Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Industry Focus- Construction Chemicals


                                   VIBRANT HORIZONS


A variety of chemicals and advanced materials (CAMs)—ranging from concrete admixtures to polymer composites—have been witnessing an increased demand from the buildings and construction industries of late. The reasons are many: enhanced strength &integrity and overall systems cost reduction accrue to a construction or building project by using these CAMs. Looking at these buoyant aspects, it’s certain that the CAMs segment is on its way to achieving vibrant horizons on the back of rapid urbanization and growing population. It’s about time for CAMs players to up their innovation game in bringing the most sustainable, affordable and futuristic product portfolio to the market, writes Prerna Sharma.



Construction chemicals are specialty products that are crucial for sustainable infrastructure and energy conservation in construction industry to increase durability of buildings, and to provide added fortification from environmental hazards, states an AMR Research report. In 2018, the concrete admixtures segment occupied the highest share in the market. Admixtures are used during the first stage of construction. Ligno-based, SNF (Sulfonated Naphthalene Formaldehyde) & SMF (Sulfonated Melamine Formaldehyde)-based and PCE-based are the three types of admixtures mostly prevalent in the market. Ligno-based admixtures were the first-generation admixtures with lower performance as compared to SNF & SMF- and PCE-based admixtures. PCE-based admixtures are the third-generation admixtures and are usually 3-4 times more expensive than SNF & SMF-/Ligno-based admixtures. The Asia-Pacific region has the highest consumption rate for admixtures owing to the huge number of infrastructure projects undertaken.


According to Deloitte study, concrete admixtures, which are increasingly used for producing super-strong concrete, are comprised of plasticizers/superplasticizers, accelerators, air-entraining agents, bonding agents, retarders, shrinkage reducers, and so on. While adhesives and sealants help in joining dissimilar building components in a flexible, cost-effective, and durable manner, coatings enable lasting protection against weather and corrosion. Insulation materials like polymer foams help not only in thermal, acoustic, fire, and impact insulation but also enable light weighting of building structures and components. Polymer composites come in many different forms and given their high strength-to-stiffness ratio and low density, they offer durability, low weight, impact resistance, design flexibility, parts consolidation, toughness, and heat resistance.


Fast Facts
  • The global construction chemicals market size is expected to grow $50.6 billion by 2026, at a significant CAGR of 5.9% between 2019 to 2026.
  • The Indian construction chemicals market is estimated to witness a healthy growth, at an estimated CAGR of over 8% in the near future.
  • Poised to reach over US$14.4 Billion by the year 2025, Concrete Admixtures will bring in healthy gains adding significant momentum to global growth.
  • Development of innovative concrete admixtures with superior rheology and water retention capabilities and more stable workability is expected to be a growing trend in future.



Indian scenario


The Indian construction chemicals market is estimated to witness a healthy growth, at an estimated CAGR of over 8%, in future. The Indian construction chemicals market follows a slightly different trend than that of the global market. Due to the lack of awareness about the long-term benefits of construction chemicals, the demand for chemicals, such as concrete admixtures, adhesives, sealants, and waterproofing, which have immediate tangible effects, is high. The growth drivers include:


Increase in infrastructure construction activities across the country is one of the key factors driving the growth of the market studied.


Lack of skilled labor in India is likely to hinder the market’s growth.


Increasing Foreign Direct Investments is projected to act as an opportunity for the market in future.



Growth drivers


Rising Residential and Commercial Construction Activities


The construction sector is one of the largest sectors in the country, and it is growing at a healthy rate, owing to the rising population, increase in middle-class income, and urbanization. The government is taking various steps to restructure corporate taxes and make them more appealing to foreign investors. The move is anticipated to boost investments in the healthcare, education, housing, transport, and water infrastructure sectors.


Investments worth US$31,650 billion have been proposed by 99 cities under their smart city plans. 100 smart cities and 500 cities are likely to invite investments worth INR 2 trillion in the next 5 years. The ‘Housing for All’ program, launched in June 2015, aims to build 20 million houses in the urban areas and 30 million houses in the rural areas by 2022. The National Housing Bank has refinanced individual housing loans of about USD 3.1 billion during 2017-2018. 60 million new homes are expected to be built in India between 2018 and 2024. The growth drivers of the Indian infrastructure sector, which maintains the demand for construction chemicals, are government initiatives, infrastructure needs, housing development, international investment, and public and private partnership projects.




Interesting Facts
The ancient history of concrete and other building and construction materials is replete with many stories. In these stories, we often get a glimpse of chemicals or materials that were used to make monuments or structures. For example, from the biblical story of Moses, we surmise that Egyptian pyramids were made with limestone-based mortars and mud bricks with straw—which acted as reinforcement and added strength to the building material. However, the diversity of construction chemicals and advanced materials (CAMs) has expanded by leaps and bounds since the making of the pyramids. Today, it not only includes concrete admixtures but also adhesives and sealants, coatings, insulation materials, and polymer composites. These CAMs—gifts of the petrochemical revolution—are designed to extend the otherwise “natural” life of the structure, give integrity, provide protection, and cut down material waste.



Increasing Demand for Concrete Admixtures


Concrete admixtures are ingredients that are added to the concrete mixture before or during mixing. Concrete admixtures reduce concrete construction cost by modifying the properties of hardened concrete, thereby ensuring better quality during mixing, transporting, placing, and curing. This allows users to overcome emergencies during concrete operations. The admixture is generally added in a relatively small quantity, ranging from 0.005% to 2%, by weight of cement. However, overuse of admixtures has detrimental effects on the quality and properties of concrete.


