Navigating Movement Issues with Brick Arches | S Jones Surveying.

Navigating Movement Issues With Brick Arches

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RICS Home Survey Level 2

with or without valuation

RICS Home Survey Level 2

with valuation and post work valuation

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Navigating Movement Issues With Brick Arches.

Posted 15th May 2024 / News.


The issue of cracks in properties is a concern that often prompts homeowners to seek advice and expertise. A number of our surveys have been primarily focused on period properties, investigating instances of cracking, particularly around brick arches, as noted by the owners.

Situated within wall openings, brick arches are key components that are typically located above windows and doors. Their fundamental role is to bear the load of the wall situated above the opening, effectively distributing it to the surrounding walls adjacent to the arch. In older properties characterised by solid brick construction, these arches are often constructed using solid brickwork or feature a half-brick wide timber lintel positioned internally within the wall, with brickwork forming the outer layer.

Any cracking observed in or around brick arches is typically a manifestation of structural movement within the building. Whether this movement is limited to the vicinity of the arch or reflects broader shifts elsewhere in the structure, it necessitates thorough investigation to identify the underlying cause.


Brick Arch Slight Drop Due to Bay Movement.


The movement localised around the arch may be attributed to the collapse of the arch itself or, if present, its lintel. Even minor structural movements within the building can cause arches and lintels to deflect, resulting in reduced support for the abutments responsible for carrying their load. Additionally, timber lintels placed on inadequate bearings or those that are undersized and overburdened may settle or undergo rotational displacement.

Alternatively, timber lintels could deteriorate due to rot or beetle infestation, leading to failure. The slightest movement in the arch or lintel frequently results in the appearance of cracks around the opening. When suspicions arise regarding lintel failure, it becomes essential to remove the internal plaster and meticulously examine the lintel. If the lintel demonstrates severe deflection or exhibits signs of rot or beetle infestation, replacement is necessary.

The appearance of cracks around brick arches is frequently linked to movement originating from other areas within the structure. The presence of openings in walls introduces vulnerabilities, where structural movement tends to become apparent. Several factors contribute to this movement, encompassing soil shrinkage and heave, foundation problems, moisture penetration, temperature fluctuations, material deterioration, and inadequate construction techniques. Especially in older properties situated on shrinkable clay sub-soils, with shallow foundations, and constructed using porous materials susceptible to moisture and temperature changes, some degree of movement is expected. Typically, this movement falls within acceptable parameters and does not necessitate undue worry.

If cracking is minor and stems from minor structural movements, rectifying the external brickwork with re-pointing to enhance weather resistance is typically effective. However, in cases of more significant cracking, additional measures may be warranted. This might involve reinforcing the brickwork by inserting helical bars or replacing sections of the brickwork where necessary.

Identifying the specific cause of cracking can be a daunting task, given the wide range of potential factors involved. However, if you are facing concerns about cracks in your property, our team of Surveyors at S Jones is here to assist you. We offer personalised reports that thoroughly investigate the root cause of the problem and recommend the most suitable remedial measures. To learn more about our services, do not hesitate to contact us.


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Our Services

RICS Home Survey Level 2 (with or without valuation)

Our reports are easy to read with sub-sections included as well as bold text in the relevant places and photos of defects or advisory information. These will help you to understand exactly what we are talking about.

RICS Home Survey Level 2 (with valuation and post work valuation)

You will receive the same high-quality service as the survey with or without a valuation but you will also get a valuation of the property of what you should realistically expect to achieve once the remedial works have been carried out to a professional standard.

RICS Standalone Private Valuations

We offer a few of the most common types of standalone private RICS valuations, such as, those that can be used in investment purchases or the purchase of the remainder of a Help to Buy loan.

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