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Brickwork innovation

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The BDA has been awarded two DETR Partners in Innovation contracts in the 2000 to 2001 round of this annual competition. The two projects deal with masonry diaphragm wall construction and off-the-frame clay brickwork cladding to framed construction. Both projects are being undertaken in a partnership role with other organisations.

Masonry diaphragm walling is a popular form of loadbearing wall construction for leisure and commercial buildings. The method offers clear open interiors with high ceilings and has been used extensively during the past 20 years with the BDA being instrumental in development and promotional activity. The work which has now started will aim to update masonry diaphragm wall technology with particular respect to structural design, performance of thermal insulation, buildability and economics.

The objective is to assist designers in the more efficient and effective use of this form of brickwork construction. A user survey of recently completed diaphragm wall projects is part of the programme to provide feedback. The project is being undertaken with partners including Kingston University Faculty of Technology.

The second innovation project builds on the success of previous research related to brickwork movement. It is aimed at improving design guidance on brickwork movement for off-theframe clay brickwork cladding. Data on actual building components movements recorded at Winterton House in east London - a 75m high, 25-storey tower block, recently refurbished and brick clad, are to be analysed and used to improve design knowledge. The purpose is to encourage the use of vertically restrained clay brickwork cladding to framed building structures, for which there is currently a lack of design information. Off-the-frame brick cladding offers economic advantages over the usual methods of brickwork cladding currently used.

This work is being pursued with Whitby Bird and Partners and both Leeds University and Leeds Metropolitan University. There are also links with other research that is already under way.

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