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BRITISH STANDARD

BS 6073-2:
1981
Incorporating
Amendment No. 1

Precast concrete
masonry units
Part 2: Method for specifying precast
concrete masonry units

UDC 691.327:006

BS 6073-2:1981

Cooperating organizations
The Cement, Gypsum, Aggregates and Quarry Products Standards
Committee, under whose direction this British Standard was prepared,
consists of representatives from the following:
Association of Consulting Engineers
Association of County Councils
Association of District Councils
Association of Metropolitan Authorities
Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Products Association*
British Precast Concrete Federation Ltd*.
British Quarrying and Slag Federation *
British Railways Board
British Ready Mixed Concrete Association
British Steel Industry
Cement Admixtures Association*
Cement and Concrete Association*
Cement Makers Federation*
Chemical Industries Association
Concrete Society Limited*
County Surveyors Society
Department of the Environment (PSA)
Department of the Environment (Building Research Establishment)*
Department of the Environment Transport and Road Research Laboratory
Department of Transport
Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors*
Gypsum Products Development Association
Institute of Quarrying
Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Highway Engineers
Institution of Municipal Engineers
Institution of Public Health Engineers
Institution of Structural Engineers*
Institution of Water Engineers & Scientists
National Federation of Building Trades Employers*
Natural Environment Research Council (Institute of Geological Science)
Royal Institute of British Architects*
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Sand and Ballast Hauliers and Allied Trades Alliance
Sand and Gravel Association Limited*
Society of Chemical Industry*
Stone Federation

The organizations marked with an asterisk in the above list, together with the
following, were directly represented on the Technical Committee entrusted
with the preparation of this British Standard:
Aggregate Concrete Block Association
Association of Lightweight Aggregate Manufacturers
British Ceramic Research Association
British Concrete Masonry Association
Chartered Institution of Building Services
Concrete Brick Manufacturers Association
Consumer Standards Advisory Committee of BSI
Electricity Supply Industry in England and Wales
Modular Society Limited
This British Standard, having
been prepared under the
direction of the Cement,
Gypsum, Aggregates and Quarry
Products Standards Committee,
was published under the
authority of the Executive
Board and comes into effect on
31 July 1981
BSI 12-1998
The following BSI references
relate to the work on this
standard:
Committee reference CAB/11
Draft for comment 79/10450 DC
ISBN 0 580 12190 9

Amendments issued since publication


Amd. No.

Date of issue

Comments

4508

30 March 1984 Indicated by a sideline in the margin

BS 6073-2:1981

Contents
Cooperating organizations
Foreword
1
2
3
4
5
6
7

Page
Inside front cover
ii

Scope
References
Definitions
General
Basic requirements
Purchasers additional and optional requirements
Notification to manufacturer and supplier

1
1
1
1
1
2
3

Appendix A Information to be given by the purchaser with


his enquiry and order
Appendix B Routine rapid control test of compressive strength
of blocks by manufacturer (fibre board test)
Appendix C Determination of block density, concrete density and
net area of hollow blocks

