MechSlip FAQ's

Brick slip cladding systems are proven in projects across a wide range of sectors, from residential to retail, in both the public and private sector. Whether you require retrofit or modern methods of construction, our cost-effective cladding solutions provide traditional aesthetics and durable performance for the lifetime of your building.

What is MechSlip?


MechSlip is a drained and ventilated rainscreen cladding system, which provides a lightweight, yet robust, brick façade. The system has been independently tested and used on buildings across the UK since 2018. It consists of 28mm thick brick slips produced from natural clay bricks, which are mechanically fixed to a horizontal rail system, using 0.7mm pre-coated, alkali resistant steel spacers to create a 10mm perp joint.

The horizontal starter, intermediate and top rail is 6063T6 grade aluminium with a powder-coated or anodised protective layer. The engineered secondary support system also includes aluminium vertical T & L rails (supplied in 3m. 4.85m & 6m lengths) and single & double brackets.




What range of brick finishes is available in MechSlip?


MechSlip can accommodate the vast majority of bricks from Ibstock factories, including glazed finishes and Linear bricks. Due to the shape and characteristics of some stock-type bricks however, there are three excluded factories, ie Ashdown, Birtley and Chailey.




Can other manufacturers bricks be used in the system?


Yes. However, this is subject to approval of the technical specification of the brick type and satisfactory production of a test rig using 60no bricks supplied as a representative sample.




Where can I get samples?


Brick slip samples for colour and texture can be ordered via Aquarian Cladding’s office on 0808 223 9080. We can also supply a small-scale mock-up of the full system, if required, however these are typically made to order and subject to project.




How do I use Mechslip to create corners?


90 degree Corner slips are cut from bricks therefore have the natural appearance of bricks. They are simply applied to the horizontal rail in both directions. Non-90 degree corner slips are produced by cutting and bonding slips. Please refer to standard details or contact Aquarian Cladding on 0808 223 9080 for further information.




What bond patterns can be achieved using MechSlip?


As each brick is placed on the rail independently, bond patterns are limited only by the architect’s imagination!




Can I use special shapes with MechSlip?


It is possible to use a selection of special shapes with MechSlip, though this will depend on brick type and detail so please contact your Aquarian Cladding sales contact via 0808 223 9080 to discuss your specific requirements.




Can I create a texture to my façade using projecting slips within MechSlip?


Yes. It is generally possible to produce up to 20mm projections using thicker, ie 48mm slips. Please contact your Aquarian Cladding sales contact via 0808 223 9080 to discuss your specific requirements.




Can MechSlip be used to create vertical (portrait) bond?


MechSlip can accommodate stretcher bond and stack bond either in horizontal (landscape) or vertical (portrait) coursing. A different spacer type must be used for portrait orientation and typical details are available for this type of application.




Can MechSlip be used to form curved walls?


MechSlip can be used to create a curved wall using a faceted detail. Due to the nature of application, the radius will be limited using 215mm-long stretcher bond, as generally each section will be 3 or 4 bricks long as a minimum. Consideration should be given to using shorter bricks, eg headers or portrait orientation to minimise the ‘50p-effect’.




Are movement joints required in Mechslip?


10mm horizontal and vertical movement joints are required at 6m intervals or 20mm joints are required at 12m intervals. Please refer to the standard details to ensure these details are specified and installed correctly.




What is the maximum height MechSlip can be installed?


There is no specific height limit for the use of MechSlip and it is recommended that the designer refers to the relevant test data for further guidance on windload resistance for exposed locations.

The system has been tested to EN13501-1 and has a Euroclass fire rating of A1 therefore it meets Building Regulation requirements for use on any building over 18 metres.

The system has successfully been tested in accordance with the CWCT Standard Test Methods for building envelopes, 2005, for wind resistance (amongst other test criteria) to withstand ±2400pa positive and negative pressure for serviceability and ±3600pa positive and negative pressure for safety with minimal residual deflection.




Has MechSlip been fire tested?


