Masonry construction is one of very few building methods to have survived through the centuries – regardless of new technologies. In fact, the popularity of masonry has grown exponentially in recent years, to the point that in 2013 demand for the materials outstripped supply across the market.
This increase looks set to continue, thanks to the benefits it affords in terms of both thermal efficiency and the less tangible feelings of security that come with living in a masonry-built home.
There are various options when it comes to building with masonry – but if you are looking for ease of use, greater levels of productivity on site, less heat loss in the finished building and a product that has strong environmental credentials, then the obvious choice is to use aircrete blocks as opposed to heavy, dense concrete versions.
As well as choosing what blocks to use, there is also a decision to be made in terms of what mortar to use. Most builders still use traditional sand and cement mortar, giving a bedding joint of 10mm. But there are other options, such as using a thin-joint system.
H+H Celcon, a leading aircrete block manufacturer, has developed its own thin-joint system using Celfix Mortar, which is used in conjunction with large format aircrete blocks. This system allows for a consistent joint thickness of 2mm. What’s more, the blockwork will begin to set within 10 minutes of application and approaches structural stability in just one to two hours.
The combination of thin-joint and aircrete enables walls to be built much quicker. With cavity wall construction, the inner leaf can be built independently of the outer skin (normally brickwork), so you can get to weathertight stage faster. It also helps to reduce the walls’ permeability, minimising the amount of heat lost through air infiltration.
Although all builders and architects are familiar with masonry materials, a lot of work and planning still has to go into a self build project. It isn’t as simple as deciding what blocks and mortar to use. The less visible aspects of the project also need consideration, such as foundations, wall-ties, thermal bridging, damp-proof course material, cavity trays and lintels.
Beyond the pure products, a house designer should account for local Building Regulations to ensure that the finished structure, regardless of its function or size, complies with the most recent legislation.
Consultants from various disciplines – such as architects, engineers and quantity surveyors – will typically be brought in to assist on large-scale builds. But this increases cost, so when you are working to a tight budget it is advisable to look at other solutions.
Last year H+H introduced the Masonry House Package, which helps small contractors and self builders by reducing costs and speeding up their projects. Rather than working with numerous consultants, you can now go straight to the manufacturer for all the technical expertise you require. The package offers self builders a bespoke, all-encompassing procurement and technical solution for their projects at a fixed price, eliminating the hassle involved in new builds and renovations.
It’s no secret that undertaking a major project is no easy feat. With every build it is likely that there will be a hiccup at some stage, so it is important to do all you can at the outset to minimise the possibility of these issues becoming significant problems. Working with experienced technical experts from building product manufacturers is definitely one way of cutting that risk.
Quick Guide: The Masonry House Package
The Masonry House Package by H+H takes the hassle out of building the fundamental elements of a building project – namely the walls and foundations. It includes technical advice plus detailed specification and supply of the vital masonry-related products required for a scheme. Here’s how the process works:
The package utilises the H+H thin-joint system, with Celfix Mortar and large-format aircrete blocks. This includes Jumbo Bloks, Plus Blocks and H+H Multi Plates, which at twice the size of traditional versions help to significantly increase build speed. The only thing left for you to decide is what the outer finish will be.
Cliff Fudge has been involved in the construction sector for over 30 years, focusing primarily on the development of aircrete building products. For more information about H+H’s Masonry House Package call 01732 880580 or email [email protected] To find out more about aircrete, thin-joint or H+H visit www.hhcelcon.co.uk
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