure and protect their investment. Prompt structural repairs prevented the structural defects from causing further damage and avoided more extensive repairs.

The door and window openings were constructed using concrete boot lintels; easily identifiable by the distinctive concrete beams above doors/windows that do not extend beyond the width of the opening. Concrete boot lintels are prone to rotate. This had caused cracking in the internal plaster and cracked, open mortar joints in the external brickwork. The original cavity wall ties were also failing, leaving the outer brick skin unrestrained, and vulnerable to bulging/failure.

The Structural Problem

The property was suffering from 2 main defects that are very common in 1960s/1970s properties; rotating concrete boot lintels and failing wall ties.

Rotation of Boot Lintels:

A fundamental flaw in the installation of concrete boot lintels in 60s/70s properties means that the weight of the heavier brick outer skin is too great for the softer inner blocks to support. The boot lintel rotates, causing gaps to open up, compressing the blocks of the inner wall and allowing the outer brickwork to sag.

The early symptoms of boot lintel problems, as seen below, are cracks in the internal plaster above or radiating from the top corners of doors and windows. It also caused cracking and distortion of the supported brickwork above the doors and windows.

Common symptoms of concrete boot lintel problems:

  • Cracks in the internal walls and ceilings above windows/doors
  • Warped window/door frames – difficult to open and close
  • Cracks in the visible part of the concrete lintel
  • Stepped cracks in the brickwork above windows/doors
  • Dropping of the brickwork above windows/doors
  • Bulging or bowing brickwork above windows/doors

Traditional building repairs – making good the cracks and open joints – treat the symptoms, not the cause. If the rotation continues, serious damage caused by the rotation may result in the necessity to replace the lintels. To avoid further damage to the brickwork, the boot lintels require specialist structural repairs.

Boot lintel gaps cracks rotation - Boot Lintel & Wall Tie Repairs, Thanet, Kent
Boot Lintel stepped cracks - Boot Lintel & Wall Tie Repairs, Thanet, Kent
Boot Lintel gaps - Boot Lintel & Wall Tie Repairs, Thanet, Kent
Boot Lintel compression - Boot Lintel & Wall Tie Repairs, Thanet, Kent
Rotating Boot Lintel Causing Gaps & Cracks
Stepped Cracks Due To Failing Boot Lintel
Gaps Above Concrete Boot Lintel
Boot Lintel Defect Causing Compression Cracks
svg+xml;base64,PHN2ZyB4bWxucz0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy53My5vcmcvMjAwMC9zdmciIHdpZHRoPSIzMiIgaGVpZ2h0PSIzMiIgdmlld0JveD0iMCAwIDMyIDMyIj4KICAgIDxwYXRoIGZpbGw9IiNmZmZmZmYiIG9wYWNpdHk9IjAuOCIgZmlsbC1ydWxlPSJldmVub2RkIgogICAgICAgICAgZD0iTTE4Ljk5NTggOC45OTA3YzAtLjQyNC0uMjA0LS43MjMtLjYxLS44OTgtLjQwOS0uMTczLS43NzItLjEwNC0xLjA5My4yMDlsLTcuMDA2IDYuOTc1Yy0uMjAxLjE5OS0uMjk3LjQzNy0uMjg2LjcxNiAwIC4yNjcuMDk2LjQ5OC4yODYuNjg5bDcuMDA2IDcuMDAxYy4zMjEuMzIxLjY4NC4zODkgMS4wOTMuMjA5LjQwNi0uMTc0LjYxLS40ODIuNjEtLjkyMlY4Ljk5MDd6Ii8+Cjwvc3ZnPg== - Boot Lintel & Wall Tie Repairs, Thanet, Kent
svg+xml;base64,PHN2ZyB3aWR0aD0iMzIiIGhlaWdodD0iMzIiIHZpZXdCb3g9IjAgMCAzMiAzMiIgeG1sbnM9Imh0dHA6Ly93d3cudzMub3JnLzIwMDAvc3ZnIj4KICAgIDxwYXRoIGQ9Ik0xMiA4Ljk5YzAtLjQyMy4yMDQtLjcyMi42MS0uODk3LjQwOC0uMTczLjc3Mi0uMTA0IDEuMDkyLjIxbDcuMDA2IDYuOTc0Yy4yMDIuMi4yOTguNDM3LjI4Ny43MTYgMCAuMjY3LS4wOTYuNDk4LS4yODcuNjlsLTcuMDA2IDdjLS4zMi4zMi0uNjg0LjM5LTEuMDkyLjIxLS40MDYtLjE3NS0uNjEtLjQ4My0uNjEtLjkyM1Y4Ljk5eiIKICAgICAgICAgIGZpbGw9IiNmZmZmZmYiIG9wYWNpdHk9IjAuOCIgZmlsbC1ydWxlPSJldmVub2RkIi8+Cjwvc3ZnPg== - Boot Lintel & Wall Tie Repairs, Thanet, Kent
 