Based on function, admixtures are categorized into several types, which include air-entraining, retarding, accelerating, plasticizing, and water reducing, among others. The special category admixtures have various functions, including shrinkage reduction, corrosion inhibition, workability enhancement, alkali-silica reactivity reduction, bonding, coloring, and damp proofing. The market for concrete admixture in India is witnessing a significant growth, owing to the rapid growth in the construction industry. Government initiatives like “Housing for all by 2022” have largely facilitated the growth of the construction sector in the country. Owing to all these factors, the demand for concrete admixture in the country is likely to increase in the coming years.




Technical solutions apart, tremendous consistency in manufacturing, quick turn-around times for dispatch and high degree of quality control have been a hallmark of our fast increasing repute in the market. In addition, Assess Build Chem focuses extensively on training. Basic videos to explain concepts to training on-site and internationally for our application partners, we believe in discussing the correct solutions with our clients and application partners and this makes us unique in our approach to solving constructional problems.SAMIR SURLAKER, FOUNDER & DIRECTOR, ASSESS BUILD CHEM PRIVATE LIMITED





Top investment havens
By end-use, the market is divided into residential, industrial/commercial, infrastructure, and repair structures. In industries, construction chemicals are necessary for stability and durability of the structures. Infrastructure is crucial to any economy, particularly emerging markets, as their growth rate is high. Construction chemicals are widely used in residential infrastructure, owing to the rise in demand for housing and domiciliary buildings in urban areas. The repair segment is relatively less explored in this market, though this end-use of construction chemicals is critical towards the maintenance of structures globally.



The core strength of Cipy is R&D where innovative ideas are conceived and designed. Cipy enjoys a prime status for producing many innovative products with ‘the first time in India’ tags. At Cipy, sustainability means a cohesive business approach to continual improvement in environmental protection and social responsibility. We envisage a greener world in which our innovations help reduce the consumption of the depleting oil sources. Our endeavor is to produce products based on renewable resources, employing green chemistry.Dr. SUBASH CIPY, MD, CIPY POLYURETHANES PVT. LTD







We believe that the most important USP of a product in today’s competitive and dynamic market is the Reliability of the product and we score on that against the competition. WE have in house production and testing facilities for all our products which ensure consistency in quality and affordable pricing. NANDAN PRADHAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MCON RASAYAN PVT. LTD.









Key Global Market Trends


As per Deloitte global study, four key trends that are shaping the future of construction chemicals and advanced materials (CAMs) include:

Technology advances and integration: Technology advances and integration in the broader construction industry will likely change the demand patterns for some key chemicals. Use of advanced software like BIM (Building Information Modeling) and more prevalent use of drones, simulations, Augmented Reality, 3D printing, and so on could mean that construction efficiency will improve while minimizing waste. In one way, this could lead to lower demand (than anticipated earlier) for construction CAMs (because of lower waste generation), but on the other hand, this could open new opportunities for chemicals companies.


Sustainability and the circular economy: Sustainability and the circular economy may lead to greater incorporation of CAMs with a lower carbon footprint and less resource-intensity. The mounting wave of smart cities, which is much broader in scope and scale than green buildings, is also expected to enhance the demand for new chemicals and materials. For example, for enabling an energy-efficient infrastructure within a smart city, chemicals companies can innovate across different chemicals and requirement types like high reflectance coatings, high-performance insulation foams, and phase change materials.


Global perspective
The construction chemicals market witnessed a high growth in the past few years, which is estimated to increase in the coming years. This growth is largely fueled by the growth of the construction industry, technological advancements, and growing demand in the Asia-Pacific region. Asia-Pacific is the biggest and the fastest-growing region due to the growing demand for construction chemicals in India, China, Japan, and South Korea. North America and Europe are matured markets and are expected to grow at a low CAGR in comparison with Asia-Pacific till 2020.


Trends in project completion timelines and overall costs: The need for reducing overall project costs and speeding up project completion rate is stimulating prefabrication or modular construction, as well as new product innovations like self-healing concrete and nano materials. New, advanced material innovations like self-healing concrete and nano materials like Graphene might also lead to over all power life cycle costs, though there is a high initial cost associated. These novel materials enable instant repair of a concrete structure, thus eliminating the need for its repair, rehabilitation, or complete replacement for relatively longer periods of time.


Skilled labor shortage: Skilled labor shortage has sometimes forced companies to use contractual labor, which often comes at inflated costs. Labor costs typically account for 40% of total construction project costs—indicating that the construction industry is still labor-intensive, though regional variations exist. Many construction companies and contractors are now relying on nontraditional approaches to solve this recurring issue. Chemicals and advanced materials companies can also offer their part of the solution. For instance, many contractors are looking for products that are easy to install on-site and don’t require the use of special equipment or extensive training— thus reducing the need for skilled labor. On the other hand, technologies like 3D printing can reduce the need for more semi-skilled workers in construction. Hence, though the talent shortage issue will most likely remain in the short to medium term, in the long term, because of innovations in materials and technology, the issue can be addressed to a large extent.


As per the AMR Research analysis, the global construction chemicals market size was valued at $32.0 billion in 2018, and is expected to grow $50.6 billion by 2026, at a significant CAGR of 5.9% between 2019 to 2026. But for construction CAMs companies to successfully ride this wave, they should shed their old skin and adopt “newer” ways of doing business. Companies that embrace innovative technologies (including digital), focus more on collaborating with their customers, and strive toward making their organizations highly agile by restructuring their product portfolios may stand a higher chance to ride on the crest even when the seas become rough, concludes a Deloitte study.



















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