The stable organisation of building blocks, generally made through a manual construction process, by applying a bonding technique using mortar.
Reinforced masonry:
Masonry in which bars or mesh are placed, generally made of steel and embedded in mortar or concrete, in a way that all the materials work together.
The bonding rule which governs the arrangement of the blocks in brickwork to guarantee their structural uniformity.
Each line or horizontal series of blocks that is laid as the wall is constructed.
Lightweight clay block (UNE 136010):
Block whose constituent material is voided clay, obtained through the addition of various materials to the clay paste which disappear during firing, producing an added level of porosity which is characteristic of the fired lightweight clay block.
Block of lightweight clay with a specific geometry that gives it unique properties.
Upper or lower surface of a manufactured piece which has been laid in position. In the case of a block, it refers to the surface of the line on which it sits, or the surface on which the pieces of the line above this are placed.
A space formed in a block which may or may not go through it completely. The TERMOARCILLA® block has two special gaps between the spaces, allowing the forefingers to grip the piece and facilitating its handling during building work.
The material between the gaps in a block.
A mix of inorganic conglomerates, sand, gravel, water, and, if required, additives and additional materials.
Ready to use mortar:
Mortar which has been mixed in the factory and used on site.
Insulating mortar:
Mortar in which some of the sand and gravel has been replaced with an insulating mixture, giving a thermal conductivity co-efficient in the order of 50% of a normal mortar mix.
Single-layer mortar:
This is a covering consisting of cement, additives, resins, fibres and minerals.
Mixed mortar:
Mortar manufactured with cement, lime and sand.
Bed joint:
The layer of mortar between the faces of the building blocks.
Head joint:
A vertical mortar joint consisting of the union of successive blocks on the same course.
Bed joint reinforcement:
Reinforcement placed in bed joints. Stainless steel, galvanised steel, or steel with equivalent protection is recommended for reinforcements.
Device for linking a layer of a wall to a structure, to a backfilled wall, or to another wall.
Damp-proof barrier:
Waterproof layer, brickwork or other materials, which are placed on the blocks to prevent the entry of water due to run-off or capillary action.
Supporting or load-bearing wall:
Wall with a supporting function, which commonly supports vertical loads from other elements of the build.
Non-bearing wall:
Non-resistant wall whose removal would not damage the integrity of the remaining brickwork.
Transverse or shoring wall:
Wall that supports horizontal actions on its plane. The wall has the specific purpose of performing a stabilising function by supporting the horizontal pressure from another wall or structural element.
Cavity wall:
A wall consisting of two parallel, single-skinned walls which are effectively linked by ties or bed joint reinforcements, with either or both layers supporting vertical loads.
Double-skinned wall:
Wall consisting of two parallel layers with a continuous joint placed between them inside the wall (no greater than 25 mm), with ties or bed joint reinforcements between the layers, in a way that they work together. The two layers can be of the same or of different materials.
Enclosing wall:
Muro que reviste exteriormente a una estructura, y no contribuye a su resistencia.
Trasdós o extradós:
The exterior surface of a wall.
The interior surface of a wall, or the undersurface of a lintel.
Construction element or group of elements that define the upper closure of a gap or a straight intrados.
Lintel superior:
The structural or supporting part of a lintel.
Each vertical element that form the lateral part of an opening and which support the lintel.
Surface of the jamb, at right-angles with the wall surface.
Guarding wall:
Inferior closing for the lower part of the window space which creates a protective parapet.
Plano del hueco de una ventana que define la coronación del antepecho.
A channel or hole in the brickwork.
A depression which is set into a wall surface. Niche.
A set of recesses and projections left in successive courses of a brickwork when work is suspended, so that when the work re-commences, a good bond can be achieved.
Toothing or indenting stones:
Each of the toothing recesses or projections.
Brickwork column fastened to a wall with toothing.
Wall whose length is not much greater than its thickness.
Thermal insulation:
The thermal insulation of a wall is the characteristic through which the flow of heat, which spontaneously transfers from the warmest to the coldest environment, is reduced. With construction materials, this insulation is achieved by the inclusion of air pockets in the skin of the building material.
Thermal inertia:
This is defined as the combined effect of insulation and heat accumulation capacity within a construction. The capacity of a wall for thermal inertia is a characteristic which depends on its thickness, its weight and the specific heat of the material, and these will indicate its capacity to store heat.
The soundproofing of a construction element is the characteristic by which the transmission of sound energy through it is reduced.