Failing Wall Ties & Inadequate Restraint:

Investigation of the wall ties revealed the existing Wire Butterfly Ties were in varying stages of corrosion and were beyond their useful life. The building had suffered some movement for a prolonged period and was progressive due to a combination of ageing, ineffective and/or inadequate wall tying and restraining plus the effect of rotating fenestration boot lintels all contributing to a lack of structural stiffness.

The progressive corrosion of the existing wall ties left the property vulnerable to vertical and wind loads, especially to large gable and unreturned walls. Instability of the wall will result if the ties corrode away completely, resulting in a need to rebuild the wall. Prompt action to install remedial wall ties will avoid more costly and disruptive repairs in the future.

The Structural Repair Solution

The structural repairs by AWT tackle the root cause of the masonry defects and add tensile strength thus reinstating the brickwork’s integrity.

Structural repairs included:

  • Bed Joint Reinforcement Beaming
  • Fenestration Boot Lintel Treatment
  • Grout Tie Injection
  • Remedial Wall Ties

The AWT team installed specially developed prop supports to anti-rotate the boot lintel back into place. Specialist diamond drilling techniques were used to drill through the brickwork into the boot lintel and install resin-bonded stainless steel sheer pins.

 

New pad-stones were installed by providing temporary support to the underside of the lintels, carefully removing sufficient plaster to expose the lintel, cutting out the internal skin and forming a pad-stone to spread the load onto the internal skin. The area was left ready for plastering.

The new wall ties, bed joint reinforcement beaming and grouted ties stabilised the superstructure, reconnecting the inner and outer walls and strengthening the overall structure.

AWT provide cost-effective structural repairs for a wide range of structural problems including failing wall ties and concrete boot lintel problems. We operate not only in Kent but across the whole of London and the South East of England.

To book a time for one of our surveyors to visit your property or to discuss your requirements, call us today on 01227 721255, email us at enquiries@actionwallties.co.uk or use our contact form to get in touch.

Timber Bay Window Beam Replacement

Realignment, Reinforcement & Bressumer Beam Replacement

This period property in Lambeth, SW London was undergoing a complete refurbishment. The structural defect affecting the wooden front bay window beam was endangering the entire facade of the property. Without suitable structural repairs the front of the property would collapse.

AWT were chosen to complete the structural repairs because their specialist techniques allow them to replace bay window beams, realign masonry and reinforce structural integrity without slow, costly rebuilding work. AWT were able to preserve the beautiful period features of the property and provide a long term structural repair.

The Structural Problem

Like many Edwardian/Victorian period properties, this South-West London property had been built with a timber Bressumer beam supporting the masonry above the bay window. This wooden beam had decayed leaving the upper storey brickwork without adequate support and on the verge of collapse.

The unsupported weight of the first floor brickwork was damaging the mouldings around the bay window, causing it to crack and lean away from the main elevation. The 2 first floor windows were sagging in a characteristic V shape.

Some of the symptoms of the Bressumer beam failure seen in this property:

  • Significant visible distortion of the supporting bressummer beam of the front bay window
  • Dropping brickwork and windows above the bay window
  • Bowing of the main roof
  • Signs of distorting outward movement from the head of the single-storey bay window
  • Cracked masonry and some cracking to the brickwork
  • Cracking and missing section to the masonry cill, partly due to rusting mild steel within the cill

This type of horizontal wooden beam is known by a number of different names including:

  • Timber lintel
  • Bressumer, Bressummer or Breastsummer beam
  • Summer Beam
  • Various other spellings including Sommer, Somer, Sommier and Somier

This type of substantial wooden lintel is often found in period properties over bay windows. Old Edwardian/Victorian timber Bressumer lintels over bay windows are generally over-stressed compared to modern-day standards. They are often found to have moved out of position. Further problems with timber lintels include rot, damp, pest infestations etc. This can render the lintel ineffective, deflecting the brickwork above, as well as the floor and the ceiling. Another common cause of Bressumer beam problems is movement within the building’s structure which leaves the beam lacking adequate support.

