1 Sales and market developments
1.1 Building market
The number of dwellings completed fell in 2008 by 2% to approx. 79 000. That is a little lower than in 2007, the top year of this young century. The largest fall of this took place in the last quarter of 2008, namely -11% in comparison with the last quarter of 2007. The number of apartments within the completed new housing rose again. This is regretted by the brick manufacturing sector as ground-oriented dwellings use absolutely and relatively more bricks than a non-ground-oriented dwelling.
The number of permits issued for new homes fell slightly in 2008 (-1%). Despite this fall the number of dwellings awaiting completion has increased to more than 184 000. This is an increase of more than 4% in comparison to the end of 2007.
1.2 Sales of facing bricks at historical low
The total national sales of facing bricks fell by 2%. This fall is entirely borne by the Dutch facing brick and is in line with the number of completions in 2008 (-2%).
1.3 Sales of clay pavers at historical high
Of these, almost 35 million WF were delivered as packages for mechanized paving. This is a good result considering the fact that the new development of mechanized paving is requiring substantial adaptations in factories.
2 Innovation and research
In collaboration with the Belgian Baksteenfederatie (Clay Brick Federation) the KNB commenced research into brickwork. Central in this is the development of a test with a predictive value for the risk of white deposits on brickwork. Very little is known about this. Follow-up research started in 2007 into the green discoloration of brickwork and was concluded in 2008. The results of the laboratory research, however, showed insufficient bearing on practice.
Furthermore the KNB was involved in handing out to students of the Technical University of Eindhoven the British ‘Manual for Design of Plain Masonry in Building Structures to Eurocode 6‘ in the framework of the changeover of the curriculum from Dutch into English.
The Dutch brick industry has 41 factories and a total workforce of approximately 1 600 employees who achieve an annual production of some 1.5 billion bricks.