House build­ing boom leads to jobs drive by brick­maker

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY EMMA DEIGHAN

A HOUSE build­ing boom is be­hind sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment and staff in­creases at a Ty­rone brick cast­ing firm.

Ach­e­son and Glover (AG), which has fac­to­ries in Dun­gan­non and Toome, says de­mand for house bricks has dou­bled re­cently due to a “na­tion­wide hous­ing boom”.

And it has in­vested over £50,000 and turned on a sec­ond ma­tur­ing cham­ber for the first time in a decade to cap­i­talise on the re­newed de­mand and brick pro­duc­tion short­fall.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional House Build­ing Coun­cil (NHBC) 160,606 homes were reg­is­tered through­out the course of 2017 in the UK, up from the 152,017 the pre­vi­ous year, and the high­est since pre-re­ces­sion lev­els of a decade ago.

Rod­ney David­son, head of specification at AG, said while the firm isn’t ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the lev­els of de­mand it did pre-re­ces­sion, orders are dou­bling. “Prior to the re­ces­sion we were pro­duc­ing over 20 mil­lion fac­ing bricks per year. Last year we pro­duced six mil­lion which was dou­ble the year be­fore. It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing times and we see our­selves dou­bling that fig­ure next year as well.”

AG has added three new spec man­agers to its 300-strong team and is “ea­gerly try­ing to re­cruit 20-30 peo­ple” for other roles. “I’m de­lighted that we are on an up­ward tra­jec­tory. We’ve had our most prof­itable trad­ing year in the last 10-12 years and I see that con­tin­u­ing go­ing for­ward,” said Mr David­son.

He said he is also hope­ful about post-brexit de­mand. “The an­nual de­mand for fac­ing bricks in the UK and Ire­land is 1.5 bil­lion and the to­tal sup­ply ca­pac­ity here is 300 mil­lion shy of that fig­ure, which means we are im­port­ing a lot of bricks from EU coun­tries to meet that re­quire­ment, and should Brexit cre­ate prob­lems bring­ing those bricks in then it cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties for us.”

Mr David­son said a resur­gence of orders from de­vel­op­ers “es­pe­cially for first-time buyer and so­cial hous­ing projects” has been in­stru­men­tal in the firm’s growth, al­low­ing it to launch its “most ex­ten­sive new brick specification guide yet”.

“There has been a scarcity of fac­ing bricks in the last decade as man­u­fac­tur­ers wound down pro­duc­tion lines. We’re lucky to be in the po­si­tion we are.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.