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.

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.

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

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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
 
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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

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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
 
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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.

Sagging Window Masonry at Risk of Collapse

Bressumer Beam Replacement & Masonry Realignment Without Demolition

The masonry at the front of this mid-terraced home near Croydon, London, was sagging in the middle due to a failing bressumer support beam above the bay window. The distortion was clearly visible outside the property, with the distortion of the windows giving it a cartoon-like sad expression. Inside the property the floors were sloping and walls and ceilings cracking.

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sagging windows - Sagging Window Masonry at Risk of Collapse
Dropping Brickwork & Windows
Sagging Windows
Distorted Windows. Failing Bressumer Beam.
Sloping Floors. Failing Bressumer Beam.
Sloping Windows. Failing Bressumer Beam.
 
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The structural problem had progressed so far that it was bowing the main roof of the property. Without suitable structural repairs the property was at risk of collapse.

Traditional building works to repair such a serious structural fault would have required a major building project. Standard building methods would require de-construction of the front elevation, replacing the beam, rebuilding the front first floor brickwork, refitting the windows and re-plastering inside.

The Structural Problem

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Structural Repairs for Sagging Masonry.
Repairs to Dropping Windows
Ceiling Cracks due to Failing Bressumer Beam
During Bresummer Beam Replacement
 
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This Victorian/Edwardian home in South East London had clearly visible structural distortion:

  • Significant visible distortion of the front elevational masonry
  • Dropping of the centre column of 1st floor brickwork
  • Significant deflection to the window openings, cills & lintels down to the centre of the building
  • Bowing of the main roof
  • Cracking to the internal plaster
  • Bulging of the ceiling

The AWT survey team rapidly diagnosed a failing bressumer beam. Bressumer beams are also known as bressummer beams, breastsummer beams, summer beams, timber lintels or wooden beams.

These large timber beams span openings, such as bay windows, and support the masonry above. They are often found in period bay windows and shop windows.

Failure of a Bressumer beam, due to deterioration of the wood or movement within the structure, can have serious knock-on effects on the building’s structural integrity.

Period timber Bressumer beams over bay windows are often over stressed by modern day standards. The load from the structure above causes the beam to creep or deform and causes significant deflection from the beam’s correct position.  This, together with further deterioration of the timber due to rot, damp, pest infestations etc can cause the beam to fail, deflecting the brickwork, floor and ceiling above.

This was a serious structural defect significant and if it was not addressed it would result in the ultimate failure and collapse of the structure.

The Structural Repair Solution

AWT were called in to find an alternative to slow, expensive and disruptive rebuilding works. AWT have spent many years developing equipment and methods that allow structural repairs to be carried out that treat the root causes of the problem without demolition and rebuilding. This allows for a less disruptive, more cost effective repair solution.

AWT’s structural repair plan included:

  • Installation of temporary supports
  • Using AWT designed equipment to realign the bressumer beam, floor joists, brickwork, window cills and lintels
  • Removal of the existing timber bressumer beam
  • Formation of concrete pad stone supports
  • Installing a new steel beam
  • Masonry beaming – reinforcement of the brickwork using Bed Joint Reinforcement
  • Restraining bulging masonry by installation of resin bonded ties within the brickwork
  • Concrete and brickwork repairs
  • Matching replacement bricks, pointing style and mortar mixture for texture and colour

The property owners replaced the old, distorted windows in the future to complete the transformation.

AWT left the property with hardly a sign of the extensive work visible on the outside of the property. Inside, there are no visible fixings. The disturbed areas of the internal wall and ceiling were left ready for replastering and redecoration. As can be seen in the photos, the internal finishes have been disturbed far less than would have been the case after repairs by traditional techniques.

Action Wall Ties are specialist structural repair contractors with the skills required to replace failing bay window beams, realign masonry and reinforce brickwork on modern, period and heritage properties. AWT work along with property owners, architects, project managers and local authorities on large and small projects.

AWT are available for projects of all sizes 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 Ornate Window Columns

Structural Repairs for Ornate Victorian Window Columns

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Structural Repairs for Ornate Period Windows
Before Window Structural Repairs
Before Window Structural Repairs
Before Window Structural Repairs
After Window Structural Repairs
Before Bay Window Structural Repairs
After Bay Window Structural Repairs
Before Bay Window Structural Repairs
After Bay Window Structural Repairs
 
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The exterior of this 4 storey property in the London Borough of Lambeth, SW4, is packed with beautiful period features.  As well as stone columns with ornate capitals, it also has decorative brick pillars and arched windows.

