Decorative panels can also be incorporated into the face of an isolated or attached pier, with the same principle applying of leaving an opening in the pier into which the panel is inserted. In order to have a meaningful impact, the panel needs tobe at least one brick wide, so they can only be accommodated on piers that are a minimum of two bricks wide, in at least one direction. Panels on piers tend to be limited to one side only and no more than two opposing sides should incorporate a panel. Attempting to insert a panel on three or all four sides of a pier would compromise the bonding arrangement too much and undermine the pier’s strength.

In the construction of a two-brick x two-brick (440mm x 440mm) square, isolated pier in English bond with a strapwork panel to one elevation (see Fig 261), half-bricks are used on courses 5, 7 and 9 to facilitate leaving an opening to receive the panel. If required, this could be repeated on the back of the pier without seriously compromising the bond or the strength of the finished pier.

Due to the slender width-to-height ratio of a pier, the finished panels tend to be narrow and tall, which is why they are sometimes called ‘strapwork’ panels.


Plan of overselling course Plan of brick-on-edge coping

Fig. 261 Incorporating a strapwork panel into an isolated pier.