Every inch of construction space is crucial in cities like Sydney and Melbourne, especially as zero-lot boundary areas are becoming more common, creating a challenge for methods of construction. Cities and local councils need to ensure that their urban centres can accommodate the needs of those people who live and work within them.
Rising to the challenge are building products like Panel Brick of which is manufactured by Austral Precast. Brick panels that have been prefabricated off site are being brought onsite and installed by cranes, eliminating the need for scaffolding that would usually be essential for buildings and apartments with brick facades.
Ideal for medium and high density residential projects, industrial and commercial buildings, as well as contemporary infrastructure, this innovative product offers a high quality, long-lasting finish with low maintenance.
If a high rise is being built in a CBD against a boundary and the neighbouring site is twenty stories shorter than your building, there is no way of building up scaffolding to even lay the bricks. Brickworks Technical and Research Engineer, Josh Haley, worked closely on the development of the Panel Brick and explained how this space-saving element is a key benefit of the product, “Panel Brick is a real space saver during the construction process”.
With the construction of prefabricated brick panels, buildings are built faster and higher with a stronger resistance to wind and earthquake forces. The extensive colour selection of clay bricks from the Austral Bricks range offers creativity and variety, as well as design flexibility with panels available in various shapes and sizes for unique designs.
Panel Brick is formulated from concrete and clay bricks with a thickness ranging from 110 mm to 250 mm. Every single panel facing holds the appearance and characteristics of real, individual bricks, featuring a colour variety of real clay bricks. The dovetail backing acts as a support mechanism to support and ensure there is a strong interlock with the precast panel.
The Panels are made with the exact same bricks that Brickworks produce and sell through Austral Bricks, combining the simplicity and ease of precast concrete with the timeless beauty and style of brick. Throughout the manufacturing process, bricks are placed on a table face with a high-strength grout mix poured over the back, creating a precast concrete panel with the bricks exposed at the front facade.
“The panels are fully engineered to comply with Australian Standards such as a AS3600, and the National Construction Code”, Haley explained. Further adding that “the product has been fully tested for compressive strength, lateral and racking loads, flexural strength, and fire resistance”.
Off-site manufacturing means no waste on-site as it eliminates the need for wet trades. No broken bricks or mortar mess on-site with Panel Bricks eliminating the need for on-site brick cleaning. “Because it’s prefabricated there are no loose bricks hanging around on site, so that’s another waste reduction and safety improvement,” Haley said.
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