Gun-Point has revolutionised the repointing
ONE of the most labour-
intensive operations in many refurbishment contracts is the
raking out and repointing of brickwork.
And anybody who
has been involved in any large-scale operation of this kind
will confirm that quality control, at all stages, is vital.
The process is time-consuming, laborious, dirty and hardly one
which inspires the average site operative to creative heights.
When it was first suggested that the whole process could
be mechanised, sceptics doubted that any company could change
one of the industry's habits of a lifetime. Builders have been
traditionally perverse in accepting changes in their methods
of working. The rule of thumb seems to be: "the dirtier and
slower it is, the longer we should hang onto it" - witness,
for example, the time that it has taken contractors to
recognise the value of the flexible plastic rubbish chute
In just over six years, the all-British Gun-Point
mechanised repointing operation has confounded its critics and
established a nationwide licencees of 30 specially-trained
mobile teams. The system has also been widely taken up by
local authorities, which are notoriously cautious about
adopting new methods. The key attractions to them appear to be
its quality control and speed.
Both the raking out
preparatory work and the delivery and insertion of the new
mortar are done by electrically-powered tools and pumps. Even
the debris and dust from the raking back is vacuumed by a
special dust extraction motor to form a clean recess.
According to Gun-Point, the need for masonry repointing
usually arises when a building is about 40 years old. In the
case of Britain's local authority housing stock, therefore,
this means that there are well over one million council homes
that will require attention.
Many of these are large,
traditionally-built housing estates of the inter-war period,
such as the 50 houses being fully repointed for the New Forest
Council. For the 50 houses on the Whitton Estate in Ipswich,
Gun-Point was able to meet the client's specification of an
18mm depth in mortar that was impossible to rake by hand; the
depth gauges on Gun-Point's special raking tools ensured this
depth was achieved consistently. The patented mortar pump and
gun then repointed with a gauged mortar based on local sands
to match the original colour.
constructed properties also have their share of defective
mortar problems. Gun-Point's technology is ideal for being
able to rake hard cement mortar, as well as tackling deep
pointing. Six pre-war houses and four bungalows in Ditchling,
Sussex were plagued by mortar bees. The properties had been
repointed only five years previously but as a shallow rake had
been used, the bees burrowed around it causing serious damage.