Brick and Block Construction.


The brick and block construction method is the most traditional of all building methods, it is also the most popular form of self building.  It is estimated that around 70% of all self builders choose to build this way, it is constructed by using a block built internal skin and cavity which is then followed by a brick external facing.  The traditional brick and block method is around four to six weeks longer to make the house watertight than a timber frame house.


An advantage of the brick and block system is that because it is a solid mass therefore it allows the absorption of heat which is then radiated into the house.  This creates a more stable temperature which means that less heat is needed at night.  This has been tested and results show that brick and block houses maintain temperatures between 5C and 8C higher than other lightweight methods.


Another advantage is that brick and block insulates sound better than other methods.  When plasterboard and stud partitions are placed over brickwork sound insulation is 50% greater.  To gain even greater sound insulation it is best to choose concrete floors over wooden floors.  The costs of a traditional brick and block house and a timber frame house are similar in price.


Brick and block methods are not only favoured by self builders but also by homebuyers too, brick and block houses are easier to resell in the future.  During the construction of the build the brick and block method is more flexible than the timber frame method.  The reason being that if measurements are slightly out then timber frames have to be sent back to the manufacturers to be adjusted whilst the traditional method requires an extra line of bricks to solve the problem. 


Methods in brick and block construction are moving with the times to keep up with their timber frame counterparts.  Thin joint mortar is now being used which allows the depth of the mortar to be reduced from 10mm to 2mm which in turn increases the speed of construction.  This thin joint mortar can be laid twice as fast as the traditional mortar and so cuts construction time down greatly.  Another quick way of reducing construction time with brick and block method is using aircrete blocks in the inner leaf of the external walls.  These aircrete blocks only weigh half of what aggregate blocks do and are very easy to work with whilst are easily cut with the normal hand tools.


Overall the brick and block construction market is trying to evolve itself so that it is able to challenge the timber frame method.  It will never be as “green” as timber frames but they have flexible designs and benefit from the latest insulation innovations.

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