Structural Repairs are no Pushover
The need to ensure that brick-built structures are adequately maintained was graphically illustrated in a recent incident, which saw two families evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night. After hearing 'a bang and a bit of a commotion', residents were shocked to see bricks 'all over the street', which had simply fallen off the affected properties.
Emergency service personnel from Greater Manchester quickly arrived at the scene after receiving reports of a dangerous structure. Police and firefighters immediately secured the area and remained there for around an hour, at which point a buildings inspector arrived.
In an interview with the Manchester Evening News, one resident said: "There’s a lot of issues with the houses around here; many of the properties have had problems with damp and wobbly roofs. I don’t understand why there's not more urgency about it, there's a care home directly opposite. I heard the building inspector tell his colleague that he thought the house could all just fall apart at any time”.
Another resident commented that the damage was just another example of long-standing structural issues with homes in the area. "The house is deteriorating, you could hear bricks falling off all through the night. I’m not really sure what the issue was but you can tell this has been going on for a long time. There appears to be three steel straps fitted at the top of the brickwork which is clearly holding things together. That says to me that it can’t have been something that just happened overnight," the resident said.
Of course, if the house had a proper inspection and maintenance plan in place it would have soon been established that the deeply sagging roofline was a classic sign of the roof spreading. Roof spread occurs when there is a failure to adequately support the main rafters of the roof. The downward pressure from the weight of the roof forces the bottom of roof rafters to open in a scissor type action and to push outwardly against the top of the wall structure.
If identified at an early stage, a structural engineer can design a system of support to strengthen the roof structure and, if necessary, to repair and reinforce brickwork in the zone where the roof thrust is transferred to the wall
Perhaps in an effort to save costs, it appears in this case, that without the input of a structural engineer, someone has inappropriately and indiscreetly used 3 bat-straps to repair a crack in the brickwork where the front wall meets the gable wall, whilst taking no account of the main area of thrust. A false economy perhaps? A structural engineer may have cost the owner a few hundred pounds to design a repair; now the house-owner will be faced with a much bigger bill.
Twistfix is a specialist supplier of a comprehensive collection of structural repair products designed to remediate damage to brickwork triggered by problems such as roof thrust and other influences. Discover the full range on our website and please do not hesitate to contact our team of experts for information or advice.