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Building Technology
 
Door and window lintels in Turkey?
I have noticed many buildings in Turkey do not have lintels above doors and windows. I can appreciate that walls within a reinforced concrete frame are not regarded as being "load-bearing", but surely some specific support is needed above voids in walls, if only to avoid cracks in the overlay of plaster?
Frank John Snelling
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Door and window lintels in Turkey?
Lintel Bands in RCC are recommended as one of the measures in earthquake resistance of buildings. This is a crucial place.

However, I am sure that not every building is built by a 'structurally literate' person.
Chitradeep Sengupta
Door and window lintels in Turkey?
Most of the buildings here which I see being built daily in urban areas use no door or window lintels and so I am agreeably surprised when I do see a rare building with lintels.

Chitradeep, I'm not talking about an "RCC lintel band" which I assume would be an horizontal wall-length layer in the wall above window and door openings.

The standard practice appears to be the placement of a rough wooden frame about which a hollow brick wall is built. The wooden frame is then removed within a day or so of the wall being built.

Not surprisingly, cracks appear in the wall plaster around the door and window openings because the bricks have moved or cracked under the load.

Here in Turkey it is common practice to build in a series of stages. The most usual step is to have the ground floor concrete structure built and infilled with hollow brick, fitted out inside, etc., and then used as a home, an office, a shop or a store.

The steel reinforcing rods from the ground floor protrude about half a metre above the ground floor structure and in some cases may have to wait years before the concrete reinforced frame for the next floor is built.

Plus, many such half-built buildings (usually domestic) have no plaster on the outside walls and so the brickwork is exposed perhaps for some years.

This very slow time scale for building means that even if new regulations for earthquakes are brought in, there is no garantee that partly-built buildings recieve any inspection and/or retroactive upgrade. So the lower floors will remain weak even if the later floors are built for earthquakes.
Frank John Snelling
Door and window lintels in Turkey?
Frank,

The kind of building that you are seeing results from ignorance and the use of incomplete or wrong techniques. This technique is normally used if there is a masonry arched opening with mortar or with dry stone/brick masonry.

If there is zero gap beteen the hollow concrete blocks and they are strong enough, I am sure that such construction can be done for short windows. Alternatively, introduction of re-bars through the hollow portion could be useful. Thus you will have an RCC lintel.

Leaving reinforcement for future expansion (after proper treatment is done) is a commonly used and known practice.

However, you need to understand that there is a lot of difference between construction of individual houses and multifamily housing or shopping malls. A level of detailing is often missing.
Chitradeep Sengupta
Door and window lintels in Turkey?
Chitradeep,

The buildings I am referring to are not individual family homes which literally grow bit by bit, nor am I referring to brick arches.

Lintels have the specific purpose of both supporting and bonding the wall above wall voids. Lack of lintels means a weaker wall structure and the danger of bricks falling off onto people.

Standard window and door frames were not and are not designed to take even the normal daily stress and strain of maintaining the wall void intact, never mind the stresses and strains which come from violent earth movement.

The point I made in my last paragraph was that such slow build probably means upgrades are not done, so the lower parts of the building are also the older and weaker parts at the ground level plane of maximum shear force.

Such a situation then makes nonsense of any current attempt to protect the lives of people in earthquakes.

Another custom which does not improve matters is the way balconies are seen as extensions to rooms or extra rooms. So that I frequently see balconies with brick walls added along the outer edges without extra support or bracing.

Plus, the placement of rafters on top of the wall without a wall plate does nothing to maintain the integrity of either the walls or the building.
Frank John Snelling
Door and window lintels in Turkey?
Frank,

A question comes to my mind, that is, are you observing lower-income housing? It is possible that due to lack of funds, such things are done in this way.

This kind of house construction with no external plaster and exposed reinforcement is, broadly speaking, common from the Sahara desert to Central India for this population.

The dry climate (as you were comparing with England) helps in minimising damage due to moisture. Unlike the UK, this region/belt has a generally dry climate and a predictable monsoon, hence such errors do not lead to disaster.

What will, however, lead to disaster is if the steel itself is not appropriate (people also make the mistake of using too much steel rebars), or the example that you have quoted, which could be converted to a good masonry window making industry with proper standards being followed.

It is possible that Turkey has been influenced by this "anything goes" attitude. (Turkey is in between Asia and the European ancient trade routes).
Chitradeep Sengupta
Door and window lintels in Turkey?
Chitradeep,

The work I observe is for all types and grades of buildings. I imagine here are many reasons why.

Some probable reasons are (a) the use of casual labour, (b) lack of proper building craft training, (c) lack of adequate site supervision, but by far the most important is (d) the misguided approach to work which takes pride in "quick work, done by eye". So that construction tools are often misused and measurement tools are not used.

The problem with such casual work is that sooner or later there is a need for more work to make good and often the need for extra work several times.

And this unnecessary sequence of work, rework and more rework is (a) an inefficient use of people and resources and (b) the problems caused by such casual work actively degrades the quality of life. So this "double effect" of sand in the machinery actively slows the economy.
Frank John Snelling
Door and window lintels in Turkey?
Well, they need good training on correct processes and approach and... well, attitude.
Chitradeep Sengupta
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