Scott Denham, Sales Director at IG Masonry Support, looks at how offsite construction is helping us create buildings that embrace the traditional beauty of brick through the utilisation of hygrothermally-tested brick slip soffit solutions that combine modern engineering and familiar aesthetics with safety and long-term performance.
Brick buildings are designed to withstand the ravages of time and the elements; the latter benefit being particularly crucial due to climate change, resulting in an increase of extreme weather systems worldwide. If the properties we build today are to remain standing for generations to follow, quality must be maintained during all stages of the construction process.
Brick has been used in construction for many generations, mainly because of its consistent shape, compressive strength and ability to absorb water. Buildings made from brick can cost less in the long-run, as lower amounts of energy are required for heating. It is no surprise then, that brick continually proves to be of popular use among construction professionals as long-term value can be achieved.
Brick buildings leave a lasting legacy for the community, as they can endure the test of time for many years and still look as good as they did when completed. This sense of endurance and communal appeal are important factors for any building that is a focal point of its community, especially schools and healthcare facilities.
The intricate detailing that brickwork enables is like no other and can be utilised to ensure a brick-based building sits perfectly within its surrounding environment. Brick detail in the form of brick soffits, deep reveals and flying beams continually make for stunning exteriors, enabling truly unique detailing to be created.
With these designs in high demand, offsite-manufactured brick slip units fill a huge gap in the market. Intricate designs are no longer in the domain of skilled craftspeople; they can be created in the quality-controlled, efficient environment of a factory, without the need for any lengthy and costly fabrication onsite.
Produce unique facades offsite
Construction processes and regulations are continually changing. As such, product manufacturers have to change and adapt, to ensure their products conform. In recent years, traditional brickwork has been paired with a more modern form of fabrication that assures quality, intricacy and long-term value: offsite manufacturing. Many construction professionals are looking at how factory-produced systems can support the onsite processes as a way of speeding up the build process, improving safety and ensuring quality and conformity.
Offsite-manufactured solutions can be utilised to create intricate brickwork detailing that would be costly and complicated to fabricate on site. It takes time and skill to create complex and uniform brickwork detailing to a project’s brief, yet with prefabricated solutions this level of detail and replication simply isn’t an issue. Taking the construction of complex brick features offsite into factory-controlled conditions drives the level of quality and consistency that is needed to achieve excellence and long-term value across all construction projects, especially schools or healthcare facilities that may wish to create brickwork detailing to add personality or identity to their exterior structure.
Many manufacturers weather-test prefabricated products so they know the solutions are built to last. The external walls of buildings are exposed to a wide range of weather conditions including: wetting and drying, heating and cooling, freezing and thawing, to name but a few.
IG Masonry Support recently launched its BBA-certified B.O.S.S. A1 system, a hygrothermally-tested, carbon-neutral product which is ‘A1’ fire-rated and suitable for use on projects that require Building Regulations Document B compliance.
The B.O.S.S. A1 units were tested to demonstrate structural performance, following a period of accelerated weathering. The bond strength of the system was evaluated after being subjected to hygrothermal conditioning in accordance with EAD090062-00-0404. The testing involved subjecting the B.O.S.S. A1 units to repeated heat/rain cycles, followed by repeated freeze/thaw cycles at a controlled temperature and humidity, all designed to simulate naturally occurring conditions. This testing validated the physical performance and long-term durability of all components as well as ensures the products are fit for purpose.
Whilst some trends fade over time, brickwork will always be a constant. There is now the technology available on the market to create stunning prefabricated brick facades and detailing that hit the mark on function and visuals. With this type of offsite manufacturing, the ever-elusive quality control and value can be achieved where it matters most on public sector projects, ensuring the same grade A finish is translated on site every time.