The biggest advantage of a brick/steel stud system is that since it is not supporting or carrying the load of the building, the interior structure of a building can be constructed prior to laying brick veneer work without any delay. This allows the building to be closed in independently of the brick work and placed under roof more quickly. Thus, the time consuming interior work that the other building trades have to perform can go ahead on schedule, instead of having to wait on the brick masonry. This also enables the masons to take advantage of the best weather and temperature to lay up the brick in mortar without worrying about the possibility of freezing. This makes the general contractor, subcontractors, and the owners of the building happy!
Another big advantage of this type of wall is that it is highly resistant to moisture because the cavity between the brick and steel studs can be drained efficiently by the use of properly placed flashing and weep holes in the brick work. The cavity between the two walls can also greatly reduce the heat gain or loss through the overall wall. The air space provides a thermal separations between the brick and the steel studs. Brickwork has a high thermal mass, giving it ability to store and slowly release heat over time. This effect, according to current energy codes, provides a higher r-value for a wall of this type. Rigid board closed-cell type insulation can also be placed inside the cavity area to prevent additional thermal loss.
FOUNDATION FOR A BRICK VENEER/STEEL STUD WALL
Although some building codes permit the support of brick veneer on wood foundations, it is highly recommended that the wall be supported by concrete or masonry foundations. The brick work may extend below finished grade if it is built properly to minimize water penetration. Specially designed metal ties should be used to anchor or tie the brick veneer to the steel studs. Regular corrugated metal ties are not permitted when brick veneer is tied to metal studs. They should be spaced vertically every 16 inches in height and be 32 inches apart horizontally. They should also be well-embedded in the mortar bed joints. It is very important that the back assembly of the tie that holds it be securely attached to the steel stud itself and not just the sheathing, so that they do not pull out! Well filled mortar joints and good workmanship are of particular importance.