Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

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Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby FT10toLOS » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:59 pm

I am an Australian builder, looking to build in Isaan.

My question is, does load bearing cavity brickwork construction exist in Thailand?

I've only seen the concrete column and beam construction with infill brickwork.
Although I know labour is cheap, the column and beam method seems very labour intensive to me and prone to faults ie concrete variables.

Thank you in advanced for any info. If this has been covered in other topics, a point in the right direction would be appreciated.
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby BKKBILL » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:30 pm

Most Thai’s can build with post and beam. Don’t think I would trust any brickwork here to support anything other than itself.

20x60x20 Q-con AAC blocks are load bearing. Thing is they are heavy at 14.89kg each.

http://qcon.co.th/en/product/q-con-block/
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby Klondyke » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:09 pm

FT10toLOS wrote:I am an Australian builder, looking to build in Isaan.

My question is, does load bearing cavity brickwork construction exist in Thailand?
I've only seen the concrete column and beam construction with infill brickwork.
Although I know labour is cheap, the column and beam method seems very labour intensive to me and prone to faults ie concrete variables.


Yes, I agree with you. I have been practising it with the simple cement blocks made in villages, laid in double, with certain reinforcing inside (horizontal, vertical). Then also the thermal insulation of the walls is improved.

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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby pipoz » Wed Mar 11, 2015 9:01 pm

FT10toLOS wrote:I am an Australian builder, looking to build in Isaan.

My question is, does load bearing cavity brickwork construction exist in Thailand?

I've only seen the concrete column and beam construction with infill brickwork.
Although I know labour is cheap, the column and beam method seems very labour intensive to me and prone to faults ie concrete variables.

Thank you in advanced for any info. If this has been covered in other topics, a point in the right direction would be appreciated.


Yes the blocks you need to construct a load bearing wall, do exist. Have a look at my Build under Udon Thani Happy House Pages 9 to 13

I actually built some of my façade walls as Load Bearing i.e. ran reinforcement up through the block cavity and then concrete filled them. Those 400x400 block work piers either side on my bedroom door opening and the block work over the top of then were built as load bearing even though I had a concrete ring beam over the top. A bit over overkill by me. I also reinforced some of the longer span wall areas from slab to underside of concrete roof beam.

The 400x 200 x 150mm concrete block were TB 30 each (I referred to them a Super Block). They are excellent quality, well vibrated blocks, locally made with properly formed square edges and even a "V" groove along the top for you to run reinforcement bar horizontally, if you wish to. These were equal to anything in Australia or the Middle East, I estimate they around 10 Mpa Crushing Strength.
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby BKKBILL » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:06 pm

So which is it brickwork or blockwork?

I'm sticking to my story. :mrgreen:

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 10.01.28 PM.png


Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 10.00.58 PM.png
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby pipoz » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:19 pm

I misread his post and thought he was referring to load bearing block walls, hence my response

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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby Roger Ramjet » Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:36 am

FT10toLOS wrote:I am an Australian builder, looking to build in Isaan.

My question is, does load bearing cavity brickwork construction exist in Thailand?

To be honest, no. Bricks here are fired at a very low temperature and have been know to crumble when wet or dry.
There was an Aussie company company here which made real bricks, but I haven't seen them advertise for the last 5 years.
You would also have a problem finding the Thais who could or would actually lay them and it certainly wouldn't be 300 bricks a day and off to the pub, more like 100 a day and off to "a funeral" for a week. Many many relatives die during builds.
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby FT10toLOS » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:48 pm

Thanks one and all for your responses. They were most enlightening.

In AUS load being brickwork and blockwork is a common form of construction, but the heavy steel framed roofs, used in Thailand, up the ante. If I do go down this path, it looks like concrete filled blocks would be the best option.
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby pipoz » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:04 pm

FT10toLOS wrote:Thanks one and all for your responses. They were most enlightening.

In AUS load being brickwork and blockwork is a common form of construction, but the heavy steel framed roofs, used in Thailand, up the ante. If I do go down this path, it looks like concrete filled blocks would be the best option.
Regards Rod


I didn't use the typical heavier steel frame Thai system, refer Page 7 of my Build. I used the Top Hat System from SCG-Homemart

There are other similar systems available, from Thaiwatsadu (Diamond) and Lysagths

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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby Ians » Thu Mar 12, 2015 9:33 pm

Go with columns beams and in-fill, don't rock the boat as load bearing walls is, "uh - what that - no do it that way"
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby Rimtalay » Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:21 pm

