Graphical Construction Glossary >> Temporary Work. >> shoring >> Settlement Bolts

Settlement Bolts
Large diameter bolts, iron bars or straps that pass though a building in order to support it against settlement or to secure it due to damage.

settlement bolt in Venice
Venice, an example of a bolt going completely though a building. This on was about 60mm diameter.
wrought iron tie in Bruges
A wrought iron strap system on the old bell tower in Bruges. Note the wedge for tightening and securing the 1 Metre long end piece. No nut and thread required.

In Lancashire where I was raised, in areas where the buildings suffered from mining subsidence it was common to see something like a 2ft. diameter fancy cast iron ring (a washer in fact)on the walls of many houses. They were the washers for sometimes 2" diameter bolts that went completely through the house and through the opposite wall.

When the house started showing signs of settlement, jammed doors and windows and cracks in the walls, then these bolts were placed just under the floor so that they were hidden by the ceilings inside.

As far as I know in many cases these bolts stopped or slowed down further damage to the house. At least they would have made the houses safer.

On a recent trip to Europe I saw many examples of the same thing. It seems that in areas where the foundations were poor then the builders installed many of these things into new house. In Amsterdam for instance just about every house in the old centre seems to have smaller versions of the Bruges strap shown here.

Many of the houses are leaning at quite considerable angles out of plumb, due no doubt to them being on partly reclaimed land, yet they seem remarkably free from structural cracks in the brickwork.

The Bell Tower in Bruges has survived a couple of fires since it was built about 700 years ago but it is still in good condition, no doubt due to the huge wrought iron straps that help to hold it together.

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Please Note! The information on this site is offered as a guide only!  When we are talking about areas where building regulations or safety regulations could exist,the information here could be wrong for your area.  It could be out of date!  Regulations breed faster than rabbits!
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