For more than a century, Corobrik has been building up its brand, entrenching itself as a leading brick manufacturer and distributor countrywide. And while Corobrik is a primary choice for many involved in large-scale developments and construction projects, the company is now focusing on making inroads into the DIY market, providing the outlying areas of South Africa with a quality, affordable construction product.
“South Africa’s historical and economical legacy has resulted in a boost in small-scale construction in the low to middle-income groups,” said Nick Booth, Corobrik Chief Operating Officer. “While Corobrik has a big share of the top end of the market, we feel that this is one section where we need to make our presence felt more through increased accessibility. Our geographical footprint has been limited by not utilising all the channels of distribution available to us and this is something we are remedying this year. We are also investing in building capacity at our 15 factories grow production and meet demand.”
Corobrik currently has 28 well-placed sales’ centres that support the large metropolitan areas across the country. Corobrik also supplies formal distributors such as CashBuild, Build-It, Builders Warehouse and Mass Build, among others, which they will expand upon.
The next phase, which Corobrik is currently embarking on, is an increase in supply to independent distributors who are not regionally based, but rather the neighbourhood-based hardware and building supply groups. Through these independent hardware retailers, Corobrik will be able to increase accessibility to the more rural areas, offering a low-cost, quality product that they previously might not have considered.
“We are working on discovering the credit requirements, product types and economic range for these areas individually,” continued Booth. “We want it to be a win-win situation but it’s important that we customise the concept for each distributor as the ‘one-size fits all’ approach just won’t work.”
Market research has indicated that, for the last three or four years, price was a big determinant when buying products for construction on a small scale. However, Booth said they had noticed that, over the last six months, there has been a swing towards longevity and fashion.
“We have come through a tough time where price was the major driver but we are starting to see some movement away from just price. There is more understanding of products that offer benefits over time,” said Booth.
Corobrik’s face brick ranges are coming to the fore in this market because of the uniformity in size and shape, as well as colour range which brings an aesthetic benefit. In addition, the low-maintenance required – because of a lack of plaster and paint – has associated long-term cost savings while the thermal, sound and environmental benefits are also winning over customers. Blue Barley, Country Cottage and Montana Works face bricks are favoured on a smaller scale because they make a personal statement.
“We are getting a real understanding from distributors in rural areas, townships and residential sectors of what would give them an advantage with their customers,” said Booth. “At the end of the day, we want to ensure they have the best products to offer the buyer.”
Caption: Nick Booth, Corobrik Chief Operating Officer