Keystone Lintels makes the case for off-site manufactured brick slip systems

Keystone Lintels makes the case for off-site manufactured brick slip systems

Whilst trends towards buildings materials come and go, housebuilders’ love affair with brick continues. However, achieving complex brickwork design efficiently on-site at a time of skills shortages and fast build programmes can be a huge challenge for builders and contractors. Chris Hemmington-Green, Sales Director of Keystone Lintels makes the case for off-site manufactured brick slip systems, explaining how merchants can help their customers enhance the quality of brickwork detailing in a highly labour-efficient way.

Currently, brick is experiencing something of a resurgence and with this has come a wave of housebuilders returning to the material and the many qualities it has to offer. Architecturally, the intricate detailing that brickwork enables is like no other — brick detail in the form of brick soffits, deep reveals and flying beams continually make for stunning exteriors, enabling housebuilders to create truly unique façades.

Prefabricated brick solutions can help the industry in a myriad of ways, including the skills shortage in the sector with the average age of a bricklayer at 59-years-old. To overcome this issue, prefabricated solutions have been tipped as a potential answer, as they negate the need for a high number of skilled craftspeople onsite and enable intricate brickwork detail to be carried out in a factory-controlled environment.

Offsite quality

In order to achieve the most challenging architectural designs, Keystone offers a technically advanced, offsite solution for an extensive range of brick slip installations including arches, panels, soffits and architectural features. Supported by an industry-leading design service and technical support, Keystone’s innovative Keyslip products include Brick Feature Lintels, Lightweight Brick Headers and Lightweight Brick Sills.

Every Brick Slip Feature Lintel is manufactured bespoke to order, ensuring that each unit is customised according to the unique size, shape and aesthetic requirements of the project. This modern offsite construction means that genuine character details can be added without significant cost increases.

Keystone Lintels makes the case for off-site manufactured brick slip systems.

For the specifier the possibilities are endless, as Brick Slip Feature Lintels can accommodate a large range of bond patterns in order to create everything from segmental and flat arches, to gothic and parabolic arches, as well as apex and bullseye arches.

Manufactured offsite, the solutions negate the need for brick cutting or mechanical handling onsite — with the bricks collected from site to ensure that the product blends seamlessly with the traditionally laid brickwork. Brick slips are bedded in a high-performance BBA-approved adhesive and the finished feature lintel joins seamlessly with already constructed brickwork.

Making an entrance

Testimony to the aesthetics, offsite craftmanship and precision of Keystone Lintels’ pioneering brick slip system is the façade of a luxury apartment complex in Buckinghamshire (see images) which is in keeping with its exemplary architectural design.

Located on one of Beaconsfield’s premier roads, Wellington Court is an exclusive development of one, two and three-bedroom apartments. Developer Halamar’s architectural vision for this property required a gable-ended façade and main entrance featuring prominent and distinctive brickwork arches in the Arts and Craft style. To meet its requirements, Keystone’s technical team-designed Brick Slip Feature corbelled and full arch lintels which were manufactured in a factory-controlled environment, negating the need for complex brick cutting on-site.

The one-piece lintel design solution required exacting dimensions to avoid any conflict with the proposed stone sitting at the end of each arch bearing. Measurements of 3593mm for the upper coursing span and 3143mm for the lower coursing span were essential for the seamless installation of the prominent entrance.

A consignment of light textured Parham Red bricks was collected from site by Keystone, which reduced brick wastage and improved material management. Double Cant bricks were precisely cut and bonded onto an extra heavy duty corbelled arch lintel using the BBA-approved construction adhesive in a factory-controlled environment.

Integral key prefabricated lintel components were all manufactured concurrently as opposed to sequentially, which offered greater predictability of operational expenditure during the build programme. Delays associated with bad weather onsite were also avoided, allowing for high quality and consistency to be achieved when replicating the four large full arch lintel designs. The impressive 4300mm span and 2150mm rise arches were delivered to site ready for final pointing, with all the arch lintels including lifting hooks for an easier and safer installation.

Keystone is one of the largest suppliers of steel lintels in the UK and Ireland. Click the link for more information.

A version of this article appeared in the May edition of PBM. Click the link to read the full digital issue.

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