The Brick Development Association (BDA) has rejected claims by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors that a fall in UK construction output is partly due to a brick shortage.
Simon Hay, chief executive officer of the BDA, said: “You only have to look at the statistics and forecasts from the Construction Products Association (CPA) to prove that these claims from the RICS are completely unfounded.
“Housing starts in Great Britain during 2013 are estimated to have increased by 24% and forecast to increase further in 2014 by 16% and 10% in 2015. Clearly, housebuilders have been able to acquire sufficient brick supplies to significantly increase housebuilding. Construction output is expected to rise by 3.4% in 2014 and by a further 5.2% in 2015, so there is no anticipation of supply problems causing problems in growth. If the brick industry was in ‘crisis’, as suggested by some areas of the media last year, this recovery would simply not have been possible.”
The CPA has also reported that the largest constraint to industry recovery continues to be the public sector construction.
“The lack of investment in public sector projects is what is really affecting the industry – not a shortage of bricks,” Mr Hay continued. “The initial success of the government’s Help To Buy scheme and the growing pace of the economic recovery has meant that the construction industry has faced an upswing in demand. However, there is absolutely no suggestion that brick manufacturers will be unable to cope with the increased demand.”
The BDA reports that many manufacturers have continued production right through the winter to meet demand – and that demand is being met. It urges builders to work closely with manufacturers and merchants to plan their deliveries and place orders in advance, as was standard practice prior to 2008 and the credit crisis.
“The construction industry is in a phase of growth and optimism,” concluded Mr Hay. “We are seeing a much-needed lift in activity, which is a really positive development and something our members are well placed to manage.”