In a competitive environment where design teams are under pressure to provide solutions quickly and economically, it makes sense to draw on the support of external services in the design of brickwork projects. Hanson Brick offers a technical support service that provides direct help to practices of all sizes.
Hanson Brick's in-house Technical Services Team of full-time advisers absorbs masonry-related briefs, primarily received as black and white drawings, and processes them as brickwork details through to colour graphics. Using the latest software, it is possible for architects to supplement their drawings with imagery that illustrates the completed project with details, brick panels and alternative mortar colours. These are returned in a highly polished and professional format suitable for presentation directly to clients.
Architectural detailing is the core activity of the technical team, although structural calculations and internal activities such as alterations are also common briefs. In recent years Hanson's technicians have found they are taking less of a support role and becoming more involved in conceptual design of projects.
'Architects today understandably want design problems solved immediately, ' says Paul Rogatzki, Hanson Brick's head of design and technical services. 'We believe that brick-makers should assist in overcoming special masonry-related problems; it is after all, our medium and being involved at the very earliest stages provides greater creative input.
'We not only help to overcome a particular design problem, but we hope to support the architect who has specified our product.'
Standard enquiries range from preparation of brickwork details to material specification and suitable mortar options, technical advice on movement joints, durability and structural design. By monitoring these enquiries Hanson Brick is able to pick up trends and adapt to movements in popularity of a design material.
The technical team also takes on a considerable amount of renovation work, which often calls on its research and development findings. Working with various professional organisations on specific research programmes encourages direct involvement which ultimately influences long-term trends in masonry.
'We work with a number of professional bodies and one particular project - supported by a DoE Partners in Technology programme - involves the behaviour of a single skin of brickwork providing cladding to a multi-storey structure, ' says Rogatzki. 'We will monitor the performance in every detail.We welcome this type of project as we believe it is our responsibility to measure these statistics for the benefit of the construction industry as a whole.'