It seems ages since we had a buoyant housing market, but the latest forecasts indicate that we could see growth in private housing. If this actually does come to pass, both the big national house-builders and the smaller individual builders could be expected to profit (not before time you might say!).
Builders Merchants, of course, are key suppliers to both these groups and will undoubtedly rise to the challenge of any increased demand. Bricks and mortar will obviously be materials much sought after.
The traditional image of houses in Britain is that of brick built walls and a slate or tile roof. Indeed the type of brick used and the pattern of masonry has long been the defining character of different geographical areas. Think of the checkerboard brickwork of the Chilterns, or the yellow Flettons (now mostly grey and discoloured) of London. This type of construction has successfully stood the test of time and remains popular. In the past, lime based mortar was common, although this has largely been superseded by cement based mortar.
A wide range of cements suitable for masonry mortar are produced by the UK cement industry and these are available in a range of bag sizes for use in site-mixed mortar. Bulk cement is supplied to the dry silo mortar manufacturers for use on the larger sites and cements with less embodied carbon dioxide are common, helping to build 'greener' homes.
Recent changes to Building Regulations, highlight the need for better insulation in homes and support is available to householders wishing to improve the energy efficiency of their property. This would suggest that insulation products would also be an important product line going forwards.
Let's hope that the clever chaps making these predictions have got it right and that housing begins to take off again.