5
6

Figure 1 Typical profiled ends of blocks


Figure 2 Compliance procedure for special category
of manufacturing control

Table 1 Work sizes of blocks


Table 2 Work sizes of bricks

1
2

Standards publications referred to

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Inside back cover

BS 6073-2:1981

Foreword
This British Standard has been prepared under the direction of the Cement,
Gypsum, Aggregates and Quarry Products Standards Committee.
This Part of BS 6073 is a method for specifying precast concrete masonry units,
intended to be read in conjunction with BS 6073-1, which is a specification for
precast concrete masonry units.
When revising BS 2028, BS 1364:1968, the committee carried out a survey of
block sizes in common use. It was found that no particular thicknesses
predominated and hence there was no possibility of specifying a standard range.
Furthermore, forthcoming changes in legislation relating to energy conservation
made it probable that new sizes of blocks would be developed in the near future.
Similarly, no one strength was in general use. It also became clear that similar
minimum performance criteria were also applicable to concrete bricks so the
opportunity was taken to extend this revision to replace BS 1180:1972.
The committee therefore decided to produce the revised standard in two Parts.
Part 1 is a conventional specification giving the minimum levels of performance
applicable to all concrete masonry units whilst this Part gives a method of
specifying masonry units of different sizes and strengths and also masonry units
having properties not covered by Part 1.
Appendix A lists the essential information which should be given to the
manufacturer for an enquiry or order to be fully understood.
Appendix B describes a rapid method of checking compressive strengths of blocks
which may be used by manufacturers for routine quality control.
Appendix C gives a method of measuring block density and concrete density,
which may be used when checking conformity with recommendations of other
British Standards, such as BS 5628-1.
A British Standard does not purport to include all the necessary provisions of a
contract. Users of British Standards are responsible for their correct application.
Compliance with a British Standard does not of itself confer immunity
from legal obligations.

Summary of pages
This document comprises a front cover, an inside front cover, pages i and ii,
pages 1 to 8, an inside back cover and a back cover.
This standard has been updated (see copyright date) and may have had
amendments incorporated. This will be indicated in the amendment table on
the inside front cover.
ii

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BS 6073-2:1981

1 Scope

5 Basic requirements

This Part gives a method for specifying precast


concrete masonry units complying with the
requirements of BS 6073-1 and describes the
compliance procedure for the special category of
manufacturing control.

5.1 General. The purchaser shall specify that the


masonry unit is to comply with all the requirements
of BS 6073-1 and shall further specify:
a) the size required (see 5.2);
b) compressive strength, where this is greater
than the minimum compressive strength given in
BS 6073-1, i.e. 2.8 N/mm2 for blocks
and 7.0 N/mm2 for bricks (see 5.3).

2 References
The titles of the standards publications referred to
in this standard are listed on the inside back cover.

5.2 Sizes. The purchaser shall specify the work size,


that is the face dimensions and thickness of the
masonry unit. Table 1 gives work sizes of blocks.
Table 2 gives work sizes of bricks.

3 Definitions
For the purposes of this Part, the definitions given
in BS 6073-1 apply.

NOTE 1 To obtain the co-ordinating size of a masonry unit, add


the nominal joint width, which is normally 10 mm, to the length
and height of the unit given in Table 1 or Table 2. (The thickness
remains unchanged.)
NOTE 2 Other work sizes are available and in use. No single
manufacturer necessarily produces the complete range of work
sizes shown.

4 General

The purchaser shall specify masonry units in


accordance with clause 5, which gives basic
requirements, and clause 6, which gives additional
and optional requirements.
Table 1 Work sizes of blocks
Thickness mm
Length
mm

60

75

90

100

115

125

140

150

175

190

200

215

220

225

250

Height
mm

390

190

440

140

440

190

440

215

440

290

590

140

590

190

590

215

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x
x

x
x

BS 6073-2:1981

Table 2 Work sizes of bricks


Thickness mm
Length

Height

mm

mm

90

290

90

215

65

190

90

190

65

103

NOTE A rapid method of checking compressive strengths of


blocks which may be used by manufacturers for routine quality
control is given in appendix B.

x
x

5.3 Compressive strength. For blocks of


thickness 75 mm or greater, and for bricks, the
purchaser shall specify the minimum compressive
strength that shall apply in place of the minimum
permissible average crushing strength G given in
clause 10 of BS 6073-1:1981.
For example, where a purchaser specifies that a
block shall be of a minimum compressive strength
of 7.0 N/mm2, this signifies that a sample of 10
blocks tested in accordance with B.1 of
BS 6073-1:1981 shall have an average crushing
strength not less than 7.0 N/mm2 and not less
than (0.9 7.0) + 0.62S N/mm2 where S is the
standard deviation for the sample.
The following compressive strengths for concrete
masonry units are commonly used for design
purposes. The graphs in Figures 1(a) to 1(d) of
BS 5628-1:1978 allow interpolation between these
compressive strengths.
Blocks

Bricks

N/mm2

N/mm2

2.8

7.0

3.5

10.0

5.0

15.0

7.0

20.0

10.0

30.0

15.0

40.0

20.0

Other compressive strengths are available and in


use. No single manufacturer necessarily produces
the complete range given above.

