Action Wall Ties saves period property from partial demolition and rebuild

April 03, 2017 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
April 3, 2017 - Action Wall Ties, a Kent based specialist structural repair company, were asked to survey a period property in West London. The slender brick columns between the front windows were severely bowing outwards leaving bow shaped gaps between the brickwork and window frames. The brick columns had been repeatedly repointed. The masonry above the windows was dropping and sagging. The gable wall above was leaning inwards and had started to collapse.

The property was deemed structurally unstable and was unoccupied. Builders had recommended demolition of the front facade and rebuilding. This would have destroyed the original ornate brickwork and character of the building.

Closer inspection showed that the bowing brick columns had been repeatedly repointed by a traditional building contractor. Unfortunately, repointing this type of structural defect is akin to papering over the cracks. It gives a temporary visual improvement but does nothing to restrain the brickwork from bowing. As specialists structural repairers, Action Wall Ties was able to get to the root causes of the bowing brickwork and propose remediation works.

Chris Nichols, director of Action Wall Ties, said "Many of the Victorian and Edwardian period properties that we inspect show signs of previous, ineffective structural repairs. Repairing these types of period properties requires specialist knowledge and techniques to stabilise the structure while preserving the appearance of the building."

The brick columns around the windows of this Victorian / Edwardian property had clearly visible corrosion of metal fixings within the brickwork, which is a common cause of cracking and bowing in brick walls. Action Wall Ties was able to use precision realignment and drilling techniques. The brickwork was realigned and then restrained by installing new stainless steel fixings, all without the need to demolish part of the wall.

Equipment designed and developed by Action Wall Ties was used to gradually realign the brickwork columns and thereafter fix them securely in place. Damaged bricks were replaced with matching bricks and the small areas of disturbed mortar were repointed with colour matched mortar.

The use of specialist equipment incorporating hydraulic rams and bespoke drilling jigs allowed the removal of old, corroded fixings without further damage to the surrounding brickwork. Custom made stainless steel metalwork and fixings were introduced to reinstate the structural integrity of the masonry. This allowed the original ornate brickwork to be preserved.

In common with many Victorian / Edwardian properties in London, this 3 storey property had been converted into flats. A programme of demolition and rebuilding would have caused prolonged disruption and a considerable loss of earnings for the landlord. The precision repair work carried out by Action Wall Ties was considerably faster and cheaper than rebuilding the affected areas.

A partial rebuild of the property would have entailed removing all the internal finishings from the affected areas. The precision techniques used by Action Wall Ties left the internal finish of the property largely unscathed.

Mr Nichols said "Owners of period properties should always consult a specialist structural repair company if they notice bowing or cracked brickwork. Traditional builders simply don't have the specialist equipment and know how to effectively repair these types of structural defects. It's quicker and cheaper to call in the experts."

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