Wienerberger has reopened its Ewhurst brick factory in Surrey, following its pledge to invest £25 million in the UK's economy and help to alleviate the housing shortage.
The factory was reopened by Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning. "I'm delighted that the factory at Ewhurst is reopening in response to this increased demand for bricks – a site that was mothballed in 2008 is now back up and running."
The newly reopened factory will add 200 million bricks to Wienerberger's total annual production - the equivalent of approximately 25,000 new homes. This follows the company's reopening of its Hartlebury factory in summer 2014. The new factory will also contribute to the creation of 150 new jobs across the UK.
Harald Schwarzmayr, managing director of Wienerberger UK, commented: "The reopening of the Ewhurst brick factory is not only great news for the UK's economy but represents a new lease of life for the construction industry. December 2014 saw the fastest paced growth within the sector in six and a half years and marked eight consecutive months of development; moreover, forecasts predict an incremental rise in construction between 2015 and 2018. By investing in materials and individuals we are confident that the housing sector will be able to reach its annual target of 250,000 new properties.
"There are still challenges that the industry must overcome. The burgeoning issues include the affordability of housing, alongside the availability of mortgages. The skills shortage facing the construction industry is also set to become a considerable future obstacle alongside the availability of land and planning regulations. Once the materials are fully meeting demand, however, the industry will be better placed to surmount these additional issues.
"At Wienerberger, we have officially launched the e4 brick house concept to market, with the first house currently being built at BRE Innovation Park in Watford. The e4 brick house was developed to help address the need for affordable and sustainable housing across the UK, and will be the first house to be built to the BRE New Homes Standard."