The Structural Repair Solution

AWT identified the root cause of the structural issues to be the failure of the timber Bressumer beam in the bay window and inadequate restraint of the bay window masonry. Even without the issue of the beam decaying, the original beam was not strong enough.

The structural repair works required the replacement of the wooden bay window support beam, realignment and strengthening of the brickwork and the addition of lateral restraints to tie the bay window to the main elevation.

The structural repair works included:

  • Installation of temporary bay window supports & bracing
  • Use of AWT-designed realigning equipment to lift the brickwork back in line
  • Removal of old, decayed Bressumer beam
  • Replacement of the timber Bressumer beam with a suitable metal beam
  • Introduction of Bed Joint Reinforcement – Beaming to reinforce the brickwork
  • Installation of lateral restraints
  • Diamond drilling and injection of grouted ties to reinstate uniformity
  • Window cill and brickwork repairs

AWT’s repair works were achieved without leaving any visible fixings. The interior finishes were left ready for the renovation work and decorating to be completed. The exterior ornate bay window mouldings and cill were left ready for painting.

AWT provide cost-effective structural repairs for a wide range of structural faults including failing wooden lintels and beams. We operate not only in London but across the whole of the South East of England including Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Essex.

Read our frequently asked questions about bay window structural repairs.

To book a time for one of our surveyors to visit your property or to discuss your requirements, call us today on 01227 721255, email us at enquiries@actionwallties.co.uk or use our contact form to get in touch.

Failing 1960s/70s Brick Lintels

Repairs to 1960s/70s Brick Lintels – Diagonal Cracks & Dropping Brickwork

This semi-detached home near Maidstone in Kent was built in the 1960s or 1970s. The property is a cavity wall construction with no visible external lintels above the doors or windows.

In common with many properties built in the 60s and 70s, it suffered from brickwork issues above the doors and windows. It showed signs of previous, unsuccessful attempts to repair the brickwork by traditional building methods. Structural repairs were required to avoid the failure of the lintels and the collapse of the unsupported brickwork above the lintels.

There are many housing estates across the South East, including many former council house estates, that are built in the same way. AWT has helped homeowners and housing associations find a cost-effective solution to brick-lintel defects.

Common symptoms of brick lintel issues include:

  • Gaps opening up in brickwork
  • Cracks in brickwork, especially diagonal, stepped cracks
  • Cracks in plaster around doors and windows
  • Sagging and dropping brickwork above doors or windows
  • Difficulty opening or closing doors and windows

 

60s 70s failing lintels - Failing 1960s/70s Brick Lintels

The Structural Problem

The AWT survey found dropping and cracking to the external brickwork that forms the supporting lintel above the window openings and supported brickwork above, which if not treated would result in their failure.

As can be seen in the photos below, previous attempts had been made to repair the cracks. Traditional building methods had only provided a temporary, cosmetic repair. Cracks could be clearly seen running through the areas that had been repointed.

Inside the property, cracks had opened up in the plaster around the windows.

The brick lintels had been deteriorating over a long period. The failure of the existing window and door lintels was causing the brickwork above the lintels to drop and crack due to a lack of support.

As well as causing cracks and gaps in the brickwork, the pressure of the unsupported masonry will warp doors and windows making them difficult to open and close. Without appropriate structural repairs, the outer skin of the brickwork would collapse.

The Structural Solution

The remedial works were designed to restore the masonry to the correct alignment and add tensile strength by installing state-of-the-art fixings within the brickwork. The formation of continuous beams within the existing masonry redistributes the upper-storey loads and restrains diagonal cracking and bulging tendencies.

AWT’s specialist precision drilling equipment allowed the fixings to be installed from the exterior of the property with minimal disturbance to the residents.

AWT’s specialist structural repair techniques provided a long-term repair without visible fixings or rebuilding work.

