All window frames and openings for wider types of doors like sliding doors must be provided with a reinforced layer along the top of the opening to carry the weight of the wall above the opening. This can be done either by using a prefabricated concrete beam called a lintel, or by physically building a lintel using bricks and a kind of wire reinforcement called brickforce. It is also advisable to build a layer of brickforce into a wall on approximately every sixth layer of brickwork.
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All outer (load-bearing) walls are built 230 mm wide (two bricks placed alongside one another), while most non-load-bearing (inner) walls are built 115 mm wide. If an inner wall is higher than 3.3 m, it must also be 230 mm wide.
It is standard building practice to build roof ties into the top six layers of outer walls. Wire or hoop ties can be used, and the purpose is to tie the roof structure to the walls.
Remember the following deemed-to-satisfy rules when considering the layout of the various rooms of the house:
• No habitable room (excluding a kitchen, scullery and bathroom) shall have a floor area of less than 6 m, with no linear dimension of less than 2 m. The floor-to-ceiling height of all habitable rooms shall be no less than 2.4 m over a floor area of 70% of the room. The floor-to-ceiling height of all other rooms, including the kitchen, scullery, bathrooms, passage and foyer, shall be no less than 2.1 m.
• To facilitate natural lighting and ventilation, all habitable rooms shall have a window opening comprising at least 10% of the floor area of that room, of which at least 50% must be able to open.
• It is not necessary to finish off the brickwork of walls that will be plastered, but all unplastered face-brick walls must be grooved out properly between the bricks to create a neat appearance.
• Apart from carrying the roof of the house, the second main purpose of an outer wall is to keep the interior of the house dry. Always use proper hard-burnt clay bricks (clinker bricks or face bricks) if you don’t intend plastering the exterior of the house. If you do intend plastering the exterior, the layer of plaster and the paint layer will keep the water out.