How COVID-19 has impacted the Global Construction Chemicals Industry
From the beginning of the 21st century, cement concrete has been accepted as the main building material for construction of infrastructures and buildings, considering the ease and strength they offer. However, this material is the ordinary Portland cement that suffered from some initial drawbacks such as leakages and shrinkage cracks compared to the then-existing lime mortar and lime concrete. Thus, this product needed some modifications to overcome all these drawbacks, which is now achieved by use of some chemicals.
With time, the performance demand on concrete has increased and the R&D of chemicals for modification of concrete has become a regular industry which is today called as the construction chemicals industry. By 2026, the global construction chemicals market is estimated to grow at a healthy CAGR of 5.6% and generate around US$48.9 million, increasing from US$31.7 million in 2018.
Why are Construction Chemicals Important?
Construction chemicals are of surging importance to the building & construction industry as they impart design flexibility and strength through their ability to enhance and modify the chemical and physical properties of structures, such as durability, compressive strength, resistance to adverse working & climatic conditions, and the surface finish. Construction chemicals have expanded and offer an extensive range to ease the workmanship in challenging situations at different stages of construction. Today, every full-fledged construction chemicals’ manufacturer manufactures 50 to 100 various construction chemicals. These chemicals can be divided into the following groups:
- Waterproofing Compounds
- Repair & Renovation Products
- Tile Fixing Adhesives & Joint Fillers
- Admixtures for Concrete & Mortars
- Construction & Workmanship Aids
- Coating & Protection Products
Many manufacturers of construction chemicals market are developing and launching new products in the market to improve and enhance performance, workability, and compatibility of various construction materials. For instance, in December 2018, Fosroc announced the launch of ‘Polyurea WH 200GR,’ a green roof waterproofing grade product. This new product is spray-applied and provides crack/elongation/tensile bridging and water abrasion-/impermeability-resistance, which makes it a great solution for both new and existing buildings & infrastructures.
Moreover, the construction chemicals manufacturers are expanding their business in various parts of the world, which is helping the construction chemicals industry to grow at a rapid pace. For instance, BASF has unveiled a concrete admixture plant and new production plant in Vietnam and Philippines to better serve and fulfil the growing demands of consumers for better quality construction chemicals products.
How has the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted the Construction Chemicals Market?
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a number of challenges for the construction chemicals industry. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has adversely impacted the global construction chemicals market owing to the shutting down of construction activities to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. In addition, the lack of availability of skilled labors and delay in supply of construction chemicals & materials used for construction purposes owing to the lockdown imposed in various parts of the world is another factor to negatively impact the construction chemicals market growth.
Moreover, people are using highly potent chemicals to get rid of the COVID-19 virus from surfaces. The continuous use of such chemicals is expected to create undesirable effects on various materials used in the construction of buildings. For example, chlorine-based disinfectants, such as hypochlorous acid have been increasingly used since the COVID-19 outbreak. Although these chemicals have been previously used in some industries for a limited purpose, it has been witnessed that continuous use of such acidic pH range containing chlorine-based chemicals may affect steel surfaces leading to corrosion. As concrete has some cracks and capillaries, these chemicals can travel through and reach the reinforcement leading to a chloride-induced corrosion. All these factors are adversely affecting the growth of the global construction chemicals market in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Green Chemicals: The Protector against Environmental Hazards
According to the statistics provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the building & construction sector accounted for about 39% of CO2 emissions and 36% of global energy use in 2018. Green building chemicals are high in demand because of their potential to reduce CO2 emissions. These chemicals improve overall durability of building and also offer protection against environmental hazards. Besides, green chemicals reduce the volume of water and cement used during construction processes. Thus, the adoption of green chemicals is projected to bring in massive growth opportunities for the construction chemicals industry.
Man is continuously revising civil engineering practices and incorporating latest technology to create safe and healthy structures. Today, the innovation of construction chemicals in civil engineering is playing an important role in almost all sorts of construction projects, be it residential building projects, industrial projects, commercial building projects, and many others. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has created very long disruption across the world, it may also lead to a lot of developments and innovation in construction chemicals in the near future.