The Brick Bud - helping safeguard bricklayers on construction sites

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It is a subject and a health and safety concern we hear little about – but for the world’s bricklayers – it is the difference between life, death or serious injury. The danger is known as wall blowdowns, where partially constructed brick walls collapse due to strong winds – incidents that can have devastating consequences, as well as causing delays and financial losses, but that could all be about to change, writes John Ridgeway.

Incidences of wall blowdowns are not documented separately either in the UK or America, but are hidden within general health and safety statistics, but there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that it is a major problem – as Carl Harris, managing director of Harris Brick Safety Systems, can testify. When a wall collapsed on him – it was literally life changing, to such an extent, that he decided something had to be done to prevent such accidents in the future.

It led to the development of the Brick Bud, a revolutionary wall bracing system, a product poised to transform construction safety practices, offering a tested and reliable solution to this long-standing problem.

A personal mission for better health and safety

When a wall collapsed on Carl during a standard bracing procedure, it resulted in multiple surgeries, extended absence from work and a significant impact on his personal life. Fuelled by this experience and a deep commitment to worker safety, he dedicated himself to creating a better solution.

The traditional method of wall bracing often relies on improvised timber supports. (see picture below) These methods lack proper engineering calculations and can be highly susceptible to failure. Despite safety regulations, these practices persist, putting workers at risk.

The Brick Bud offers a clear alternative. This innovative system is the only tested wall bracing system currently available in the UK. It's designed to withstand winds of up to 73 mph, providing a robust and reliable solution for securing partially or even fully cured constructed walls that have yet to be fixed securely (ie,next to door openinga etc).

The core benefit of the Brick Bud

The primary purpose of the Brick Bud is to prioritise worker safety. Installation is rapid, taking only 90 seconds for each unit. This not only protects workers from blowdowns but also eliminates the time and potential hazards associated with constructing makeshift timber supports.

The number of Brick Bud units required depends on the height of the wall being braced. As a general guideline for a two-metre-high wall you would need one Brick Bud placed every three metres on both sides of the wall for optimal support. This translates to a total of six Brick Buds for a gable end (both sides) of a two-metre-high wall. The system has a total height of two metres, making it suitable for use on various surfaces, including scaffolding mats, concrete slabs, first-floor flooring and with scaffolding lifts (thanks to its foldable design).

The Brick Bud's versatility eliminates the need for different bracing solutions based on the construction stage or platform type. It can function as a reliable profile on the ground and seamlessly integrate with scaffolding lifts, providing consistent safety throughout the construction process.

As an addition bonus the benefits extend far beyond immediate safety concerns. The construction industry is increasingly focused on achieving net-zero carbon emissions. By minimising the need for wasted materials used in makeshift bracing systems, the Brick Bud contributes to a greener construction process. Additionally, by preventing wall blowdowns, the Brick Bud helps projects stay on schedule, reducing the need for rework and further material consumption.

It is no wonder that the product is already being seen as a game changer. Forward-thinking construction companies across the UK are looking closely at the Brick Bud and its potential benefits. Initial user experiences have also been overwhelmingly positive.

Education and awareness

That said, Harris Brick Safety Systems understands that widespread adoption hinges on education and awareness and the company is actively engaged in promoting the Brick Bud through various channels including industry events and trade shows, allowing construction professionals to experience the product firsthand.

The company is also collaborating with safety training providers to integrate the Brick Bud into construction safety training programmes. A dedicated section on the Harris Brick Safety Systems website also offers comprehensive information about the product, including detailed specifications, installation guides and safety benefits.

Inventor Carl Harris has further emphasised the importance of collaboration within the construction industry. Harris Brick Safety Systems is actively seeking partnerships with key stakeholders, including construction industry associations and safety equipment manufacturers and distributors to expand the reach of the Brick Bud and make it more easily accessible across the UK.

The road ahead

The Brick Bud's journey has just begun. With continued innovation, education, and collaboration, this revolutionary product has the potential to transform construction safety practices in the UK and beyond. Carl Harris is already committed to continuous improvement. Future iterations of the Brick Bud could offer features like adjustable heights or integrated wind speed sensors.

The need for safe wall bracing is universal. The Brick Bud's design can be adapted to meet international construction standards, potentially making it a global leader in wall bracing solutions. More importantly, the widespread adoption of the Brick Bud could signify a broader cultural shift within the construction industry, prioritising worker safety and embracing innovative solutions that minimise risks.

The Brick Bud story is one of resilience, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of safety. As Carl Harris himself states: "We can't change the past, but we can certainly make the future safer for construction workers everywhere. With the Brick Bud gaining momentum, the future of construction is indeed looking brighter, safer, and more sustainable.”

The Brick Bud is currently available for purchase directly from Harris Brick Safety Systems' website. The company has also received interest from distributors and equipment rental firms, indicating a growing demand for this innovative solution.

As the construction industry strives for a future that is safer, greener, and more efficient, the Brick Bud is poised to play a pivotal role. By prioritising worker safety, reducing environmental impact and streamlining project timelines, the Brick Bud sets a new standard for wall bracing systems.

It would seem that Carl Harris's personal journey of resilience and innovation has led to a product that has the potential to revolutionise the construction industry for the better.

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