6 Purchasers additional and optional


requirements
6.1 Type of masonry unit. Where the purchaser
requires a certain type of masonry unit, he shall
indicate which of the types described in clause 3 of
BS 6073-1:1981 is required.
Where the purchaser requires a brick of minimum
compressive strength 40 N/mm2 and minimum
cement content 350 kg/m3, he shall specify a special
purpose brick.
6.2 Materials. Where the purchaser requires a
certain type of material, he shall indicate which of
the materials described in clauses 4, 5 and 6 of
BS 6073-1:1981 is required. If the purchaser wishes
to impose a restriction on the use of materials
permitted in BS 6073-1, he shall indicate the
required restriction.
6.3 Shape and tolerances. Where the purchaser
requires special shapes of masonry unit, e.g. quoin
or closure units, or units for which special tolerances
are necessary, such as exposed aggregate blocks or
blocks for fair faced masonry, he shall agree the
shape or tolerances and appropriate methods of
measurement with the manufacturer.
NOTE

Typical profiled ends of blocks are shown in Figure 1.

6.4 Additional properties. Where the purchaser


wishes to specify masonry units having performance
requirements not covered by BS 6073-1, he shall
specify the requirements and the appropriate
British Standard test method(s).
The purchaser shall also specify any other required
properties, such as net area, density, colour and
texture.
NOTE A method for determining net area and density of blocks
is given in appendix C.

35.0

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BS 6073-2:1981

Figure 1 Typical profiled ends of blocks


6.5 Quality control and compliance procedure
for special category of manufacturing control.
Where the purchaser requires masonry units to be
subject to the special category of manufacturing
control described in 27.2.1 of BS 5628-1:1978, the
following requirements shall apply.
a) The manufacturer shall operate a quality
control scheme in which sampling is carried out
at a rate of not less than 0.02 % of production or
two blocks per day or 15 bricks per day,
whichever is the greater.
b) Such a quality control scheme shall be
available for inspection by prospective
purchasers and/or their representatives,
provided a prior appointment is made.
c) Where an independent sample is taken, the
pass/fail criteria for compressive strength as
determined by the following procedure shall be
used in place of those given in clause 10 of
BS 6073-1:1981.
1) Calculate the compressive strength x 1 , and
the standard deviation, S1, for a sample of ten
masonry units tested in accordance with
appendix B of BS 6073-1:1981.
2) If x 1 > G
and x 1 > ( 0.9G + 0.62S 1 , )
where G is the specified strength, the
consignment shall be accepted.

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3) If x 1 < 0.9G , the consignment shall be


rejected.
4) if 0.9G < x 1 < G or if
0.9G < x 1 < 0.9G + 0.62S 1 , a second sample of ten

units shall be tested.


5) Calculate the compressive strength, x 2 , and
the standard deviation, S2, for the second
sample.
6) If x 2 < G or x 2 < 0.9G + 0.62S 2 , the
consignment shall be rejected.
7) If x 2 > G and x 2 > 0.9G + 0.62S 2 , the
consignment shall be accepted.
This procedure is illustrated in Figure 2.
6.6 Identification of masonry units. Where the
purchaser requires additional means of identifying
the masonry units, he shall agree the method with
the manufacturer.

