Shortage Off Bricks And Blocks
A sudden upturn in demand for bricks, blocks and roof tiles has caught many construction companies on the hop.
The UK’s brick production has halved since 2000, creating a seller’s market that could have the double whammy effect of pushing up prices and putting brakes on plans to build thousands of new homes.
During the recession, the demand for bricks, blocks and roof tiles nosedived and many suppliers closed down and the recent upturn has left the market with its pants down.
However, where there’s a will there’s a way and some developers are seeking alternative construction methods such as a return to the traditional timber framed building. It has been estimated that, at present only ten per cent of new builds in England and Wales use timber frame, compared with 70 per cent in Scotland.
The main reason for the disparity is that Scottish constructors have vast supplies of timber on their doorstep. The UK timber frame market is now forecast to be the fastest growing sector of the industry over the next five years as developers seek cost effective and flexible routes to shorter build times and reduced carbon outputs.
Another possible solution is the substitution of concrete bricks as a replacement for clay bricks. Concrete presently accounts for around five per cent of all brick sales. Now volume house builders like Barratt, Taylor Woodrow and Bellway are said to be switching to concrete in a bid to maintain productivity.