Growth predicted for bricks, blocks and precast concrete market

Growth in demand predicted for bricks, blocks and precast concrete as confidence returns to UK construction.

According to a new report from AMA Research, the market grew by around 25% between 2012 and 2014. A further 11% growth is forecast for 2015 and current estimates indicate that a recovery to pre-recession levels is possible by 2017.

Jane Tarver, AMA Research, said: “The total market for bricks, blocks, concrete precast and natural stone products is likely to continue on its relatively strong path of growth in the medium term with good growth in housebuilding and returning confidence in the private commercial sector likely to underpin value growth.”

Bricks were estimated to account for around 30% of the total market in 2014, with indications that the strong growth experienced 2013-15 will continue into 2016 with predictions of a further increase of over 10%.

The report explains that UK manufacturers of bricks have been under significant pressure by the sudden spike in demand after five years of volume decline and significant cuts in production.

As reported in Building Products October issue, the major manufacturers have been reopening mothballed plants, creating jobs and increasing shifts, as well as investing in technology and skills in order to boost output.

Precast concrete blocks have seen a similar rise in demand, with sales rebounding in 2013 after two years of decline, and signs of further strengthening of demand in 2014 and 2015. Block manufacturers have also had to adjust to the surge in housebuilding activity, although according to industry information there are now no discernible shortages, and current demands are being met.

The market for precast concrete structural building products increased by around 9% in 2014, the report says, with current indications of similar growth by the end of 2015. This sector incorporates a wide range of products, including crosswall panels which are estimated to account for around 20% share, while flooring, stairs, landings and balconies account for a combined share of over 35% of the ‘precast concrete’ sector.

Natural stone products used in building applications recorded around 10% growth in 2014, following a similar increase in the previous year, with market values estimated at around £100m.