Sustainability is an ongoing conversation and a continual line of improvement in the construction industry. Every company is, or should be, striving to achieve a carbon-neutral economy.

Buildings that use brick slip cladding are hitting both aesthetic and sustainability requirements, making it a popular topic in the industry.

Now that brick slips are available in a multitude of colours and shapes, they are growing in popularity at rapid speed.

But do they tick the right sustainability boxes when used within a cladding system?

This blog aims to explore the benefits of purpose-made brick slip cladding, how these strive to improve sustainability in the industry and what the future looks like for buildings using this material.

 

What Is Purpose-Made Brick Slip Cladding?

 

Purpose-made brick slips are extruded or cut from a brick before drying and firing. This differs from bricks that are cut from traditional bricks that have already been fired.

Brick slip cladding is a building material that many architects choose to recreate the appearance of traditional brickwork. The drawbacks of traditional brickwork, such as the weight, relatively high carbon footprint and production costs are a lesser concern where slips are involved.

Brick slips are an innovative material that can used in a wide range of applications, which is why so many specifiers and architects are choosing to use this product. By pairing this with a brick cladding system, by attaching the slips to the wall’s surface mechanically or using adhesive, unique designs can be created while adhering to sustainability requirements.

As of June 2021, section L of the Building Regulations Standard states that the U value for an external wall decreased to 0.18W/m2 with this to be further changed in 2025. Brick slip systems allow for more insulation within the cavity or can be used with other MMC.

Clay bricks slips are intrinsically sustainable due to their low embodied carbon level and their long life-cycle. Although the method in which clay brick slips are created can be argued to have a negative impact on the environment, manufacturing plants have been re-engineered to make use of highly efficient kilns, the use of natural gas and recycling clay.

Therefore, making purpose-made brick slip cladding a popular option for architects and specifiers that are looking to keep their project as environmentally friendly as possible.

 

 

 

2 brick slip buildings both in neutral colours with the sky in the background

 

What Makes Brick Cladding Sustainable?

 

As sustainability is a selling point of this product for specifiers and architects, alongside it’s design features, it’s important to understand how it assists in the movement towards more efficient manufacturing.

Let’s delve into some of the main features of this product that make it a top option for a sustainable project.

 

1.      The Life Cycle Of Brick Slip Cladding

 

Bricks, and inevitably brick slips, last for centuries. A project that takes on a compatible brick façade system, with a design that will stand the test of time, will be present for several lifetimes.

Due to these bricks being fired in a kiln, there is a misconception that they’re an unsustainable product.

When taking the life cycle of clay brick slips into account, there is a low level of carbon footprint involved in producing them. This positions clay bricks and slips as a sustainable option when choosing the products to involve in your next project.

Furthermore, bricks are abundant. 2.4 billion bricks are used in the UK alone. This means that there is a constant demand for these products, which will stand the test of time. There is no alternative material that can be used at scale with the same long-term performance.

By investing in brick slips, you can also benefit from these products being used to overclad existing structures to meet a design requirement. This increases the life cycle of a build without a large project needing to be started by tearing down old structures.

 

 

2.      Advances In Manufacturing And The Quality Of Design

 

Purpose-made brick cladding systems can be tailored to any design required by the specifier or architect. This is a positive factor for those creating a project with a set cost or completion date, so they can be confident there will be no changes in the chain of construction.

For example, brick cladding is becoming popular for large projects due to the construction process being made simpler with systems such as mechanical fixing. As mechanical fix brick cladding is A1 fire rated, this gives specifiers peace of mind when designing a project, which is a high selling point for this material.

Large projects can benefit from the consistency of the quality and size of brick slips, depending on the design chosen. Furthermore, architects can choose a brick type that works best for their site location now that the manufacturing process of this product has been adapted so well. For example, now that brick slips are lighter and more durable, they are beneficial to those looking for a building that needs to resist external factors.

 

precast brick cladding building with multiple windows and sky in the background

 

 

3.      Improvements To Project Efficiency

 

Using purpose-made brick slips on a project can improve project efficiency and cost in a number of ways.

As brick slips are thinner than regular bricks, more slips can be fit into a kiln for production. Ultimately, less energy is needed to create the product, which reduces the embodied carbon and CO2 output.

Furthermore, as more brick slips can be loaded onto a wagon for transportation, there are less carbon emissions. This is a benefit that runs throughout the whole project, as less vehicles will be needed on-site to distribute the product.  Sometimes, foundations can also be reduced due to the lightweight properties of brick slips.

Project efficiency is something that many architects are now striving to achieve in their work, which means that any product that is used in modern methods of construction is welcomed.

 

Where Purpose-Made Brick Slip Cladding Will Make An Impact

 

When it comes to producing these brick slips, and how this will make a positive impact to the construction industry, the benefits are continually growing.

As a result of the U value of an external wall continuing to decrease, architects will be striving to create a project that can meet these figures. By using a cladding system, you can well insulate a building without increasing the wall depth dramatically. As previously mentioned, brick slip cladding will become popular for large projects, due to the product being lightweight and holding less embodied energy.

Choosing to use brick slip cladding on a project is just one more choice in contemporary construction, similar to most solutions to a broad-reaching issue like global warming and the push to become more environmentally friendly.

If you would like to discuss the sustainability of brick slips, and how this can benefit your next project, please get in touch with Creative Brick Solutions.

One of our experts can assist you with your design ideas, how these can benefit the move towards a more sustainable construction industry and find the product that is right for you.

Creative Brick Solutions can offer you advice on any upcoming project to ensure your design is both creative and sustainable.