Brick and blockmakers increase capacity by 10% to meet increase in demand as housing market takes off


UK brick and block makers will have increased capacity by 10% before the end of the year, which will be more than enough to deal with the current supply problems for new homes, according to the Modern Masonry Alliance.

Mike Leonard, director of the MMA, said the group’s members had taken actions which would see 10% growth in supply come on stream before Christmas, either by restarting work at factories that had been mothballed, or by putting on extra shifts at existing sites.

Leonard said the industry lost around 30% of capacity during the financial crisis and subsequent recession, but had retained the capacity to produce enough bricks for the construction of up to 180,000 homes a year if the housing market continued its current strong growth.

He denied the industry was profiteering from the concerns about supply, which have seen lead times for some brick and block products increase from days to weeks or even months.

He added the depth of the recession meant many former skilled workers in the industry had been unable to secure other permanent work, meaning many were available to re-join the industry.

Leonard said: “We’re working with the housebuilding industry to work out a proper schedule of what is required to stop panic buying, and we’re bringing skilled people back into the industry.

“Before the end of the year this will go away as a problem. From then capacity will be well able to deal with anything up to 180,000 homes a year within a year or two.”