Welcome to our first York Handmade Brick blog. Over
the coming months we will be writing a series of blogs, which will not just
take a look at what’s happening with us, but will also comment on the wider
issues and challenges facing the building and construction industry in these
testing Brexit-dominated times.
It gives me great pleasure to kick off our blog posts
with some excellent news. Despite the uncertain economic conditions in the UK,
we have just enjoyed one of the most successful 12 months in our 30-year
history. We flourished in 2018, with exciting and prestigious contracts from as
far afield as Cornwall and Scotland. Significantly, our most lucrative work
with in the commercial property and education sectors, rather than housing,
which has been our staple for a number of years.
Prestigious contracts that we completed during the
year included the new Halifax Library
, Pocklington School’s
Art and Design
Technology Centre, the House of Trembling Madness in York and the Westgate
Centre in Oxford. The Halifax and Oxford projects were shortlisted for major
awards in the Brick Development Association’s Awards, the Oscars of the brick
Equally encouraging is that our order book is full
well into this year, with upcoming projects including a £300,000 contract to
build a new library at Magdalene College, Cambridge; prestigious housing
developments at Lancer Square in Central London and King’s Cross; and a significant
restoration project at St Albans Cathedral. This success has enabled us to invest in a new
dryer, which will speed up the production process and make us more efficient.
The dyer has been built from scratch by our talented production manager Steve
Pittham and is capable of handling more than 34,000 bricks at a time.
Looking ahead, it is encouraging to report that brick
remains the building material of choice for many architects and specifiers
across the UK. Providing the economy doesn’t implode, we anticipate a very successful
and enjoyable 2019.
It is especially encouraging to report that York
Handmade is going from strength to strength in the wake of our 30th anniversary
. The company was founded in 1988, taking control of a redundant
pipeworks in Forest Lane, Alne, with only some excellent clay being of any use
for brick-making. Since then we have grown to 30 employees with a turnover of
£2.5 million, with a target of £3 million this year.
The key to our success has been our loyal staff, some
of whom have been with us from the very start. The factory involves many and
varied skills from engineering to ceramic expertise and relies on dedication
and expertise at all levels of the production cycle. We particularly value the
contacts we have built up in the last 30 years with architects, planners,
self-builders and developers. We look forward to continuing those relationships
in the years to come.