Celcon Limited was established in 1949 to develop the uses of aerated concrete, with the first factory to produce precast aerated concrete blocks and screed being built in 1958.
It took time for this lightweight material to be accepted by the building industry, but demand increased steadily and a second plant was opened in 1966 with a third following in 1974. Aircrete products have now been manufactured for over 50 years and yet are still seen by many as a ‘new’ product.
During the late 1990s, building on our reputation for innovation in masonry construction, the H+H Thin-Joint System was launched with its own brand of Celfix mortar. This new approach to masonry building provides huge productivity gains as well as the potential for significant increases in build quality.
In 2017 we re-introduced Celcon Elements as part of the revolutionary i-House System. These storey-high panels of aircrete allow developers to capitalise on the speed of build associated with offsite construction methods while still relying on the trusted performance of a masonry system
The Danish H+H Group experimented with the development of aircrete in the 1930s, but it was the association with Celcon Limited in the UK that established the product in this country.
The H+H Group has always focused on wall construction. Its founding partners were a mason (Henrik Henriksson) and a brickwork owner (Waldemar Kähler) who in 1909 formed a company to establish a stone quarry.
The company expanded to produce sand and gravel and in the 1920’s began to experiment with aerated concrete, beginning the manufacture of what we would recognise as aircrete in 1949.
The first aircrete factory in the UK was established in 1958 in Grays, Essex, combining Danish expertise in aircrete with involvement from a building contractor (Christiani & Neilson) and Celcon Limited, with the company then referred to as Celcon Limited being wholly acquired by its Danish parent in 1963.
As this new material began to attract attention, additional factories were opened in Rugely in Staffordshire to supply the Midlands and in 1974 operations moved into the West Country with the opening of a purpose-built factory in Westbury. Four years later the Pollington plant opened in Humberside (now East Yorkshire). This factory was specifically designed to produce the Plus Block range.
The Rugely factory was superceded by a new, state-of-the-art factory at Borough Green, Kent in 1992 with the Borough Green factory eventually taking over manufacturing from both the Rugeley and the Greys plants.
Meanwhile, in Yorkshire, a second plant was opened at Pollington in 2003. Using some of the most advanced and environmentally friendly manufacturing equipment for the production of aircrete, the plant was officially opened by Brian Wilson, Minister of State for Energy and Construction, in 2003.
Always looking towards innovation to grow its market, H+H launched the Thin-Joint System together with its own brand of mortar, named Celfix, in the 1990s. This new approach to aircrete masonry provides huge productivity savings and the potential for significant increases in build quality.
In 1999 the strategic decision was taken to increase the level of co-operation and integration between the Danish and UK operations. H+H International expanded rapidly across Scandinavia and Celcon Limited was able to benefit from the expertise and product development of the wider group.
This insight led to the introduction of a range of product innovations in the UK which challenged traditional building methods.
Most recent is the introduction of H+H’s offsite system, incorporating Celcon Elements. This technical breakthrough allows the well-understood and trusted aircrete material to be incorporated into fast system-build requiring minimal time and labour to construct high-quality masonry homes.
The most recent chapter in our history came with the multi-million pound investment in our Borough Green factory. A complete reconstruction of the factory has resulted in the most technically advanced and efficient aircrete plant in Europe. The successful completion of this complex project was celebrated in an opening event, held in September 2018, and attended by the Minister of State for Housing James Brokenshire.
Today, H+H continues to manufacture high-quality aircrete products from its three UK plants, benefitting from the expertise, product innovation and experiences of the Europe-Wide Group.
Partners in wall building
As the building industry evolves, so the nature of the service provided by H+H has developed too. While aircrete blocks are the ubiquitous and most obvious output from the organisation, the beating heart driving the enterprise is a profound understanding of what it takes to build high-performing, long-lasting and utterly dependable walls. H+H Partners in Wall Building.