  • placing the blocks:

     the placing of the blocks is of relevance, as there will be significant differences in block manufacture. For this reason, the following recommendations are advised:

    • - blocks should be dampened before being laid to avoid drying out the mortar, except under the express instructions of the manufacturer for blocks which have a low absorption rate (absorption [ 0,10 g/cm2 · min]).

    • - blocks should be laid on the vertical joint without mortar, making a fished joint between the tongue and groove joints.

    • - the vertical fit of the blocks should be appropriate, according to the specified criteria at point c of section 5.2. When this is not possible, due to the geometry of a certain block, that particular block should not be laid and should be replaced with another one. Nor should broken blocks, or those with cracks greater than that specified in point b of section 5.2 be laid.

    • - in order to achieve an adequate attachment of the brickwork, both in supporting walls and enclosures, the distance between the vertical joints of two consecutive courses should be a minimum of 7 cm.

  • the horizontal joint:
    • a). in enclosures or external walls, lay the horizontal joint in sections by spreading the mortar in two continuous strips separated by 1 or 2cm at most, except for the first joint on each frame, which should be continuous.

      to achieve this separation and the appropriate thickness, use a section ruler of 30 x 50 mm, by placing this on the centre of the course.

      on enclosures or external walls where the improvement of mechanical (a characteristic of the brick being resistant to pressure) or acoustic (insulation of airborne noise) features are required, a continuous joint may be considered, keeping in mind climatic conditions and the exposure of each façade.

      for both types of joint, whether continuous or interrupted, in the case of exterior walls in poor condition (for example, on north-facing facades and in cold areas), in order to avoid the risk of interstitial condensation, special attention should be paid to conditions of use and the interior environment.

      if the wall or exterior enclosure is backfilled, the horizontal joint can be continuous.

    • b). on interior walls, the horizontal joint should be continuous.

      · when making both types of joints, whether interrupted or continuous, it is important to place a sufficiently thick layer of mortar (approx. 3 cm) in a way that, once the block is correctly placed, the resulting thickness is between 1 to 1.5 cm.

      . once the mortar has been placed, lay the blocks vertically and bed them in with a rubber mallet. Never rub them in as you lay them.

      · on walls and exterior enclosures, always to place the edge of the block on deep furrows facing outwards.

      · once the mortar in the joints has lost its elasticity, it will not be possible to correct the alignment of the blocks.

      · in line with that indicated in section 3.2, use complementary pieces and cut pieces to complete specific points.

      · when the use of cut pieces is required, do this following the recommendations in section 5.10 “Cutting the blocks”.

      · the vertical joint of base made with cut pieces should be made with lines of mortar. See section 5.9 “Dimensional adjustment.

      · use a mortar which is suitable for the characteristics of the block and appropriate for its intended use, according to the manufacturer’s instructions or, otherwise, the Termoarcilla® Consortium. See section 2.3 “Mortars for bedding joints”..

      · out of every 100 blocks laid, one should be removed to check the correct placement of the horizontal joint.

      · in order to ensure that stresses caused by the shrinkage of the concrete do not produce horizontal cracks in the wall, the following criteria should be considered:

        - when the frame requires shoring, it is important that the minimum amount of weight is transposed onto the supporting walls.

        - if the floor slab used does not require shoring, it would be convenient to leave the wall to harden before subjecting it to a load. The minimum time for this will depend on the type of mortar and the environmental conditions (approximately 1 week at temperatures of between 15º and 20º C).

        - for exterior enclosures, we recommend that work begins at the top floor of the building so that when each floor is enclosed, the adjustment in the above floor slab has already taken place. If this is not possible, the enclosing of alternate floors is recommended.

