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Growing demand from SMEs boosts Irish brick firm

 

Irish brick maker Lagan Brick has noticed a sharp upturn in demand for its range of clay bricks.

 

Much of the increase in brick demand experienced by Lagan in recent months has come from small independent, regional house builders across the UK.  Commenting, Mark Morris, commercial director for Lagan Products said, “We are delighted with the levels of demand for our bricks and while we are currently reaching full capacity with one tunnel kiln in production, there is the potential that we are going to announce the opening of the second tunnel kiln in the near future.”

 

Currently Lagan Brick produces a wide range of facing bricks using one of its two tunnel kilns located on site.  Should the upturn in demand experienced continue, the company says it is well placed to increase its manufacturing capacity by bringing back into production the second tunnel kiln on-site.  

 

Industry experts believe that brick making capacity between UK and Ireland is now no more than 2bn bricks per annum. This figure would represent a reduction of 30% of pre-recession manufacturing capacity.

 

The need for increased brick supply is being driven by the housing shortage and the Government’s target of building one million new homes by 2020, the equivalent of 200,000 homes per year.  This level of construction has not been achieved in a decade.

 

Jude Lagan managing director of Lagan Products adds: “Smaller scale developers and independent businesses striving for growth in a challenging market are often the most affected by any shortfall in supply. Large multinational suppliers are challenged to sell high volumes of product and therefore service only national stockists.  The majority of our customer base tends to reflect the Lagan Group business in that we are an independent and family owned company.  Our strategy is to support these small to medium sized customers to ensure supply continues to flow to meet the resurgent demand for our products.”

 

In 2015 Lagan Brick Kingscourt reinvested in brick manufacturing to support the upturn in the housebuilding sector in both Ireland and the UK. The factory remains the only such facility on the island of Ireland with the all island market previously being serviced by imports.

 

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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