A GROWING awareness of sustainability issues and whole life costs has prompted sales of traditional clay drainage products to buck the long-term trend towards modern materials.
Hepworth Drainage marketing director Robert Allcroft said: 'Sales volumes for clay products are up 8 per cent in a market that's been down 5 to 6 per cent, so we believe we're outperforming the market.' Mr Allcroft said awareness of sustainability was a major reason for the resurgence.
'There's no reliable model to calculate whole life costs, but as construction has been asked to be more sustainable in its methods there's been a greater willingness among specifiers to consider the duration of the product life. PFI, and the greater long-term maintenance responsibilities it brings, has been a factor in this.
'We've had success with the Ministry of Defence, which wants a minimum life expectancy of 60 years. The National Trust has recently specified clay drainage on a housing development as the most appropriate product with a life expectancy of well over 100 years.' Saeed Alavi, the firm's managing director, added that the desire to use natural materials and cut aggregates use were also reasons for clay's revival:
'Clay drainage products are made from a natural material that can be bedded with less, and in some cases no, primary aggregate, which is a key factor in the increasing strength of clay sales.'