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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When is Brick Selection a Board Issues?

For those who might be interested, here is an email chain explaining the issue with the brick selection for the new Portage Central High School. I heard through the grapevine that people thought I was concerned about the color of the bricks! How silly. No, I am concerned about the long term structural integrity.

The conclusion is that the bricks will have a one year warranty and any leakage repair will be the responsibility of the Portage School District. I know our construction team will do their best to make sure we do not have any issues, but I believe the Board should have voted to accept this level of risk. As it is, the Board indirectly accepted the accountability by doing nothing.

From: Melanie Kurdys Date: Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 9:46 AM
Subject: When is Brick Selection a Board Level Issue?To: Portage School Board and Superintendent

Hi all, Some may say never. And I would agree it is never our job to go looking for minor items to make issue about. On the other hand, it is our job to make sure the processes are working. Evidence suggests some additional support to our process might be needed.

Attached are two separate independent sources which suggest the architectural design for the large bricks at PC are not the most structurally sound choice, The Masonry Institute of Michigan and the Brick Industry Association.

The question is, assuming these independent sources might be correct, who is accountable for the decision to accept this risk and who will pay the bill if the bricks in fact do leak and repair work is required? Do we have legal protection whereby someone, not the school district, will pay for needed repairs to a level of quality we accept? Is this protection adequate and are we willing to take this risk? Melanie
Attached is a technical note from the Brick Industry Association that cautions against tall units.
Kelly L. K. Walker Architectural Services Director Masonry Institute of Michigan, Inc.
24725 W. Twelve Mile Rd.
Suite 388
Southfield, MI 48034

Forwarded conversationSubject: Brick Association Engineer's observation

Charlie, Gregg a VP of the Brick Industry Association and P.E. He agrees with your observations. I think that one would be hard pressed to find anyone that would think that this detail is a good idea. Ed

Ed: Brian is receiving this email s he can also comment.
I agree that obtaining full head joints with a 4 x 8 x16” unit laid in a soldier course is difficult. It is hard enough to get full head joints if a modular brick is laid as a soldier. Using one of the features noted in the email from Mr. Wise is preferable.
Engineering and Research Brick Industry Association 703-674-154

Gregg, Would you mind forwarding to Brian or give me your thoughts on a 8*16 soldier course. We think it may be asking for trouble. Ed

I'd be interested in your thoughts regarding the 8X16 soldier course banding around the building on the attached drawing. This large clay masonry unit which laid soldier course will make the coring horizontal and in my opinion hard to fill the head joint, which will be 16" tall and a potential hazard for water penetration leading to numerous problems. 8" inches wide X 16 inches high X 4 inch bed depth. One of my thoughts would be to lay this accent banding out of 4 courses of regular utility size brick laid running bond of the desired accent color. Entire building is being built with 4 x 4 x 12 utility size brick.

Charlie Wiles2628 East Shore DrivePortage, MI 49002

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