Marshalls Bricks and Masonry is offering a range of concrete facing bricks, which have been developed to be as sustainable as possible and offer an innovative response to the current UK brick shortage.

The Halifax-based manufacturer is working with 70-year-old brickyard, W McGovern and Co Ltd, to supply the desperately needed bricks across the country.

The UK government has committed to building 300,000 new homes this year but a shortage of bricks means builders, architects and contractors are not able to deliver.

Ninety per cent of houses are built with clay but the current average wait time for new bricks is 32 weeks. Brexit import issues initially caused a delay and two large brick manufacturers had warehouse fires and there’s a lag in supply.

Now two companies with nearly 150 years’ joint experience in the industry have come together to manufacture and supply concrete bricks, which Marshalls have been found to contain almost 50 per cent less embodied carbon than traditional clay bricks, and are available within and are commonly available with short lead times.

Steve Ruddick, commercial manager of Bricks & Masonry at Marshalls, said: ‘We know it’s a tough time for those in construction so we’re innovating and finding new ways to help. By joining with McGoverns, we’ve created a hub of sustainable building materials in the north.

MD of McGoverns in Gateshead, Andrew Pickersgill said: ‘Not only are they available quicker, but the concrete bricks look great and come in a range of different colours and styles.

‘There can be legacy snobbery when it comes to concrete versus clay bricks, however, the younger builders seem to understand that the concrete bricks of today are not like the ugly ones you used to get in the 1960s.

‘And to put our money where our mouth is, we’ve built two sample walls in our warehouse so tradespeople can come and see exactly how good they look.’

Earlier this year, the family-run northeast brickyard was taken over by Leeds-based growth strategy firm, Alpaca.

Founder of Alpaca, Richard Turner, said: ‘This is exactly what we want to see from our businesses – true innovation and solutions to problems.

‘One of the things I love about McGoverns is the depth of knowledge of the people who work here. The average length of service is 20 years and many of the employees are like brick encyclopaedias. This innovation is a brilliant example of how we can take that knowledge and do something really special with it that turns the industry on its head.’