SALES of bricks and concrete blocks plummeted last year, latest Government figures have revealed.
A survey by the Department of Trade and Industry on November's brick and concrete block deliveries showed volumes were 15 percentage points down on figures for the previous year.
This fall coincided with a 10 per cent d rop in del iver ies over the three month period to November 2005 compared with the same period in 2004.
Brick manufacturers have introduced extended shutdowns at production plants in a bid to fight off the effects of growing energy prices.
And some industry insiders claimed the figures proved that the brick and block sectors were being hit by Government policy and a change in attitudes to new construction methods.
One producer said: 'There is a move toward more apartment style living, which automatically reduces the number of blocks and bricks per unit.
'Developers and architects are also experimenting with the use of different types of cladding systems and there is increased interest in timber and steel frame systems.'