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Science of smart construction

11:47 AM, 15th September 2017
Making structures environmentally friendly is one of the major concerns today. (File photo)
Making structures environmentally friendly is one of the major concerns today. (File photo)

By Debarati Das

A building made of bricks and mortar has lot more science involved than we can imagine - a science to make these structures sturdier than ever, a science to make them ecologically compliant and a science to make them economical. And this is what every construction chemicals manufacturer is aiming for.

Various advancements in new-age construction chemicals are constantly raising the bar of construction industry itself. The construction chemicals market size is likely to cross $50 billion by 2024, according to Global Market Insights.

This growth will be supported by various factors including the rapidly escalating infrastructure spending across BRICS countries, growing population, increase in the disposable income in the emerging countries, rise in the number of infrastructural projects and  several government initiatives to provide low cost homes in various regions.

This global momentum of escalating construction industry is dominated by the Asia Pacific construction chemical market which is expected to exhibit double digit growth, much higher than any other region. The growth in this region is spurred by rising rate of urbanization leading to numerous infrastructure projects.

China’s construction industry holds the major share in this region and held more than 60 percent share of the Asia-Pacific market in 2015, as per Research and Markets.’ Also the construction chemical market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 15 percent during 2015-2020, mentioned TechSci Research. This is due to high demand for residential, commercial and public buildings and rising government and private investments in infrastructure and real estate sectors.

“Growing adoption of the green building concept and various proposed smart city projects is anticipated to fuel demand for construction chemicals market in India. The trend in India’s construction industry is gradually changing, with the interest of public and private investors gradually shifting towards high quality construction,” said Karan Chechi, research director, TechSci Research.

However this growth spurge is opposed by the slow growth rates of the construction industry in the developed countries especially various European countries due to financial and economic crisis along with maturity of construction industry in the countries resulting into stagnancy of infrastructural growth. The matured market of the US too is expected to remain sluggish with its single digit growth.

Middle East is a region which has a huge growth potential due to the rising number of infrastructural projects, and their drive to achieve construction excellence with technology improvement. Other countries such as Russia, Australia and Brazil are expected to have high growth rates for this market.

With the diverse set of applications across the construction industry, construction chemicals have become an imperative ingredient in today’s infrastructural environment. Although, the main use of construction chemical is to strengthen the structure with enhanced durability, there is much more that is demanded from it.

Making structures environmentally friendly is one of the major concerns today. According to the European Commission, buildings account for up to 40 percent of the total energy consumption and produce more than 33 percent of the overall greenhouse emissions in the region. Most construction chemical manufacturers are working towards making construction materials that can reduce the overall carbon footprint of the structures while giving them a competitive advantage. Hence, greener buildings will further catalyze the global construction chemicals market in the coming years.

Demands for high-end protective coatings in commercial and residential complexes with features such as fire resistance, water proofing, dust resistance etc, is providing further impetus to the industry. Restoration of historical and old buildings and infrastructures is also one of the major areas of growth for this industry enhancing the market for adhesives and sealants in the coming years.

The global construction chemicals market is broadly segregated into concrete admixtures, water proofing chemicals, flooring compounds and repair & rehabilitation. Concrete admixture chemicals are used for better mixing of materials used in cement to make concrete, and finds application across commercial and residential buildings as well as infrastructures, such as bridges, roads, flyovers, etc. This segment also accounts for above 50 percent of the overall construction chemicals market size and is expected to witness a significant growth. Admixtures can be mineral and chemical concrete admixtures. Mineral include fly ash, rice husk ash, silica fume, and granulated blast furnace slag while chemical admixtures include superplasticizers, normal plasticizers, waterproofing admixtures, air-entraining agents, accelerating agents, and retarding agents.

Water proofing construction chemicals are used to avoid water infiltration and prove essential for exteriors of buildings. Flooring compounds are used to resist abrasion, corrosion, slipping, chemical attack and most importantly to give the floor an aesthetic appearance. Repair and rehabilitation construction chemicals are basically used in the repairing systems, wear and tear of the construction structures. Other construction chemicals segment of global construction chemical market includes sealants, grouts, tile adhesives and protective coating and resins.

Along with these advancements, the construction industry is going through a 'Green revolution' where various governmental regulations are promoting the trend towards green and energy-efficient buildings which has inturn increased the demand for eco-friendly construction materials. The usage of ready-mix concrete (RMC), construction products that do not emit VOC and do not have any detrimental effects on the environment, etc are on the rise. With stringent emission regulations, manufacturers are coming up with water-based reactive formulations like waterborne protective coatings which provide various functional benefits like graffiti resistance, self-cleaning features, etc.

“The construction sector can play an active role when it comes to safeguarding the future of the planet as estimates suggest that buildings currently account for anywhere between 25-40 percent of world carbon emissions. The sector is the world’s top consumer of global raw materials while it is also responsible for a high proportion of the solid waste generated. As a result, building practices are changing and every link in the construction value chain is examining how their methods can contribute to energy efficiency, waste reduction and the safety and wellbeing of both construction workers and building occupants,” said Roland Albers, senior vice president (construction & consumer - global business unit), Bostik.

However, amidst all these advancements the industry is also struggling with the dearth of skilled labour, apathy from various infrastructure developers to implement a high quality standard and fluctuating raw material prices, which is hindering the growth of the global construction chemicals market.

But change is the way to growth and the growth of construction chemical is heavily dependent on the changes that the construction industry undergoes, leading to continuous innovation and development. Cutting edge infrastructural developments, low cost affordable housings, materials which can expedite construction time helping builders to meet deadlines, industrialization and the need for plants with state of the art facilities, favourable regulations and improving manufacturing standards & practices are just some of the factors that will constantly ascertain the innovation drive in the construction chemical market. 

© Chemical Today Magazine

 

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