Sadly, a combination of ageing and ineffective restraining of the stone and brickwork columns was allowing the columns to bow out and the brick arches to drop and spread. This was cracking the surrounding brickwork. If the window columns, pillars and arches were not restrained and reinforced it would result in the failure of the window supports and the collapse of the structure above.

The Structural Problem

This period home in South West London, like many properties with serious structural defects, showed signs of previous attempts at repair by standard building methods. Repointing in areas where the brickwork columns had bowed failed to prevent the columns bowing further. Without specialist structural repairs the columns and arches would fail and cause the structure above to collapse.

As shown in the gallery below, AWT designed a programme of repairs that target the root cause of the structural failings. Due to AWT’s specialist equipment and know how, demolishing and rebuilding the affected areas was not required.  AWT used precision drilling equipment to install fixings within the masonry, restoring structural integrity without damage to the period features.

Read our frequently asked questions about bay window structural repairs.

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Before Window Column Realignment
Window Column Structural Repair
Gaps Around Windows
Realignment & Repair of Window Columns
 
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The property had 3 areas that required structural repairs:

The 2 Storey Bay Window

  • Visible rotational bulging
  • Signs of distortion and distress with rotational movement
  • Dropping of brickwork arches
  • Leaning of the supporting columns
  • Cracks

Front 1st Floor Window

  • Significant outward movement to the first floor right hand stone column and capital
  • Unrestrained column had moved outwards allowing the attached brickwork to lean outward and drop
  • Resultant gaps between the timber window box frame and the column

Rear 2nd Floor Window

  • Significant outward bowing movement to the two brickwork columns
  • Unrestrained brick columns moved outwards leaving a bow shaped space between the timber window box frame and the column
  • Attached brickwork leaning outward

The Structural Repair Solution

AWT’s specialist repairs were designed to alleviate the masonry defects, add tensile strength and restore the integrity of the masonry without compromising the beauty of the period features.

Installation of custom fixings within the masonry redistributes the upper storey loads to those parts of the supporting structure below which are best able to carry them. This also restrains diagonal cracking and bulging of the brickwork.

  • Install temporary supports
  • Deploy AWT designed realigning cramping equipment
  • Use specialist hydraulic powered jacks to realign the columns and brickwork arches
  • Install steel corded bed joint reinforcement embedded within the masonry
  • Reconnect and reinforce the masonry by precision drilling and installation of Cintec sock anchors
  • Reconnect the bay window’s brickwork and masonry using grouted 8mm helical bars
  • Repair damaged stonework with Flexacrete
  • Replace cracked bricks and mortar ensuring suitable colour match

Action Wall Ties are specialist structural repair contractors with the skills required to reinforce and realign window support columns on modern, period and heritage properties. 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.

Soldier Brick Lintel Repairs Kent

Dropping & Cracking Soldier Brick Lintels

This 1950s / 1960s home in Erith, Kent has brick support lintels above the doors and windows made up of upright bricks known as soldier brickwork courses. The soldier brick lintels, also known as straight arches, were dropping and cracking. Without suitable structural repairs the lintels and the brickwork above would fail. This would damage the UPVC windows and doors and eventually lead to the collapse of the brickwork. This problem often occurs after new windows and doors have been fitted to properties of this era.

Repairs soldier bricks - Soldier Brick Lintel Repairs Kent

The Structural Problem

The brickwork above the doors and windows of this semi detached home near Dartford, Kent was supported by lintels comprised of upright, soldier bricks. Deep cracks had formed around the soldier brick lintels, the soldier bricks were also dropping. This was leaving the brickwork above unsupported, putting pressure on the UPVC windows and doors.

Failing soldier brick lintels can lead to warping of the double glazed UPVC replacement windows and difficulties opening doors and windows. The masonry above the lintels will begin to drop and sag. Eventually, the lintels would fail, causing the brickwork above to collapse.

