2018 – a good year for the Belgian brick and tile industry

2018 will go down as a good year for the Belgian heavy clay industry. The construction industry in general was the engine driving the Belgian economy. In Belgium, significantly more construction permits and approvals for the refurbishment of old buildings were issued than in 2017. Belgian economy overall did not develop as well as predicted. Continuation of this trend is expected for 2019, too.

In 2018, the number of approved new residential units was 62 428, which means an increase of 23.9% compared to 2017 (source: Statbel). The number of permits for the renovation of old buildings was also positive.

In Flanders, 38% more building permits were granted for new homes than in 2017. The construction of new residential units in Flanders has therefore remained on a high level. The housing construction market in Wallonia and Brussels has not developed so favourably. In Wallonia there was an increase of 3.8% in building permits for housing construction. The approved refurbishments increased by 1.6 %. In the region around the capital city of Brussels, housing construction permits decreased substantially (-17 %). In Brussels itself, the decline in approved refurbishments was around 5 %.

Clay bricks

The entire brick production in Belgium totalled 1 943 mill. m3. In 2018, it remained on the same level as in 2017.

The export rate has increased further. The exports reached 661 000 m3 (34 % of the total production), which means an increase by 5 % compared to 2017.

The United Kingdom remains the most important export destination, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and France. The export figures were compiled on the basis of a survey of association members.

The import figures have increased compared to the previous year to 126 000 m3 and amounted to 6.48 % of Belgian production.

In 2018, 969 000 m3 masonry bricks were produced, i.e. 49.9 % of the total production, solid bricks were not produced.

The production of facing bricks amounted to 974 000 m3, that is 50.1 % of total production. Divided between extruded and hand-moulded bricks, in 2018 quantities of 133 000 m3 and 841 000 m3 were produced, respectively.

The industry produces a wide range of brick slips, which are used in different construction systems, both in the construction of new buildings and the refurbishment of old buildings. In 2018, the production of brick slips totalled 495 779 m2.

FBB Fédération Belge de la Brique asbl
www.brique.be

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