Build March Issue

Build Magazine 40 rick has never been more popular. Though around for centuries, it occupies an unrivalled position as the number one construction material of choice and this will continue. With construction work predicted to increase, and the Government sets about the delivery of 400,000 new affordable homes by 2020, the brick industry is making great strides to ensure supply will meet expanding expectations. To back this up, according to the Office for National Statistics, there has been a seven per cent rise in brick production across the industry during the past twelve months. As for Ibstock, we focused on anticipated demand levels through the recession and foresaw the construction sector’s return to growth. This influenced our strategic decisions to continue investments across our production facilities. These included £22 million invested at our Chesterton site, which is now one of the most energy efficient factories of its type in the world and our recent investment of £55 million into a new state-of- the-art manufacturing facility in our home town of Ibstock, Leicestershire. This investment will enable the production of an additional 100 million bricks per annum – enough to build around 15,000 new homes. Supporting innovative design Brick’s enduring appeal is founded on its versatility, design-led capabilities and proven long-term performance characteristics. Construction professionals looking to fashion evermore challenging building designs are continuing to use brick to help turn design vision into stunning reality. Viewing some of the winning entries from the latest Brick Development Association Awards and it is clear that such outstanding builds aptly demonstrate the wide variety of brick colours, textures, sizes and finishes that the design community is seeking. Whether it is a combination of the Staffordshire Slate Blue Smooth brick used in conjunction with Laybrook Multi Orange on display at the winner for Best Housing Design in Trafalgar Place, or the range of Ibstock bricks specified by Taylor Wimpey on three award- winning housing developments, brick remains central to architectural aspiration. Trending this way As for brick-related trends, two are currently prominent: changing tastes and speed of completion. In terms of new preferences, whilst timeless classics will remain popular, there has been a noticeable interest in the use of more vibrant colour options and alternative brick finishes. The increased popularity of glazed finished products has been marked as a method to produce highly attractive building facades. Portfolios of ceramic glazed finishes in a huge variety of colours and sizes - including frosted, gloss and satin - are now helping to satisfy demand in this area. Ibstock’s ‘Linear’ collection of longer, thinner bricks is also proving popular to create a striking effect by juxtaposing a traditional building material with contemporary design style. The ‘Linear’ range has more than 70 options to create unique builds time and time again. Innovations to speed up construction With activity levels rising, the construction sector is looking for faster and evermore efficient methods to incorporate brick into projects. As a result, there has been continuous development of technical solutions to help tackle timescale and budgetary pressures. Such innovations include arches (fully structural one piece arch systems with stainless steel bearing plates) and underslung soffits (which can supply technical answers for unusually shaped and long openings, or projects with restricted access) - just two of the solutions available from Ibstock-Kevington to assist with swift project completion. To amplify the time-saving benefits of underslung soffits, Ancon Building Products and Ibstock-Kevington have developed Nexus®, a new system which combines a specially developed lightweight brick-faced steel unit with Ancon’s tried and tested MDC stainless steel bracket angle support system. The new system provides an alternative to traditional pre-cast concrete systems. It cuts weight by more than half, which in most cases will allow the brick-faced units to be installed without specialist lifting equipment, and delivers significant savings in installation time – making it particularly appropriate for fast-track or time-limited projects. Seeking out sustainable answers Finally, a continued spotlight on the use of more sustainable construction products reinforces the need to Brick: Why it Remains so Popular B Andrew Halstead-Smith, Group Marketing Manager at Ibstock, the UK’s largest brick maker, says brick will continue to satisfy design aspiration and exceed construction sector expectation, as market trends for more product choice and speedier project completion take hold.