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Part - 5 (Specifications)

Section - 5
Block Works

Section - 5


5.1 SCOPE :

These specifications cover the materials, manufacture and workmanship for concrete block
work and calcium silicate brickwork and associated items to be incorporated into the works.


5.2.1 Cement :

Cement shall be sulphate resisting Portland Cement complying with BS 4027: 1980
for work up to and including the structural ground slab and ordinary Portland Cement
to BS 12 for work above this level.

5.2.2 Water :

Water shall conform to the requirement specified for water in the 'Concrete Work'

5.2.3 Aggregate :

Aggregate shall conform to the requirements specified for aggregate in the 'Concrete
Work' section and shall comply with BS 882:1983.

5.2.4 Additives :

Additives to mixes for blocks and mortar shall be from approved manufacturers and
shall be used strictly in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Additives
shall only be used with the Engineer's written instructions.

5.2.5 Damp - Proof Courses :

Damp-proof courses, cavity trays and the like shall be 0.3mm PVC sheet and modified
bitumen polymer compound laminate membrane of 1.8mm thickness obtained from an
approved manufacturer. The membrane shall be of a type suitable for hot climates.


5.3.1 Concrete Blocks :

Block work shall comply with BS 6073: Part 1: 1981 Type A and with Dubai
Municipality local order No. 44 of 1990.

Part - 5 (Specifications)
Section - 5
Block Works

5.3 MANUFACTURE [Cont'd]

5.3.1 Concrete Blocks [Cont'd]

Aggregate shall be so sized, graded, proportioned and thoroughly mixed in a batch

mixer with such proportions of cement and water as to produce a homogeneous
concrete mixture.

The recommended mix to obtain the compressive strength and finish required is as
follows :

- 50 kg sulphate resisting cement

- 0.15 m³ fine aggregate (graded up to 4.8mm)

- 0.30 m³ coarse aggregate (graded up to 9.5mm).

Pre-Cast concrete blocks shall be manufactured in approved vibrating machines. If for

any reason the strength requirement is not achieved, the cement shall be increased at
the Contractor's own expense. The water used in the mix shall be clean and of a
sufficient quantity to allow complete hydration of the cement without providing an
excess when moulding.

Concrete blocks shall be hard, sound, durable, sharp, rectangular shape, clean with
well defined arises free from cracks, flaws and other defects.

Concrete blocks shall be either obtained from approved local factory or manufactured
on the Site. If manufactured on site, the blocks shall be press moulded in approved
moulds and vibrating pressure machines with a minimum of 2,800 cycles per minute.

Closers and half blocks shall be purpose made; cut blocks shall not be used.

Blocks manufactured on the site shall be cured in the shade by being kept thoroughly
moist with water applied by sprinklers or other approved means for a period of at least
seven ( 7 ) days. The blocks shall be stacked on a clean and level platform free from
earth or other impurities during the curing process, and shall be stacked in honeycomb
fashion after curing. The blocks shall not be used prior to one ( 1 ) month after the
date of manufacture, nor shall any block be used that have not been inspected and
approved by the Engineer.

Concrete blocks (solid or hollow) shall be manufactured in accordance with BS 6073 :

Part 1 : 1981 and in the following dimension (work sizes) :

- Height = 190mm + 1% Tolerance (200mm coordinating size)

- Length = 390mm + 1% Tolerance (400mm coordinating size)

- Width = As required + 1% Tolerance.

The thickness and work sizes of blocks shall be as indicated on the drawings and as
directed in writing by the Engineer, but shall conform to 75, 90, 100, 140, 190mm
work sizes. Coordinating sizes are 85, 100, 150, 200mm.

Part - 5 (Specifications)
Section - 5
Block Works

5.3 MANUFACTURE [Cont'd]

5.3.1 Concrete Blocks [Cont'd]

All Blocks shall be from approved automatic plant. Blocks from M/s. Juma Al Majid,
M/s. National Block Factory and M/s. Emcon shall be used.

Minimum crushing strength on gross area for :

a) Non load bearing hollow block = 7.5 N/mm²
b) Load bearing hollow blocks = 12.50 N/mm²
c) Solid blocks = 12.50 N/mm²
d) Hurdi blocks = 3.00 N/mm².

8” thick solid blockwork shall be provided below all external tie beams from
foundation level. Also 8” thick solid block work to be provided wherever floor level
changes, as advised by consultant.

Thickness of solid block to be increased to that equal to the tie beam, if the tie beam
thickness is more than 8”. Minimum thickness of solid block work shall be 8”.

Mortar for block shall be 1:3 ratio using SRC/OPC appropriately.

All blocks to be thoroughly cured before placing in position.

