Expanding the design horizon

Published:  08 March, 2019

A renewed appreciation of traditional building materials is the catalyst for builders’ merchants to take advantage of increased interest in creative brick solutions, according to Simon Taylor, Director of Sales for Builders’ Merchants at Ibstock Brick.

The latest figures from the latest Monthly Statistics of Building Materials and Components for January 2018 paints a promising picture for brick manufacturing. With brick production continuing to increase to meet demand, builders’ merchants are ideally placed to capitalise on Britain’s on-going appreciation for brick with sales through branches across the UK remaining strong.

Everyday red and buff bricks are always going to sell well through stockists as they meet the needs of both the new build and repair, maintenance and improvement market. However, there are other areas where builders’ merchants can take advantage of bricks popularity as a building material. Brick’s ability to move with the times and embrace changing trends means is one of the key reasons it remains the construction material of choice.

Such is the growing demand for innovative brickwork and stand-out features, special shaped bricks are increasingly becoming the backbone of these creative designs. With the trend for enhanced design features filtering down the supply chain, from architects down to homeowners - it is important that builders’ merchants are to be able to cater to the needs of this market.

From simplicity to ornate

Special shaped bricks have been used over thousands of years to create buildings that have a sense of individuality. They have been specifically designed in differing dimensions and are largely used to complement standard bricks.

As well as having a sense of functionality - making the brickwork more durable or protecting it from the elements, their specification allows architects, specifiers, builders and homeowners to improve the overall aesthetics of any building facade. In the simplest terms, this can be achieved with radial, bullnose and arched bricks, all of which can be used to soften the detailing or create a contrasting decorative design.

But the true beauty of specials is they have an ability to generate limitless design opportunities for those who use them, thus enhancing the surrounding built environment where they are incorporated. They encourage innovative design, whether it is for a one-off project or a large-scale development.

An example of how builders’ merchants can cater to their customers’ needs is Ibstock Kevington’s innovative spiral brick. With just one standard special brick, builders can create complex spirals that result in decorative columns and chimneys. The spirals can follow a clockwise or anti-clockwise pattern or cross over, yet all are laid with a single, straight plumb line down the perpendicular joints. It is innovations such as this that help deliver designs that are full of character and have a sense of individuality, offering the ultimate kerb appeal.

Everyday choices

However, creating inspiring designs doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Ease of use and speed of installation are just two of the reasons that our Everyday Specials range has grown in popularity with builders’ merchants and their customers. These frequently used special shaped bricks accomplish great results, quickly and easily. Available for quick delivery, this range makes it easy for stockists to offer customers a wider range of special shaped bricks from stock thus providing additional sales opportunities.

Brickwork that resonates with its environment whilst creating an aesthetically pleasing finish offers the ultimate kerb appeal. Whether renovating or restoring the historic features of our architectural heritage or helping to realise the ideas of architects designing the buildings of tomorrow, with the sheer variety of special shaped bricks available, small and medium-sized builders can turn inspirational building ideas into reality. Stocking bricks in shapes that are on trend with homeowners’ aspirations for more beautiful homes, will help builders’ merchants and their customers take advantage of Britain’s love affair with bricks.

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