Steam-Punk castle with Helifix Sockfix

Helifix SockFix anchors for Bradford retaining wall

Picture of Bryan Hindle CSRT CSSW GradIOSH

Bryan Hindle CSRT CSSW GradIOSH

Bryan is Technical Director at Brick-Tie


Strengthening Bradford retaining wall using Helifix SockFix anchors.

The Bradford Life Church is a modern and sprawling campus in the city. However, the car park to the rear is overshadowed by a high level old industrial estate, shored up by a crumbling retaining wall. The wall dominates the rear of the site, holding back tonnes of earth and some nearby buildings. Past efforts to fix the wall had failed and, rearing high above a mound of earth, it looks like a dystopian steam-punk castle, left to ruin.

Concerned church surveyors asked Dudley’s Structural engineers for help. Dudley’s were able to assure their client that the wall could be saved, even though a large crack had re-opened near a corner of it. Brick-Tie were called in to help specify a solution to strengthen the wall and make it safe.

We turned to our long term supplier, Helifix, and chose the Helifix SockFix grouted anchor system to cross stitch the wall at the crack position. The purpose was to strengthen the wall and restore structural integrity to the corner. Once this work is done, there’s very little to see, so below, we use the magic of 3D modelling to show the ties under the surface.


Combined Helifix design know-how, and practical application.

This wall is over 1m thick at the top, and much thicker at the bottom. Our team drilled 50mm diameter diamond cored holes varying between 2500mm and 1200mm in length. These were horizontal for the longer anchors. They were vertical at the top, to secure the crumbling ‘battlements’. Diamond core methods are vibration free and allowed us to penetrate past the crack zones to install the new stainless-steel ties. All done without damaging or weakening the old structure.

Helifix SockFix in staggered 2500mm deep holes
Two vertical rows of anchors to the full height of the corner. Each is 2500mm deep.

The unique attraction of Helifix SockFix 

M16 stainless steel anchors were carefully inserted into the holes, before being pressure grouted with a special free-flowing, non-shrink material.

The grout, though injected from the ‘open’ or ‘near’ end of each hole, travels down a feed tube to fill the anchors from the ‘remote’ end, 2500mm from the entry point. Therefore, the installing technician is assured, when grout emerges at the near end of the tie, the entire anchor is fully encapsulated and inflated. This is the unique attraction of this method, which guarantees a great interface along the entire tie, end-to-end. Once these ties cure, they become an integral part of the wall, providing tensile and bending support.

Exposed fully inflated M16 Helifix Sockfix anchor spanning a 300mm wide crack
One of the Helifix SockFix anchors, now inflated and spanning the 300mm wide crack.

Further work to re-build the top of the wall will proceed later and Brick-Tie thoughtfully enabled success for the builder, by installing additional vertical ‘starter-ties’ which have 1000mm inflated section in the wall body and 200mm stud protrusion, available for building into the planned new top section. Our team also installed over 50 linear meters of Helifix Helibar to strengthen the face of the wall.

Inflated SockFix anchor
Another exposed and inflated anchor in the retaining wall

Our work was completed in February over a single week, without interruption to Life Church’s pastoral and community engagements.

Life Church is an important and beloved part of the local and city-wide community.  All staff and worshipers can rest assured that the wall, though old and worn, is safe for the future.

Our thanks go to the good people of Life Church who were so cooperative and helpful to our team, also Peter Dixon of Dudley’s Engineers, and of course, Helifix Systems.

We are Helifix Approved Installers. The Brick-Tie team are your experts for wall tie replacement and structural repairs. Brick-Tie is an employee owned business, so you can be assured that every member from office to site, will put you first, knowing that our success is dependent on your satisfaction. Call us for free advice or book a survey through our contact page. We cover all Yorkshire Cities, Towns and Hamlets….. any structure, big or small.



Latest News, Projects, Articles & Videos