Page 23

Building Products January 2018

EXTERNAL ENVELOPE ALWAYS IN STYLE Jason Hughes, managing director at Imperial Bricks, talks about the enduring kerb appeal of bricks for homes and workplaces Bricks are always in style. Some form of JANUARY 2018 | BUILDING PRODUCTS 23 brick has been used by every recorded civilisation, from ancient China onwards. Closer to home, around the UK, we can see examples of brickwork from every era; mediaeval, Tudor, Victorian or modern. In every city, town or village, we are surrounded by examples of how our ancestors have used bricks to build homes and workplaces throughout the ages. And, side by side with historic buildings, the latest ideas and architecture are delivering futuristic looks with a traditional material. Bricks really are an ageless classic! The traditional handmade brick market is thriving. Sales increased by 25% in 2017, and show no signs of slowing down. We mostly see our bricks used by contractors, bricklayers and selfbuilders, for refurbishment and major extensions and renovations which need to match existing brickwork. Reclaimed bricks might be suitable, but they are difficult (and expensive) to source, and the quality is not reliable. They are easily damaged and every load of reclaimed bricks will have a proportion which will be unusable. And even if they come from the same area, they won’t necessarily be a perfect match, as they might have weathered and aged differently. More people are buying new, handmade bricks with an authentic reclamation look. They come fully tested, frost resistant to current standards and there is a sustainable supply, so builders can be sure of completing their projects without any shortages. We’ve also seen an increase in projects which mix renovation of old walls with building new ones. A recent Cheshire development converting old, listed agricultural buildings to luxury accommodation involved repairing existing walls and building new to divide the outdoor area. Such projects need carefully selected bricks, matching size, colour and weathering effects, if they are going to pass local conservation regulations. Although new handmade bricks are now available in a huge variety of colours, sizes and finishes, sometimes remedial work on existing structures, where brickwork has been damaged, requires further attention. Local conditions change the way a brick weathers (ages), whether it’s 200 years worth of pollution in London, or wild weather in the Scottish Highlands. That’s where a brick tinting service is a valuable option. Most tinting is used to give bricks an aged look, but customised blends Continued on page 24 >>>


Building Products January 2018
To see the actual publication please follow the link above