We stock Ibstock!

Published:  05 March, 2012

WALSALL: Members of the h&b buying group recently spent a day, courtesy of Ibstock Ltd, at their Atlas brickworks near Walsall.

The day started propitiously with bacon rolls, followed by a fascinating overview of the UK brick market by Tony France, Director of Sales (Builders’ Merchants).Members were informed that Brick sales in the UK which, in 2004, were at just under 3 billion bricks per annum, declined to a low point of 1.5bn in 2009.

This decline led to many manufacturers closing works and considerable consolidation in the industry. Sales in 2011 improved to 1.65 billion and this is slightly ahead of current production. It is possible that there could be shortages if demand increases rapidly, and, while UK production levels can be increased a certain amount, shortfalls may lead to an increase in imports.

As part of the giant CRH group with its massive 18 Billion Euro turnover, Ibstock, the largest UK brickmaker, is very confident of its future and is poised to take advantage of rising brick sales.

Wayne Harris, Southern sales Manager (Builders’ Merchants) and the h&b group account manager, Peter Clark, and Jo Lightfoot made other presentations covering topics such as innovation, business development, specification, registration, and marketing. A factory tour then followed and members learnt of the manufacture and development of the Tradesman range of bricks produced in the factory to replicate classic brick styles in common use throughout the country.

The Atlas factory is relatively new – 22 years old – and currently produces over 100,000 bricks per day, and is manned by a staff of 64. As well as the Tradesman range, the plant produces the Fireborn range of bricks. This amazing range has been produced since 2002, and has in recent years really caught the imagination of specifiers, architects and builders.

The brick sizes, textures and shapes are all bespoke and can be used to create particular features in brickwork – such as sinuous curves, panels of texture or colour – much favoured by Architects designing public buildings in the UK and on 3 the continent. The h&b group’s relationship with Ibstock is flourishing, despite the recession, with h&b sales of Ibstock products more than doubling in the three years between 2009 and 2011.

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