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Brick men warn of prefab overload

MATERIALS

TRADITIONAL methods of construction are being unfairly dismissed by clients and designers bent on using prefabricated systems, brick and mortar industry bosses have claimed.

They warned that the off-site construction industry may not be able to cope with the volume of work if designers continued on a 'blind adherence'to prefabricated systems.

Speaking at the Mortar Industry Association annual lunch, Michael Driver, director of industry body the Brick Development Association, said of the current interest in off-site systems: 'To a certain extent there is an aspect of déjà vu. In the '60s the building industry was encouraged to invest in factory produced buildings.An industry that had ever been capital-intensive was suddenly faced with the problems of running a factory and finding a home for the production. It left all sorts of problems.'

Mr Driver junked claims that prefabricated systems were less environmentally damaging than traditional methods.

He said: 'Supporters of modern methods of construction are quick to claim the moral high ground over the question of sustainability. I see no particular justification for that.'

But he said the traditional building sector was ready to embrace changes and called on designers to realise the benefits of using traditional methods.

He said: 'These materials have provided time-tested solutions and will continue to do so, alongside and involved with modern methods of construction.'