The longevity, durability and low maintenance requirements have long made brick the material of choice for developers and the general public. Created using abundant natural materials, sourced through a domestic supply chain, the UK brick-making sector is an example of sustainable industry.
- The high-quality performance of brickwork has been proven in the UK for hundreds of years.
- Brickwork constructed today can be expected to last for a minimum of 150 years. Many bricks will last a lot longer.
- Brickwork is robust and will require minimal maintenance over its lifetime. Re-pointing may be required after 60 years, compared to more regular maintenance requirements for rendering and timber.
- Brick is resilient to extremes of weather, including flooding. Following flooding events brick properties can generally be reoccupied more quickly and with less remedial work.
- Brick is durable, and a brick home can with stand the wear and tear of multiple generations of inhabitants.
- All clay bricks are non-combustible and resist the spread of fire.
- Bricks are dense, which means they provide effective acoustic insulation. This reduces the amount of external noise that can be heard inside a building.
- Bricks have a high thermal mass, which means that they can delay and reduce temperature changes within a building. This reduces the risk of overheating during the day and slows the fall in temperature overnight.
- Brickwork weathers well and buildings can become more attractive with age. This means that a brick home retains value for multiple periods of ownership.
- Brick buildings are an easily adaptable form of construction. When needed they can be extended to make them bigger, or sub divided to make them smaller. Adapting the use from commercial to residential and vice versa is also easier than modular forms of construction.
- To specify sustainable construction products, designers should ensure that they focus on high quality and long-lasting materials.
- When a building is to be demolished it is possible to reclaim the bricks and give them a second life.
- Robotic techniques for automating the process of reclaiming bricks are being investigated.
- Compared to alternative cladding materials, such as render or timber, bricks are more easily reused for a higher value purpose.
- Per tonne of material, brick use very little packaging compared to equivalent cladding systems, such as render and timber.
- The most important function of brick packaging is to ensure that they can be safely transported from the factory to the site. As well as minimising damage to the bricks.
- Clay bricks are natural products and do not release harmful emissions that can impact indoor air quality