  • blocks and complementary pieces used in construction:
    • a). origin.

        · all blocks and complementary pieces used in a construction should originate from a single manufacturer.

        · if the proposed solutions have to be built using pieces manufactured by different companies of the Termoarcilla® Consortium with DAU documents, the evaluation of compatibility between the pieces to be used (geometric, mechanical and physical characteristics) will be required.

    • b). cracks and breakages of the pieces.

        · definitions considered:

          - cracks: this refers to more or less irregular fissures which affect the total thickness of a wall or partition of a block.

          - cracked piece: a piece with one or more cracks with a length of 20% or more of the affected surface (length, width or height) on some of its exterior walls or internal partitions.

          - aspect levels:

            level I: in a sample of 6 pieces there is a maximum of one cracked piece.

            level II: in a sample of 6 pieces there is a maximum of three cracked pieces, of which only one may present cracks on external walls.

        · within the DAU document, each manufacturer should declare the aspect level of their pieces.

        · if the construction pieces received for use on supporting walls are below the specified* levels, they should be replaced by other pieces which conform to the criteria. On no account should blocks be laid that have fissures or openings equal to or greater than 1 mm.

        · broken pieces arriving on site should not be laid (whenever possible, they can be used for obtaining cut pieces).

    • c). fit and alignment of pieces.

        · general criteria:

          base or complementary pieces should not be laid if they do not align. That is, if for any geometric reason, the interlocking tongue and grooves do not line up

          when making the bond, pieces should not be laid if their vertical joint alignment does not close at either of its extremities, whether this is due to the extremity or due to the fit of the tongue and groove.

          if, once the blocks have been laid, there is any unevenness greater than 5 mm between their edges the brick surface will require smoothing with mortar before covering the wall.

        · specific criteria:

          according to the DAU 004 Trials, Trials for fit and alignment of tongue and groove bricks. Lightweight clay block, the pieces should comply with the following conditions, which have been laboratory tested according to the trial specifications indicated in the above document.

  • use of other ceramic materials

    · no materials other than Termoarcilla® should be used for the completion of the wall or enclosing any of its points, except in those cases where the contrary is indicated within this document. See section

  • placement of levelling poles and counterweights

    Both in supporting walls and enclosures, fix leaded levelling poles with all their surfaces at right angles, at distances of no more than 4 metres apart, and always in every corner, gap, fracture or moving joint.

    mark the vertical spacing on the levelling poles, as well as the levels of the railings and the lintel levels in the gaps.

    before laying a course, place a lightly-tensioned line between the corresponding marks on the upper angles to serve as a reference point for correct laying.

    on closing walls, the surface will be defined by taking the slab with the greatest surface area as the reference point. Set counterweights that drop from the top floor to the ground floor with marks at each of the floors in between. Leave the reference points in place so that the defined plan can be reconstructed at any time.

  • horizontal layout

    given that vertical mortar joints do not exist, and that there may be differences in the length of the blocks due to the dimensional tolerance of the pieces and/or variations in the fit between them, the different courses may require different pieces to resolve this. For this reason, the layout of the brickwork is reduced to the placement of levelling poles and counterweights.

  • vertical layout

    take the highest point of the slab or cement as a reference for level, and use the necessary thickness of mortar under the first line to compensate for any deficiencies in level.

    mark the vertical spacing indicating the slab level, as well as those for guarding walls and lintels in the gaps.

    adjust the spacing by varying the thickness of the mortar joint (between 1 and 1.5 cm) and use vertical adjustment pieces or base pieces. Cut these with the appropriate tools (see section 5.10).

    in general, the use of traditional bricks (perforated or hollow) for the adjustment of wall height is prohibited. Nonetheless, perforated brick which is equal to, or more resistant, in pressure than the Termoarcilla® block can be used, placed in those sections of wall situated in uninhabited areas (such as basements or roof spaces).

  • basic principles and criteria for laying the brickwork
    • basic principles

      1. maintain the ties, making the distance between the vertical joints of the consecutive course layers greater or equal to 7 cm (see section 5.1 “Placing the blocks”).

