Best in London Brick: Havering College to host national competition showcasing British bricklaying talent

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:26 29 January 2020

L-R: Last year's third place winner Connor Honeyman, first place Reggie Staponkus and second place Alfred Thompson. Picture: Mike Sewell

L-R: Last year's third place winner Connor Honeyman, first place Reggie Staponkus and second place Alfred Thompson. Picture: Mike Sewell

2019 Mike Sewell

A national bricklaying competition that teachers hope will become a “legacy event” inspiring students to become expert bricklayers will once again be hosted by Havering College.

Leading building products manufacturer Forterra is rolling up its sleeves in preparation for the Best in London Brick (BiLB) competition which will be held for the second year running at Havering College's construction campus in New Road, Rainham.

Eleven professional bricklayers from across the UK will compete to build a set piece within a limited timeframe on Monday, February 3.

Bob Noseda, sector skills adviser at Havering College, said: "It was fantastic to be able to host Forterra's first ever Best in London Brick competition last year, and we're very much looking forward to welcoming the entrants for this year's competition.

"Colleges have been invited to attend to allow students to watch the experts in action, which we hope will motivate and inspire them - who knows, some 
may even compete in years to come."

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Each contestant will be presented with a bespoke diagram of an aesthetically sophisticated brickwork structure, which they will then have six hours to reproduce with as much accuracy as possible.

Co-judging the pieces will be Dean Degun, senior projects manager at Swift Brickwork Construction, and Paul Eaglestone, contracts manager at Stak Construction.

"I feel the whole of the construction industry needs more competitions of this kind to showcase the remarkable skills and talent we have in construction," said Mr Noseda.

"I hope the Best in London Brick competition will grow to become a legacy event, perhaps even expanding into a regional contest in the coming years, as most competitions are 
aimed at students or 
apprentices, whereas this one showcases the skills of qualified tradespeople."

Among this year's entrants are 2019's BiLB winner Reggie Staponkus and second place finisher Alfred Thompson, as well as a college tutor and a former bricklayer who went on to found Brick Jackets Ltd.

Stephen Harrison, chief executive of Forterra, added: "In donating our London Bricks for use during this competition, we hope to help raise the standard of bricklaying in Britain, with a view to filling technical skills gaps and bolstering UK productivity."


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