Poor brickwork or overly high expectations?
When carrying out new build inspections you will inevitably venture into areas of subjectivity when it comes to judging whether building aesthetics meet a reasonable standard.
With regard to brickwork it is reasonable to expect that bricks are of a consistent batch, that brickwork is clean and free from major chips or cracks, that bed joints are level and perp joints are plumb. Mortar joints should be evenly spaced, neatly pointed and mortar should have been carefully gauged to ensure a consistent colour match. The physical damp proof course should also be visible where it overlaps the bed joint by around 5-10mm, if it is not then it has not been installed or it has been bridged.
Interestingly masonry walls are generally stronger when built with thin joints and as a general rule of thumb we expect to see mortar joints of around 10mm thickness in the UK and even less for thin joint construction. Overly wide mortar joints are susceptible to cracking and weaken the structure.
The title of this blog came from a conversation I overheard whilst I was inspecting the brickwork on a Bovis site in Long Buckby, Northamptonshire. An employee of this particular large National developer was explaining to the resident how the problem with surveyors like me was that we often had overly high expectations and these expectations needed to be tempered. The brickwork on this particular property was possibly the worst new construction I’ve seen in 20 years and I’d describe the build standard as careless and amateurish, but perhaps my expectations are too high, which is why I’ve posted a series of images detailing what I see as an unacceptable standard of construction. I’d be interested to know if readers of this blog would accept this standard of construction on their new property?