Australasia's home for timber news and information

Brick shortage grows timber industry in UK

Some developers are seeking alternative construction methods because of a shortage in brick supplies across the UK according to a house builder. Source: Inside Housing UK

A unit of Scottish house builder Stewart Milne said the problem has been sparked by a vastly decreased manufacturing base and has resulted in lead times being increased to four months in some cases.

The company has experienced an upturn in demand, as turning to wood could mean shorter lead times and enhanced speed of build.

Recent figures from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills showed that brick production is currently half of 2000 levels, indicating a vastly reduced supply base with brick manufactures unable to cope with a recent rise in demand for new builds.

Stewart Milne Timber Systems said only 10 per cent of new builds in England and Wales use timber frame, compared with 70 per cent in Scotland.

It added that the UK timber frame market is forecast to be the fastest growing sector of the industry over the next five years as developers increasingly seek cost effective and flexible routes to shorter build programmes and reduced carbon outputs.

“The current [brick] shortage might have a substantial impact on costs, as the gap between supply and demand increases which can result in supply agreements expiring,” Alex Goodfellow, group managing director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems said.

“This is prompting developers to see timber frame as a very attractive and advantageous option when planning projects.”