  • Instal temporary supports to the underside of door & window openings
  • Removal of debris from brickwork cracks
  • Realign lintels using hydraulic equipment
  • Instal stainless steel corded joint reinforcement within the brickwork to form a load-bearing beam within the masonry
  • Instal helical stainless steel pins to secure the brick lintels
  • Instal resin bond stainless steel ties forming truss ties
  • Reconnect masonry using grouted 8mm helical bar
  • Instal remedial wall ties to debonded cavity brickwork
  • Re-point disturbed areas of mortar with colour-matched mortar

Action Wall Ties are specialist structural repair contractors with the skills and experience required to repair properties of all ages.  AWT works on domestic and commercial projects for homeowners, housing associations, structural engineers, architects, project managers and local authorities.

AWT are available in Kent, London, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. To arrange a survey or to discuss project details, please use our contact form, email us or call us on 01227 721 255.

Period Property with Bulging Brickwork

Repairs to Victorian Period Property with Bowing Masonry

This tall brick-built Victorian-type townhouse in Southwark, South-East London, has 3 floors plus a basement.

The very large rear brick wall of the property was visibly bulging outwards and the brick arches above the windows were dropping and cracking. The property owners had contacted AWT before the problem had become too severe, so there was no significant cracking and failing of the main brickwork. The front bay window was also suffering from some cracking and distortion.

The Structural Problem

In common with many properties of this period, ageing and inadequate restraining of the brickwork had allowed the masonry to bulge outwards. Without structural repairs, the bulging of the masonry would continue and accelerate, allowing the brickwork arches to drop and fail and the main elevational brickwork to become unstable and collapse.

Rebuilding such a large area would be very costly and hugely disruptive to the residents. AWT was asked to provide a cost-effective, long-term structural repair.

The brick window arches were also dropping and cracking, another progressive structural defect that required a long-term solution.

The Structural Repair Solution

repair bulging house wall - Period Property with Bulging Brickwork
Before Repairs

As indicated with red lines and green stars, stainless steel corded joint reinforcement and grouted helical bars were installed within the masonry using precision diamond drilling techniques. This forms a deep masonry beam that adds tensile strength to the structure. It also redistributes the upper-storey loads and restrains any diagonal cracking and bulging tendencies.

As indicated with green lines, grouted helical stainless steel pins were used to realign and reinforce the brick arches.

As indicated with yellow stars, resin-bonded stainless steel lateral restraints were used to restrain the brickwork from bulging outwards.

The cracked window cill at the front of the property was repaired with an anti-carbonation cosmetic-grade mortar. Areas of damaged or disturbed mortar were made good with colour-matched mortar.

No Rebuilding, No Visible Fixings

AWT’s specialist structural repair techniques allowed masonry to be realigned and strengthened without rebuilding work or any visible fixings. This preserved the property’s period features and saved the homeowners time, money and inconvenience.

Action Wall Ties are specialists in structural repairs, including bulging and bowing masonry. AWT works on large and small projects with homeowners, architects, project managers, London borough councils and local authorities.

AWT are available in Kent, London, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. To arrange a survey or to discuss project details, please use our contact form, email us or call us on 01227 721 255.

Collapsing Grade II Bay Window Repairs

Grade II Listed Building Bay Window Saved From Collapse

AWT was contacted by very concerned homeowners of part of a Grade II listed c 1800 farmhouse with several structural engineers’ reports stating the bay window was unstable and that rebuilding was the only recourse, but that was contrary to Historic England’s preferred solution and their wishes.

The double bay window was supported with props to prevent collapse. In common with many properties that AWT repairs, this property showed signs of previous ineffective structural repair work.

AWT was able to realign and reinforce the structure without the need for pattress plates, tie bars or other visible reinforcement. AWT’s specialist structural repair techniques also allowed the owners to avoid slow, expensive and inconvenient deconstruction and rebuilding of the ground floor bay to install new lintels. AWT’s specialist repair techniques were classed as a repair by Historic England which greatly simplified the entire process.

Read our frequently asked questions about bay window structural repairs.

The Structural Problem

When AWT was called in to repair this Grade II listed property the bay window masonry had been supported for 2 years with props to prevent collapse.

