Brickbats fly over looming brick shortage fears

Aaron Morby 8 years ago
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Brick makers are at war with estate agents after they claimed supply shortages were threatening to slow building and ramp up house prices further.

The brick producers also are fired up about claims that existing brick shortages could get a lot worse after Brexit.

According to the National Association of Estate Agents’ Bricks Report supply is failing to keep pace with the demand for homes, exacerbating Britain’s housing crisis.

Andrew Eagles, CEO of the Brick Development Association, leaped to the defence of the industry slamming the report’s findings as “out of date and unhelpful”.

“The challenges the brick industry faced in 2014 when there was a dramatic increase in housebuilding are now behind us and the industry is confident it can meet the growing demand for its products in housing and other construction projects,” he said.

Eagles added that the kilns were fired up across the UK ready for rising demand..

“The re-openings and development of new brick plants are already incredibly positive signs in the revitalisation of the housebuilding sector.”

After the row kicked off Mark Hayward, the NAEA’s managing director, said he stood by the report which warned the industry would need to find 1.4 bn bricks – the equivalent to 740 Big Bens – to plug Britain’s shortfall of 264,000 homes.

The study, compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, found that more than 60% of small and medium-sized construction firms faced a two-month wait for new brick orders last year.

It also warned that Britain’s vote to leave the European Union could hamper supply further, as 85% of imported clay and cement bricks came into the UK from the EU last year.

Brickmakers came under pressure during Britain’s last recession, with many being forced to mothball their kilns. 

Hayward said: “We’re concerned that the impact of the EU referendum means this problem could get worse as we rely on the import of brick components from the EU and of course many of our skilled labourers come from there too.”

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