There has been a considerable amount of coverage in the media regarding the national shortage of bricks. Whilst some manufacturers promise immediate availability, others with popular brick types may be subject to lead times of up to a few months.
The national brick shortages are a direct result of the 2008 economy crisis which saw the closure of brick factories across the country.
With falling demand in 2007-08 by around 1 billion bricks, production began to reduce. The factory closures resulted in a considerable loss of skilled work force whom many faced redundancy in the bleak of recession.
The implementation of Government incentives such as the “Help to Buy Scheme” and the ending of the recession brought new activity to the market by Spring 2013, however the factories were struggling to keep up with demand; sites needed new work forces, which needed training and the factories took a while to be re-commissioned.
As shortages became apparent and with increasing media attention builders and developers began to stock pile – accelerating the situation and escalating lead times. For many brick manufacturers 2014 was spent re-commissioning moth-balled factories, whilst some chose to import volumes from the continent to help with fulfilment of demand.
Availability is now (late 2015) increasing month by month, with the majority of bricks now available on 4-8 week lead-times. Specialist or regional products may still incur a delay.
So what can WE tell you?
At MKM we endeavour to work closely with the UK’s top brick manufacturers to secure availability of bricks for all our customers. Please do not hesitate to contact your local branch as they will have an up-to-date availability schedule and are the best advisors on the current state of the market.