All concrete and block junctions to have G.I. hold-fasts for every alternative layer (i.e.
at 16” c/c). Size of hold fast 300 x 30 x 3mm thick.

All junctions between concrete and blockwork shall have 8” wide approved expanded
metallath on both sides for plaster, stainless steel metal lath to be used for external
plaster and GI for internal plaster.

Hollow concrete blocks shall comply with the following requirements :

a) The density of the concrete blocks shall not be less than 1,500 kg/m³ but shall
not exceed 2160 kg/m3.
b) The Compressive Strength at twenty eight ( 28 ) days shall be 70 kg/cm² for
non-load bearing walls and 100 kg/cm² for load bearing walls, expressed as
force per unit of net cross sectional area.
c) The water absorption shall be 20% or less of dry weight.
d) The design of the cavities and webs of the hollow concrete blocks shall be
submitted to the Engineer prior to manufacture. The thickness of the face shell
and of the membrane of solid portions shall not be less than thirty five ( 35 )
mm. The total volume of the cavities shall not exceed 50% of the volume of the

5.3.2 Samples :

Samples of all types and sizes of blocks to be used shall be submitted for the written
approval of the Engineer.

Part - 5 (Specifications)
Section - 5
Block Works

5.3 MANUFACTURE [Cont'd]

5.3.3 Mortar :

Mortar shall be prepared with the addition of the minimum quantity of clean water for

Cement and sand mortar (1:3) mix shall be composed of one part ordinary Portland
Cement to three parts of sand by volume for works above damp proof course level and
mortar mix for below damp proof course shall be one part sulphate resisting cement to
three parts of sand.

The ingredients for mortar shall be measured in proper clean gauge boxes and the
mixing shall be carried out by means of an approved mechanical batch mixer.

Mortars shall be used within thirty ( 30 ) minutes of mixing. Hardened mortars shall
not be used in the work and shall, upon the request of the Engineer, be immediately
removed from the site.


5.4.1 Block Work :

The block work workmanship shall comply in general with the recommendations of
BS 5628 Part 1:1978 (1985) & BS 5628 Part 2: 1985.

All block work shall be set out and built to the respective dimensions, thickness and
heights shown on the Drawings or as instructed in writing by the Engineer.

All walls and partitions, where shown on the Drawings without indicating the type of
the block to be used, shall be built in hollow concrete blocks, unless otherwise
directed in writing by the Engineer.

The blocks shall be wall soaked before being used and the tops of walls left off shall be
wetted before work is recommenced. All blocks shall be well buttered with mortar
before being laid and all joints shall be thoroughly flushed up as the work proceeds. All
joints shall be uniform and shall not exceed 10mm. Block work shall be carried up in a
uniform manner no more than six courses being built in any one day without the prior
permission of the Engineer. Any wall left at different levels must be raked back. All
perpends, quoins, internal and external angles, etc. shall be kept strictly true and square
and the whole properly bonded together and leveled round. All block work shall be
plumbed vertically.

The surface of the walls and partitions prepared for rendering shall have the joints
raked out 20mm from the face of the wall to form key for the plaster.

All block walls shall be bonded to adjacent reinforced concrete structures by means of
galvanized mild steel cramps at every third course, complying in all respects with BS
1243: latest edition. The ties shall be minimum 200mm long one end bent and shot
fired into the reinforced concrete and the remainder set into the block wall.

Part - 5 (Specifications)
Section - 5
Block Works

5.4 WORKMANSHIP [Cont'd]

5.4.1 Block Work [Cont'd]

Partitions shall be bonded to main walls by toothing at every third course to a depth of
not less than 100mm.

Cavity walls shall be built raising the skins of block work at a similar rate and
incorporating wall ties at 900mm horizontal centers and 600mm vertical centers
spaced diagonally.

Cavities shall be kept clear of mortar droppings and the inside faces of block work
shall be pointed as necessary for correct application of insulation.

All walls and partitions shall be properly cured by sprinkling water for a period of not
less than three ( 3 ) days after completion of laying the course.

Walls and partitions terminating against soffits of beams or slabs shall be tightly
wedged with temporary metal wedges after mortar in bed joints has attained its initial
set, and the joint packed with bitumen impregnated building board strips of
appropriate thickness (10, 12, 18mm) with the temporary wedges withdrawn.

Special block shall be fitted next to the reinforced concrete structure, door and
window jambs and sills, and to form chases for the ends of door and window lintels.
If hollow blocks at any built-in fixtures, e.g., door and window frames, apertures,
louvers, etc., they shall be filled with grade 15 concrete and where shown reinforced.