      2. use complementary pieces in specific places (corners, posts in gaps, movement joints, where T walls meet and other points, as indicated in section 3.2).

      3. use the least number of cut pieces possible to adjust the length of the wall as defined in the plans.

      4. place the blocks by linking the longitudinal tongue and groove.

    • basic criteria

      depending on the means available (installers and scaffolding equipment), the brickwork can be raised throughout the whole perimeter or extension of the building, either by walls or by wall sections. If at any point, due to organisational needs of the build, it is necessary to interrupt the brickwork in one section, instead of doing this at the end of a wall (for example: at a jamb or an movement joint), scale the brickwork as, unlike traditional brickwork, it is not possible to leave toothing and indenting blocks in place.

      if the walls are built in sections or facades, in the corners or meeting points between walls, the adjacent sections should be scaled and prepared for later building work. In this case, the laying of more than 5 or 6 courses is not recommended

      once the levelling poles are in place, mark the reference points out and place the corresponding string line, each course should be laid following the steps below:

        1. place the complementary pieces that define the ends on the wall section to be laid (corner, end or middle).

        2. place the corresponding pieces at the specific points identified in the wall section to be laid (gaps, movement joints, where walls meet, where walls meet pillars, etc.).

        3. place the blocks that fill the space between the pieces as indicated in 1) and 2), keeping the following aspects in mind:

          - keep checking the gaps between the vertical joints on consecutive courses.

          - if at any point the gaps between the vertical joints are less than 7 cm, place spacing pieces, cut pieces and/or two lines of mortar in order to recover the section within the smallest space possible.

      keep in mind that the insertion of a stretcher into pieces of less than 30 cm (cut piece or spacing) into the structure of a wall may lead to a loss of more than 7cm in the gap between the vertical joints.

      - whenever possible, try to avoid the loss of ties between courses of the same vertical area within an area of the brickwork. In order to avoid this, particularly where it is necessary to cut pieces or use spacing pieces, carry the adjustment over horizontally into successive courses. Another useful solution, although not required in all cases, but in situations where a loss of attachment is produced on the same vertical layer, use reinforcement in the joint.

      - when using cut pieces or a very small dimensional adjustment is required, use a vertical mortar joint according to the conditions in section 5.9.

      - using more than 2 vertical mortar joints per course, and per section of brickwork, is not recommended. It is worth emphasising the advantages of using spacing pieces as opposed to cut pieces, particularly when they are being used to recover the attachment. As these pieces do not require the use of vertical mortar joints, they reduce need to cut pieces and they improve work output.

  • brickwork tolerance and control of work

    for aspects that are not defined in this document, Eurocode 6, Parts 1-1 and 2 can be used for reference.

    acceptable sag on the slab surface in the case of enclosures.

    the maximum acceptable sag on the surface of a slab is the same as for traditional brickwork. Applying the values established for walls by the basic building standard, NBE FL-90:

    · sag: 10 mm in the height of each floor and 30 mm in the total height of the building (in the case of buildings with two floors, it should not be more than 20 mm). If at any point, these values are greater than the maximum acceptable values, in order to absorb the difference, fixed profiles could be attached to the surface of the slabs, but only when the construction environment is not in a maritime climate or in industrial areas with harsh environments (see section

  • dimensional adjustment

    · when the length of the course of blocks needs to be adjusted to that of the wall or enclosure on a horizontal level, use either spacing pieces or cut pieces.

    · if using cut pieces, the vertical joint can be resolved with two bands of mortar of a 6 cm £ width £ , 1/3 the width of the block, in order to correctly transmit the horizontal stress on the wall surface.

    the central space that remains hollow between the bands of mortar could be filled with an insulating material, like expanded polystyrene or glass wool. This will improve the thermal effect of the wall and will avoid the need to fill the vertical joint with mortar.

    the vertical joint should have a maximum gap of 2 cm from the end of the tongue and groove. If the existing slack is greater, it will need to be distributed among various vertical joints. This joint can also be used, in a limited way (a maximum of 2 joints per section of wall), to make minor adjustments of up to 2 cm.

    on curved walls, this can be used with the criteria indicated in section 3.2.11.

