Simon Taylor, Director of Sales – Builders Merchants Ibstock is BMBI’s Expert for Bricks.
So far, in the first five months of 2019, an additional 25 million clay bricks have been produced by GB brick-makers compared with the same period last year. This 3% increase is matched by the additional volume despatched to customers.
During the same period, the volume of bricks imported into the UK has increased by 16% or 18 million bricks. Just over 80% of bricks imported into the UK in this period were produced in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. However, the numbers of bricks that are being transported from countries many thousands of miles away, such as India, Pakistan and Turkey, has doubled this year against last.
A few housebuilders are choosing to use concrete bricks to supplement the perceived shortage of clay products. Concrete bricks represent only a small percentage of the total brick market and independent reports suggest they are heavier to transport and handle, slower and more difficult to work with on site (bricklayers can lay around 17% more clay bricks a day than concrete) and there is a limited range of colours and textures to select from.
Despite the current economic uncertainty, which affects the confidence to decide to make major capital investments, UK clay brick manufacturers are continuing to spend money increasing production, improving yields and maintaining quality to keep UK developers and builders’ merchants readily supplied with their first-choice external cladding material – UK produced clay bricks.