Where block work is described as fair faced, selected hard, sharp, clean blocks shall
be used with well-defined arises and perfect rectangular shape. Joints shall be finished
off with neat flush pointing, taking care to keep mortar from adhering to any part of
the block.

Block work over lintels shall be reinforced with two layers of expanded metal mesh
reinforcement well bedded in mortar and 150mm longer at each end than the lintel.

5.4.2 Fire Stop Products :

Fire resistant products for fire stops shall be of the appropriate type suitable for the
specific application as specified hereunder.

The product shall be capable of stopping the passage of fire, smoke and water through
fire rated wall, floor and ceiling penetrations, claddings and expansion joints for the
specific designed fire ratings of the adjacent areas. The product shall exhibit the
minimum designed fire resistant properties when tested as per BS 476:Part 20:1987
and shall be approved by the Engineer. Necessary certificates to establish the above
shall be produced by the Contractor to the Engineer.

The products shall be obtained from an approved, established and proven firm and
shall be applied by experienced personnel strictly in accordance with the written
instructions of the manufacturer and to the approval of the Engineer.

Part - 5 (Specifications)
Section - 5
Block Works

5.4 WORKMANSHIP [Cont'd]

5.4.2 Fire Stop Products [Cont'd]

Mild steel selves appropriate for the size of the cable/pipe passing through it, with the
least annular space around them shall be provided in the walls, floors and ceilings.
Alternatively, similar openings to those of the sleeves may be provided in concrete.
The size of the openings shall be minimum recommended by the product

The following products shall be provided as appropriate for the situation and as
detailed on the Drawings and to the approval of the Engineer :
a) Silicone sealant : Silicone sealant shall be an elastic fire rated silicone sealant, fire
tested to BS 476:Part 20:1987 and approved by the Engineer.
b) Mastic : Mastic shall be as intumescent, graphite based mastic with expansion
pressure of minimum 7 bar and fire tested to BS 476: Part 20:1987 and
approved by the Engineer.
c) Light Weight Mortar : Mortar shall be light weight and fire resistant with
vermiculite additive. Lightweight mortar shall be used always in conjunction
with and intumescent putty as specified below. The mortar shall be fire tested
to BS 476: Part 20:1987 and approved by the Engineer.
d) Intumescent Putty : Intumescent putty shall be a putty based on graphite and
shall have a 7 bar expansion pressure and shall be tested to BS 476: Part
20:1987 and approved by the Engineer.
e) Backing foam : Backing foam shall be a one component, ready to use,
polyurethane based adhesive expanding sprayed foam. It shall be fire tested to
BS 476: Part 20:1987 and exhibit one hour integrity rating.
f) Mineral Wool / Rock Wool : Rock wool / mineral wool for fire stop applications
shall be of minimum 45 kg/m³ density.

The recommended treatments for various applications shall be as follows in keeping

with the recommendations of the manufacturer of the product and shall be read in
conjunction with the typical details, detailed on the drawings.

Junction of block walls terminating against soffits of beams and slabs shall be treated
as follows :

1) For one hour fire rating : The block wall shall be built so that the gap between the
top of the wall and the soffit of slab / beam is a minimum of 10mm.The gap shall
then be wedged using steel wedges and shall be packed with fire resistant backing
foam for the entire thickness of the wall.

2) Expansion Joints : The gap between walls / slabs shall be filled with mineral
wool / rock wool to a minimum depth of 50mm and the ends filled with fire
rated silicone sealant for a minimum depth of 20mm on both the faces of the
wall / slabs.

Part - 5 (Specifications)
Section - 5
Block Works

5.4 WORKMANSHIP [Cont'd]

5.4.2 Fire Stop Products [Cont'd]

3) Metal pipe crossings : The annular space around the pipe shall be packed with
rock wool / mineral wool and the ends shall be filled and sealed with fire rated
silicone sealant to a minimum depth of 20mm. The size of the circular opening
shall be maintained as the barest minimum as recommended by the mastic

4) Non-metal pipe crossings less than 50mm diameter : The annular space around
the pipe shall be packed with rock wool / mineral wool and the ends shall be
filled and sealed with fire resistant mastic to a minimum depth of 40mm on
each side. The size of the circular opening shall be maintained as the barest
minimum as recommended by the mastic manufacturer.

5) Non-metal Pipe Crossings of diameter 50mm and more : Non-metal pipes of

diameter 50mm or more shall be provided with a pre-assembled graphite based
intumescent wrap contained in a stainless steel housing, fixed around the pipe
with metal fixings. Mineral wool / rock wool backing shall be provided as
indicated on drawings. The size of the circular opening shall be maintained as
the barest minimum as recommended by the mastic manufacturer.

