The following is Structerre’s opinion in regards to the support of brickwork over meter boxes, in particular Clauses 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 of the National Construction Code (NCC).
Clause 126.96.36.199 of the NCC indicates that openings in brick veneer, not more than 500mm wide, do not require a steel lintel, provided the opening is adequately supported. Most meter boxes are no more than 470mm wide thus they fall within the requirements of Clause 188.8.131.52(b).
During construction the meter box will only be required to support six bricks at most. Once the wall is constructed, brick arching will allow the load to spread. Therefore, it will not require the meter box to support the brickwork. Upon inspection, it is Structerre’s opinion that the meter box is sufficiently robustly constructed to support the load of six unrestrained bricks meaning, it adequately supports the brickwork.
As this method of construction relies on brick arching, the provision of articulation joints in the brickwork should be avoided at meter box locations. This method of construction is suitable for both single and double storey construction.
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