Forterra set to reopen one of its brick manufacturing sites

By Jack Grimshaw
After temporarily halting operations last month due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Forterra is set to reopen one of its brick manufacturing pl...

After temporarily halting operations last month due to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Forterra is set to reopen one of its brick manufacturing plants this week in a bid to resume operations.

The company has continued to produce precast concrete products throughout its shutdown in order to support public sector workers in essential roles, and also delivered brick and block products from inventory. The reopening of the  Desford plant in Leicestershire comes as housebuilders are set to return to building sites in a phased process. Many builders’ merchants will also be reopened during the phase.

'We will relight the kiln at one of our brick manufacturing facilities this week ready to restart production. We will also recommence the production of hollowcore concrete flooring to service customer requirements,' the company said.

Forterra will begin to produce hollowcore concrete flooring once again, and expects to reopen a further two facilities in May. However, the company added that “due to existing inventory levels, it is currently anticipated that the majority of Forterra facilities will not resume manufacturing before the summer. Should demand increase at a faster rate than expected the Group retains full flexibility to reopen facilities sooner.”

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The company has reportedly taken all measures to ensure that workers can adhere to social distancing rules. Forterra has also stated that its plant in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, is set to reopen, following the company’s revised working practices. 

Chief executive Stephen Harrison said: “This move means that we are able to support our housebuilder customers as they also begin the process of returning to work over the coming days and weeks.”

Michelmersh and Ibstock have also restarted production at brick manufacturing plants in the last week, whilst Taylor Wimpey, Vistry and Persimmon are all set to restart jobs in the coming days and weeks.

For more information on manufacturing topics - please take a look at the latest edition of Manufacturing Global.

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