Responding to the growing demands of the market, Wienerberger, the UK’s leading provider of wall, roof and landscaping innovations, has announced a significant expansion of its brick manufacturing output. The company has stated its intention to increase brick capacity by 200 million bricks between January 2014 and January 2015, the equivalent of approximately 25,000 new homes. It will be creating 120 new jobs across the UK in the process.
Wienerberger will be implementing the capacity increases by re-activating mothballed factories at Hartlebury and Ewhurst, investing in technology upgrades, adding shifts and new jobs throughout its UK operations, and importing from the continent. Wienerberger is uniquely positioned for imports in that although it operates 14 factories in the UK, as the world’s largest producer of bricks, it can respond to hotspots in demand by adding capacity from continental factories.
Harald Schwarzmayr, Managing Director of Wienerberger, commented:
“This capacity increase shows our absolute commitment to ensuring that enough new housing is built to meet the requirements of the market. The UK needs a minimum of 200,000 new homes to be built each year, approximately 35,000 more than will be started in 2014. With our capacity increases equating to approximately 25,000 homes each year, Wienerberger is capable of manufacturing the core material for more than 70% of that extra housing requirement needed. With our broad construction product portfolio catering for the entire building envelope (covering wall, roof and paving solutions) we believe we can make a strong contribution to solving the housing crisis, and of course we will ensure that we continue to offer our customers unmatched manufacturing service and a roadmap through sustainable construction with a fabric first approach.
“These are big numbers, and we hope it shows exactly how serious we are about giving our customers and the industry the best possible service. Likewise, we are very much aware that we need to attract more young people into construction, and the 120 new jobs created should help provide opportunities to the next generation of construction industry workers”.
The expansion represents the latest stage of a wide range of initiatives implemented by Wienerberger since the start of 2013; all of which have been designed to showcase the company’s engaged approach to the key construction issues affecting the UK economy. These include operation expansions, a full-scale affordable housing solution (the e4 brick house concept) and an industry wide construction skills shortage awareness campaign.
Wienerberger and Barratt Developments PLC announced a Porotherm partnership earlier in the year where the UK’s largest housebuilder committed to using Wienerberger’s innovative clay block walling system, Porotherm, to build 1500 homes in the UK. The Porotherm system, which uses a unique interlocking clay block to deliver enhanced speed of build and cost saving opportunities aligned to quicker plot completion, without compromising quality, will be used to create the internal walls of 1500 properties across the country this year. The system has been chosen by Barratt as part of its efforts to innovate and improve material quality, sustainability and efficiency in construction. It also means that Barratt has switched from concrete to clay, recognising Porotherm’s comparative lightness, durability and convenience of use on-site for construction workers.