Brickmaking in the UK - roundup of the latest clay news in the UK
Survey hints at UK growth
The latest Construction Trade Survey, published in November, showed increased construction activity in two consecutive quarters in 2013 (Q2 and Q3). Firms from all areas of the industry also reported growth in the same period, including 43% of contractors – the second highest level reported since 2007. New private housing was one of the key drivers behind this turnaround, with 22% of contractors reporting that their activity levels in Q3 were higher than in the previous year. These increases could be a promising sign of things to come in 2014, although the survey also brought a couple of warnings, as 34% of building contractors struggled to recruit bricklayers and 32% had difficulty hiring plasterers.
Back by popular demand
The BDA has reported a surge in demand for brick as the UK housing market makes a tentative recovery. With so many plants closed down or operating at a minimal level, many brick factories will need to increase capacity in order to meet renewed demands. This development has yet to affect the price of bricks, as the average cost of bricks in September 2013 was £230 per thousand – slightly lower than in 2012.
Brick industry REAPs rewards
Resource Efficiency Action Plans (REAPs) for clay bricks and clay blocks as well as precast concrete were published recently. The plans were laid out over several stakeholder workshops where potential resource efficiency measures were identiﬁed and evaluated. The REAPs could provide a starting point for reducing the overall environmental impact of these construction products. Technical authorships for all three materials were provided by Ceram on behalf of the BDA and the British Precast Concrete Federation.
Cash boost for Michelmersh
Production at Michelmersh Brick Holdings is set to increase by six million units a year after a £2.5m investment in new production equipment at its Freshﬁeld Lane brickworks in West Sussex. This comes after the company announced a 10% sales increase in the ﬁrst half of 2013.
Faster ﬁnish tiles
Traditional clay meets modern design with Weinerberger’s new interlocking tile range. The Vauban tile is 40% lighter than traditional plain tiles, and can be easily laid, reducing completion times by up to 30%. The range can be laid at angles as low as 22.5° and is available in three different colours.