Nelson Bustamante: Specifications of Brickwork in Superstructure

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Brick masonry stands as a fundamental element in superstructure construction, its integrity vital for structural stability. Ensuring the quality of materials utilized is paramount, as subpar components compromise the efficacy of the masonry. Consequently, adherence to applicable standards and meticulous adherence to proper procedures are imperative for the successful execution of brick masonry projects.

Brick units form the backbone of masonry construction and must meet stringent criteria to guarantee durability and strength. These units should exhibit hardness, soundness, thorough burning, and freedom from defects or cracks. Additionally, cement, sand, and water utilized in the mortar mixture must meet prescribed standards to ensure optimal performance. Prior to installation, thorough inspection of brick units is necessary, with careful consideration given to selecting appropriate bonding patterns to maximize load-bearing capacity.

A comprehensive array of tools is indispensable for precise brick masonry work:

  1. Spirit level
  2. Wooden or aluminum straight edge (3 meters in length)
  3. Right angle (0.5 meters in length)
  4. Steel tape measure
  5. Line and pin strings
  6. Plumb bob
  7. Storey rods
Fig. 1: Tools

Specifications for Brick Masonry

  • Bricks must be sufficiently moistened through immersion in water or thorough hosing for at least an hour before installation to prevent them from absorbing moisture from the mortar.
  • The use of half or cut bricks is discouraged unless necessary for bonding purposes.
  • English bond is the default pattern unless an alternative bond type is specified.
  • Workmanship must adhere strictly to horizontal and vertical alignment standards, ensuring true horizontal lines and plumb vertical joints.
  • Joint thickness should fall within the range of 6mm to 10mm, depending on brick size.
  • The total height of a 9cm brick, comprising 5 courses and 5 mortar joints, should be 50cm.
  • Consistent horizontal joint levels across floors facilitate proper bonding at junctions.
  • Non-shrinking mortar is recommended to mitigate the risk of cracks in floors, columns, and beam soffits.
  • Establishing required datum levels before commencing construction is crucial.
  • Consideration of window sill and lintel levels is essential in determining course placement and joint thickness.
  • Gauge boards of precise width should be affixed at masonry edges for accurate line and plumb correction.
  • Iron fixtures, pipe outlets, and hold-fasts for doors and windows should be installed during brickwork progression.
Wetting Bricks with Water Before Laying
Fig. 2: Wetting Bricks with Water Before Laying
English Bond
Fig. 3: English Bond

Work Procedure

  • Mortar is applied atop the foundation course, covering the intended wall area.
  • Construction begins at the wall corner, ensuring proper alignment and level.
  • Excess mortar is carefully removed with a trowel.
  • If a brick is not level, gentle pressure is applied to adjust its position.
  • Subsequent courses are laid, with the end stretcher placed first and firmly secured in the mortar.
  • Vertical alignment is continuously monitored using straight edges and squares.
  • Jointing and pointing are performed upon completion of the wall.
  • Adequate curing procedures are essential to attain the designated mortar strength.
    Brick Work Procedure in Superstructure
    Fig. 4: Brick Work Procedure in Superstructure

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