Will rising cost of bricklayers open the door for brick cladding?

With the price of bricklayers on the rise, architects and contractors will be encouraged to turn their attention to brick cladding as a cheaper solution.

That’s the view of Julian Venus, Business Development Director of Brick façade system supplier Aquarian Cladding.

Results from a survey revealed that the charge to hire bricklayers last year increased by 130% compared to the year before – and that is only set to get steeper as a national shortage of bricklayers takes hold. It’s easy to see why brick cladding is becoming more popular as an alternative to traditional methods.

“There are regional differences, but bricklayers are charging around £250 per day, and if they employ a labourer to help then that might add an extra £80 per day,” said Julian. “With a gang of bricklayers usually being 2 bricklayers and a labourer, and a bricklayer laying approximately 600 bricks per day, that equates to around 50p per brick. Brick prices themselves have seen increases in excess of 40% over the past 2 years, with average prices now bring in excess of £500 per 1,000 so add this together and you’re at least £60 per sqm without pointing, access costs, etc.”

“Construction companies are under increasing pressure to reduce and control not just build time but build cost, and brick cladding is perfect for providing a solution for both instead of using traditional hand laid bricks on may projects.”

By its very nature, brick cladding is less labour-intensive. It is about a quarter of the weight of traditional bricks, is made in factory conditions offsite, meaning it can be delivered and applied at speed, plus it is not dependent on the weather to install.

“Dependent upon the system or product selected brick cladding is easy to install and often training in its installation takes a fraction of the time it does to teach someone how to lay bricks, which is perfect when you have a workforce that’s diminishing,” added Julian.

“Other advantages, such as the environmental benefits, fewer deliveries to site, less waste disposal, the lack of scaffolding and masonry support needed, and its ability to provide designers and customers with almost unlimited creativity and flexibility thanks to a wide range of colours and finishes, make it hugely attractive and the smarter way to build. The choice

“It’s crucial when comparing that it’s a holistic cost assessment, incorporating all associated benefits but the savings that can be made on some projects are what is setting brick cladding apart and both the cost, and availability, of bricklayers can be a decisive factor.”

Aquarian Cladding Systems are key distributors of Gebrik, MechSlip and NaturAL-X and work with architects, contractors, developers and installation specialists across a wide range of sectors. Call 0808 223 9080, email info@aquariancladding.co.uk or visit www.aquariancladding.co.uk.

Gebrick Modular Cladding System