Brick Shortage Hits Britain

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Britain is currently facing a national brick shortage amid a dramatic rise in demand for new homes in the UK.

Last month, house building picked up at the fastest pace for more than a decade as a result of the Government introducing the Help to Buy Scheme. With this sudden bounce back of the housing market, the UK’s supply of bricks has struggled to keep up and stocks have hit a record low of 336million.

Steve Morgan, chairman and founder of the FTSE 250 house builder said:

‘Bricks is an industry that takes a longer time to wind up. Firms are reluctant to do it until they think that it will be worthwhile.’

The production of bricks fell as the housing market ground to a halt during the financial crisis, with a huge stockpile of 887million bricks building up in 2009. As a result, brick-makers were forced to close down or mothball factories.

Kick-starting the production of bricks again has been a slow and expensive process. As the housing market has bounced back the stockpile of bricks has rapidly been used up resulting in the record low recorded.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB), a trade body, said that a lack of bricks risked ‘scuppering’ the ability of construction firms to keep pace with new orders.

One solution to the current brick shortage is Alumasc’s Traditional Brick Slips which offer an easy to apply, high performance, real brick finish. Alumasc’s patented Traditional Brick Slip system innovatively uses a preformed template mesh to assist speedy and accurate installation, achieving a premium quality and uniform result. The system is fully weatherproof and corrosion resistant whilst remaining vapour permeable.

To find out more about Alumasc Facade Systems click here or call +44 (0) 3335 771 700. 

Alumasc’s Swisslab External Wall Insulation Transforms Glasgow Housing Scheme

St Andrews Crescent is a 1970St Andrews Crescent’s social housing development owned by Southside Housing Association (SHA), in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow. As part of a major refurbishment scheme, SHA employed jmarchitects and Alumasc registered installers CCG, to design and implement a series of improvements to 48 flats, including Alumasc’s Swisslab External Wall Insulation System.

The 5-storey building, originally of standard brick construction with exposed concrete slabs and a 50mm cavity wall with no insulation, suffered from a number of problems.

Gavin McNab of jmarchitects, explains further:

“The properties in St Andrew’s Crescent experience considerable damp and mould problems as well as high heating costs, particularly on the north elevation. Previous attempts by both tenants and building owners to eradicate the problems, through measures such as ventilation, hadn’t proved successful.”

Alumasc’s Swisslab external wall insulation system was specified as it is a proven solution for over-cladding existing properties, with a track record nearing 30 years. The Swisslab system eradicated the mould and dampness, whilst improving energy efficiency, boosting thermal performance and improving the overall aesthetics of the scheme.
The installation was carried out quickly and efficiently requiring no displacement of residents throughout the works.
As a result of the refurbishment, residents have benefited from warmer and more attractive homes, with U-values now at 0.24W/m2k compared to the previous 1.63W/m2k
The project was nominated for the prestigious RICS Scotland Award in the Regeneration and Residential categories and for a Glasgow Institute of Architects (GIA) Design Award in the Residential category.

In addition, St Andrew’s Crescent was also nominated for a Scottish Civic Trust “My Place” Award.

These awards are a national celebration of good local design and conservation and are nominated by local people. The awards aim to identify projects or buildings that have had a positive impact in a local neighbourhood and have delivered positive benefits to the community. CCG installed 3,500m2 of Alumasc’s Swisslab External Wall Insulation with 130mm EPS Insulation to all elevations. The scheme was finished with Alumasc’s Silkolitt silicone render, in cream/off white.

Alumasc EWI systems are BBA approved, fully warranted and are available with a range of design and specification options, across many building types.

To find out more about Alumasc’s External Wall Insulation Systems click here or call +44 (0) 3335 771 700.

Swisslab External Wall Insulation used in Cottage Renovation Project

The Old Cottages are two newly renovated period properties in Sarratt, near Rickmansworth. Originally six workers’ cottages, they have now been remodelled and renovated to form two semi-detached dwellings.

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As part of the renovation, Alumasc’s Swisslab external wall insulation (EWI) system was specified as a result of owner Richard Haynes contacting energy saving specialists, the Mark Group. Advice was sought on how the thermal performance of the buildings could be improved, resulting in EWI being put forward.

REASON FOR THE SPECIFICATION:

The period solid brick construction meant that energy efficiency and aesthetics at The Old Cottages were both in need of improvement. As the Mark Group have an excellent, long-standing working relationship with Alumasc, they were confident that Swisslab External Wall Insulation would easily meet all the requirements of the scheme.

