“We live on an island that’s quite damp,” says Simon Hay, chief executive of the Brick Development Association “It also has extremes of temperature. Bricks can withstand it all. That’s why you see so many brick Victorian and Edwardian buildings, which have hardly needed any maintenance since they were built – maybe a bit of re-pointing at most.” Bricks and mortar are synonymous with housing. This persists even though other materials such as glass, steel and concrete among them, are available. Wood cladding is a feature of many modern buildings but, Hay says, this can wear more rapidly, sometimes becoming unsightly if not maintained. “At the creative end, for architects, bricks are an incredibly open-ended material, allowing all sorts of interesting designs”, Hay says. Brick buildings, for years overlooked in architectural competitions, have started to figure more prominently. “Of course, most bricks go into housing,” says Hay, “but they’re also becoming more sought-after for top-end design. They’re fashionable.”
Probably the most significant changes to the clay paver market has been the move to the European style slim look /on edge paver, as UK tastes have moved away from the flat rectangular format popularised from the 1960’s with concrete paving, as more and more designers and customers look for a more interesting format that distances themselves from the concrete product. In this, Chelmer Valley are providing the choices the industry needs for the UK market, and continue to launch new products to increase choice options in all areas of the market, commercial, residential, and domestic.