Investing in our future
Over the next 10 years, we will be making a number of investments to support the innovation, efficiency and growth of our business. We have already announced three significant investment projects, two of which are well underway, that will help us to deliver future growth while at the same time improve our sustainability and efficiency.
A £95-million project to transform our Desford plant into Europe’s largest and most efficient brick factory began in September 2019 and the first bricks are expected to roll off the new production line in 2022.
This investment will:
- Minimising the environmental impact of brick production
The new facility will incorporate state-of-the-art processes to deliver market-leading efficiency and sustainability credentials that minimise the environmental impact of both the plant and its products.
At the heart of the plant’s efficiency will be two new kilns using cutting-edge technology to reduce energy consumption and emissions. They will also allow Forterra the flexibility to adjust output in line with demand.
- increase in Forterra’s overall brick production capacity by 16% to support Britain’s housebuilders
This most modern of plants will produce a variety of red and buff bricks to support Britain’s residential construction needs.
When finished, the factory will have the capacity to produce 180 million bricks per year (a doubling of its current capacity) – that’s enough bricks to build 24,000 average family-sized homes.
It will see Forterra’s brick capacity reach approximately 700 million bricks per annum.
To ensure there is no break in brick production at Desford, the new premises are being constructed alongside the existing factory, which will remain operational until the new plant is fully up and running.
We are significantly upgrading our Wilnecote factory in Staffordshire with a £27-million investment in our Wilnecote factory.
This investment will:
- improve our customer offer
The modernised facility will enable us to produce a wider range of high specification products, offering architects and specifiers greater flexibility in their choice of shape, size, colour and finish of bricks. It will also provide us with the capacity to produce a greater number of the famous Staffordshire blue bricks.
- increase efficiency
The refreshed facility will include the latest kiln and manufacturing technologies. As well as greatly increasing efficiency, they will enable us to introduce the flexibility required to produce the wider range of sizes and colours of bricks that we know the market is looking for.
- increase production capacity by approximately 20%
This investment will add significant capacity to our Wilnecote factory, increasing its capacity by 20% to 6 million bricks
The Wilnecote factory will close for a period of 9 months in 2022 to allow the construction work to be undertaken.
We are investing £12 million in developing a brick slip manufacturing facility at our Accrington facility that will run alongside the existing brick manufacturing works.
The investment will:
- facilitate the automated manufacture of 48 million brick slips per annum, helping us to meet increasing market demand
The UK market for brick slips is currently estimated to be around 120 million units annually, with significant growth expected to be driven through growth of the modular construction market along with growing demand for fire-safe façade solutions suitable for use in high rise construction.
Because they are lighter in weight than standard bricks, brick slips offer a solution that enables structures, that would not normally be finished in brick, to benefit from the beautiful, sustainable, durable and fire-safe façade that only clay brick can offer.
Our purpose-manufactured brick slips will also complement our SureBrick mechanically fixed façade solution.
- Eliminate wastage associated with cutting standard bricks to make brick slips
Currently, many brick slips are cut from traditional bricks, which can produce significant wastage. In developing our own brick slip manufacturing facility, not only will we reduce this wastage, but we will also reduce raw material and energy usage relative to the manufacture of traditional bricks.
We expect to be manufacturing brick slips from late 2023.