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Brick production ‘not to blame’ says BDA

The Brick Development Association has strongly rejected claims by the Royal Institute of Surveyors (RICS) that a fall in UK Construction Output is due to shortage of bricks.

Brick production 'not to blame' says BDA

The RCIS’ latest statistics were featured in much of the mainstream media earlier this month, citing evidence of shortages of bricks and concrete blocks as hampering further growth of construction.

However , Simon Hay, Chief Executive Officer for the BDA , the body that represents the clay brick and paver industries in the UK and Ireland, says: “You only have to look at the statistics and forecasts from the Construction Products Association to prove that these claims from the RICS are completely unfounded. Housing starts in Great Britain during 2013 are estimated to have increased by 24% and forecast to increase further in 2014 by 16% and 10% in 2015.

“Clearly house builders have been able to acquire sufficient brick supplies to significantly increase house building. Construction output is expected to rise by 3.4% in 2014 and by a further 5.2% in 2015, so there is no anticipation of supply problems causing problems in growth. If the brick industry was in ‘crisis’ as suggested by some areas of the media last year, this recovery would simply not have been possible.”

The CPA has also reported that the largest constraint to industry recovery continues to be public sector construction. Public non – housing output fell 27.2% between 2010 and 2012 with recovery not anticipated until 2015 when the impacts of capital investment growth begin to feed through.

“The lack of investment in public sector projects is what is really affecting the industry, not a shortage of bricks,” Hay continues. “The initial success of the government’s Help To Buy scheme and the growing pace of the economic recovery has meant that the construction industry has faced an upswing in demand. However, there is absolutely no suggestion that brick manufacturers will be unable to cope with the increased demand.”

The BDA reports that many manufacturers as well as stepping up production have continued production right through the winter to meet demand, but demand is being met. It urges builders to work closely with manufacturers and merchants to plan their deliveries and place orders in advance as was standard practise prior to 2008 and the credit crisis.

“The construction industry is in a phase of growth and optimism,” Hay concludes. “We are seeing a much needed lift in activity which is a really positive development and something our members are well placed to manage.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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