The homeowners structural engineer report had warned that the structure “could be close to the tipping point” and recommended that the ground floor bay be rebuilt and the first floor repaired. Deconstructing the ground floor masonry and rebuilding it with additional lintels would have been slow and costly, not to mention disruptive to the residents. AWT’s specialist structural repair techniques allowed the owners to avoid slow, very expensive and inconvenient deconstruction and rebuilding of the ground floor bay to install new lintels.

The owners were delighted that AWT could offer a much better solution to the property’s bay window’s many structural defects.

The structural problems included:

  • Brick arches over the ground floor windows slipped by 20-25mm
  • Brick arch nearest the left-hand brick pier pushed out by approx. 20mm
  • Fractured brickwork & mortar joints opened up
  • Pronounced, 60mm bulge in left-hand brick pier
  • 25mm bulge in right-hand brick pier
  • Cracks in brick columns
  • 650mm long crack in 1st floor internal wall
  • External brickwork movable & wall ties completely fractured
  • Ongoing movement with cracks and bulges increasing month on month
  • Collapse of outer brickwork only a matter of time

The Structural Repair Solution

AWT’s specialist repair techniques were classed as a repair by Historic England which greatly simplified the entire process.

AWT, adopting their uniquely developed realigning equipment, was able to lift and realign the original structure’s fabric, therefore, conserving the original features and textures. Despite the advanced nature of the bay window defect, only the outer layer of the brick columns required deconstruction and rebuilding with new handmade shaped brickwork (the original bricks were too decayed to be used.)

As can be seen in the gallery below, the doors and windows remained in situ throughout the work, keeping the disruption to the homeowners to a minimum.

AWT works realigned and reinforced the bay window, reinstated stability and maintained the appearance without the need for pattress plates, tie bars or other visible reinforcement.

Hydraulic realigning equipment, designed by AWT,  was used to lift and realign the arches and brickwork before reinforcing the masonry. Using AWT’s specialist drilling equipment, stainless steel fixings are installed within the masonry. This strengthens the structure and redistributes the load from the upper-story masonry. The hidden fixings and remedial wall ties also restrain the brickwork from bulging.

The reinforcement work included:

  • Bed Joint Reinforcement – Beaming
  • Fenestration lintel- brickwork arch repair
  • Precision Diamond drilling
  • Lateral restraints
  • Grout tie injection
  • Location and isolation of corroded wall ties
  • Remedial, resin-bonded wall ties
  • Deconstruction & rebuilding of just the outer skin of the bay pillars
  • Brickwork repairs and repointing.

Action Wall Ties are specialist structural repair contractors with the skills and experience required to repair Grade I, Grade II and Grade II* listed heritage buildings.  AWT work along with property owners, structural engineers, architects, project managers and local authorities on large and small projects.

AWT are available in Kent, London, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. To arrange a survey or to discuss project details, please use our contact form, email us or call us on 01227 721 255.

Distorted Bay Window With Ornate Terracotta Blockwork

Structural Repairs for Bay Window with Ornate Terracotta Blocks

cracks bay period terracotta - Distorted Bay Window With Ornate Terracotta Blockwork

The exterior of this Victorian/Edwardian property in the London Borough of Lewisham, SW13, has a number of beautiful period features.  The ground floor bay window columns have ornate capitals, the bay window brickwork includes terracotta blocks below the 1st floor bay and the roofline has decorative terracotta blockwork below the eaves.

In common with many properties of this age, a combination of ageing and ineffective restraining of the bay window columns, together with de-bonding of the main elevational brickwork, was allowing the bay window to lean outward. This was also opening up large cracks in the surrounding brickwork. Without structural repairs to restrain and reinforce the masonry, it will fail and lead to the collapse of the structure above.

debonded brickwork bulges 1.3 - Distorted Bay Window With Ornate Terracotta Blockwork

Read our frequently asked questions about bay window structural repairs.

The Structural Problem

This period home in Inner London was at risk of structural collapse. Protecting the fragile terracotta blocks and eave brackets was a key consideration in designing the structural repair plan.

terracotta blocks eave brackets - Distorted Bay Window With Ornate Terracotta Blockwork

Some of the structural problems included:

  • Large cracks around the bay window
  • Clearly visible outward leaning of the first floor bay window masonry columns and lintels
  • Significant outward movement of the masonry lintel to the left side main elevational wall
  • Significant movement of all the terracotta ornate blocks below the soffits
  • Fragile, period terracotta blocks & knee braces (eave brackets) required delicate handling

 

leaning bay window gaps - Distorted Bay Window With Ornate Terracotta Blockwork

AWT’s repairs were designed to target the root cause of the structural failings. Due to AWT’s specialist knowledge and equipment, demolishing and rebuilding the bay window was not required.  AWT used bespoke drilling jigs to install fixings within the masonry to restore structural integrity without damage to the period features, especially the fragile terracotta blocks.

