Despite being Helifix approved installers for nearly 30 years we still get asked “What is the Helifix system?” This isn’t surprising; unless a client has had a need for structural repairs to buildings before, they would probably not know anything about the Helifix system, why would they? Here our MD Bryan Hindle covers Helifix in a nutshell:
The Helifix system is a collection of materials, methods and techniques which allow economical and unobtrusive repair of cracked and damaged buildings. The system relies of three basic but crucial elements. Together, these combine to form the Helifix System:
These three parts form the basis of the best available solution for owners of buildings in need of structural repair. Of course there are always traditional alternatives for repairing buildings. Brick-Tie apply partial demolition and re-building methods too; sometimes alongside the Helifix system. However, in the vast majority of cases the disruption, expense and waste associated with re-building is completely avoided, via our Helifix structural repair solutions.
There are lots of cases over the years, where we have been called on to solve problems associated with bulging walls, cracked masonry, bowing and settlement. Clients had been told that entire walls must be re-built. Costs were enormous, sales of these properties were delayed or sometimes completely blighted. Vendors left with damaged wall and decorations, which they were told was not covered by their building insurance. In many cases they couldn’t afford the cost of the re-build themselves – they were stuck.
That is, until Brick-Tie were called in. Our long experience and expert application of the Helifix system has saved customers tens of thousands of pounds over three decades. With careful specification, knowledge of practical application and the backing of Helifix’s unrivaled technical flair, we have often done what owners thought was impossible. Cracked and bulging walls stabilised in a timely and stress free way, with a guaranteed result. Sales go through at last, deals are done and everyone wins – how?
Well, it is not easy. It’s taken three decades of refinement, testing and dedication from Helifix and their team. Now under the esteemed Ancon brand, Helifix are even better resourced to continue research and development of Helibar and associated applications. Brick-Tie are heavily involved in this too, having helped proof test a number Helifix’s products over the years.
Helifix Helibars, BowTies and CemTies are just three of the innovative products we use on a weekly basis. But what of the second and third parts of the triangle?
There’s no doubt that the range of products in the Helifix system are the best, among a few apparently similar manufacturers. However, an old saying goes “A bad workman will always blame his tools”. This is as true now as when first uttered. Helifix are keenly aware that the best repair system in the world will never work if those specifying and installing it do not do this with diligence.
Brick-Tie have a very similar attitude, it’s why we have been Investors in People for over ten years. Being cynical, I suppose you could say that if tools are given to the wrong guy, anything can be messed-up. However, in those cases, you’ll usually find that the guy in question was untrained, unmotivated and underpaid. “If you pay peanuts you get monkeys” springs to mind.
This is why Brick-Tie and Helifix make such good bedfellows. Putting people at the centre of a repair system, giving them great training, learning support and a path to excellence is what makes the difference for both organisations. This isn’t marketing hype; Brick-Tie are multiple winners of national awards for staff training and personal development – we have the T-shirt. Helifix is unique in the field when it comes to training for installers and technical back-up. You could say we and Helifix were made for each other.
One reason why this matters so much is the unobtrusive nature of the work we, and Helifix do. Once remedial wall ties, lateral restraints and Helibars are installed there is nothing to see. Unless a client watches every move a technician makes, with an installation guide in hand; how does that client know all is well?
Well, in truth the client is trusting the installer. What is this trust based on? The cost of the work, nice flashy web site or, the locality of the installer to the client’s house? Trust based on these things sounds like a big gamble. How about trust based on an established reputation, experience, qualifications of the technicians and finally, demonstrable care for training and support by the installer’s employer?
This is the Helifix approved installer scheme in a nutshell. It is designed to make sure that installers have the skills they need. Also, through Brick-Tie and some other dedicated Helifix Installers, they have the training, engagement, and self-respect, which are the marks of a true professional remedial technician. Helifix monitor approved installers to make sure that professional standards are maintained.
Thus far we’ve covered the Helifix materials, methods and training support. The end result here is a job well done. Why add a third level? Read on and I’ll explain the importance of the Helifix Approved installer guarantee scheme.
Why would Helifix take on the insurance risk of a structural repair carried out using their materials? Bear in mind what I wrote earlier – there is little to see once work is done. Why take the risk? Well for a start, in Helifix’s case, how great is that risk? I would say it is a very small risk to take. There are other manufacturers of various helical ties and such like. I’ve enclosed an image (below) of what can happen when untrained and disengaged contractors get their hands on unfamiliar materials and tools. It can be grim.
However, with the support of ‘real’ specialist wall tie and structural repair contractors like Brick-Tie, who have demonstrated commitment to Helifix training, the risk is much reduced. Helifix can be confident that the repair specification is appropriate to the cracking. That the technicians know what they are doing and that the management and supervision is all as it should be.
Why take a risk at all though? This is entirely for the benefit of our clients. I mentioned earlier that some property sales and purchases are stalled due to apparently insurmountable structural problems. What’s to stop those involved just getting any old builder to buy some ties on the internet and make a promise that all is now well? Not much really, except that when this does happen, buyers; represented by their mortgage lenders, surveyors and solicitors, tend to get stressed and demand guarantees.
Guarantees may be a just a piece of paper, with nothing but the cost of the paper and ink backing them up. Helifix guarantees are insured, but more importantly, the underwriters demand the following:
The above means that lenders, buyers, homeowners, commercial and residential clients can rely on the Helifix system. It is validated and encompassed by the best quality control system in the industry. Yet Brick-Tie not only use the system, we actually improve on it.
Our in-house training, personal development and on-site supervision, testing and recording practice takes quality assurance to another level. Weekly briefings are held on every project, with all our technicians. We run regular training days to refine and improve our work. For example ALL tension test gauge readings are recorded in writing and digitally.
This is why I re-attended Helifix training myself for the third time recently. Structural repairs and materials evolve over time. Regular Continuing Professional Development is key to all our staff – myself included.
Do you have a building with cracks, signs of settlement or potential wall tie corrosion? Why not call Yorkshire’s finest Helifix approved Installers? our friendly staff are waiting to help you on Leeds 0113 232 8433 York 01904 566 577 , or Sheffield 0114 224 5121 You can use our contact form too.
Here is a link to our residential structural repair, and commercial structural repairs pages, where you can see further details. How about visiting our Listed Buildings and historic repair page too – see how we use the Helifix system to save our historic buildings.
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