Yes. MechSlip has a Euroclass rating of A1 in accordance with EN13501-1:2007 +A1:2009, having been independently tested by Warringtonfire. The system can therefore be defined as being non-combustible and considered safe for use on buildings over 18m.




Do I need to use fire breaks with Mechslip?


Cavities typically require fire breaks, which are not supplied as part of the system. It is imperative that specialist advice is sought from suppliers of cavity fire breaks to ensure they are correctly specified and located. For information, testing has shown that the Siderise RH Open State Horizontal and RV Open State Vertical intumescent fire barriers provide 120mins resistance.




What is the durability of MechSlip?


MechSlip uses natural clay brick slips and 6063T6 grade aluminium rails (with a powder-coated or anodised protective layer). It has been independently tested as follows:

Water tightness – dynamic pressure: Meets CWCT requirements of 600 pascals. PASS

Soft/hard body impact resistance: Meets Class 1 serviceability, negligible risk safety. PASS

Weatherability: Hygrothermal testing to ETAG 034. PASS

Freeze/Thaw Resistance: Freeze Thaw testing in accordance with ETAG 017

An additional freeze/thaw resistance test has been carried out in accordance with the European method DD CEN/TS EN772-22, which involved subjecting a panel of brickwork to repeated freeze thaw cycles, designed to simulate naturally occurring conditions. From the results, the bricks were classified as F2 i.e. suitable for use in conditions of severe exposure, in accordance with BS EN771-1, Specification for Clay Masonry Units.”




Does MechSlip have BBA certification?


As of January 2020 BBA certification is imminent, having been in communication for >18 months. Certification is expected Q2 latest of 2020.




How heavy is MechSlip?


The weight of the system will vary depending on brick type so we suggest to allow ≤51.5kg/m2 including mortar as a worst case.




Will the brick slips fall off?


Due to numerous instances throughout the UK of brick slips falling off and reference to deleterious materials, there is understandable concern of failure of brick cladding systems. It is important to distinguish between a brick cladding system, which has been independently tested and brick slips applied to a building using uncontrolled, self-sourced materials and methods. The durability of MechSlip relies on mechanically securing brick slips, which include 5mm wide x 15mm deep grooves across the top and 5mm wide x 7mm deep grooves across the bottom. The groove is set 14mm from the face of the brick slip so has a secure fixing within the bottom rail and restrained fixing at the top. Rail spacing is set by specialist cladding installers using a gauge rod so with good site control and application in accordance with the Installation Manual there is no more risk of system failure than of brickwork failing due to poor workmanship.




What is the minimum and maximum cladding zone I can create using MechSlip?


Typically, the minimum zone is 86mm and maximum is 336mm. This is based on an overall depth of slips and horizontal rail combined of 36mm, ie 28mm slips and 8mm horizontal rail zone. Standard support brackets are available from 50-300mm (supplied in 30mm deep increments), with tolerances of ±15mm for smaller brackets up to ±30mm for larger brackets. An allowance should be made for insulation within the cavity to achieve the desired U-Value (which can be minimised using stainless steel brackets instead of aluminium).

It is possible to achieve deeper cladding zones by producing deep brackets so please contact the Aquarian Cladding Technical Department on 0808 223 9080 to discuss your specific requirements.




Is MechSlip supplied inclusive of a warranty/guarantee?


Yes. MechSlip is supplied with a project-specific 25-year manufacturer-backed Product Warranty, known as IntegrAL




Where is MechSlip produced?


MechSlip brick slips are produced by Ibstock Kevington at their factory in Staffordshire, UK and the aluminium support system is produced by Ash &Lacey at their factory in West Bromwich, UK.




Do I need a special mortar to point MechSlip?


All testing has used a gun-injected cement-free mortar supplied by Parex, reference ‘Easipoint Historic’. It is not supplied as part of the system and should therefore be self-sourced by either the specialist cladding installer or pointing contractor. It is available in 14 standard colours or Parex will produce bespoke colours upon request, subject to volume required.




How much mortar do I need to point MechSlip?


Based on a jointing area approx. 10mm high/wide x 14mm mm deep, a 25kg bag of Parex mortar will cover approx. ≤5m2 of MechSlip.




