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Your Build - Winter 2017

Phase2 Framing Your Build as London and Surrey, you can expect to see buffs and yellows, while larger rustic red and orange 3” bricks dominate the Midlands and North. If the property is listed or in a conservation area, the local Planning and Conservation Officer will insist you use a regionally-sensitive match. Even if the property isn’t in a conservation area and isn’t listed, planners usually want a new build or extension to blend with its surroundings. So it’s useful to know what’s available. Sizing matters too. Metric sized bricks are more often used in new-builds as they fit with the dimensions of modern blocks and lintels. Imperial sized bricks are more traditional and found throughout the country in older buildings, with the 3” brick common across the Midlands 38 Winter 2017 and North, and narrower ones used in London and the South. And if you are building a new home, brick ‘slips’ (a thinner section of the brick face, either cut from a brick or made specifically) can be used externally as cladding on blocks or a timber frame. They are also a good choice for an internal decorative feature wall. Questions to ask If you are using a builder to source your bricks, ask them the right questions. Ask how your bricks are made – are they genuinely handmade with all the variation and character that produces, or are they a simulated ‘handmade style’, produced in a factory to a set design? The difference can be considerable. Can they withstand extremes of climate, from severe frost to baking heat by way of continual rain? For peace of mind the bricks you purchase should meet the British Standard EN 771-1 certification. Project inspiration: Canon Pyon A unique new-build barn-style family home in Canon Pyon, Herefordshire, is the perfect example of how the right bricks make a project. The village is in a rural setting and any new development had to be sympathetic with its surroundings. The homeowners chose a costeffective brick and timber-clad design and, working with the architect, decided to use Imperial Bricks’ handmade Country Blend variety. Chris Balme, director at Ferguson Mann Architects, the firm which designed the house, explained the decision: “The clients were happy to use brick, although they had originally thought of using stone – and insisted that the quality of materials remained high. For the building to blend seamlessly into its surroundings the bricks chosen had to harmonise with the rest of the village. We chose Imperial Bricks’ Country Blend for its mixture of orange, reds and browns. The combination of the blackened timber cladding and the colours found within the Country Blend created a building that fitted into the context of the surrounding Herefordshire countryside.” Extensively used throughout the Shire Counties to build farmhouses and period country properties, the Country Blend brick has a textured appearance with some creasing on the faces. Its versatility makes it suitable for both new build and renovation or restoration projects, particularly those within conservation areas or Listed Buildings. And while the property is not in a conservation area itself, Canon Pyon is a sensitive area so the plans had to have the approval of the Conservation Officer, even before the local Planning Committee was asked for permission to build. To achieve this, the homeowners were required to provide a sample panel of the bricks to be approved by the Conservation Officer. Imperial Bricks was happy to supply this – it’s all part of the service – secure in the knowledge that the genuinely handmade bricks would fit the most exacting requirements. Chris continued: “The client wanted handmade bricks to suit the build, but they also wanted the reassurance of the guarantee that comes with modern materials. Frost resistance and durability was key, and a reliable supply was also important. The homeowners worked closely with us to choose the bricks and the bond work, and they even specified the colour of mortar they wanted. “We used a traditional English Garden Wall bond, in this case five rows of stretchers to one of headers, and a lime mortar (essential for use with handmade bricks). The colour and texture of the aggregates in the mortar complemented the bricks, and the contrast between the mellow bricks and the dark timber cladding gives the home a combination of traditional appearance and contemporary build. The homeowners were very happy with the final result.” www.imperialbricks.co.uk


Your Build - Winter 2017
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