Many of the construction industry’s key figures were among the VIP guests to be given an exclusive tour of Hanson’s new £50m brick factory at Measham in Leicestershire last week.
The top-notch guests included Construction Products Association chief executive Michael Ankers, Nigel Dodds, group buyer at Persimmon, Keith Wright, production director at Travis Perkins and Steve Ashmore, managing director of Wolseley UK’s heavyside division.
The Measham factory is the largest ‘soft-mud’ brick plant in Europe and has sustainability and quality at its core. It stands on a brownfield site and has been developed to combine locally sourced recycled raw materials with low energy, low waste processes to make bricks with the lowest embodied CO2 available. With the capacity to produce 30,000 bricks an hour, the fully mechanised factory operates with just 28 staff.
The factory now produces eight different bricks – four pressed and four thrown, in red and buff plain and multi options – with a range of 18 specials due to start production next month.
The open day was hosted by Hanson UK chief executive officer Patrick O’Shea and Hanson Building Products managing director David Szymanski. Dr Bernd Scheifele, chairman of the managing board of Hanson’s parent company HeidelbergCement AG, unveiled a plaque to mark the factory’s official opening.
“It was great to be able to give our customers the opportunity to see the size and scale of the operation and demonstrate our commitment to brick production both now and in the future,” said Szymanski.
“The Measham factory has the capacity to produce the same volume of bricks as five of our previous factories and this investment in the current economic downturn will give us a competitive edge when the market recovers.”