The Structural Repair Solution

AWT’s specialist structural repair tools allow the masonry to be gently moved back to its correct alignment. As shown in the photo below, custom-made drilling equipment allows the installation of fixings within the masonry with minimal impact on the facade of the property. This redistributes the upper-storey loads and restrains the brickwork to prevent cracking and bulging. AWT’s specialist repairs were designed to realign and restore the masonry without damaging or replacing the fragile terracotta blocks.

restoration terracotta block bay window - Distorted Bay Window With Ornate Terracotta Blockwork

The first step was to bring the masonry back in line by:

  • Installation of temporary supports
  • Intrusive inspection of masonry components that appear to be of solid masonry sections but could be nominal thickness components backed with timber framework, amending repair plan as necessary
  • Careful removal of dislodged ornate terracotta blockwork and knees (aka knee braces or eave brackets)
  • Set up AWT designed realigning cramping equipment
  • Deployment of specialist hydraulic jacks to realign the bay window masonry and elevational brickwork

The structure of the property was then strengthened by the installation of high quality specialist fixings:

  • Long diamond drilled grouted ties
  • Lateral restraints
  • Grout injection ties
  • Resin bonded ties

Finally, the finishing touches were added to restore the period beauty of the property:

  • Reinstate the terracotta ornate blockwork
  • Repair masonry pillars and cills with Monolevel FC anti-carbonation cosmetic grade mortar
  • Replace cracked bricks and mortar ensuring a suitable colour match

The repaired masonry elements were left ready for repainting. No external fixings were required – leaving the period features of the property to be enjoyed for years to come.

masonry brickwork repairs inner london - Distorted Bay Window With Ornate Terracotta Blockwork

Action Wall Ties are specialist structural repair contractors with the skills required to realign and strengthen leaning bay window masonry including period and heritage properties with fragile or ornate features of brickwork, terracotta stone/masonry elements and plaster stucco works. AWT work along with property owners, architects, project managers and local authorities on large and small projects.

AWT are available in Kent, London, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. To arrange a survey or to discuss project details, please use our contact form, email us or call us on 01227 721 255.

Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns

Urgent Realignment & Reinforcement of Brick Bay Window Columns

collapsing 2 storey bay - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns

When the AWT team inspected this Victorian / Edwardian mid-terrace house in the London Borough of Lambeth it was a familiar story. Previous attempts to repair leaning brick bay window columns, cracked brickwork and dropped brickwork arches had failed. Without appropriate action, the front of the property would collapse.

The failed repairs, including repointing, had only provided a temporary cosmetic repair. The underlying structural issues had not been addressed, so the bay window columns continued to distort, cracks reopened and the brickwork arches sagged again.  A long-term structural repair solution was required.

Read our frequently asked questions about bay window structural repairs.

The Structural Problem

simple horizontal - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
Bay window cracked cills bricks - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
Bay window dropping brick arches - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
collapsing brick bay window - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
cracking bay window cills - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
Cracked bay window cills & bricks
Bay window-dropping brick arches
Collapsing brick bay window
Cracking bay window cills
 
simple horizontal - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns

Like many bay window period properties in Central London, inadequate restraining of the masonry combined with the effects of ageing had allowed movement and deformation of the brickwork over a long period of time. This property had reached the point where structural collapse was a real risk.

Significant outward rotational movement of the front bay windows’ brickwork and brickwork arches was clearly visible. Wide cracks had opened up in the window cills. Inside the property, cracks had opened up in the walls and ceilings. The outward-leaning brickwork columns together with cracked, fractured and dropped brickwork arches to the first and second-floor bays combined to seriously compromise the structural integrity of the entire front of the property.

