urobrick, a UK-leading specialist in brick slip cladding systems, has nearly 30 years’ experience working within many different sectors, including residential, retail, leisure, modular construction, education and the public sector. Eurobrick has been involved with many residential projects over the years, from retrofit and refurbishment to new-build developments. Here Director, Richard Haines, outlines the benefits of brick slip systems, as seen on some more recent residential projects.
“We have noticed a marked increase in enquiries for residential projects over the last couple of years, and the scale of projects has increased too. This is partly due to the flexibility of brick slip cladding, especially in the context of ever-evolving modern construction methods. These systems can generally offer a quick, versatile solution for all residential construction projects, whether that’s new-build, renovation or something more complicated.
“With increasing pressure to create better-insulated homes, the option of adding layers of insulation with brick slip cladding can be a smart way to achieve better thermal performance and the overall slim profile means the thickness of walls is reduced while saving on space and energy bills. Insulation can usually be supplied in a range of thicknesses to help meet the U-value targets of a project.
“The Cotton Exchange in London involved the sympathetic conversion and redevelopment of a dilapidated warehouse into 34 loft-style residential apartments by developer, Reichmann Properties. As part of the redevelopment, 2400m² of Eurobrick’s X-Clad system was installed to renovate the exterior and provide insulation. As it’s a lightweight system, it was easier to handle and cut to size on site, when installing directly to the existing walls. Three different colours of brick slips were used, including Ibstock Chelsea Old Funton, Ibstock Leicester Weathered and Ibstock Bevern Dark Multi slips along with Standard Grey and Light Sandstone Europoint mortars, which helped to create the overall distinctive multi-coloured finish and give the building a new lease of life.
“A brick finish is sometimes a requirement to fit in with existing buildings in the surrounding area. The wide range of brick slips now available allows for matching the finish of existing structures, or even for over-cladding building extensions and the original buildings to create a seamless finish. It is also possible to have brick slips cut if a specific brick is required, although this is a more costly option.
“For a more modern finish, brick slip cladding systems are flexible enough to be used in conjunction with other cladding systems such as timber, render, decorative rainscreen cladding etc, so a mixed palette of finishes, popular for creating a contemporary look, is also achievable.
“Leighton Road is a new-build development on a popular tree-lined road in North London, constructed by Freed Construction for Reichmann Properties. The four-storey building at the front of the property comprises residential spaces along with a commercial office space to the ground and lower ground floors of the property, with another residential building linked by courtyard at the rear. The residential space includes a mix of two-bed apartments, two-bed maisonettes and three-bed duplexes. To be in keeping with the surrounding area, a London Stock-style brick was sourced to be used with Eurobrick’s insulated X-Clad system and Light Sandstone Europoint mortar, providing an attractive contemporary design.
“In some areas where space is at a premium, building upwards is achievable with brick slip cladding systems too, which are generally lightweight and do not require the foundations associated with traditional masonry. This helps to simplify the design and engineering of the project. Cladding can also be fitted to a number of different substrates, including timber steel frame, CLT and SIPs.
“Norwood Road is an example of this type of development. The original building included a large ground-floor retail unit, which was to remain, but the snooker club and offices on the floors above were to be demolished. They wanted to build two new floors over the retail unit to include nine residential apartments. The project was challenging as the store was to remain to trade during construction and the existing foundations and building structure could not be altered. To minimise disruption, the new floors were constructed with an insulated timber frame, and Eurobrick’s P-Clad system provided a quick, lightweight solution for a real brick finish. LB&F installed specially cut Wienerberger Bronsgroen brick slips and corners to the P-Clad system which was alternated with render panels to create a distinctive mixed finish.
“Brick slip cladding is durable too. Kiln-fired clay brick slips weather and age in the same way as conventional brickwork, and a brick slip exterior will require little to no maintenance. It is important to note that the lifespan of different cladding systems may vary, and so this should be checked with the suppliers. It should also be noted that not all available brick slip systems have been through an independent rigorous testing and certification process. Confirmation of certification from the cladding supplier should always be requested.
“There are many advantages to using brick slip cladding for residential projects. But most notably, achieving a real brick finish alongside the benefits of flexibility and speed of delivery are making it a firm favourite with many construction professionals.”