Lafarge Tarmac’s Dr Bill Price looks forward
Recent data from the CIPS has shown that the UK construction industry grew strongly in February, in fact by the highest amount since last October. The house building sector is particularly buoyant with one major UK house builder recording a 67% jump in profits in 2014 and other house builders also reporting record rises. This growth is also being felt by merchants.
The recovery of construction in the UK (about 6% of GDP) has been heralded before, only for the growth to peter out, but there is increasing confidence that sustainable and continued growth is finally happening in the real world outside the ‘Think Tanks’.
With the General Election firmly on the horizon, all political parties are promising to do something about the current housing shortage by building more homes. Whilst modern forms of construction are being seen increasingly in the housing sector, it is clear that most house buyers still want the traditional masonry construction model.
Consequently, the demand for bricks and mortar, together with all the ancillary items, such as wall ties, lintels etc.; would be expected to increase. On larger housing developments, factory produced mortar, whether using dry silo production or ready to use delivered mortar, is common, but for smaller sites site mixed mortar is preferred.
Looking around our towns and cities, it is clear that a lot of small plots (often where a larger house once stood in a capacious garden) are being developed as housing. Whilst, on an aesthetic level the big old house may have been pleasing to the eye, and the garden a haven for wildlife, realistically the financial rewards created by the demand for new housing (not to mention the energy costs of a large house), will act to free up many of these sites.
These ‘infill’ developments are where pre-packed mortar or site mixed mortar made with packed cement come into their own. Of course, even in spring, the British weather can be a bit variable and using plastic packed cement and mortar is a sensible precaution for reducing spoilage and waste.
Here’s hoping that the growth in housing continues into the summer and with it the demand for bricks and mortar!!