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St Mary’s Catholic College, Blackpool

Ancon designed and manufactured over 400 metres of stainless steel brick support angle for the new St. Mary’s Catholic College in Blackpool.

The external brick cladding is supported by a combination of standard AnconOptima angles, available from stock, and bespoke support fabrications which were engineered to suit the exact load/cavity conditions on site.

Brick support systems are fixed back to the main structural frame of a building. They span the insulated cavity and provide a horizontal shelf in the outer leaf to support the masonry load.

The standard AnconOptima support system was utilised wherever possible. Cavities from 50mm to 150mm, and masonry loads up to 14kN/m can all be accommodated from AnconOptima stocked items. The fixing brackets and support angles of this system are supplied as standard separate components and are mechanically locked together on site during installation.


In a number of locations however, the design of the building demanded a more project-specific approach was taken to the support detail. Ancon designed several bespoke sections, where the fixing brackets were supplied welded to the support angle to be simply fastened to the frame as a unit. Bespoke fabrications were manufactured to support brickwork across a small 45mm cavity and a large 255mm cavity and where a reduced bracket height was necessary to fix to a structural frame just 160mm high.

Ancon Steelgrip bolts
Ancon Steelgrip bolt

Ancon Steelgrip bolts were used to fix both system types back to the structural steel frame that comprised rolled hollow sections. This is a patented, high performance fixing developed by Ancon for use where access is only available from one side of the steelwork. It features an integral serrated washer that corresponds exactly to the serrations on the Ancon bracket so the two components interlock easily, preventing slip in the line of the load. As the head of the fixing is tightened to a predetermined torque, the sleeve expands against the steel.

This new education building, designed by Nightingale Associates, aims to achieve a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating through the specification of materials with low embodied energy and high thermal mass, such as brick cladding, and the use of natural ventilation and renewable energy sources. The school aims to showcase all these features to engage and educate children about sustainable building design.

The new development is part of the Building Schools for the Future scheme and is located on the site of an existing Catholic school which dates back to 1871.

The Ancon brick support system was supplied by SIG Construction Accessories and installed by specialist subcontractor PLF Brickwork, on behalf of the main contractor Eric Wright Construction.

Masonry Support

Brick, block or stone cladding on steel or concrete framed structures is normally supported by stainless steel masonry support systems.

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