Achieving a brick finish with modern methods of construction

// the building envelope

As increasing numbers of projects are delivered using modern methods of construction, what is the best way to achieve a brick finish? Brick remains popular, particularly in British architecture, and brick slip cladding offers an alternative to traditional brickwork with a number of benefits.

Eurobrick were first to introduce a comprehensively designed brick slip cladding system to the UK nearly 30 years ago, and has supplied many housing projects. Richard Haines, director at Eurobrick, discusses some of the benefits of using brick slip cladding systems for modern construction.

“We have seen the popularity of brick slip cladding grow to become a sought after finish for large scale projects. The off-site construction and modular sectors have long recognised the benefits compared to traditional brickwork. Without doubt, ease and speed of installation is a major benefit. Our systems are robust enough to be installed off-site and withstand the stresses of being lifted, transported to site on the back of a lorry and craned into position. A modular building that can be delivered to site without requiring substantial finishing works to the exterior helps reduce on-site operations which can be costly, are subject to other scheduled site activities or delays and can be at the mercy of the weather.

Our systems are lightweight, compared to traditional brickwork, and are easy to handle and cut to size. In a controlled factory environment, an installer should be able to install at least 1m² per hour. Only semi-skilled labour is needed, so with the skills shortage in the construction industry, reducing dependency on traditional skilled labour is also a benefit.

Eurobrick’s P-Clad system was used on a housing association project in Liverpool. Belle Vale is a £3.5m development of 33 eco homes constructed for Liverpool Mutual Homes. The contractor adopted modern methods of construction to build modular houses which were constructed off-site in a factory before being transported to site in sections.

P-Clad was also installed off-site, which offered quality control and speed of delivery benefits. The development has a contemporary mixed finish using brick slips from Eurobrick’s Britannia Range and our specialist Europoint mortar.

P-Clad was specified as no insulation was required. P-Clad has a cement particle board backer panel, developed to work as an external sheathing and is also certified for installation on buildings over 18m high with a steel frame.

Our systems can be installed both on- or off-site and are suitable for both new-build or retrofit projects. The wide range of brick slips now available allows for matching finishes to existing structures, or keeping in style with existing local housing. Eurobrick also provide a number of stone slip finishes to fit our systems.

Eurobrick’s X-Clad system allows for adding layers of insulation from 17-100mm thick which can help to meet the U-Value targets of a project and also provides benefits to existing housing stock that needs updating or suffers from poor insulation.

If space is at a premium, building upwards is achievable with Eurobrick too. Our systems are lightweight and do not require the foundations associated with traditional masonry. When adding extra floors, the low weight can simplify design and reduce engineering costs. Our systems can also be fitted to different substrates, including timber and steel frame.

Brick slip cladding is durable too, it weathers and ages like conventional brickwork and requires little to no maintenance. Eurobrick systems are guaranteed for 25 years and have been independently tested and certified by the British Board of Agrément (BBA) and are LABC (Local Authority Building Control) registered.

There are many advantages to brick slip cladding, most notably the aesthetic advantage of achieving a real brick finish without compromising on speed of delivery, giving it a firm place in the future of modern construction.”

For more information on Eurobrick, please visit www.eurobrick.co.uk or call 0117 971 7117. Eurobrick has a showroom at its Bristol office which is open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

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