    · on no account should horizontal adjustments be made which open the vertical joints, by placing mortar fillings (only mortar joints such as those indicated in the previous point) or by using ceramic materials that are different to Termoarcilla®.

    · when it is necessary to adjust the vertical spacing, this can be done by using pieces of vertical adjustment and/or by varying the thickness of the horizontal joints between 1 and 1.5 cm. Pieces of other ceramic materials which are different to Termoarcilla® should not be used, except in cases indicated in the fourth point of section 5.5.2 “Vertical layout”

    nonetheless, compression-resistant perforated brick can be used if it is equal or superior to the Termoarcilla® block placed in that section of the wall, and is situated in uninhabited areas (such as basements and under roof spaces).

    · for external enclosures, we recommend using the vertical adjustment piece to lay the last course under each slab.

    · the vertical adjustment pieces can be obtained by cutting on site, as long as the appropriate methods are used (see section 5.10).

  • cutting the blocks

    the blocks should be cut on site with a table cutter using the appropriate diameter disc.

    blocks should not be cut using manual methods.

    if a cutting table is not available, the pieces should be cut with a power cutter. In this case, vertical adjustment pieces should be supplied by the manufacturer.

    characteristics of the table cutter with vertical disc:

      · length of cut: 600 mm

      · depth of cut: a minimum of 200 mm

      · disc diameter: a minimum of 550 mm

  • preventing excessive shrinkage of the concrete slabs

    to avoid the appearance of horizontal cracks due to excessive shrinkage of the slabs, it is necessary to observe the following parameters:

      · Water/cement relationship (higher relationship can produce excessive shrinkage).

      · Granulometry (the finer grain sizes increase shrinkage).

      · Type of cement used.

      · Curing (it is important to cure the cement correctly).

    this problem becomes more noticeable in the corners. For this reason, it is recommended that the main walls of the building are thick enough.

    avoid long sections of concrete. If this is required, lay the concrete in alternate sections (leaving a sufficiently long period of time between adjoining sections) or make the sections independent of each other by using movement joints.

  • protection of brickwork during construction:

    - from rain:

    cover with plastic and avoid the mortar getting wet, erosion of the joints and the accumulation of water inside the wall.

    - from frost:

    during frosty weather, inspect the brickwork at the beginning of the working day. Avoid laying brickwork during periods of frost.

    if it is frosty at the beginning of, or during, the working day, protect the brickwork with insulating or plastic covers.

    - from heat:

    keep the brickwork damp to avoid the rapid evaporation of the water from the mortar.

    · if the brickwork is interrupted when walls are laid at different time periods: leave the wall scaled at the starting end (do not leave any toothing or indenting stones).

    · shore up the walls during construction to avoid them collapsing due to unforeseen actions (wind, etc.).

    · in order not to crush the mortar, do not lay an excessive height during a day’s work (do not exceed one floor or 3 m).

  • exterior coverings

    the impermeability to water of the Termoarcilla® wall is achieved with the exterior covering. For this reason, its correct application is of the utmost importance

    the conditions for applying the chosen coverings are:

    · for a single layer of mortar, follow the instructions in the corresponding DIT or DAU.

    · for a single layer mortar of lime and cement, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

    · for plaster, the instructions in the NTE-RPE-1974 Wall coverings. Plasters, which should be confirmed with the manufacturer of the paint applied.

    · for paint, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

    with single layer mortars, apply a prior fine levelling layer with the same mortar, except when the application of the single layer is applied with a projecting machine (following the ANFAPA recommendations). If the brickwork contains similarly uneven areas which are greater than 5 mm, the brickwork surface will require levelling out with mortar before applying the single layer covering.

    in these mortars, as in the plasters considered (for which it is also recommended), use wire reinforcement at the points where stress is concentrated and which may crack the covering layer:

    · changes of wall section or enclosure.

    · areas with potential pressure next to horizontal movement joints.

