GLASS & FENESTRATION
FEBRUARY | BUILDING PRODUCTS
waiting around for specialist bricklayers
enabling contractors to achieve detailed brick
features quickly and efficiently – on time
• Health and safety: No brick cutting is required
onsite and light weight one-piece features can be
lifted into place without mechanical equipment.
• Technical support: Some manufacturers provide
specialist support for architects and contractors
to make sure their vision is achieved using
the most appropriate products in the correct
dimensions and designs.
What effects can be created?
Pre-fabricated brick features use steel structural
elements to which brick slips are securely bonded
so the size, shape or detail of the features are only
limited by the imagination of the architect/designer.
Some of the most common features include:
• Bullseyes: Brick features surrounding round
windows created using a modified arch lintel
with a circular box section on the outer leaf to
house a brick slip soldier course.
• Brick soffits: Recessed windows and doors,
roofline ledges, and intricate patterns can all be
achieved using soffit panels.
• Feature lintels: Manufactured bespoke to order,
each individual unit is customised to the
unique size, shape and aesthetic requirements
A bullseye brick slip feature
lintel ready for delivery and
easy installation onsite
of the project.
• Brick headers: these come as one piece that
can be installed on the outer-leaf of a standard
• Brick sills: positioned underneath the window
sill, supported by the wall below.
• Arches: parabolic, gothic, apex, segmental,
semi-circular. In fact, any shape you can think
of can be created using a steel frame, onto
which brick slips are bonded in the design
specified by the architect or contractor.
As the case studies below illustrate, feature
arches need not be limited to being placed
directly above windows and doors. Interest can be
added to elevations by integrating arches into the
structural brickwork itself.
Case study: Whyte Gates
This project provided a blank canvas for architect
Stephen Langer, as the original family home had
been demolished. Stephen’s vision was an elegant
red brick property with distinct features reminiscent
of the arts and crafts movement. Ascent Building
was appointed to deliver this design and construct
the substantial private dwelling using high quality
materials and an obsessive attention to detail.
Creating the intricate brickwork using traditional
methods would have been time consuming
and costly because of the sheer amount of brick
cutting and skilled labour required. A high level
of accuracy was also needed to ensure consistency
across the build.
Using bespoke pre-manufactured brick feature
lintels for each of the decorative elements saved
considerable installation time. Each single piece unit
was delivered with brick slips using bricks from the
project already bonded to them. These were lifted
into place ready for final pointing.
The architect was particularly happy because
the quality was much easier to control, as the brick
cutting and bonding took place in an environment
free from wet weather, extreme temperature and
“For the detailing at Whyte Gates we specified
three different forms of intricate curved brickwork,
the semi-circular receding arch, circular windows
and curved arch heads to all windows,” says
Stephen Langer, Stephen Langer Architects. “This
required a highly skilled level of brick cutting and
craftsmanship, so the work done offsite to achieve
our design aims was highly successful.”
Case study: Warren Close
Contractor Beaufield Homes specialises in
distinctive, high specification residential properties.
The Warren Close town house in Surrey, designed
by ME/Iconic Designs, is a three-storey semidetached
family home with a unique, arched, brick
porch leading to a recessed entrance door.
The challenge with the design was that it
needed to be faced with brick on three sides with
the supporting structure completely concealed.
A bespoke steel lintel was manufactured, which
could carry the required load and achieve
the desired decorative effect. With brick slips
taken from the project site, the arches blended
seamlessly on installation.
Beaufield also used special bay lintels to
achieve a distinctive splayed-design above each
window. Again, having these delivered as a onepiece,
ready to install solution saved considerable
time on the project.
These case studies illustrate how pre-fabricated
brick feature products can enhance the quality
of brickwork detailing in a highly labourefficient
way. It’s a prime example of why offsite
construction works: a centralised resource of skilled
professionals crafting special features that can be
delivered anywhere in the country simply makes
And if architects can design houses with more
interesting features – and contractors can be
confident of incorporating these features quickly at
minimal cost – Theresa May could get her wish of
fewer identikit boxes on new developments.
Bay, bullseye and corner
windows make new
Receding semi-circular arches make
a striking entrance to Whyte Gates