Local Authority Properties, Nationwide

Project: Local Authority Properties, Nationwide

As part of an on-going major window replacement programme on numerous Local Authority properties, structural repair specialist, Helifix Ltd, has been undertaking reinforcement above the window openings to create masonry beams. These will ensure the stability of the brickwork during removal of the current window frames as well as providing reliable long term vertical support – all covered by Helifix’s third party insurance with the Consumer Protection Association.

The two storey terraced and semi-detached properties, dating from around 1970, are of standard construction with a clay brick outer skin, a 50-75mm cavity and concrete block internal walls. However, it was suspected that the masonry above the soldier course header bricks could move once the existing frames were removed, making installation of the new frames extremely difficult. To avoid having to use disruptive and expensive traditional mechanical supports, the council specified the Helifix system as it is quick, economical and causes minimal disruption to the building’s fabric and its occupants.

Typically, pairs of stainless steel HeliBars were bonded into channelled out mortar beds between the ground and upper storey window frames at three different levels on the front and rear elevations. These form masonry beams, using the existing brickwork, that support the masonry and spread the loads. Additional wall ties were installed around the masonry beams, either DryFix or RetroTies depending on the property, and DryFix or grouted CemTies were also installed vertically through the header bricks to secure the lintel to the masonry beam above.

The quick, cost-effective and non-disruptive Helifix solution ensured that the window replacement could proceed without problems and, being fully concealed, the structural reinforcement left the properties virtually unmarked.