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Tower of flats repaired following masonry collapse

Client: Places For People Housing Association
Location: Huddersfield
Approved Installer: St Astier
Reference No: CS058

When a large section of the tower wall failed and collapsed at Lockbridge Mill Flats, the former Union Mills Factory in Huddersfield, the owners, Places For People Housing Association, required a rapid, cost-effective means of ensuring the structural integrity of the complete tower in order to prevent any future dangerous failures. A reliable and proven solution was provided by structural repair specialist, Helifix Ltd.

Constructed in the early 1900's, Union Mill had been refurbished and converted into residential flats in later years. The building and tower are constructed from traditional local stone with rubble-filled walls approximately 600mm thick. During some cleaning and repointing works the contractor reported a severe bulge in the wall which lead to the localised collapse shortly afterwards. The cause was likely to have been water ingress at a window opening which washed away the rubble fill fines, leading to instability in the masonry and resulting in the collapse.

At the instigation of Approved Installer, St Astier, who undertook the work, Helifix devised a suitable non-disruptive repair scheme that would restore full structural integrity to the tower. Pairs of long stainless steel HeliBars, over 200m in all, were bonded into the mortar joints at five different levels around the corners of the tower to tie in and reinforce the stonework. In addition, some 700 fully grouted CemTies were installed across all three elevations of the tower, in a staggered 450mm x 450mm grid, to consolidate the rubble fill constructed walls.

With the collapsed area rebuilt and the tower's stonework secured by the concealed non-disruptive Helifix repair techniques, an economical solution was provided that ensured the future structural integrity of these housing association flats.