6) Single Cable or Bunched Cables : The annular space around cable or bunched
of cable crossing shall be packed with rock wool / mineral wool and the ends
shall be filled and sealed with fire resistant mastic to a minimum depth of
40mm on one side for floor crossings and on both sides for wall crossings. The
size of the circular opening shall be maintained as the barest minimum as
recommended by the mastic manufacturer.

7) Cable trays crossings : Fire resistant intumescent putty shall be applied to a

width of approximately 30 to 50mm at the bottom of the bundles on the cable
tray in the center of opening in the wall / slab. This layer shall be retained by
fire resistant mortar on either side. The cable shall then be placed above this
layer of mastic and mortar. The cables shall be covered by another 30 to 50mm
wide layer of fire resistant putty in the center of the opening as before and
retained by layers of fire resistant mortar on either side. A GI plate / sheet shall
then be placed above the layers and any gaps left above the plate / sheet shall be
closed with concrete.

The total thickness of the fire resistant intumescent putty shall not be less than
1/3 the total diameters of the cables. The mortar thickness shall be at least same
as the putty thickness.

In case where it is not possible to apply the putty below the cable, a double
layer of putty could be applied on top of the cables and increasing the thickness
of the surrounding mortar accordingly.

Part - 5 (Specifications)
Section - 5
Block Works


5.5.1 General :

All external walls shall be constructed using 250mm thick (and 50mm
thick in places of external beams & columns) Thermalite-J2
Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC) Blocks, manufactured of
cement, lime and sand by “M/s. Al Jazeera Factory” with the
following characteristics :
- Dry Density : 525 kg/M³
- Average Compressive : 3.2 N/mm²
- Thermal Conductivity
: 0.134 (under climatic conditions of 35°C
and 60% RH) & moisture content 3.8% by mass.
- Fire Resistance
: 4 – 6 hours depending on thickness (as
per BS-5628 : Part 3)
Note :- Thermalite J2-AAC Blocks for external walls should be laid in thin bed
mortar recommended by the manufacturer of Thermalite J2-AAC.

5.5.2 Product Description :

a) Trade Name : ‘Thermalite J2 AAC Blocks’ [hereinafter

called ‘Blocks’].

b) Blocks are manufactured from hydraulic binders such as

cement and/or lime, combined with siliceous based fine
materials (sand), cell generating material and water.
The raw materials are mixed together and cast into
moulds where the mix is allowed to rise and set into
cakes. After this process, the cake is cut into the required
sizes of blocks and cured with high-pressure steam in

5.5.3 Product Characteristics :

Thermalite J2 AAC Block units characteristics are as shown below :

m Test
Property Value Meas
i Method
Dimensio L BS EN
ns en 772-16
550 3 mm
gt +
H 250 ± mm
ei 1
g .
ht 5

Part - 5 (Specifications)
Section - 5
Block Works

W ±
200 or
id 2 mm
250 +
Dry Density 525 5 kg/m³
i N/m BS EN
Compressive Strength 2.56
n m² 679
0.134* M
@ 35°C a W/ ASTM C
Thermal Conductivity
& 60% x (m.K) 518
RH .
a mm/ BS EN
Dry Shrinkage 0.9
x m 680
The limits for the dimensions are for blocks laid in thin bed joint mortar according to BS
EN 771-4.
* Moisture content of the block at 35°C & 60% RH is 3.8% by mass.
Note :- This table includes the characteristics of block units only and not for the walls as

Part - 5 (Specifications)
Section - 5
Block Works



5.5.4 Intended Use :

Blocks are intended to be used as thermal insulating blocks for the

construction of non-load bearing (infill) masonry walls in buildings.

5.5.5 Building Regulations :

To comply with the requirements of the Administrative Decision No.

66 for the year 2003 for thermal insulation of buildings, the overall
thermal transmission (U-Value) of a wall constructed using these
blocks shall be calculated taking into consideration other materials
effects such as joint’s mortar and finishes (plastering and rendering).

5.5.6 Usage Prevention / Precautions :

a) Blocks shall not be used in the construction of load

bearing walls according to Clause 56 ‘Concrete Blocks
Structures’ of Dubai Municipality Building Specifications
and Regulations issued by Administration Decision No.
25 for the year 2001.

b) Blocks should not be used in substructures.

c) Blocks shall be protected when used in areas prone to

water penetration.

d) Due to the block’s water absorption characteristic, the

manufacturer should be consulted regarding the suitable
mixes for finishes (plastering and rendering) and the use
of low water vapor permeability finishes and coatings.
Account should be taken of the moisture condition of the
masonry before the finishes are applied.