The Mark Group offer a dedicated EWI installation service for domestic properties, often helping homeowners and residents to take advantage of Government schemes and energy saving initiatives. This scheme was part-funded by the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

CHALLENGES AND AIMS:

The aim of the installation was to improve the thermal performance, thus lowering future energy bills at the two properties.

An additional goal was to improve the appearance of the The Old Cottages as owner, Richard Haynes, explains:

“The original properties looked awful. The exterior was painted brick and a number of doors and windows had been bricked up over the years.”

Alumasc’s Swisslab External Wall Insulation was the ideal choice for the project. This direct-fix insulated render system is commonly used for over-cladding existing properties and brings with it a number of benefits over and above the obvious improvements to thermal performance and upgrade of the building facade. These include, amongst others, weather protection and elimination of condensation and mould growth.

PRODUCT SPECIFICATION:

The Swisslab system used at The Old Cottages comprised 60mm phenolic insulation along with Alumasc’s high performance Silkolitt silicone render in standard white, the latter greatly improving the aesthetic appeal of the building.

RESULTS:

As a result of the EWI installation, both properties at The Old Cottages have significantly improved thermal performance, with U-values now at 0.3W/(m2k) compared to the previous 2.10W/(m2k).

Speaking about the finished product, Richard Haynes, said:

“We’re really pleased with the results. Both houses look infinitely better and although this winter was kind to us in terms of the weather, I’m confident that the new insulation will benefit us even further in any future harsh winters. I’d definitely recommend EWI to other homeowners looking to increase energy efficiency in their properties.”

Sarah Shanahan, office manager at the Mark Group added:

“I’m personally really proud of The Old Cottages project. Not only do the properties look fantastic, but the improvement in energy efficiency is really impressive. At the Mark Group we’re always happy to install Swisslab – it’s a system we always refer back to.”

All Alumasc EWI systems are BBA approved, fully warranted and are available with a range of design and specification options, across many building types.

To find out more about Alumasc’s External Wall Insulation Systems click here or call +44 (0) 3335 771 700.

Does Your Property Need External Wall Insulation?

Alumasc Exterior DPS V1-2Your home’s lifespan can be extended with Alumasc’s insulated render systems.

Reduced heating costs

By installing External Wall Insulation (EWI), heating costs are reduced by as much as 40%, due to improved energy efficiency. An average solid wall semi-detached home could save around £475 per year on fuel costs (according to the Energy Savings Trust). This increases with greater insulation thicknesses. Heating systems will not need to be on as long or as often. The effects will also be felt in the summer months, with properties being less susceptible to temperature fluctuations.

Improved appearance

High performance renders and/or brick effects enhance the appearance of properties and are available in a wide range of textures and colours. They provide the opportunity to create a distinct new look or they can be used to remain in-keeping with the surrounding environment and other properties.

Extended life

The weather-resistant, protective qualities of insulated render systems, along with the thermal upgrade they provide, ensures the life of the building is increased. It is strongly recommended that the EWI system selected is fully certified by the British Board of Agrément (BBA) and offers a life expectancy rating in excess of 30 years. The system should also be recommended for use by the Energy Savings Trust.

Guaranteed installation

Reputable EWI systems are applied by installers that are fully trained and carded by the system manufacturer. Fully certified systems are covered by warranties for up to 25 years, which provides peace of mind with respect to both their application and performance. This is fully compliant with the requirements of The Green Deal – an energy-saving improvements initiative.

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The energy-saving improvements depend on your home. For latest information on funding opportunities for EWI installations, visit the GOV.UK website: www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures/overview

Why Choose Alumasc?

As an award-winning UK manufacturer of thermally efficient EWI systems, Alumasc has a 25-year proven success record. The company is a leader in the design and development of solutions which utilise a choice of decorative polymer-modified, mineral and silicone renders along with traditional and acrylic brick slips.

It offers BBA certified systems combined with technical expertise and full warranty packages. Highly regarded brands such as Euroroof, Derbigum, Hydrotech, Firestone, Harmer, Apex and M.R., together with Alumasc’s well known architectural rainwater range have been independently certified, and in some cases have a lifespan in excess of 60 years or for the life of the building being worked on.

To find out more about Alumasc’s External Wall Insulation Systems click here or call +44 (0) 3335 771 700.