It was revealed at Ibstock’s recent Independent Builders’ Merchant Forum that UK brick manufacturing is now seeing its highest output levels since before the 2008 recession. PBM reports.
The UK is manufacturing the highest number of bricks for the housebuilding, RMI and commercial sectors in over a decade, according to experts at the Independent Builders’ Merchant Forum (IBMF) 2019, hosted by Ibstock. Nearly 100 representatives from the independent merchant sector gathered at the Forest of Arden Hotel in the Midlands for the ‘Best of British’ themed event to hear the latest insights, developments and innovations in the sector.
Addressing delegates at the event, Simon Taylor, Builders Merchants – Director of Sales at Ibstock, commented: “In 2018, UK manufacturers produced over two billion bricks in total, which is the highest production output since before the recession hit in 2008. In 2019, the industry as a whole will be on course to manufacture 2.6 billion bricks as confidence continues to grow. This sustained growth over the last decade is extremely encouraging for the UK economy and everyone involved in the building sector.
“The private housing sector continues to be a key driver of this growth, particularly with the Government committed to building hundreds of thousands of new homes each year and first-time buyer demand being enhanced with the Help to Buy scheme. Then there’s the strength of the RMI sector, which will continue throughout 2019 and beyond as the UK’s ever growing but aging housing stock will be continually in need of repair and maintenance.”
Following key presentations from Ibstock’s senior team on the state of the nation, guests at the IBMF had the opportunity to hear about the company’s ongoing commitment to providing its customers with a “first class service offering”
This included the announcement that the business is investing over £25 million over the next few years to further enhance operational and manufacturing capabilities at some of its 38 sites across the UK, as well as make supply chain improvements like the introduction of ‘E-scheduling tools’ and a new interactive product selector.
Visitors to the event also had a first look at Ibstock’s complete new brand identity, which has been introduced to present a more consistent and co-ordinated brand across its product portfolio. This included walling solutions from Ibstock Brick and Ibstock Kevington, concrete roofing solutions from Forticrete and fencing, landscaping and building products from Supreme.
Earlier in the summer, Ibstock also opened a new facility in London for architects and other industry professionals (including those from the merchant sector) which the company hopes will become a “hub of innovation, inspiration and ingenuity while designing and planning upcoming projects.”
Located in Clerkenwell — billed as “the heart of the Capital’s architectural circuit” — the I-Studio enables those visiting the space to meet with the company’s team of designers, view product samples and use innovative visualisation software to see how a future project could look if constructed with Ibstock’s extensive clay brick and concrete building product portfolio.
Using the innovative product selector, architects can select from over 218 brick slips and project their drawings onto the wall to experience the exterior and interior aesthetics with each style of brick, as well as the bond pattern and mortar colour. The I-Studio also features product solutions from the wider group brands such as Forticrete and Supreme.
Returning to the proceedings of the IBMF, Simon concluded: “The merchant sector is vitally important for Ibstock. Hosting the IBMF 2019 provided the ideal platform to discuss all the latest developments in our industry and look at ways of working together even better so we can all continue to capitalise on the growth opportunities available and share best practice. I’d like to thank all the merchants that attended and we look forward to continuing to work closely with them to take advantage of the increasing demand for bricks in the future.”