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.

Repairs to Distorted Bay Window in East London

Structurally Unstable Bay Window in Walthamstow, East London

Like many similar period properties in the Walthamstow, London E17 area, this Victorian/Edwardian house had severe structural issues with the bay window masonry.

Previous attempts to repair the issues by traditional builders, such as repointing the brickwork, had failed to solve the underlying structural defect. As a result, the 1st-floor bay window was at risk of collapse.

If the masonry collapsed, this would require highly disruptive and expensive rebuilding work and impact the property value due to the loss of period features.

AWT can provide long-term, cost-effective repairs for severe bay window structural problems with minimal disruption. To learn more about how AWT can help with structural defects in bay windows read our Bay Window Structural Repair FAQs.

The Structural Problem

Significant outward rotational movement to the first-floor brickwork columns, brickwork arches and brickwork above had left the front of the property at risk of failure.

Symptoms of the failing bay window masonry included:

  • Leaning/bowing brick columns
  • Dropped brick arches above windows
  • Gaps opening up in brickwork
  • Cracks in interior plaster around the bay window
  • Cracks in the ground floor masonry cill

As shown in the photos, the tops of bay window columns were clearly leaning outwards. The brickwork soldier brick arches above the window had dropped leaving the masonry and roof above without the necessary support.

The AWT survey team diagnosed the issue as ageing and inadequate brickwork restraint. Without urgent structural repairs, the bay window masonry would collapse.

The Structural Solution

AWT designed realigning cramping equipment and hydraulic-powered jacks were used to realign the arches and brickwork. The columns were carefully deconstructed to allow steel reinforcing spines to be fitted before reconstruction using the original bricks where possible. The masonry was reinforced using specially designed drilling equipment and precision diamond drilling to install fixings deep within the brickwork.

The AWT designed and fabricated steel spines used to reinforce the bay window columns ensure a long-lasting repair. Unlike the cosmetic repairs offered by traditional builders, AWT’s high-quality fixings and specialist techniques tackle the root cause of the structural failings.

Thanks to AWT’s specialist tools and techniques, the structural repairs to the bay window masonry were completed efficiently and with minimal disruption to the residents. The vast majority of the work was completed without requiring access inside the property and the glazing remained in situ throughout the work.

The bay window structural repairs included:

  • realignment of the arches and brickwork
  • installation of steel spines in bay window columns
  • brickwork arch repair
  • precision diamond drilling
  • injected grouted ties
  • lateral restraints
  • brickwork and concrete repairs
  • colour matched replacement bricks and mortar

As shown in the photos below, the bay window was realigned and strengthened without the need for visible fixings, preserving the property’s period brickwork and maintaining its value.

Action Wall Ties are specialist structural repair contractors with the skills and experience required to repair period properties, including period properties with severe structural defects, such as collapsing bay windows.  AWT work along with property owners, structural engineers, architects, project managers and local authorities on large and small projects.

AWT are available across 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.

Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London

Repairs to Collapsing Bay Window with Terracotta Bricks

Preserving period features has a significant impact on maintaining the value of a property. Period bay windows and decorative architectural features all contribute to the desirability of a property. To find how AWT can help with structural defects in bay windows read our Bay Window Structural Repair FAQs.

AWT was called in to save the front of this period property in Waltham Forest, Greater London, from collapse. The Victorian/Edwardian 2-storey canted bay window, with original decorative terracotta blockwork, was so structurally weak that temporary supports were put in place to prevent the masonry from collapsing.

Traditional building techniques would have required deconstruction and rebuilding of the bay window brickwork. This would likely have damaged the fragile terracotta brickwork that decorates the property. Loss of period features due to structural defects or inappropriate repairs can severely reduce a property’s value.

simple horizontal - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
bay failing brick - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
bowing bay columns - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
collapsing bay E11 - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
cracked brick bay - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
failing bay - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
unstable bay - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
Failing Bay Columns
Bay Column Gaps
Collapsing Bay
Cracked Bay Brick
Failing 2-Storey Bay
Unstable Bay Window
 
simple horizontal - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London

The Structural Problem

This Edwardian/Victorian-era terraced home in East London, E11 had severe structural issues with the bay window.

The bay window defects included:

  • Unstable, collapsing brickwork
  • Clearly visible bowing of bay window columns
  • Gaps around windows
  • Spreading and dropping brickwork arches
  • Outward movement of the masonry
  • Cracked brickwork
  • Distorted brickwork

As seen from the photos, previous attempts to repair the problem had failed because they only addressed the symptoms rather than the cause of the defects.

The long-term structural problems resulted from ageing, ineffective support from the unrestrained bowing brickwork columns and spreading/dropped brickwork arches. This combination of structural defects had left the structure reliant on temporary supports to prevent collapse.

The Structural Repair Solution

Masonry Realignment:

AWT designed realigning cramping equipment and hydraulic powered jacks were used to realign the arches and brickwork spandrel panel.

simple horizontal - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
repair bay brick - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
repaired bay terracotta - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
restored brick arch - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
terracotta bay window - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
repair brick arch - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
repaired brick arch - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
restored bay window - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
Bay Window Structural Repairs
Ornate Bay Repairs
Bay Window Repairs
Bay Repairs
Window Arch Repairs
Window Arch Repairs
Brick Arch Repairs
 
simple horizontal - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London

Steel Reinforcement for Bay Window Columns:

After carefully deconstructing the bowing bay window columns, steel reinforcing spines were fitted between the window frames and the brick columns. Stainless steel retaining ties were built into the brickwork columns as they were rebuilt using the original bricks. The new mortar was matched to the colour and style of the original mortar.

