One of the larger housing companies, Golden Homes, use steel framing in the construction of their homes and Masons Brick Ties are used when a client chooses a brick veneer. To provide peace of mind for their customers they were involved in a recent test carried out by NASH ( National Association of Steel-Framed Housing Inc) at the University of Australia in Melbourne.
Dr Charles Clifton of Auckland University set the criteria for brick veneer tied to the steel framing with steel brick ties. The goal was to determine, as realistically as possible, the expected performance under different defined levels of earthquake loading. Nine tests were conducted. Test one and two were the equivalent of 6.2 on the Richter scale and resulted in minimal or no damage to the mortar, wall or brick ties, the walls moved as a whole unit. Test four at 8.4 showed the ties moving with the wall and frame but still held up well.
The final test representing an earthquake exceeding a 9.0 on the Richter scale showed that the brick ties indented to the steel framing but there was no pull out of the ties from the mortar or off the framing, and only minor damage to the mortar which was easily repairable.
The conclusion: brick veneer with steel framing and brick ties exceed the required New Zealand Building Standards, including earthquake areas.