So you’ve been on to the brick calculator and worked out how many bricks of a certain size you need for your project. The next thing you need to see is how much the bricks are going to cost. Now there’s a few factors that go into the answer to the question of what the wholesale price of a brick is – let’s dig into them.
What affects the cost of bricks?
You would probably think that bricks are pretty steady in their prices and that there isn't a lot that can change them. But that's not the case. Three main things impact the price of bricks, even when you buy them wholesale.
The type of brick
The first one is the most obvious – the type of brick affects the cost. You can get common bricks that can be anywhere from £300 per 1000. Then there’s smoothing like engineering bricks that have that added water and frost protection that can start from around £500 per 1000 bricks.
These prices are based on full loads of around 8000-10000 bricks direct from the brick factory which is the best way to buy depending on availability from the brickworks and space on site to accept a large HGV lorry.
Once you get into the specialist type of bricks then prices can be very different. Facing bricks are one example.
Depending on the colour, materials and textures they can be starting from £450 per 1000 right up to £1700 per 1000.
Finally, there’s special shaped bricks that are things like bullnose or plinth bricks. These can be as much as £20 per brick although you usually only need a small number of these. Handmade bricks can also be expensive and priced per brick.
The second factor probably also isn’t a surprise – the easier the brick is to manufacture, the cheaper it will usually be. Most bricks are mass-produced in huge factories that use lots of automation so the manpower costs are lower. These factories can churn out tens of thousands of bricks every day and this makes them cheaper to buy.
Machine-made bricks, also known as wire-cut usually start from £450 per 1000, again these prices are based on full loads but you can normally buy a single pack delivered by a tailift offload lorry across the UK by couriers such as Palletline
At the other end of the scale are the handmade bricks. These involve someone making every single brick by hand and there's no surprise they are substantially more expensive. You can expect to pay four times the cost of machine-made bricks but if you want that handmade, unique appearance, then this is the way to go.
Supply and demand
The third factor is the one that surprises people the most – supply and demand. Did you know that the UK has been going through a brick shortage in recent times? It can take as long as 12 months to get a delivery of bricks to wholesalers which means building projects can be significantly delayed.
It also means the cost of the bricks will increase.
This all started back in 2008 with the recession and the decline in house building. However, with the number of government schemes aimed at building more houses, demand has increased but stockpiles are still low. This can impact the price you pay for your bricks.
October 2023 Update. Due to the slow down in the economy and new build housing, the lead time on UK made bricka are generally improving.
Getting a brick price for your project While understanding what effects the wholesale price of bricks is interesting, what you really want to know is how to figure out the brick price for the project you are planning. Just how much is it going to cost to get those bricks?
Here’s a step by step process to follow to help you get that figure.
Step 1 – Decide on the bricks you need
You’ve done the brick calculator but this just tells you how many of what size brick you need. Now you need to decide on the bricks you want to use. Sometimes, this decision is based on the project and its demands, such as if there are load-bearing walls or you can go with cheap bricks for a garden wall.
You’ll also want to think about the design and aesthetics of your project when thinking about the type of bricks. If you are extending a house, you’ll probably want bricks that look in keeping with the rest of the house. Depending on the age and type of house, this can impact the cost.
Step 2 – check the number of bricks
You might have done this before but once you have decided on the exact bricks and have their precise dimensions, it is a good idea to check the brick wall calculator again. Don’t forget you always want to order more than you need for breakages or problems. 5 to 10% is the industry standard.
Step 3 – look at waiting times
Okay, this might not seem like part of the costs but if one place is cheaper but the delivery takes eight weeks while another is a little more expensive but delivery is in 14 days, this is a money thing. It delays the projects which could mean extra costs or that any tradesmen involved aren’t available when the bricks are being delivered. So line all of this up first.
Step 4 – factor in labour costs
If you are looking at a whole project cost, then you need to see about labour costs and look at them alongside material costs. Don't forget that in addition to Sand and Cement you'll also need Damp Proof Course and Wall Ties. Or if you just want the cost of the bricks, stop at the step above.
Buying from quality wholesalers
The final thing that will impact the price of the bricks you buy is the wholesaler. Yes, you can get super cheap bricks but remember what you are doing with them – does that really seem the best idea?
There are also horror stories out there about people being ripped off about the price of bricks. That’s why using a reputable and quality wholesaler such as Armstrong Cheshire is always the best way. You will get a complete price, an accurate delivery time and the best bricks for any project that way.
2022 has seen rampant inflation in the price of bricks and we've done our best to keep up with the changes in our estimates shown above. 2023 looks like another year of increases as this report from Construction News shows.
Whilst the average cost of bricks continues to rise, the softening of the construction market, especially in new builds means that more choice will become available. For example the ever popular Kassandra Multi is now again available with reasonable lead times. The cost to lay bricks of superior quality such as Kassandra's will be no more than a low quality brick. So even with the big increases of 2022 and 2023 the overall cost of building in brick won't have a massive impact on new builds.
This report indicates that costs are slowing down in H2 2023 and there will be mimimal brick and building material inflation in 2024. We will watch closely!