 

simple horizontal - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
repair bay columns 1 - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
repair bay columns 3 - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
repair bay columns 2 - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
repair bay columns 4 - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
repair bay columns 5 - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London
Strengthening Bay Columns
Bay Columns- No Gaps!
Realigned Bay Columns
Realigned Bay Columns
Bay Column Repairs
 
simple horizontal - Collapsing Period Bay Window in East London

Masonry Reinforcement & Reconnection:

  • AWT installed rows of twin 8mm stainless steel corded joint reinforcement. This forms a deep masonry beam that adds tensile strength to the structure.
  • Using specialist diamond drilling techniques, AWT installed grouted helical bars to reconnect the bay window masonry with the main elevational brickwork. This restrains the bay window brickwork and prevents it from leaning.
  • Stainless steel lateral restraints were installed in the timber joists and were resin-bonded to the masonry.
The specialist structural repairs were designed to redistribute the upper storey loads to those parts of the supporting structure below which are best able to carry them, while at the same time assisting in restraining diagonal cracking and bulging tendencies. It also added tensile strength thus reinstating the brickwork’s integrity.

After Bay Window Structural Repairs:

As can be seen from the photos, AWT’s structural repairs preserved the attractive period features of the property. AWT’s specialist structural repair techniques also allowed the owners to avoid slow, disruptive and costly rebuilding work.

Action Wall Ties are specialist structural repair contractors with the skills and experience required to repair period properties, including period properties with severe structural defects.  AWT work along with property owners, structural engineers, architects, project managers and local authorities on large and small projects.

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.

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.

Collapsing Ornate Bay & Balcony

Victorian Bay Window & Balcony: Structural Repairs & Restoration

victorian portico bay - Collapsing Ornate Bay & Balcony

This beautiful example of ornate Victorian architecture in Thanet was at risk of imminent collapse due to severe structural issues. The property had visible significant movement including bowing, cracking, dropping of brickwork arches and bowing columns of the front bay window and to the front elevation.

Several companies had surveyed the problems but none offered any solutions. Previous repairs to the property had tackled the symptoms of the structural defect but had failed to cure the root cause of the problem.

It took just 2 weeks of work for AWT to complete a cost-effective, long-term structural repair. Compared to rebuilding work, the disruption to the residents was minimal.

The Structural Problem

The structural issues with this period property in Thanet, Kent were clearly visible. Wide gaps had opened up between the masonry and the window frames. The structural defect had caused damage from the ground floor bay window columns up to the decorative brickwork panels below the eaves. This entire section of the property was in severe danger of collapse.

Bay Window Issues

 

AWT’s inspection of the front bay window found significant distorting movement to the front ground floor causing:

  •  outward movement
  • dropping and cracking of the brickwork arches and stone quoins
  • significant outward bowing of brickwork columns beyond the tipping point

 

First Floor Masonry Issues

Inspection of the front elevational brickwork found signs of distorting movement of the ground floor supporting bressummer beam (over the bay window) causing:

  • dropping of the supported main elevational brickwork
  • dropping brickwork pier stone quoins
  • dropping window arches above the bay window
  • inward sloping and cracking of the brickwork above the bay window

As part of previous attempts to halt the movement of the masonry, the bressummer beam over the bay window had been replaced by an old-style RSJ.

Bay & Portico Balcony Issues

The owners also wanted to deal with some aesthetic problems with the bay and portico balcony balustrade’s decorative wrought iron panels and stone top rails. All the panels required refurbishment. The bay window’s stone top rail had been replaced with an unattractive concrete capping. The portico stone top rails were mainly missing. New stones, in keeping with the period features, were needed to complete the restoration.

The Structural Solution

AWT recommended realigning and reinforcing remediation work to the existing brickwork including:

  • brickwork realignment
  • bed joint reinforcement
  • brickwork arch repair
  • diamond drilled grouted anchors
  • lateral restraints
  • grout tie injection
  • stonework & brickwork repairs
  • addition of fabricated steel spines to the columns
  • addition of an internal restraint post to the first floor

This multi-faceted approach reinstates uniformity and provides restraint to the masonry.

AWT also carefully removed the balcony balustrade panels for refurbishment. The lugs were replaced with stainless steel before the panels were grit blasted, powder-coated black and refitted. The brickwork corner piers were rebuilt. Finally, AWT had replacement capping stones cast in a limestone material with stainless steel reinforcing and bedded them in position.

Fast, Cost-effective, Minimal Disruption, Long Term Structural Repairs

Tackling such serious structural issues using traditional building techniques would have required reconstruction and rebuilding of the front of the property. Rebuilding would have been expensive, slow and highly disruptive to the homeowners. Damage to the original bricks and ornate stonework would be inevitable.

In just 2 weeks, AWT’s long-term repairs were completed without major rebuilding work or visible fixings to mar the internal or external period features.

Action Wall Ties are specialist structural repair contractors with the skills and experience required 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 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