The Brick Development Association (BDA) welcomes the renewed focus on private sector house building resulting from the general election, and believes that an assurance of continued demand is precisely what is needed to support the ongoing investment in production capacity by brick manufacturers.
The newly elected Conservative party has pledged to increase house building to at least 200,000 new starts each year. The brick industry has already responded enthusiastically to the rise in house building numbers over the last two years and the BDA is confident that it will continue to grow capacity to help reach this exacting target.
Recent Office for National Statistics building materials and components figures (Q1,2015) show a significant increase in brick production: up 5% over the same period in 2014. This is in addition to the 17% rise in production in 2014 over 2013.
Existing plants have greatly increased their production output and additional manufacturing capacity has come on stream over the last eighteen months as mothballed plants have been brought back into production (five, to date). The investment required for this activity reflects confidence on behalf of manufacturers that demand will be sustained. The recent announcement of the construction of an entirely new brick plant is further evidence of the industry’s commitment to increasing production numbers.
It naturally takes time for manufacturing facilities to be developed or brought back on stream. In 2014 the house building industry completed 7% more houses than in 2013 — reaching a total of 140,072 houses completed during the year. The brick industry provided the bricks for this increase to be realised. We do not anticipate that the target 200,000 houses will be achieved immediately and are confident that the brick industry’s growing capacity will keep pace with demand.
ONS figures for Q1 2015 show brick stocks at 415 million, that is 25% above low levels reached in 2014 and suggests that manufacturing is now in line with demand.
Simon Hay CEO of the BDA, comments:
“The focal point should now be on how we deliver the housing promises outlined by the Conservative Government. It is great to see brick manufacturers responding so positively to the challenge and we look forward to making our contribution to addressing the chronic housing shortage that has built up over recent decades.”