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How the brick market works and getting good pricing


ed g

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Hi, new poster so bear with me...

 

I want to use thin linear clay bricks on a self build, and am trying to understand what options there are (and the relative prices) to see what my budget can stretch to....

 

The market, however, seems to be pretty opaque to me (partially by design?) in terms of trying to get competitive prices. Searching google I see lots of intermediaries advertising bricks they clearly don't make themselves, and some don't even name the manufacturer brand obviously, or seem to have re-branded them.

  • Besides the actual brick manufacturer, are builders merchants, brick suppliers and importers all doing the same middle-man role, or are there differences?
  • It seems to me that everyone wants to get hold of my site address so that they can log and lock down the address - once this is done no one else can price me for the same brick. Is this right? Is it worth it/possible to shop around for different supply quotes for the same bricks? Would all middle-men offer me the same price if I'd asked them first? If so, when they bluster on the discount they can get me is that all BS?
  • If the suppliers/builders merchants/importers change the names vs the original manufacturers when talking to me, but log it on the system with the manufacturer, how can I find out the underlying brick brand?
  • If the suppliers/builders merchants/importers who log the address get different margins from the different manufacturers of bricks how do I know I am seeing all their options, or just the ones they want to show me?
  • How do I find different brick options of a similar linear design from the full breadth of British and European manufacturers? I wonder if I need to build myself a list of the brick manufacturers then methodically enquire with them to find out who imports/supplies their bricks to the UK...
  • How do I avoid getting an intermediary who 'bagsies' my site address but charges high middle-man mark-ups?

 

So far, for linear brick options I am getting a massive range in costs per m2 supplied to site - but there doesn't seem to be a way to allow brick manufacturers to 'compete' for my custom.

 

Any insight would be welcome!

Cheers,

Ed 

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I don't have any answers I'm afraid.

 

According to Google we use 1.9bn bricks a year in the UK with about 0.5bn of those being imported. That's just under 1 in 4. Data from 2022.

 

4 hours ago, ed g said:

It seems to me that everyone wants to get hold of my site address so that they can log and lock down the address - once this is done no one else can price me for the same brick. Is this right?

 

That's the impression I got. 

 

4 hours ago, ed g said:

If the suppliers/builders merchants/importers change the names vs the original manufacturers when talking to me, but log it on the system with the manufacturer, how can I find out the underlying brick brand?

 

When we looked for bricks we found many companies selling the same physical bricks under different names, particularly the imported bricks. In many cases the photos were identical so a Google reverse image search might work.

 

 

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I spent 25 years in sector ending my career as sales director of the largest manufacturer in the UK so I can probably answer this quite well. 
 

99% of the production in the UK comes from 4 manufacturers Forterra, MBH, Ibstock and Wienerberger they sell direct to the major house builders and the rest is sold via factors and merchants. The pricing is done on a site address hence why they want a site address as if they register the project they get a higher discount. 
 

With factories in Europe they all have distributors in the UK who they sell exclusively to, be it some of there range or all of it. These importers will also sell to factors and merchants. 
 

Therefore the majority of bricks you get shown from merchants and factors will come from the same few suppliers. If you contact factories in Europe directly they will often just forward this on to their agents in the UK but at least you will speak to the importer directly. Depending on who they are they may sell direct or sell via a local merchant who they have a rebate agreement with. 
 

When it comes to discount unless you are ordering 30000 bricks plus it’s unlikely to get a discount from the major factories as simply they don’t need too for smaller orders so any discount offered will be based on the merchant and factors rebate scheme with the manufacturer. Merchants will discount anything that they have on stock to simply shift it out the yard, especially in the current market however very few, if any, merchants will stock linear bricks 
 

 

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Fascinating insights and i wish i had known this sooner. I am literally just in the process of reviving enquiries i made early last year for bricks i need. Need about 10000 so not in the discount arena.

There are figures that can be jiggled like off load at site, part load charges, 'ooh we forgot to add delivery' etc.

 

18 hours ago, maxe307 said:

99% of the production in the UK comes from 4 manufacturers Forterra, MBH, Ibstock and Wienerberger

With regard to this sentence, can you or anyone say who actually makes for thebespokebrickcompany in Kent.  I still want to try to better my recent price for some of these.

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Just now, Post and beam said:

 

 

With regard to this sentence, can you or anyone say who actually makes for thebespokebrickcompany in Kent.  I still want to try to better my recent price for some of these.

 

They are importers with relationships from factories in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Holland and India, the actually have deals with Wienerberger on certain products that they make abroad for distribution in the UK. Most of these will be exclusive arrangements with the factories so if you are speaking to them directly they will be giving you there list price for the market most likely. 

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3 hours ago, maxe307 said:

if you are speaking to them directly they will be giving you there list price for the market most likely.

Thanks, i was talking to them directly yesterday, and have been responded to by Jewsons who they forwarded my enquiry onto. Early last year Bespoke brick gave me a price directly. I have no idea how that would have been fulfilled in actuality but it was a better price.

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I can’t remember who I bought my bricks from (13,000) but approached a lot of suppliers and when we (she) decided on the brick we wanted my builder was surprised how cheap they were saying “I could not get them that  cheap” so get on the internet, perhaps I was just lucky and they had a lot in stock.

