Innovations in the design of building façades and recent developments in the natural stone industry have enabled relatively thin natural stone panels to be used as a modem external cladding material. These developments, however, have been accompanied by numerous failures of façades in general and of natural stone panels in particular. At this time, there are no standards or codes of practice that determine the design strength of granite when used in this application.
Failures have brought into question current levels of expertise within the façade industry in general and the viability of natural stone for use as an external structural thin veneer in particular. This is of particular importance to the natural stone industry and the use of granite, which is by far the most common type of natural stone used in this application.
The purpose of this thesis is to identify
problems within the construction industry with respect to façades in general and in particular investigate the procedures used in the establishment of the design strength of granite when used as a structural thin veneer. The investigation undertaken includes an evaluation of the standards used to provide the data required to establish design strength and an assessment of the methods used to establish design strength.
Following the evaluation, a test programme is implemented using a range of granites in common use. The programme includes test programme that is used to determine the design strength of the granites and a research programme to determine the factors that affect the strength of a granite during its service life under local climatic conditions. Following the test programme a statistical model has been developed, and used, to determine the of design strength of the granites tested. The long term strength of the granites has also been
A procedure to be followed for the determination of the design strength of granites used as structural thin veneers has been set out.