September 2023

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 3 | 35 Masonry P H OTO G R A P H Y CO U RT E S Y I -X L B U I L D I N G P RO DU C T S; M U T UA L M AT ER I A L S Harnessing diversity and innovations to thrive amidst inflation hurdles in the masonry sector by ROBIN BRUNET E ven though masonry is arguably more vulnerable to inflation than other building materials – one example being brick, whose popularity is at least partly driven by developers willing to pay a premium for the product – the category remains resilient in 2023. For example, Basalite Concrete Products gives developers a huge range of options in building design, not just in terms of diversity of products (ground face, smooth, and split face concrete blocks are part of a masonry range that includes brick, deck blocks, and wall caps) but also advice to contractors and architects regarding everything from suitable admixtures to customized mix designs. As for innovation, new for 2023 from Endicott are Invisi-Lug clay pavers, whose recessed lugs provide a host of benefits including proper joint spacing to eliminate chipping, as well as the creation of crisp, square edges. The design also eliminates the need for plastic spacers (which on large projects can be a notable expense) and speeds up installation times, with accurate spacing of joins easily achieved. As with all Endicott products, Invisi-Lug comes in a variety of vibrant colours – including ironspots – that other materials can't mimic. Equally important is the product's high durability and incredibly high compressive strength. Heart Of Stone Gerald Martin, technical representative at Mutual Materials, echoes the sentiments of many colleagues in the masonry trade by stating, "Yes, prices overall are going up in the back end, but demand remains strong. Business for us is brisk in 2023, which reflects a healthy economy." Accompanying this is something most masonry providers relish: consumer trends that keep manufacturers busy. "With bricks, we're seeing a growing number of projects in which three blended colours have been specified, something that has been commonplace down south in Seattle and Portland for some time now," Martin says. "One such current project is the Burnaby Alliance Church, whose architect we worked with to determine the right colours: Seattle Cream, Limestone, and Desert White. The Church is also providing the oppor- tunity for another design trend: the creation of a brick screen wall on one side of the building that allows light to spill into the parkade area. "Our brick products have also been sourced for the Richmond Centre revitalization, another project in which the architects went with blended brick colours. The same applies to a Kingsway condo development project currently under construction." Martin points out that one reason the market for brick continues to grow is that "pockets of cities are being revived and reimagined, and nothing beats brick for imparting warmth and elegance. We've also gotten an order for the new Bridge Studios on Lake City Way in Burnaby, a prime example of an 'industrial' facility that incorporated brick to reflect a modern design." Bridge Studios-Lake City will have over one-million-square-feet total floor area, including 21 sound stages, 330,000 square feet of support space, and 150,000 square feet of produc- tion office space. Several years ago, General Shale, the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger (the world's leading supplier of building materials and infra- structure solutions) acquired Meridian Brick. Today, the rebranded Canada Brick continues to deliver the tremendous product quality that the company was known for since the 1950s, with Red River, General Shale, Columbus, and other products constantly being specified for a wide variety of projects. Canada Brick recently unveiled new residential brick colours: Hazelton (warm off-white with delicate distressing), Dakota (which exhibits a unique, vertical striated detail reminiscent of watercolours), and Steel City (variable grey with a soft mottled finish, perfect for natural wood or black accents). King Klinker Thin Brick from I-XL Building Products. Brickwork detail, Burnaby Alliance Church, Burnaby, B.C.

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