31 Facing the future

There are many benefits to building with Architectural Facing Masonry (AFM) blocks, as Steve Frost of Lignacite explains


esigned for internal and external applications, Architectural Facing Masonry blocks combine an inherent decorative appeal with strength and durability. Used for many years in construction projects around the UK, they have been used to construct walls, floors and interior finishes on homes, schools, factories and offices. They are one of the most sustainable and long-lasting building products available with many different textures from clean flat surfaces, to heavily textured and irregular faces, to stunningly beautiful polished masonry. Aesthetics aside, building with facing blocks offers a number of benefits including structural strength and durability, sound control, fire protection and energy efficiency. Laying one standard block to six bricks shows construction savings too. Maintenance costs are reduced, as moisture, for example – which can undermine other building materials – has no adverse or weakening effect on concrete. The blocks are also not subjected to large daily temper-


ature fluctuations, having a positive effect on ventilation, heating or air conditioning. Due to the increasing demand for more ‘environmentally friendly’ products, manufacturers are constantly searching for new and improved methods of production. These include processes such as the refine- ment of raw materials and the use of greater quantities of recycled materials such as glass, shells and flint and selected secondary aggregates. As a result, it is now possible to find facing blocks containing in excess of 75 per cent recycled materials. The cost of building materials such as natural stone can be a prohibitive factor facing architects and designers. Research and development within the concrete block industry has led to the creation of a number of man-made alternatives which closely replicate these natural products, while showing cost savings and environ- mental benefits.

An example of this can be seen on some of the recent phases of the Royal Wharf housing development in London, E16.


It is now possible to find facing blocks containing in excess of 75 per cent recycled materials

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