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brick slips in use

Contractors turn to slips in brick shortage

With a major brick shortage issue across the UK, contractors are facing an ongoing battle to complete projects on time and budget, leading to a huge increase in the use of brick slips on construction sites up and down the country.

The struggle to obtain bricks does not look set to ease any time soon, with a recent Federation of Master Builders (FMB) report revealing firms are waiting more than a year for bricks, while supply issues have also dramatically increased costs in some parts of the country.

To add further to the brick shortage, the lack of bricklayers has forced specifiers, contractors and end clients to look at alternative solutions, with Wetherby Building Systems seeing sales of its brick slip systems up by 35% in the first five months of 2018.

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With industry bodies and government parties all pushing to address the housing shortage, house builders are under pressure to complete new housing projects on time and cannot afford delays as a result of the lengthy waits for brick currently being experienced. However, the traditional, familiar feel of brick is still the preferred finish for many house builders, while many refurbishment projects are bound by planning constraints that stipulate a brick finish.

This has forced all partners within the supply chain to look for alternative building materials and construction techniques to both speed up build projects and combat the brick and labour shortage issue. The versatility of brick slips enables them to be applied to a wide range of modern off-site construction methods, including steel and timber frame structures, ICF and SIPS.  Clay brick slips are hard to ignore and enquiries for Wetherby’s brick slip systems have increased dramatically this year.

As modular construction projects are becoming increasingly popular for new build housing projects, brick slips are the obvious choice to aid the speed of construction. As the benefits of brick slips are realised, their use is rapidly increasing and with current orders and partnership deals, Wetherby is forecasting an increase of more than 75% for the rest of the year.

Utilising a brick slip finish means it is possible to achieve a traditional brick appearance, while benefiting from significantly quicker installation times, compared with completing an outer layer of brickwork.

Unlike alternative brick slip systems available, which often comprise an acrylic brick finish, Wetherby Real Brick Slip Systems are manufactured and fired in exactly the same way as traditional clay bricks, providing a genuine brick finish. Offering design flexibility, Wetherby Real Brick Slips are available in a wide range of different colour finishes to ensure there is a product option to meet almost any design criteria and effectively complement surrounding properties.

Commenting on its latest brick slip sales figures, Wetherby Sales Director, Paul Kirby, said: “Sales of our brick slip systems are increasing month by month and we are being inundated with enquiries for both new build and refurbishment housing projects.

“The brick shortage has forced people to look at alternatives, but once contractors and housing developers see for themselves that a genuine clay brick finish is achieved with our range of slips and complementary pointing mortars they are returning to us time and again with new projects.”

Wetherby Building Systems Ltd is the UK’s market leader in the manufacture and distribution of a wide range of external wall insulation (EWI) systems, polymer modified renders, silicone & acrylic thin-coat renders & brick slip systems for the retrofit market. Wetherby’s insulated render systems offer environmentally sympathetic external façade solutions that have been successfully installed on many domestic refurbishment projects, new build schemes, commercial buildings and educational establishments for over 20 years.

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