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STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS


How modern masonry works with modern methods


Scott Denham from IG Masonry Support looks at how offsite solutions are delivering the architectural masonry details specifiers want, ensuring quality alongside a safer and faster way to create masonry facades


rick has long been the specifier’s choice when it comes to creating stunning facades, and its popularity shows no sign of diminishing. However, there is a requirement to deliver buildings more quickly, and offsite assembly and construction is one solution. But can modular procedures be compatible with traditional masonry? For an architect, modern methods of construction in the form of offsite manufacturing may initially be perceived as something that puts a constraint on their creativity. This perception hardly comes as a surprise, as for most the term still conjures images of post-war, homogeneous prefabs; a building approach that served an essential economic purpose, but harmed the reputation of offsite manufacturing. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the


B


truth. In recent years, offsite manufacturing has liberated itself from this perception and is undergoing a resurgence. The construction method has progressed significantly since the 1940s and 50s, with the development of new technologies facilitating greater freedom of design for architects. ‘Aspirational’ aesthetics can be achieved by utilising the latest techniques in offsite manufacturing, particularly in terms of complex brick features.


Construction processes and regulations are continually in states of flux. For this reason, product manufacturers have to adapt too, to assure their products conform to the latest trends and standards. The specification of offsite manufactured brick solutions in particular has accelerated in recent years, no doubt as a result of the quality systems available that enable architects to achieve architecturally striking brick facades.


Brickwork is a cornerstone of


construction and has been used for thousands of years, mainly because of its consistent shape, compressive strength and ability to absorb water. Steeped in history, it is no surprise that brick has been paired with offsite manufacturing, a method which drives quality, intricacy and long-term value. For architects in particular, this method of construction guarantees the same quality finish is executed every time, enabling architects’ designs to be translated perfectly onsite.


A match made in heaven Another factor which makes brick so popular is its ability to enable intricate detailing, which gives a bespoke ‘feel’ to a building. Brick detail in the form of brick soffits, deep reveals and flying beams continually make for stunning exteriors, enabling unique detailing to be created. In this way, offsite solutions can be utilised to ensure brick features and brick-based buildings sit beautifully within their surrounding environments, hitting the mark on both intricacy and quality simultaneously.


The partnership between brick and prefabrication has been needed for a long time, and the appetite is growing day by day. With these designs in high demand, offsite manufactured brick units fill a huge gap in the market. These units can be manufactured in a quality-controlled factory environment without the need for time consuming fabrication or skilled crafts people on site.


Tradition & modernity combined One recent case study demonstrated how a bespoke solution could provide all the aesthetic possibility of traditional brickwork in a modern offsite manufactured alternative.


ADF MAY 2021 WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


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For an architect, modern methods of construction in the form of offsite


manufacturing may initially be perceived as something that constrains creativity


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