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I've just mentioned in another post I've been trying to find the best marketplace for material, bricks included and I've just had a pretty decent quote from a marketplace called buy materials, they're only south of the uk at the moment difference of -£183 to next best option I've had direct

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Thanks all for the commentary. 

 

One further question: How long does the first claimer have 'dibs' on the site address?

 

Had the explanation today from one supplier that the point of the system was to 'avoid them undercutting eachother'... I dunno, but as the customer I quite like the sound of undercutting... 😂

 

One chap accidentally put in a wrong address (still only a few miles away) and I've got a 10% price difference... 

 

I'm wondering if the only way to get multiple competitive prices for the same brick is to give each one you speak to a phoney, localish address - which can be merrily logged - and once you've picked your favourite then returning as a fresh customer with the right address... Not exactly cricket, but then again I'm not sure they're playing with a straight bat either!

 

 

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13 hours ago, ed g said:

Thanks all for the commentary. 

 

One further question: How long does the first claimer have 'dibs' on the site address?

 

 

 

 

 

 

They stay on indefinitely so basically until there is an order against the site or they know that the project has been built using another product. 

 

The whole purpose of the discount system is to encourage the factors and merchants into promoting there bricks, it gets abused by a few people but overall the system works. Its meant to reward the people who put in the work with the architect/ builder/ client and actually generate business for the manufactures. 

 

Its very hard to trick the system as they are all run alongside a planning service like Barbour ABI which provides updates on the planning and project on a regular basis. If the site is not in for planning then it gets flagged very quickly. 

Edited by maxe307
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20 hours ago, ed g said:

Had the explanation today from one supplier that the point of the system was to 'avoid them undercutting eachother'... I dunno, but as the customer I quite like the sound of undercutting..

me too. and i fully intend to game the system if i can and in any way i can.  It really grips my **** when this kind of practice happens and they get annoyed when you try to protect your own interests.

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On 10/06/2024 at 11:38, ed g said:

Hi, new poster so bear with me...

 

I want to use thin linear clay bricks on a self build, and am trying to understand what options there are (and the relative prices) to see what my budget can stretch to....

 

The market, however, seems to be pretty opaque to me (partially by design?) in terms of trying to get competitive prices. Searching google I see lots of intermediaries advertising bricks they clearly don't make themselves, and some don't even name the manufacturer brand obviously, or seem to have re-branded them.

  • Besides the actual brick manufacturer, are builders merchants, brick suppliers and importers all doing the same middle-man role, or are there differences?
  • It seems to me that everyone wants to get hold of my site address so that they can log and lock down the address - once this is done no one else can price me for the same brick. Is this right? Is it worth it/possible to shop around for different supply quotes for the same bricks? Would all middle-men offer me the same price if I'd asked them first? If so, when they bluster on the discount they can get me is that all BS?
  • If the suppliers/builders merchants/importers change the names vs the original manufacturers when talking to me, but log it on the system with the manufacturer, how can I find out the underlying brick brand?
  • If the suppliers/builders merchants/importers who log the address get different margins from the different manufacturers of bricks how do I know I am seeing all their options, or just the ones they want to show me?
  • How do I find different brick options of a similar linear design from the full breadth of British and European manufacturers? I wonder if I need to build myself a list of the brick manufacturers then methodically enquire with them to find out who imports/supplies their bricks to the UK...
  • How do I avoid getting an intermediary who 'bagsies' my site address but charges high middle-man mark-ups?

 

So far, for linear brick options I am getting a massive range in costs per m2 supplied to site - but there doesn't seem to be a way to allow brick manufacturers to 'compete' for my custom.

 

Any insight would be welcome!

Cheers,

Ed 

Out of interest, what bricks have you been looking at? I m currently looking at Geobrick 

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17 hours ago, Trw144 said:

Out of interest, what bricks have you been looking at? I m currently looking at Geobrick 

A range, options include

- MBI's Geostylix (not actually clay)

 

Lovely, but very expensive options like:

- Petersen's Kolumba and

- Vande Moortel's Infinitum,

- Joseph Bricks - not so long but very thin

 

Better priced but still much more than normal bricks like:

- Anselmo's Corso (via ModularClayProducts),

- Las Losas has some options,

- Vale Gandara's Jerusalem,

- Egersnund have an option,

- La Paloma,

- Vande Moortel's Linea and Linea7, 

- Weinerberger WS LF510 range (haven't seen samples yet but better value)

- Imperial bricks have an option in the pipeline (I think it's Turkish)

 

We've also used Roben Aarhus which are more linear than standard bricks, but only ratio 6:1 rather than the others that can go to more than 10:1 length:height.

 

Some of these are engobed so the bricks have been coated or dipped and the inside colour may be different to the faces.

 

Hope that helps - you got a decent size self build going on?

 

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17 hours ago, Trw144 said:

Out of interest, what bricks have you been looking at? I m currently looking at Geobrick 

I think your Geobrick may be the one I have as Geostylistix (autocorrect altered the name on my post just now). It's priced competitively but it's not clay. Got a couple of samples and they do look different - not bad-different but definitely different-different!

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