The Structural Repair Solution

Like many 3-storey period properties in South London, this mid-terrace had been converted into flats. Any structural repair solution needed to minimise disruption to the tenants.

simple horizontal - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
reinforced brick bay window - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
repaired bay window cills - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
Repairs bay window cracked cills bricks - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
Repairs bay window dropping brick arches - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns
Reinforced brick bay window columns
Repairs to cracked bay window cills & bricks
Repairs to bay window cracks
Repairs to bay dropping brick arches
 
simple horizontal - Long Term Repairs to Leaning & Cracking Bay Columns

AWT designed a programme of remedial works that would tackle the underlying structural defects and add tensile strength to the masonry. The work included:

  1. Installation of temporary supports
  2. Realignment of brickwork columns & arches using AWT-designed hydraulic equipment
  3. Installation of stainless steel bed joint reinforcement
  4. Reconnecting the bay window  brickwork to the main elevation by precision drilling to install grouted helical bars
  5. Installation of steel lateral restraints into the timber joists and resin bonded to the masonry

These structural repairs redistributed the upper-storey loads to those parts of the supporting structure below, which are best able to carry them. They also restrained any diagonal cracking and bulging of the brickwork.

AWT’s specialist techniques preserved the period masonry and stonework. Disturbed areas of mortar were replaced with fresh mortar that matched the existing colour and texture. The decorative stonework was left ready for repainting.

Action Wall Ties are structural repair experts. We have specialist skills in the realignment and reinforcement of period bay window columns. AWT work along with property owners, architects, project managers and local authorities on large and small projects.

AWT are available in Kent, London, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. To arrange a survey or to discuss project details, please use our contact form, email us or call us on 01227 721 255.

Bowing Gable End Wall in South London

Structural Repairs to Bowing Gable Wall Prior to Loft Conversion

The AWT team were called in to inspect this Victorian / Edwardian end-of-terrace home in London SE15. The owners planned to add a loft extension but their plans were on hold due to the significant, visible outward bulging of the large gable end wall.

simple horizontal - Bowing Gable End Wall in South London
bulging end wall South London - Bowing Gable End Wall in South London
repairing end wall Southwark - Bowing Gable End Wall in South London
repaired end wall Southwark - Bowing Gable End Wall in South London
Before Repairs to Bulging End Wall
During Repairs to Bulging End Wall
After Repairs to Bulging End Wall
 
simple horizontal - Bowing Gable End Wall in South London

The Structural Problem

A survey team visited this property in the London borough of Southwark to identify the root cause of the bulging of the large, solid brick flank/gable wall. The survey team reported that due to ageing, ineffective and inadequate restraining of the brickwork the entire gable wall was de-bonding and disconnecting from the rest of the masonry.

debonded brickwork bulges 1.3 - Bowing Gable End Wall in South London

This large gable wall would continue to pull away and without structural repairs, eventually collapse. Traditional building methods would have required the partial deconstruction and rebuilding of the gable wall. Rebuilding work is slow, expensive and disruptive and it would not solve the root cause of the problem which is the inadequate restraining of the gable end wall.

The loft conversion project could not proceed until the gable end wall had been stabilised. The owners were looking for a fast, cost-effective, long-term solution to the structural defect in the gable end wall of their property that would allow the loft conversion to proceed.

The Structural Repair Solution

The bowing gable brickwork required restraining before loft conversion work could begin. AWT designed a complete structural repair program that would realign the brickwork and also add tensile strength to the structure. Their specialist tools and fixings allowed the restoration of the gable end wall’s strength and integrity without the need for visible fixings or costly rebuilding work.

AWT utilised several specialist techniques:

  1. Bed joint reinforcement beaming
  2. Grout tie injection
  3. Lateral restraints

bowing end wall Southwark - Bowing Gable End Wall in South London

 

The structural repairs were carefully targeted to reinstate the uniformity of the wall and restrain the masonry from bulging outwards. The formation of continuous beams within the brickwork redistributed the upper-storey loads and restrained diagonal cracking and bulging.

A specialist drilling rig, designed by AWT, was used to drill through the brickwork at a shallow angle to maximise the number of bricks connected by each helical, grout bonded fixing. The internal timber beams were reconnected to the masonry using resin-bonded stainless steel fixings.

Cracked and disturbed areas of mortar were replaced with new mortar that was matched for colour, texture and pointing style.

AWT’s specialist gable end wall repairs provided a long-term solution for this bulging gable wall masonry. The work was finished swiftly and with minimum inconvenience to the residents. The hidden fixings used by AWT also preserved the appearance of the old yellow stock brickwork.

