Attached Piers in Stretcher Bond
‘Pier’ is another term for pillar and the purpose of an attached pier is to increase the strength of a wall against lateral (sideways) forces or throughout the wall’s height where a point load (for example, from a steel beam) is exerted vertically on the wall.
Probably the most common application of attached piers is when constructing outbuildings such as garages. The inclusion of attached piers at key strength points, such as where doors are hung and also half-way down a long wall, provides sufficient strength to allow the use of half-brick walling in stretcher bond.
In order to provide adequate strength to half-brick walls, piers should be positioned no more than 3m apart along the length of the wall and no more than 3m away from return angles/corners, since the corner acts as a strengthening buttress.
It should be noted that it is usual for attached piers to be located on the back of half-brick walls in stretcher bond. Whilst the face sides of the wall and end piers can be plumbed vertically with a spirit level, the back and inside faces of the pier cannot. Dimensions of bricks will vary from one brick to the next, even from the same pack, and the biggest variance is in the length. Attached piers in stretcher bond require full bricks to pass through the full thickness of the piers on alternate courses. The variation in brick lengths means that only the sides of the piers indicated with a ‘P’ can be plumbed accurately, along with the face side of the external corner (Fig 88). The remaining sides of the piers should be ‘lined-in by eye’ to get as smooth a vertical line as possible. With this in mind, it is important to be selective about the bricks used in constructing such piers; any brick that is very different from the others should be discarded and another selected.
Fig. 88 Attached piers in half-brick stretcher bond.