Common Symptoms of Soldier Brick Lintel Failure:

  • Cracks around lintels above windows & doors
  • Difficulties opening & closing windows & doors
  • Sagging brickwork above windows & doors
  • Symptoms often become more noticeable after fitting replacement windows & doors

soldier bricks cracks - Soldier Brick Lintel Repairs Kent

The Structural Repair Solution

The structural inadequacy of the straight arch lintels was repaired by reinforcing the masonry above and forming a composite beam within the external brickwork. The formation of deep masonry beams within the existing masonry supports the masonry and maintains the integrity to the brickwork.

The 3 techniques used by AWT were:

  1. Bed Joint Reinforcement Beaming
  2. Fenestration Lintel Repair
  3. Resin Bonded Ties.

This reinstated the uniformity of the brickwork while at the same time providing restraint, preventing the brickwork from dropping and cracking.

soldier brick lintel repair - Soldier Brick Lintel Repairs Kent

The AWT team put temporary supports in place before using their specialist realignment equipment to move the dropping lintel back into line with the adjacent brickwork. Then rows of twin 8mm stainless steel corded joint reinforcement fixings were installed within the masonry forming a deep masonry beam. Grouted helical stainless steel pins were also installed to reattach the soldier course forming the lintel to the brickwork above and resin ties fixed to the inner skin within the beam area.

Cracked or disturbed areas of pointing were made good with colour matched mortar. The precision drilling techniques used by AWT results in the minimal disturbance of the mortar in the brickwork.

 

Repair soldier bricks - Soldier Brick Lintel Repairs Kent
Completed Soldier Brick Lintel Repairs

Why Choose AWT for Structural Repairs?

Unlike traditional builders, AWT can

  • treat the root cause of the structural defect
  • repair structural issues without partial demolition and rebuilding work
  • make structural repairs without visible fixings
  • provide a long-term solution to structural failings
  • make repairs with minimal disruption for residents

AWT can provide structural repairs for homeowners as well as housing associations, councils, main contractors, London boroughs and social housing providers.

AWT provide cost-effective structural repairs for a wide range of structural faults including dropping soldier brick lintels and cracked brickwork. 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.

Remedial Wall Ties for Victorian Semi in Surrey

Bulging & Cracking Brickwork Across Front of Victorian Semi Detached Houses

These 2 Victorian semi detached houses in Egham, Surrey had a significant bulge in the brickwork above the first floor windows. There was also a failing brick arch lintel and cracking to the brickwork. Without swift action the masonry would collapse.

AWT were called in to repair the defects and allow the homeowners to avoid slow, expensive and disruptive rebuilding work. Equipment designed by AWT was used to realign the brickwork, stabilise and reinforce the masonry and then install new wall ties and lateral restraints.

Surrey bowing masonry repairs - Remedial Wall Ties for Victorian Semi in Surrey

The Structural Problem

The AWT survey team visited the property in Surrey, TW20 to identify the root cause of the visible bulging of the masonry at the front of the property. The AWT survey team quickly identified that this Victorian semi was built using cavity wall construction and that failing cavity wall ties were likely a root cause of the problem.

A limited inspection of the wall ties was undertaken by drilling 12mm holes in the outer leaf of brickwork to view within the cavity via an endoscope. This confirmed the diagnosis of failing wall ties, as can be seen from the photos taken with the endoscope, as the corrosion of the metal was clearly visible. The mild steel ties were all in a similarly heavily corroded condition and showing signs of de-laminating.

Failing Victorian wall ties surrey - Remedial Wall Ties for Victorian Semi in Surrey

Horizontal cracking, lifting and opening up of joints was noted at irregular intervals on the front elevation. Metal ties were located behind the cracks, with an electronic wall tie locator.

Corrosion of the embedded mild steel wall ties was causing them to expand to many times their original size. This was damaging the outer leaf of brickwork, splitting the bed joints and causing either lifting or bowing of the walls and damage to internal finishes. This left the wall vulnerable to vertical and wind loads, especially such a large gable wall.

Without structural repairs the wall would continue to bow further and eventually collapse. Traditional building methods would have required the partial deconstruction and rebuilding of the front of the properties.

The Structural Repair Solution

Completed wall tie repairs Surrey - Remedial Wall Ties for Victorian Semi in Surrey

Unlike some cavity wall tie repair contractors, AWT always works to the standards laid out in the Building Research Establishment Specification Digest. This means that the separation between new wall ties, the layout pattern of the new wall ties and the material used to manufacture the new wall ties all meet the highest standards to ensure a safe, long term structural repair.

