Brick is a traditional building material but remains a great option for modern buildings. The experts from Michelmersh explain why
Michelmersh is the UK’s premium producer of clay bricks, pavers, special shaped bricks, bespoke architectural Terra Cotta and prefabricated brick components or systems. Leaders in sustainability and innovation, renowned for quality clay products and a bespoke service, the Michelmersh Group owns seven market-leading premium brands: Blockleys, Carlton, FabSpeed, Floren.be Freshfield Lane, Michelmersh and Hathern Terra Cotta.
The Group remains at the forefront of industry innovation and sustainability, leading with its world’s first 100% hydrogen-fired clay brick trials, HyBrick and being the first UK clay product manufacturer to offer Building Information Modelling files. By the end of 2022, Michelmersh had surpassed industry-wide expectations by reducing its CO2 per tonne of production by a significant 20.1% from a 2016 baseline. The Group was also awarded Net Zero trailblazer at the British Ceramic Confederations’ annual conference. Using modernised production methods that emphasise sustainable building solutions and adhering to the most stringent production requirements, Michelmersh guarantees high-quality product standards with a low ecological footprint.
Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC is Britain’s clay product specialist with over 120 million clay bricks and pavers produced annually. The Group is dedicated to manufacturing sustainable, high-quality, long-lasting, and beautiful construction products designed to encompass an array of architectural styles, and this is why Michelmersh’s products featured on almost half of the winning projects at the Brick Awards last year. Proud of its longstanding heritage and commitment to excellence, Michelmersh ensures its customers receive the best possible products and services.
Michelmersh strives to be a well-invested, long-term, sustainable and environmentally responsible business which has grown and innovated from brands that enjoy rich heritages, becoming one of the most trusted British names behind today’s prestigious built environments.
A Sustainable Future
Determined to continue being the sustainable face of clay brick manufacturing and with the support of its Chief Executives, its dedicated Sustainability Group and Net Zero Steering Group, Michelmersh has already led numerous decarbonisation projects to minimise its environmental impact and increase its already efficient production methods with state-of-the-art technology, reporting systems and quality standards.
As the Group strives to reduce its carbon emissions and environmental impact, it seeks to create biodiversity net gain, improve employee wellbeing, and embrace technology innovation across the business, creating value for all its stakeholders.
There is a wide variety of potential projects that Michelmersh propose to embrace, highlighted on its road map to achieve net zero. These will include a wider roll-out of more energy generation and resource-efficient production methods, alternative new technologies or fuel switching, such as but not limited to hydrogen, biomass or more electrification through renewables, with the addition of carbon capture, use & storage.
From the first approach of reduction to pursuing alternatives, we will only look to offset any emissions at the end of this analysis, focusing diligently on transforming the trajectory of our ‘in control’ emissions first and foremost. Michelmersh is dedicated to ‘Shaping Genuine Sustainability‘.
In 2022 Michelmersh announced its successful bid to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) UK Government, Industrial Fuel Switching competition to conduct a feasibility study to replace natural gas with hydrogen in the brick-making process. The programme is part of the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) which aims to provide funding for low-carbon technologies to decrease the costs of decarbonisation.
The project represents a global flagship physical study to replace natural gas with hydrogen in brick manufacturing. Phase 1 of the project saw a demonstration of the viability of fuel switching and will see hydrogen used in the clay brick production process at Michelmersh’s Freshfield Lane site. The project aims to inspire radical change across the sector and present opportunities and evidence-based research to support manufacturers on their journey to heavily decarbonise the production processes.
As the organisation leading the BEIS ‘Deep Decarbonisation of Brick Manufacturing’ project, Michelmersh has gone a step further to promote and disseminate the progression and learning of the project through a dedicated brand; HyBrick™. Working alongside a panel of expert partners.
Prefabrication & Modern Methods of Construction
With the acquisition of FabSpeed in 2022 the Michelmersh Group expanded its prefabrication facilities and introduced brick focused façade components to its repertoire. From arches to chimneys, lintels to façade systems and even the FabSpeed Bricology range, this diverse bespoke product range complimented the Group’s ever growing product portfolio.
The Bricology range of products is designed to create non-invasive, sustainable, safe havens for an array of species to reduce the risk of predation and the protection of larvae or nests. Britain’s nature loss and decline in native wildlife habitats require innovative products to be produced to enhance biodiversity and support Net Gain principles across our built environment. The Bricology range is the perfect solution that can either be used retrospectively using any manufacturer’s products and prefabricated by the skilled FabSpeed team or for new developments using the versatile core product range from the Michelmersh Group to design-in that biodiverse plan from the start of a project.
In addition to Bricology, FabSpeed UK’s bespoke facilities and skilled production processes provide a large capacity for complex, specialist, prefabricated brick components in demand by architects, engineers and house builders who require the highest quality assemblies to achieve accelerated construction timelines.
Flexible brickwork and masonry manufacturing methods offer onsite productivity and cost advantages to FabSpeed’s clients, enabling bespoke designs and sizes for chimneys and arches, complemented by the extensive knowledge of brick cutting and bonding services delivered by its skilled team.
FabSpeed boasts a collection of brick cladding systems such as Pro-Clad and Pro-Steel developed to have a low environmental impact. A large variety of resin-bonded and mechanically restrained products using innovative technologies add to the vast FabSpeed offsite portfolio of residential, commercial and education sector components. FabSpeed’s prefabricated units adhere to stringent quality, consistency, stability and health & safety standards. Subject to various production audits and environmental controls during the year, FabSpeed is predicted to integrate well with Michelmersh’s ethos, continuously striving to be a well-invested, long-term, sustainable and environmentally responsible business.
Britain’s Brick Specialists
Michelmersh Brick Holdings’ products are used in a wide range of construction projects, including residential, commercial, and industrial developments. Residential housing developments often utilise Michelmersh bricks due to their incredible quality and aesthetic appeal. They can be found in a variety of housing styles, from traditional to contemporary new builds like the award-winning Becontree development by Archio. Many schools and universities also incorporate Michelmersh bricks into their buildings, contributing to a durable and visually appealing learning environment with world-leading facilities such as Eton College, The Institute of Immunity and Transplantation at the University College London as well as local, primary and secondary schools.
Michelmersh products are often sought out for the restoration and renovation of historic and heritage buildings because they can closely match the appearance of traditional clay bricks. The ability to blend naturally with buildings of significant public interest, such as Battersea Power Station enables buildings to enjoy projects that will last generations while retaining the grandeur that endeared them to the public initially.
With the latest technology and new designs, we satisfy wider audiences whilst still retaining a reputation for beautiful, durable, natural-looking clay pieces.
We aim to lead the way in producing Britain’s premium clay products and enhancing our built environment, by adding value to the architectural landscape for generations to come.
For more information, visit: www.mbhplc.co.uk