The Brick Development Association, representing brick manufacturers in the UK, has responded assertively to what it sees as “highly misleading and unhelpful” comment from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.
Recently released market research data from CIPS indicated several areas of concern for the construction sector, amongst which was a lengthening of delivery times for building materials. The BDA, on behalf of the brick industry, has said it would “like to make it completely clear that brick production has risen significantly over the last two years”. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills figures released at the same time point to brick production in December 2015 being 16% higher than in December 2014.
The BDA challenged CIPS on its comment citing brick shortages as a particular issue, asking to see statistical evidence to support the claim. In response, the BDA reports it was told: “We used the term bricks as generally representative of building materials as a sector. We see a shortage of various building materials and picked on bricks as a readily understandable terminology.”
Michael Ankers, Chairman of the BDA, commented in response: “This is sloppy narrative that is very damaging to our industry. The BDA represents 99% of the brick manufacturers in the UK. We can report with absolute authority that there has been a significant increase in brick production over the last twelve months and this is confirmed by the latest ONS statistics.
“If there are delivery issues further down the supply chain it would be very helpful to understand the cause. Unfortunately, CIPS was unable to provide information on the number or organisation type of respondents finding bricks hard to obtain. Without that evidence, I find it astonishing that the CIPS felt authorised to comment on the availability of bricks.”
Information collated by the Brick Development Association reports the following climate for brick manufacturers in the UK:
- Manufacturers increased production by nearly 10% last year to almost 2 billion bricks to meet the growing demand. This will be over 30% higher than in 2010.
- There should no longer be any concerns about a brick shortage and supply and demand now in much better balance. However, with brick manufacturing restored to a more normal state, purchasers may still need to order in advance to ensure particular brick available at the time they want it.
- Imports, which were important in helping to meet the sudden surge in demand 2013/14, are now reducing as UK manufacture increasingly meets the domestic requirement.
- Further capacity increase in the UK is being developed most notably by a new Ibstock factory in Leicestershire. The brick industry is therefore confident that it can meet the government’s aim to increase the number of new homes built in the UK during the lifetime of this Parliament.