One of Britain’s biggest building materials manufacturers, Forterra, has a division dedicated entirely to the design and manufacture of brick specials: Cradley Special Brick, at Cradley Heath in the Black Country.
The facility’s British Standard and non-standard ranges are complemented by its bespoke range, which at present has 7,323 unique patterns for tailor-made brick specials. Cradley’s products are frequently used in the construction of new builds, as well as for the maintenance and improvement of historic buildings across the UK.
Cradley’s broad British Standard brick range encompasses solid, perforated and frogged types of the following varieties: bullnose, plinth, pistol, radial, soldier, bonding, arch and angle and cant brick specials, all manufactured to BS 4729. The bricks are available in red, blue, buff, brown and brindle, with a smooth finish. Regularly supplied to housebuilders and self-builders, the bricks are often incorporated into everyday building elements, from garden walls to landscaping and refurbishment projects, as well as larger-scale commercial builds and individual DIY projects.
John Richardson, general manager at Cradley Special Brick, explains: “The beauty of our British Standard brick specials is their ability to offer solutions to all sorts of practical and logistical challenges faced by builders, from the need to source a specific colour brick to complement or contrast with an existing area of brickwork, to a request for sophisticated detailing on an extension or conversion designed to enhance the appearance of the build.”
What makes Cradley’s brick offering unique is the fact that the regular range is available to builders nationwide via next-day delivery.
Kelly Azram, brick specials sales executive at Cradley, adds: “The fact that our regular range is readily available, and can be on site the day after an order is placed, reflects the reliability and flexibility of our service. Not only do we manufacture a diverse range of standard specials that suit repair, maintenance and improvement projects as well as new builds, but our bricks can be at hand to provide solutions almost as soon as the need for them arises.”
One of Cradley Special Brick’s most popular ranges is the bullnose, which is traditionally used to create a softer appearance in walls, around openings and at the corners of buildings. Also popular are Cradley’s plinth stretchers, which enable the creation of single and double coursing at the base of a building, as well as its red and blue cill bricks. These are ready to order via next-day delivery, along with the bullnose and plinth ranges.
The bonding range, meanwhile, enables brick bonding in solid walls and eliminates the need for bricks to be cut on site when construction is already underway, saving time and labour mid-build. Angle bricks, in turn, allow brickwork to rotate through 30, 45 and 60 degree angles with various bonding patterns.
Traditionally, soldier bricks have helped to add diversity to large areas of brickwork in the form of varying colours and textures; and, increasingly, the soldier range is used for the creation of splay detailing for window surrounds and corner details.
For builds that require circular or semi-circular brickwork, Cradley’s radial specials form such details without tapered joints, whereas its arch bricks are used for bullseye and segmental features.
John Richardson concludes: “Our British Standard range offers a level of detail that can give a seamless finish to a build. We are proud to offer consistently high-quality craftsmanship in the form of dozens of variations of special brick, and the short turnaround of our regular range delivery means that builders can rely on us to deliver first-rate products within a competitive timeframe.”
In addition to its product design and manufacture, Cradley Special Brick offers a comprehensive technical support service to all of its customers. As well as technical advice, this service can include on-site involvement at all stages of a project.