7 Notification to manufacturer and


supplier
If the purchaser requires independent tests, he shall
give the manufacturer and supplier adequate notice
in writing prior to taking samples so that all parties
may be represented when the samples are taken,
and so that the testing laboratory shall be selected
to the mutual satisfaction of manufacturer, supplier
and purchaser.
3

BS 6073-2:1981

Figure 2 Compliance procedure for special category of manufacturing control

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BS 6073-2:1981

Appendix A Information to be given by


the purchaser with his enquiry and
order
The following particulars cover the essential details
to be given by the purchaser to the manufacturer for
an enquiry and order to be fully understood.
a) Quantity1).
b) Work size dimensions and thickness in the
order of length height thickness1) (see 5.2).
c) Compressive strength of blocks 75 mm or
greater in thickness or of bricks (see 5.3).
d) Type of masonry unit (see 6.1).
e) Specific requirements for constituent materials
(see 6.2).
f) Special shapes and/or tolerances (see 6.3).
g) Requirements for additional properties
(see 6.4).
h) Whether special category of manufacturing
control is required (see 6.5).
i) Whether additional means of identification is
required (see 6.6).
j) Handling requirements, such as palletization,
strapping or mechanical off-loading1).

Appendix B Routine rapid control test


of compressive strength of blocks by
manufacturer (fibre board test)
B.1 General. The following method may be used by
a manufacturer as a rapid method of checking the
compressive strength requirements for blocks, for
his own routine control purposes. Details of the
mortar cap test used to establish compliance with
the standard are given in appendix B of
BS 6073-1:1981. A correlation between results
obtained using the two test methods may be derived
as described in B.6.
B.2 Apparatus. Use the testing machine described
in B.1.1.3 of BS 6073-1:1981.
B.3 Preparation of specimens. Rub the bed faces
of specimens to be capped with fibre board with a
carborundum stone to remove any fins or high spots.
Immerse the specimens in water at a temperature of
between 10 C and 25 C for at least 16 h before
being used for tests. Other conditioning processes,
including dry storing, may be adopted, provided
that:
a) the conditioning used shall be the same as that
used when determining any relationship between
results derived from compressive strength tests
on fibre board and mortar capped specimens;
1)

b) the conditioning shall be used consistently in


any quality control scheme.
B.4 Test procedure. Remove each specimen from
its conditioning environment about 30 min before it
is to be tested and allow to drain under damp
sacking or similar material. Test the specimen
whilst it is still in a wet condition.
Wipe the bearing surfaces of all the platens clean
and remove any loose grit or other material from the
surfaces of the specimen which are to be in contact
with the platens.
Place the specimen in the machine between two new
pieces of 12 mm insulating board complying with
the requirements of BS 1142-3. Ensure that the
board overhangs the specimen by a minimum
of 5 mm along each edge and the centre of mass of
the specimen coincides with the axis of the machine.
Apply the load without shock and increase it
continuously up to a rate of 5 N/mm2 per minute, for
blocks of specified compressive strength up to and
including 7 N/mm2, or 10 N/mm2 per minute, for
blocks of specified compressive strength greater
than 7 N/mm2. Ensure that the maximum loading
rate is reached as soon as possible but in any case
before the load causes a stress on the block
exceeding 70 % of the specified compressive
strength or reaches 300 kN, whichever is the
sooner.
Adjust the rate of loading while the fibre is still
compressing to give the stated values as soon as the
indicator shows that the load is being taken up.
Maintain the appropriate rate of loading as far as
possible up to failure.
B.5 Calculation of compressive strength.
Calculate the crushing strength of each specimen
and the average crushing strength of the sample in
accordance with B.4 of BS 6073-1:1981.
B.6 Correlation of fibre board test and mortar
cap test results. The fibre board test is likely to
give values for compressive strength of blocks lower
than those obtained from tests on mortar capped
blocks. However, the results of fibre board tests may
be taken to indicate the compressive strength of the
blocks unless an acceptable relationship between
mortar cap tests and fibre board tests has been
established for the particular type and strength of
block being tested.

Allowances for breakage or other wastage on site are the responsibility of the purchaser.