    · angles at the top of openings and gaps.

    · meeting points with pillars in enclosures.

    · curved walls.

    · areas where it has been necessary to level out the butt joint of the blocks with mortar, particularly in cut pieces. .

  • trusses in the bed joints

    at those points where it is necessary to place trusses in the bed joints, the following should be kept in mind, according to section of Eurocode 6, Part 1-1:

    · the minimum thickness of the mortar covering from the truss to the face of the brickwork should be 15 mm.

    · the mortar covering, above and below the bed joint truss should not be less than 2 mm.

    · the truss should be placed in such a way that its whole length is covered.

    the cut ends of all bars, except those made of stainless steel, should have a minimum covering, which is equal to that established for unprotected carbon steel, in the exposed position considered (Eurocode 6, Part 1-1, table 5.2), unless other means of protection are used.

  • corners

    (Bearing walls and enclosures)

    · these can be resolved with:

      a. complementary corner pieces

      b. complementary end and middle pieces

    · in case a:

    the resolution of different corners on a floor should not be considered independently, but as a whole, keeping in mind that in the wall configuration at U or at Z the first corner will determine all the rest

    · in case b:

    1. conditions for tie-in should be followed.

    2. on the vertical joints, place two lines of mortar between the tongue and groove and the flat surface of the piece being laid.

    · when it is not possible to access the indicated complementary pieces, use cut pieces and base pieces which can be adjusted with mortar. In this case, place some mesh in the facing within this area.

  • meeting walls

    (Load-bearing walls and enclosures)

    · where T-type walls meet, use complementary end pieces and medium pieces for the layers that penetrate the perpendicular wall, always ensuring compliance with tie-in conditions.

    · when the complementary pieces indicated are not available, use cut base pieces which can be adjusted with mortar. In this case, place some mesh in the facing within this area.

    · place lines of mortar (T-type and cross meeting points) on vertical joints where the tongue and groove does not fit together.

    · given that the meeting point for perpendicular walls is created by attaching the pieces, it is not necessary to include bedding trusses. These would only be used if the pieces were not tied in.

    · for external enclosures at those points where there may be significant restriction of horizontal movement within the enclosure (for example, in the area around the movement joints), the wall meeting points should be prepared with flexible unions using the appropriate ties (for example, Z-shaped circles).

    · in seismic areas with 0,6g £ ac £ 0,12g a rigid solution should be used, except when solutions are designed which can respond to seismic actions (ductility).

    in seismic areas with ac < 0,6g any of the solutions can be used.

  • movement joints Vertical movement joints

    (Load-bearing walls and enclosures).

    · the separation between vertical movement joints should be the same as for other clay bricks.

    · vertical movement joints should have a width of between 10 and 20 mm. The thickness of the joint should be constant.

    · in order to determine the joint edges, end joints and middle26 pieces should be used. Laid middle pieces should have a uniform surface and any projecting pieces resulting from the pre-cut should be removed.

    · to prevent the wall losing stability at the joint, use ties to attach both wall coverings so that only the horizontal movement of the wall is permitted on its plane

    · the ties mentioned are of the type indicated in section Use at least one tie every two layers of Termoarcilla® block, in order to achieve adequate transmission of perpendicular stress to the wall planes that form the joint.

    · the horizontal mortar joint should be continuous in the area where the ties are placed. Nonetheless, in climatic zones where there is a risk of condensation, the joint should be interrupted and the ties should be centred alternatively in one of the two lines of mortar.

    · as in traditional brickwork enclosures, when making the joint, it needs to comply with the current regulations on fire resistance requirements.

    · the sealing support should be made with a cord placed in front of the material used for filling the joint. The external seal should be made once the surface layer has been completed.

    · the edges of the joint’s external surface layer need to be flat enough to take up the seal correctly.

  • vertical movement joints which coincide with structural expansion joints

    · make these at the necessary width, according to the calculations.

    · when widths greater than the movement joints are required, it is advisable to use prefabricated joints with profiles.

    · when using complementary pieces and placing ties, the same criteria should be applied as in the section above.

