Building products manufacturer announces £12m investment in Lancashire factory

Posted on 28 Mar 2022 by The Manufacturer

A leading building products manufacturer has announced a £12m investment in the manufacture of clay brick slips at its Accrington factory in Lancashire.

Forterra will use the investment to capitalise upon growing market demand for brick slips, a material which combines the aesthetically appealing finish of traditional brick with a number of sustainability benefits, including the reduction of raw material and energy usage relative to the manufacture of traditional bricks.

Manufacture is expected to commence in late 2023, with a production capacity of up to 48 million brick slips per annum. This investment and the increased manufacturing output is expected to lead to the creation of 10 new jobs.

Forterra's brick slips in situ at Peel Park, Accrington. Image credit: Forterra
Forterra’s brick slips in situ at Peel Park, Accrington. Image credit: Forterra

Brick slips, or “thin bricks” as they are sometimes known, are specially manufactured brick tiles which, when installed, have the appearance, colour and texture of an authentic brick wall. Typically used to create a façade wall, they are lighter weight than traditional masonry. Thanks to a speedier build-process, brick slips enable wind and water-tight buildings to be created earlier in the build programme. They also offer many of the benefits of standard bricks, including long-term durability, and easy and low cost maintenance.

Forterra’s Accrington plant has been making bricks for well over 100 years. It is famed for its NORI bricks, whose iron-hard resistance and strength have been used in the construction of famous buildings such as the Empire State Building.

Currently estimated at around 120 million units per annum, the brick slip market is predicted to grow significantly over the next few years, with a large proportion of the increase driven by the expansion of the modular construction market, as well as through a growing demand for new fire-safe façade solutions suitable for high-rise constructions.

Stephen Harrison, Chief Executive of Forterra, said, “This investment will allow Forterra to continue to be a leading player in innovation across the construction industry. We’re always on the watch for exciting new developments which can both reduce costs and secure an eco-friendly and sustainable output; the brick slips investment is a really exciting venture which will streamline our production and provide long term benefits, not only to the industry as a whole, but also to the Accrington area.”