According to a recent survey BRANZ published (Build 155), brick veneer is used for almost half of new builds. However, there seems still to be a lot of assumption and trust out there regarding the prevention of cracking in the veneer.
What does the NZBC say?
The NZBC only requires brick ties to be used to attach the brick veneer to the frame. However, there is no mention about strengthening the bricks to prevent cracking. This means it's not a legal requirement to strengthen brick veneer — resulting in some bricklayers not strengthening the bricks to save cost in the current competitive market.
How to Strengthen Brick Veneer
Masons have been at the forefront of brick accessories since the early 2000s. Trent Mason, Director of Masons, designed the Masons BrickTie and included a unique waterstop feature which was the first at the time.
In 2012, Masons in collaboration with John Oliver — author of John Oliver's Brick Book — launched BrickLock as a tool to prevent cracking in brick veneer. Bricklock comes in 2m straights and 250mm corners.
Where to Strengthen Brick Veneer
When specifying BrickLock, a common sense approach to where the product is installed must be used. The most common areas to use the reinforcing are above all windows and to all external corners. Other vulnerable areas include where there is a gap smaller than 800mm, for example where a gable meets a soffit or where the bottom of the window meets a roof top (see image above).
Specifying BrickLock is Easy
When specifying Masons for brick enclosures through specifier websites such as Smartspec and Masterspec, specifiers will automatically be asked if they want to strengthen the brick veneer. Alternatively, they can search for BrickLock on EBOSS or the Masons website.