    · as in traditional brickwork enclosures, when making the joint, it needs to comply with the fire resistance requirements in the current regulations

  • horizontal movement joints

    · horizontal movement joints are made according to the following criteria:

    1. in load-bearing wall structures with smooth facades, without eaves or canopies, depending on the potential movement at the edge of the last slab, placing a joint in the exterior facing of the slab is recommended.

    if horizontal stresses are produced by thermal action in the top layer of the slab or the layers above it (due to insufficient slab insulation, stresses creating sloping, a flat roof surface, or overhang), resolve the join of this slab with the wall using eaves and canopies, or by using a joint sealer.

    under these conditions, using a horizontal movement joint as the solution will not be sufficient for creating level facades.

    2. in enclosures with porticoed structures with smooth facades, without eaves or canopies, depending on the potential movement at the edge of the last slab, placing a joint in the exterior facing of the slab is recommended. From the last slab, it is advisable to do this every two floors to avoid sag accumulation. Resolve the support for the enclosure with a metal profile, after which this joint should be made on all floors.

    · horizontal movement joints should be made at the height of the interior face of the slabs, except with the profile variant (in exterior enclosures), where the exterior joint should be placed at the height of the uppermost face.

    · as in vertical movement joints, the exterior seal should be placed, prior to placing a cord, with the same sealing material.

  • starter walls

    (Load-bearing walls and enclosures)

    · resolve the wall starting point using the same criteria as for traditional works, from which the details can be extrapolated.

    · waterproof barriers should be placed on all walls, whether they are perimeter or interior walls.

  • starting point situated above ground level or exterior surface

    · place this at a height greater or equal to 30 cm.

    · place a waterproof barrier at the first joint, keeping its potential impact in mind if horizontal stresses should occur.

    · on reaching the starting point for the façade, finish the covering off with a profile.

  • starting point situated below ground level or exterior surface

    · lay a waterproof barrier at a height above or equal to 30 cm above the ground.

    · the impermeability under the waterproof barrier will guarantee the face of the enclosure if:

      - perimeter drains are placed in the areas under the ground, and

      - appropriate coverings are applied to the above-surface parts, up to the height of the waterproof barrier.

  • lintels

    · resolve these with U-shaped ceramic pieces of lightweight Termoarcilla®, on which the truss and cement should be applied on site.

    · the loads to which they may be subjected will vary depending on whether they are supporting or enclosing walls. Their dimensions should be made according to current regulations for calculating brick walls. Local stresses at the lintel supports should be less or equal to the allowable stress for the brickwork.

  • lintel support:

    - in order to avoid moments of relevant alignments which place significant load concentrations on the jamb, do not use excessive lengths for supports. For this purpose, employ solutions such as placing a concrete block on the lintel supports.

    - the lintel should be 1/5 supported on each side of the beam span, with a minimum of 30 cm supported on load-bearing walls. On non-load-bearing walls, a support of at least a 15 cm is required.

    - load-bearing walls:

    · it is not necessary to check calculations for gap spaces:

    · for the remaining spaces, support of the load-bearing structure on the wall should be justified by calculation, taking into account the fixed-end moment.

    · the allowable deflection in relation to the L space in the gap should obey:

    - the maximum allowable distortion for the brickwork situated over the gap (in the case of facades, consider L/1000);

    - the requirements of the joinery manufacturer. In relation to the criteria for distributing the load, there is no difference to the calculations of a traditional manufacturer

    · place the lintel on the mortar joint, which will be continuous in the support area (interior and exterior walls).

    · put the covering on the lintels by securing the armature with a length equal to or greater than 20 cm at each side, and make a runoff in the lower facing. In the corners above the gaps, reinforce the facing mesh with bands of 20 x 35 cm or larger, placed perpendicularly on the diagonal of the gap.


specific criteria for load-bearing walls:
  • structural criteria

    the walls should work on basic compression, avoiding excessive horizontal pressures, bending away from the wall plane, strong eccentricities of loads or local traction.

    in general, the mechanical capacity of a load-bearing wall which depends, among other parameters, on its thinness, will improve if it is conveniently joined at the ends to the slabs and to other walls which will shore it throughout its height.

    avoid elements of walls which are excessively thin, and which may encounter problems with stability.

    the distance between the axes of shoring walls should be a maximum of 8 cm, the same as for the rest of the brickwork. Its minimum free-standing length (without including the thickness of the shored walls) should be 0.2 times the clear height above floor level, and its dimensions should be checked through calculation.