How much does MechSlip cost?


Brick cladding systems are typically more expensive than conventional brickwork based purely on comparison of laid bricks and mortar. However, costs associated with brickwork such as shelf support angles, cavity closers and wind posts as well as foundation and structural support costs can be eliminated or reduced when using brick cladding systems, in addition to prelims, access, storage and wastage associated with using fewer components that can be delivered to site on fewer vehicles and installed in most weather conditions.

MechSlip is market-competitive when compared with other mechanically-fixed brick cladding systems. As the supply rate per m2 will vary subject to the ratio of flat wall areas to external corners/reveals for openings, transport requirements and wastage, we recommend that accurate installed costs should be obtained from specialist cladding contractors with experience of installing MechSlip.

The installed rate per m2 will depend on many things but mainly quantity and design of openings and external corners (eg brick reveals or flashings?); type and quality of substrate (eg new build or refurbishment?); access equipment; and adaptations due to poor or difficult interfaces.




How do I get the best value out of using MechSlip?


MechSlip provides a drained and ventilated natural clay brick façade that will look like, and weather like, conventional brickwork.

To optimise its use, speak with Aquarian’s sales team early and we will help you to identify the savings and extra costs in your design at the earliest stage so that you can achieve maximum value from the system. Here are some examples to consider:

  1. What are the benefits to the programme, reductions in prelims and consequences of quicker delivery to the client as a result of taking the brick façade off the critical path, reducing the dependence on good weather and improving the installation rates?
  2. What added flexibility can be achieved in the build programme by replacing scaffold with mechanical access?
  3. Can the specification of the foundations and/or structural frame be reduced as a result of reduced loadings?
  4. What are the cost and programme benefits of eliminating brick support angles and wind posts?
  5. Is there a benefit of reducing vehicular movement and the materials storage area?
  6. Are there internal floor savings as a result of reducing the overall wall thickness?
  7. What can I incorporate in my design using MechSlip that would otherwise be impractical using bricks?




What is the average installation coverage per day/ per man of MechSlip?


It depends on many things but the biggest influencers are the ratio of openings to flat areas, detail around the openings (eg brick reveals or flashings?), type and quality of substrate (eg new build or refurbishment?), access equipment and adaptations due to complicated design or badly built interfaces. As a general guide, most experienced installers aim to apply approx. 20m2 per man per day of horizontal rail and brick slips but this should be discussed and agreed with the specialist cladding contractor prior to contract.




Is there a recommended access solution for installing MechSlip; eg scaffold, mast climbers, etc?


MechSlip can be applied from most forms of access equipment therefore the most site-specific option may be selected to suit location and programme. There are benefits to using scaffold where there are unbroken, horizontal ‘ribbons’ of MechSlip, however mechanical access is considered more flexible for the main contractor and many installers.




Do I need any special tools to fit MechSlip?


MechSlip is installed by specialist cladding contractors. Most tools and equipment are all standard and would typically be used for application of other cladding systems. A gauge rod is recommended for ease of setting out the horizontal rails and are supplied in lengths of either ±1.5m or ±0.5m (they are chargeable).




How do I become an installer of MechSlip?


MechSlip is quite simple to install but should only be applied by specialist cladding contractors who are either sufficiently experienced to install the system or have been trained to install the system in accordance with the Installation Manual.




What if I have any more questions?


Aquarian Cladding Systems is the UK distributor of the MechSlip system with over twelve years’ experience of working with architects, façade engineers, building contractors, specialist cladding contractors, warranty providers and test laboratories. We provide guidance on how MechSlip is designed and installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure materials are supplied fit for purpose.

If you have any further questions please contact us on 0808 223 9080 or info@aquariancladding.co.uk or visit our website www.aquariancladding.co.uk





Contact Info

22 Hill Road,
Clevedon, Somerset, BS21 7NZ
United Kingdom
T. 0808 223 9080
E. info@aquariancladding.co.uk
© 2018 Aquarian Cladding Systems

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