Clay bricks - the best material for housebuilding?

Clay, the main raw material for manufacturing brick, is quarried and is also taken from earth-moving activities and infrastructure projects such as roadbuilding, as a by-product.  

Water is used in the manufacturing process, with collected rainwater used where possible to supplement the clean water used. Many brick manufacturers use heat recuperation during the manufacturing process. Heat from the kilns is reused in driers, where bricks are dried before firing. 

Where lime mortar is used, it is possible to deconstruct brickwork and reuse the bricks in new construction. Where cement mortar is used, it is more difficult to remove mortar from the bricks, but they can be recycled by crushing for use as infilling material. It is advised to be cautious with reclaimed bricks, as there may be no evidence to prove their technical performance.  

Other sustainability points are that clay brick is self-finishing and only requires mortar repointing very occasionally, making it a long-lasting and almost maintenance-free material choice. Bricks require minimal packaging and many brick manufacturers are ISO 14001 certified.

This CPD sponsored by Vandersanden explores the benefits of specifying clay brick, alongside the types and causes of movement in brickwork and how to design to accommodate movement.