Action Wall Ties are structural repair experts. We have specialist skills in the reinforcement and repair of large areas of bulging or bowing masonry, such as gable end walls. AWT work along with property owners, architects, project managers and local authorities on large and small projects.

AWT are available in Kent, London, Essex, Surrey and Sussex. To arrange a survey or to discuss project details, please use our contact form, email us or call us on 01227 721 255.

Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London

Located in Wandsworth, SW8, this Victorian/Edwardian home had clearly visible dropping and cracking masonry around the ground floor bay window. Shortly after the initial inspection, the masonry failed and the brickwork of the bay window collapsed.

Previous attempts at repairs by re-pointing the brickwork were clearly visible but had failed to get to the root cause of the structural defect. AWT was able to stabilise the masonry before strengthening the structure and rebuilding the brickwork to provide a long-lasting repair.

Read our frequently asked questions about bay window structural repairs.

The Structural Problem

simple horizontal - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
London bay window collapsed - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
SW8 bay window collapsed - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
London bay window sagging - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
SW8 bay window sagging - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
Bay structural reinforcement - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
Bay structural strengthening - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
Collapsed Bay Window, London
Collapsed Bay Window, SW London
Sagging Bay Window, London
Sagging Bay Window, SW London
Bay Window Structural Reinforcement
Bay Window Structural Strengthening
 
simple horizontal - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London

AWT was called in to survey this mid-terraced, period property in Greater London. The ground floor bay window masonry and brickwork arches had visible cracking, dropping and significant outward leaning. A large gap had opened up between the brickwork columns and the box sash windows. This serious lack of structural integrity was also causing the 1st floor brickwork to bulge.

The photos show the warning signs that owners of similar properties should look for that warn of serious structural defects in bay window brickwork and the risk of collapse.

Just 2 days after the initial survey, the ground floor right-hand column and arch, the front arch plus the supported external skin of brickwork collapsed. This left the brickwork above unsupported and at imminent risk of failure. Urgent action was required to avoid the collapse of the entire front elevation.

The root cause of the structural defects was a combination of aging and inadequate restraining.

The Structural Repair Solution

simple horizontal - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
Collapsing bay masonry - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
dropping bay arch - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
bay window gap - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
dropping bay masonry - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
rebuilding bay brick arch - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
rebuilding bay brickwork - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
after bay rebuilt - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
rebuild bay window - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London
Collapsing Bay Masonry
Bay Window Arch Just Before Collapse
Gaps Around Bay Window Glazing
Warning Signs of Bay Window Masonry Collapse
Rebuilding Bay Window Brick Arch
Rebuilding Collapsed Bay Brickwork
After Bay Window Rebuilding
Rebuild of Bay Window Brickwork
 
simple horizontal - Rebuild & Reinforce Collapsed Bay Window in SW London

As is often the case, this property showed signs of previous failed attempts at repairing the defects using traditional building techniques. Re-pointing dropping and sagging brickwork provides only a temporary, cosmetic solution, it doesn’t repair the underlying structural issues.

The bay window brickwork required realignment, structural reinforcement and rebuilding all without compromising the original period features.

Temporary supports were installed to prevent further damage to the masonry. AWT’s specialist realigning cramping equipment was used to straighten the bowed brickwork.

The collapsed masonry was rebuilt with the original components where possible. Replacement bricks and mortar were colour matched. A steel spine was built into the columns during rebuilding to strengthen and restrain the brickwork.

AWT’s special diamond drilling methods were used to introduce stainless steel bed joint reinforcement to strengthen the brickwork and redistribute the weight of the brickwork above. Grouted anchor fixings, lateral restraints and resin bonded ties were also installed to reinstate the strength and uniformity of the wall. The chipped and cracked window cills were also repaired using Flexcrete.

The result was a restoration of not only the structural strength of the bay window but also the preservation of the period features.

AWT provide cost effective structural repairs for a wide range of structural issues including failing and collapsed bay windows. We operate not only in SW London but across the whole of London and the South East of England.

To book a time for one of our surveyors to visit your property or to discuss your requirements, call us today on 01227 721255, email us at enquiries@actionwallties.co.uk or use our contact form to get in touch.

logo logo logo logo logo logo