  • slabs

    · slabs should be created according to EFHE and EHE instructions

    · warping limits:

    the total warp over time should not exceed the lower of the following values: L/250 and L/500 + 1 cm.

    the active warp should not exceed the lower of the following values: L/500 y L/1000 + 0,5 cm.

    · in the union with the slab, there should be reinforced concrete ties placed within the thickness of the actual wall. Joint solutions should be applied which increase the edge of the tie in respect of the slab. Alternatively, joint solutions can also be used without increasing the edge of the slab. In either case, an overlap splice can be applied by including or inserting the overhanging armature.

    - in the first case, the following value is recommended for the edge of the tie:

    cz = c + 5, where: cz edge of the tie

    the purpose of increasing the edge of the tie is so that it does not interfere with the armatures of the beams.

    · width of the tie:

    - if this is an exterior wall, the width of the tie should follow the values below:

    az ³ 2/3 t

    az ³ 14 cm, where:az thickness of the tie, t thickness of the wall below it

    - if this is an internal wall, the width of the tie should be equal to the thickness of the wall below it.

  • cements

    · the settling differences in the cement between every two points should be as small as possible, and their separation should be no greater than 1/500.

    · the base of the continuous footing of a wall should always be horizontal and situated on one single plane whenever possible. When this is not possible, use formworks to distribute it evenly.

    · if cementing with isolated footings or piling is required, place these between joint beams of the appropriate dimensions to flex and resist the load of the walls, in a way that will not cause any relative deformities greater than 1/500 or 1/1000+0.5 between two points.

  • gaps, panels, pillars and pilasters

    · the minimum length of the buttresses should be 45 cm 20 , available as 1 and a half pieces.

    · in load-bearing wall structures with seismic acceleration coefficient values: 0.06 £ ac /g £ 0.12, the information indicated in chapter IV of the NCSE-94 should be followed:

    - the distance between gaps should not be less than 60 cm

    - the distance between a gap and a corner should be greater than 80 cm

    · if it is necessary to substitute a load-bearing wall with a beam supported on pillars and pilasters, the pillars should be a minimum of 45x45 cm 21 .

    the pilasters should be a minimum width of 45 cm 22 . The pillar solution should not be used in buildings situated in areas of seismic acceleration with a coefficient equal to or greater than 0.06 g, in order to avoid important differences in rigidity in both floor directions.

specific criteria for exterior enclosures:
  • slabs

    · slabs should comply with EFHE and EHE instructions.

    · sag limitation:

    the active sag should, not exceed the lower of the following values: L/500 and L/1000 + 0.5 cm.

    · to avoid defects in the enclosure, the slabs should be rigid, particularly along the perimeter which supports the enclosure.

    on the perimeter supporting the enclosure, the indicated sag condition should be applied for a separation of pillars which is less than a 5.50 m. For separations of the same size or greater, create a line of rigidity on the upper edge of the slab.

    the criteria indicated above will not be applicable if the enclosure is integrated into the structure, as this will become a supporting wall.

  • structural joints

    the enclosure should respect the expansion joints within the structure and place the movement joints so as to coincide with these whenever possible.

  • cements

    follow the same criteria as for load-bearing walls.

  • gaps and panels

    the minimum length of the buttresses should be 30 cm, coinciding with the length of the block. If the length is 30 cm, it will not be necessary to attach the blocks, and the buttresses can be settled in with base pieces in all the layers. The butt joints of these blocks can be levelled with mortar, before applying the exterior covering.

    in areas with seismic requirements, where horizontal actions may affect buttress integrity, use buttresses with a greater minimum length.


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