Having read about a case in which the brick walls of a house had collapsed and resulted in fatalities, the owner of this 1930s double story beachside home called upon us for an inspection.
Situated near Manly beach, she was concerned that salty sea air may have damaged various parts of her home over the 80 years since its construction. On the surface, the beachside home appeared to have no problems; the walls did not bow, lean or have cracks in them. There was no evidence of lateral movement; no gaps or openings between windows and bricks.
However, upon threading our special camera units through the brick, we confirmed the owner’s suspicions that damage to the beachside home was extensive.
By using our cameras to get into the wall cavities between the external and internal layers of brick, we discovered the age-old steel cavity wall ties holding them together had corroded and snapped. The wall ties had not been replaced since the beachside home was built and the salt content of the air had eaten away at the steel over 80 years. External and internal walls had decoupled and both were at risk of collapse.
Despite no obvious evidence to the naked eye, the risk to the owner was significant so we had to work quickly. Tearing the walls down to replace them with fresh brick and brand new cavity wall ties was out of the question.
Instead, we devised a non-disruptive solution. We strategically drilled 5mm pilot holes into various areas of the walls. By doing, so we were able to successfully insert brand new cavity wall ties throughout the house, recouple all external and internal walls and stabilise the entire structure. More than a thousand brand new wall ties were installed without removing a single brick.
In the end, we were able to maintain the structural integrity of this beachside home without disrupting the homeowner or any of the surrounding neighbours. The homeowner is no longer at risk of the walls collapsing. The walls have been strong and stable since the successful installation of more than a thousand wall cavity ties.