After original plans for a tower and staircase to be built using timber and metal fell through, master bricklayer Lawrence Bates had to think on his feet to come up with a masonry solution.
Having already completed the masonry work for this unique house in Dorset, Lawrence was called back to construct the unusual feature.
Around 600 H+H aircrete blocks were used to construct the inner skin of the tower, each of which Lawrence had to cut in half to create a circular tube rising 20 feet.
H+H aircrete blocks are highly flexible, making them ideally suited for this project which required a lot of cutting. This proved particularly useful for the intricate cuts that had to be made to create the tower’s windows.
To create the curve, Lawrence placed a scaffold pole in the centre of the tower and used a piece of timber with a fine point like a compass. Blocks were cut in half and a corner of each block was laid to the point of the timber to produce a perfectly round structure.
Aircrete was used for the inner skin of the tower because it has better U-values than the dense block specified for the outer skin. The dense block was specified for the tower to be in-keeping with the original masonry structure once plans had to be changed. Though Lawrence remarked that he would have used Celcon Blocks for both layers if he had the choice.
Constructing the tower and staircase took around seven days and was a crucial part of the overall build, allowing other trades to get started on work upstairs once complete.
Quick thinking and flexible products made this mini project a success, allowing for minimal disruption to construction and leaving the main contractor happy.
“I work with aircrete a lot. H+H Celcon Blocks are always good to work with and I would choose them over concrete where possible. When I was building the tower and creating that curve, having blocks that were easy to handle and easy to cut was great."
– Lawrence Bates