Hi Rod,
A suggestion is to make your own blocks as we are doing for our house project. A method of building which is done in the USA and now being done in Australia is dry-stacking concrete blocks. In these countries many companies design their own dry-stacking blocks and the method is not only strong load bearing but is also extremely fast and does away with the standard Thai column and beam construction. The blocks are usually 400 x 200 x 200 and are stacked without mortar, and then rebar is added horizontally as rows progress and the vertical rebar is dropped in prior to pouring the block cavities. google dry-stacking concrete blocks and you will get the idea of how it works.
We have made timber molds and make our own blocks using a concrete mix that ensures an extremely strong block. Yes it takes time to do the blocks prior to starting the house but the quality is excellent and price is cheap, ie materials and labour working out about 42 baht per block.
House foundations will be done to Australian standards using trenches, 12mm rebar is set in the perimeter upstanding just 600mm at 800 centres. The blocks are then dry-stacked and we will pour every 6 rows with horizontal 12mm rebar every 3rd row. Rebar will be dropped down the vertical cavity at the appropriate locations giving an over lap of 600mm and protruding 600mm ready for the next courses of blocks. All electrical and plumbing is installed inside the cavities prior to pouring the concrete. We have made 6 different type of blocks including lintel blocks, half blocks corner blocks. We have even made blocks for electrical sockets so that we don't have to cut blocks later.
Where we require stand alone columns we are making 400x 400 x 200 blocks with a 50mm wall. Our blocks also have a radius on the corners. These column blocks will be stacked and then rebar will be dropped in from the top before the cavity is poured. A column 400x 400 x 200mm can be stacked from ground level to 2.8metres high is less than 30 minutes, not bad when you compare to the time it takes Thai workers to make a 200x 200 column and then have to use red bricks to enlarge the column to 400 x 400 and then have to render it because the job is so rough. The dry-stacked column is then poured in one go, using about 1/4 cubic metre of concrete.
We have made molds to produce 30 standard blocks 5 other assorted blocks and 3 column blocks, this is done by one person and can be done in one day but as per Thai people a lot of chatting goes on and some days this is not accomplished.
DSCN4622.JPG
One of our stack of blocks, note they are upside down
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby Rimtalay » Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:58 pm

A few more photos to give you an idea of what our dry-stacking blocks look like.
DSCN4623.JPG
Block molds

DSCN4625.JPG

DSCN4635.JPG
Column blocks in the foreground
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby Roger Ramjet » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:51 pm

Rimtalay wrote:We have made timber molds and make our own blocks using a concrete mix that ensures an extremely strong block. Yes it takes time to do the blocks prior to starting the house but the quality is excellent and price is cheap, ie materials and labour working out about 42 baht per block.

Just a couple of things, the original poster asked about bricks. Making concrete blocks is fine, but I would hate to live in the house in "summer', it would be stifling.
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby canopy » Sun Mar 15, 2015 9:06 pm

Agreed. Thick AAC blocks are a good way since they provide exceptional thermal properties and are certified for load bearing.
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Re: Load bearing, cavity brickwork.

Postby Rimtalay » Mon Mar 16, 2015 12:23 pm

Hi Roger,
I must disagree with your comments about the house being stifling in summer. I agree that I'm not talking about bricks, however Rod mentioned that he was an Aussie builder so I'm sure he knows all about concrete blocks.
However back to your remarks, " I would hate to live in the house in "summer', it would be stifling."
Yes, solid concrete is high in what's known as thermal mass. Dense materials - such as concrete and brick -if used properly - in the right amount in the right place,- then thermal mass can help maintain comfortable temperatures inside your home year round. Using concrete as thermal mass is also useful for cooling because it keeps absorbing heat as long as the air temperature is warmer than the thermal mass.
The design of the home is extremely important, the walls must be protected from the heat of the sun, this is done with wide eaves up to 1.8 metres in width. My home in QLD is built this way and whilst the house has aircon its seldom used. Why? The house is always cool as the sun does not shine for hours on the walls.
I doubt whether many people who build houses in Thailand are aware of the environmental aspects of building a home, as I've only seen one or two homes in 25 years in Thailand that I consider to be environmentally friendly. Why is this? Mostly because Thai architects have had little training or knowledge in this field. I know that in Australia now Universities are lecturing the new generation Architect student in environmental sustainability, and whilst this is boring to a few it is also the way of the future.
A quote from the Natural Home Building Source .
"In parts of Florida, nearly every home is block-built to avoid termites, rot, and tropical storms. They found high thermal mass homes excel at keeping air conditioning bills lower by virtue of the fly-wheel effect and more comfortable radiant cooling. Radiant cooling and heating are more comfortable because you store the cooling and heating energy in the walls and floor, not just the stale air inside the home."

So Roger, I'll bet the home that I build in Thailand will be far cooler in summer that any other Thai built home in Thailand when the aircon is not running. Not only will our home be far cooler than any other Thai home it will be designed by an Aussie architect who is fully aware of the latest environmental sustainability and passive solar designs. The home will also use the sun to cool the home when aircon is NOT running as it will have cooling water system in the centre of the home powered by the sun. If the aircon is turned on then it will not be churning out hot air from the condenser like every conventional aircon unit in Thailand, as hot air from the aircon condenser heats the environment and uses more electricity due to the fan and extra time running due to the inefficiency . My aircon system condenser will use well water and the compressor unit will be powered by the sun. Yes, I know what I'm talking about, I've been doing it for the last 10 years in Australia.
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