To avoid failure of the brickwork and brickwork arch AWT realigned the bulged brickwork, installed new stainless steel wall ties, isolated the old ties to prevent them causing further damage and formed a composite beam within the external brickwork. The formation of deep masonry beams within the existing masonry supports the masonry and maintains the integrity of the brickwork.

AWT use their own custom designed hydraulic realignment equipment and diamond bladed precision drilling rigs. This allows the new fixings to be installed with minimal disturbance to the masonry. A variety of specialist fixings were introduced into the brickwork to restore the strength and stability of the wall.

As can be seen in the photo above, when the work is complete there are no visible fixing either inside or outside the property. The AWT team also take the time to colour match any replacement bricks as well as matching the colour, texture and pointing style of the mortar where work has taken place.

AWT provide cost effective structural repairs for a wide range of structural faults including failing cavity wall ties and bulging brickwork. We operate not only in Surrey 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.

Bulging Gable Wall in NE London

Bulging End of Terrace Gable Wall

The owners of this Victorian / Edwardian end of terrace home in the Redbridge area of North East London called in AWT because of the significant outward bulging of the large gable wall of their property. There was also cracking to the internal gable end walls as well as to the internal party wall between the property and its neighbour.

The Structural Problem

The AWT survey team visited the property in Woodford Green to identify the root cause of the visible bulging movement of the large, solid brickwork flank/gable wall. Due to aging, ineffective and inadequate restraining of the brickwork the entire gable wall was de-bonding and disconnecting with the rest of the masonry. This was leading to additional problems with the internal beams losing support.

debonded brickwork bulges 1.3 - Bulging Gable Wall in NE London

Without structural repairs, the large gable wall would continue to pull away and eventually collapse. Traditional building methods would have required the partial deconstruction and rebuilding of the flank wall. Even then, it would not have solved the root cause of the problem – inadequate restraining of the gable wall.

The Structural Repair Solution

The team at AWT designed a structural repair package that would bring the brickwork back into alignment and add tensile strength to the structure. The specialist tools and fixings used by AWT enable them to restore the brickwork’s integrity without visible fixings or rebuilding work.

Bed joint reinforcement beaming, grout tie injection and lateral restraints were employed to reinstate the uniformity of the wall and provide restraint. The formation of continuous beams within the existing masonry redistributed the upper storey loads while at the same time assisting in restraining diagonal cracking and bulging tendencies.

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 raked out and replaced with fresh mortar that was matched for colour, texture and pointing style.

AWT provided a long term solution for the bowing gable brickwork. By targeting the repairs exactly where they were required the work was completed swiftly and with minimum inconvenience to the residents. The hidden fixings used by AWT preserved the beauty of the old yellow stock brickwork.

Action Wall Ties are structural repair contractors with the specialist skills required to reinforce and repair large areas of bowing and bulging brickwork. 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.

Hazardous Masonry on Grade 2 Listed Building

Listed Building with Bulging & Cracking Masonry

This Grade II listed building in Thanet, Kent, was built in the 1840’s. The owners of this period property were facing the prospect of demolition and rebuilding of the facade of the property due to serious structural defects. Previous repairs using standard building techniques had failed to solve the structural problems. The property is currently in use as a nursery school. The business would have been forced to close for several months during traditional building works. AWT were able to repair the severe structural problems in a couple of weeks and preserve the period features without disrupting the running of the business.

Thanet grade 2 listed - Hazardous Masonry on Grade 2 Listed Building

The Structural Problem

The structural issues with this Victorian, Grade 2 listed property in Ramsgate, Kent were becoming hazardous due to the risk of falling masonry. Traditional building methods would have required several months of expensive and messy deconstruction and rebuilding work. The business would have been forced to close during the building works and the subsequent re-plastering and redecoration.

The front of the building had clearly visible bulging and cracking to the head of all the first floor windows. There were also cracks in the brickwork and stucco works each side and to the underside soffit of the window opening heads. There were clear signs of previous attempts at repairs that had failed to get to the root cause of the problems.

grade 2 listed structural defect - Hazardous Masonry on Grade 2 Listed Building
Buckling Brickwork

As shown in the photo below, the mild steel embedded within the masonry had corroded and the rust caused it to expand to several times the thickness of the original metal. The heavily corroded wrought iron arch bars were lifting and cracking the brickwork and the decorative stucco around the windows. The stucco stringer course frieze and cornice of the parapet wall was also cracking and distorting. Previous attempts at repairs had provided a temporary, cosmetic repair but had failed to solve the underlying structural defects.

