The Construction Alliance blog
Monday, 28 July 2014
Where have all the bricks gone?
The current demand for bricks is outstripping supply to such an extent that it has reached
regional news as a general news item. Within a 24-hour period the
Construction Alliance has been asked to contribute to two programmes asking: "Where have all the bricks gone and what is the impact on our
are startling. Lead times are now as long as nine months, and manufacturers are
becoming reluctant to give a lead time for fear of facing repercussions if they
can not deliver. Brick prices are inevitably rising and we have seen
increases of over 20% in the year. Most distressing for our balance of trade
figures and for a heavy, low value, high energy product, brick imports are up
63% in the year. This is particularly affecting smaller businesses who do not
need large regular supplies of the same brick and companies who do not benefit
from national supply contracts with manufacturers.
battle for our industry is to be aware and to be able to plan around these
shortages. Within Stepnell we are doing our best to schedule deliveries as
quickly as possible and scouring suppliers for appropriate bricks with the
shortest lead times. In one extreme case, where we were suddenly short of
150,000 bricks, despite an early order, we were able to work with our client
and local planners to quickly identify an alternative and thereby reduce the
impact on our site programme.
Building new capacity
shortage is the result of the long, hard recession that has seen demand slump
and the less efficient brick plants close. A sudden increase in demand,
principally driven by support for the housing market, has outpaced the
industry's ability to switch on mothballed sites, or more likely, to build new
capacity within the UK. If manufacturers can see a long-term demand in the UK
and believe that energy policy and other regulatory pressures will remain
benign, then they will invest in the UK and we are already seeing this happen.
We should support this investment for the benefit of both our
industry and our site programmes.
- Mark Wakeford, Construction Alliance Chair
posted by The Construction Alliance : 16:18
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