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BS 6073-2:1981

Such a relationship may be taken as being


established when the results from at least 40
mortar capped specimens and 40 fibre board capped
specimens from each particular compression testing
machine have been compared. The results should be
taken for pairs of specimens (one mortar capped and
one fibre board capped) from similar positions
within the manufacturers mould.
When a relationship has been established, the
results from fibre board capped specimens may be
modified in accordance with the following
equations.
b
x = a --c
where
x

is the quotable value of compressive strength

is the result obtained from the test of fibre


board capped specimens

is the arithmetic mean of mortar cap test


results

is the arithmetic mean of fibre board cap test


results

Appendix C Determination of block


density, concrete density and net area
of hollow blocks

Calculate the gross volume of the block to the


nearest 250 mm3 by multiplying the average
thickness (see appendix A of BS 6073-1:1981) by the
specified length and height of the block. (Ignore
formed protrusions and indentations).
Express the volume of cavities in each block as a
percentage of the gross volume of the block. Record
to the nearest 5 % the greatest volume of cavity
detected.
C.1.2 Determination of concrete volume. Remove all
random flashings with carborundum stone.
Measure to the nearest 1 mm, using calipers and
rule as described in appendix A of BS 6073-1:1981,
the dimensions of formed indentations and
protrusions on the external faces and ends of the
block.
Calculate the algebraic sum of the volume of all
indentations and protrusions to the
nearest 250 mm3 (Treat volume of indentation as
negative and volume of protrusion as positive.)
Calculate the concrete volume, to the
nearest 250 mm3, using the following equation.
Vc = V1 V2 + V3
where
Vc is the concrete volume
V1 is the gross volume of the block

C.1 Determination of density

V2 is the volume of cavities and voids

C.1.1 Measurement of volume of cavities. Select


three blocks per consignment of 1 000 or part
thereof.

V3 is the algebraic sum of volume of


indentations and protrusions

Place the blocks on a thin sheet of foam rubber or


other resilient material with the open ends of the
cavities uppermost.
Close any cavities at the ends of the block by
clamping flat sheets of 13 mm insulating board to
the ends of the block without distortion. Ignore the
effects of tongues or grooves.
Fill a one litre glass measuring cylinder accurately
with dry sand which has been graded between
a 300 m BS test sieve and a 600 m BS test sieve,
both sieves complying with the requirements of
BS 410.
Fill the cavities with the sand by pouring from the
cylinder, refilling if required, keeping the cylinder
lip within 25 mm of the top of the cavity and pouring
steadily and striking off level.
Return to the cylinder any sand struck off and note,
in ml, the total volume of sand used to the
nearest 50 ml. Convert this volume to the
equivalent volume in mm3 of the cavities to the
nearest 250 mm3.

C.1.3 Determination of block density and concrete


density. Dry three blocks for at least 16 h in a
ventilated oven having the temperature controlled
at 105 5 C.
Cool the blocks to ambient temperature and weigh.
Repeat these steps until the mass lost in one cycle
does not exceed 0.05 kg.
Calculate the block density and the concrete density
by using the following equations.
m
r b = ------V1
where
rb

is the block density (in kg/m3)

is the oven dry mass (in kg)

V1 is the gross volume (in m3)


mr c = ----Vc

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BS 6073-2:1981

where
rc

is the concrete density (in kg/m3)

is the oven dry mass (in kg)

Vc

is the concrete volume (in m3)

Record the mean densities of the three blocks to the


nearest 10 kg/m3.
C.2 Determination of net area of hollow
blocks. Obtain the mean height from six height
measurements using the method for measuring
thickness described in A.1.4 of BS 6073-1:1981.
Calculate the net area using the following equation.
V
A = -----ch
where
A

is the net area (in m2)

Vc is the concrete volume (in m3)


h

is the mean height (in m)

NOTE The net area of hollow blocks is required for assessing


the characteristic compressive strength of walls of hollow
concrete blocks filled with in-situ concrete
(see 23.1.7 of BS 5628-1:1978).

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blank

BS 6073-2:1981

Standards publications referred to


BS 410, Specification for test sieves.
BS 1142, Fibre building boards.
BS 1142-3, Insulating board (softboard).
BS 5628, Code of practice for the structural use of masonry.
BS 5628-1, Unreinforced masonry.
BS 6073, Precast concrete masonry units.
BS 6073-1, Specification for precast concrete masonry units.

BSI 12-1998

BSI
389 Chiswick High Road
London
W4 4AL

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