The continued expansive corrosion of the wrought iron arch bars would, without remedial works, lead to the failure of the masonry and the risk of detached masonry falling from the building. Urgent structural repairs were required.

The Structural Repair Solution

Structural repairs to listed buildings need to be handled carefully to preserve the period features of the building. AWT have many years of experience working on listed properties. AWT can help the owners of listed buildings to navigate through the process of obtaining permission for repair works.

The specialist tools and techniques that AWT employ allow structural repairs to be made without the need for visible fixings. Using custom designed drilling and cutting tools, AWT can remove corroded metal fixings and embed new stainless steel fixings within the masonry.

Scaffolding listed building repairs - Hazardous Masonry on Grade 2 Listed Building

In order to allow the business to remain open during the structural repair works, AWT arranged for the scaffolding to be erected at the weekend while the nursery was closed. The scaffolding was then double boarded and netted for safety. The AWT crew accessed the scaffolding from the side of the building allowing parents, children and staff to access the building as usual through the main entrance.

 

The AWT team used their specialist techniques to form composite beams within the existing brickwork and then remove and replace the corroded wrought iron arch bars. The team then reconnected and reinforced the brickwork above the windows and the parapet wall. They also repaired the cracked decorative stucco.

This project required a combination of:

  • Bed joint reinforcement beaming
  • Grout tie injection
  • Resin bonded ties
  • Cintec sock anchors
  • Removal of corroded mild steel arch bars
  • Replacement arch bars
  • Brickwork repairs

The team at AWT strive to make all works as sympathetic as possible with the existing masonry. Not only do they try to match replacement bricks and pointing for colour and style they even match the mortar mixture texture.

The high quality fixings used by AWT combined with their thorough knowledge of structural defects ensures a long term solution to structural issues.

Action Wall Ties are structural repair contractors with the specialist skills required for listed buildings. AWT work along with property owners, architects, project managers and local authorities to preserve historic buildings.

AWT are available for large and small projects 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.

Failing Bay During Window Replacement

Bay Window Repairs During Fitting of New Windows

This period property in Southfields, South West London had failing bay window masonry. The old sash windows had been removed but fitting of the new windows revealed the bay window was unstable and out of alignment. Without professional structural repairs this would result in the collapse of the bay window masonry.

SW London Bay Repairs - Failing Bay During Window Replacement

The Structural Problem

As with many Victorian/Edwardian properties, issues with the bay windows became apparent during the fitting of replacement windows. New box sash windows were being installed but the surrounding masonry was clearly out of alignment. Repairs were necessary before the replacement window work could be fully completed.

This property in London, SW18, had visible cracking and dropping to the front bay window masonry. The bay had lost the internal brickwork support during the removal of the old box sash windows. Cracking of the first floor masonry lintel components and rendered brickwork were clearly visible. The original internal supports at the head of the bay window structure had been removed together with the original box sash windows.

The combination of inadequate restraining, ageing and the removal of the structural supports to the first floor during the replacement of the original window frames left the bay window unstable. Without suitable structural repairs the bay window was in danger of collapse.

The Structural Repair Solution

To reinstate stability, the bay window structure required the internal supports to be reinstated plus reinforcement of the masonry. Temporary supports were installed to the underside of the first floor front bay window masonry lintel. All the debris was removed from the crack and the lintel was lifted into a more level line with the adjacent brickwork.

 

Bed joint reinforcement beaming, grout tie injection, resin bonded ties, steel lintels and columns and some masonry repairs were all required. The formation of continuous beams within the existing masonry redistributed the upper storey loads to the supporting structure below while also assisting in restraining diagonal cracking and bulging tendencies. A bespoke steel box lintel frame supported on steel box columns was also fixed to the inside of the masonry columns.

The specialist techniques used by Action Wall Ties installed all the stainless steel fixings within the masonry leaving no visible fixings. Once the area had been redecorated the bay window looked as good as new.

AWT provide cost effective structural repairs for a wide range of structural faults including bay window reinforcement, realignment and lintel repairs. We operate not only in SW London but across the whole of London and the South East of England.

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.

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