28 February 2020

Table of Contents for Special Focus: Construction Chemicals

Special Focus: Construction Chemicals

Catalysing latent potential



The market for construction chemicals in India was stagnant last few years, registering very meager growth. Its widespread use was limited to a few big construction contractors who had the insight to leverage them for quality construction and could afford high-end products. Now, the latent demand potential for these products is being catalysed by India’s construction sector which is adopting modern methods and materials of construction, finds SATISH P CHAVAN.


As the two basic demand drivers for construction chemicals – real estate and infrastructure –register a turnaround on the back of government initiatives of affordable housing and a trillion dollar budget to modernizing India’s creaking infrastructure to global norms,  there’s a concomitant rise in the demand for construction chemicals (CC) across the spectrum. While the fast track rollout of projects is generating demand, there’s also a qualitative transition in the build quality as end users turn more demanding, which is forcing contractors to use CC to ensure high quality structures. 


This latent demand has also been catalyzed in a major way by adoption of modern construction materials, especially RMC (ready mixed concrete), which is generating demand for CC products across the concrete spectrum for niche applications. These modern concrete varieties and other construction materials are demanding  a high level of quality in CC products to impart the materials with required properties to the materials, ranging from plasticizers to emulsifiers, to quick forming properties. For the first time the CC market in India is maturing and demanding high end products required for hi-tech construction methods.





According to TechSci Research report, “India Construction Chemicals Market By Type, By Application and Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2010 – 2020”, construction chemical market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 15 per cent by 2020, due to increasing construction activities and rising government and private investments in infrastructure and real estate sectors. In addition, 100 per cent FDI policy of the government in real estate industry is further anticipated to boost growth in India’s construction chemicals market by 2020. The 12th Five Year Plan is also expected to have a positive impact on the country’s construction chemicals market, as the Government of India plans to make infrastructure investments amounting to $1.025 trillion by 2017.


Another report by Future Market Insights (FMI), says market for construction chemicals in India is projected to exhibit a promising CAGR of 17.2 per cent between 2014 and 2020. That the Indian market for CC is estimated to reach a market value of $1,890 million by 2020. Considering the nascent stage of the Indian market,  several foreign as well as domestic players, including infrastructure developers, chemical manufacturers, and institutional investors, are ramping up production by setting  green field manufacturing facilities and expanding capacities of their existing manufacturing base to foray into the Indian market.


A  knowledge paper on construction chemicals published by Tata Strategic Management Group and commissioned by FICCI, projects the Indian CC industry at Rs. 7,000 crore by 2018-19 on the back of demand from India’s Smart City Mission. "The industry is expected to grow by 15 per cent per annum over the next five years to reach Rs. 7,000 crore by 2018-19," the report says, adding that admixtures constitute majority of the CC market with a 42 percent share, chemicals for repair and rehabilitation constitute another 12 percent of the market, while remaining 18 percent per cent is accounted by adhesives and sealants.


Giving an individual breakup of CC  product verticals across the CC spectrum, the ‘India Construction Chemicals Market By Type (Concrete Admixtures, Waterproofing Chemicals, Flooring Chemicals, Repair and Rehabilitation Chemicals and Others), By Application and Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2010 – 2020,’ published by TechSci Research,  the construction chemicals market in India is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 15 per cent by 2020. In 2014, concrete admixtures accounted for the majority share in the country’s construction chemicals market. Increase in the number of high rise buildings coupled with growing need for fast and high quality construction is driving demand for concrete admixtures for blending purposes.


India’s CC market is segmented as admixtures, flooring chemicals, water proofing compounds, adhesives and sealants and repair, rehabilitation and others. Adhesives and sealants and admixtures market is expected to contribute collectively 61.2 per cent share by 2020. It is anticipated that there will be a decline in the growth of the repair, rehabilitation and others segment from 12.7 per cent in 2014 to 11.9 per cent in 2020, indicating a lack of inspection and maintenance in the construction industry in India. According to FMI, on the basis of end use sectors, India construction chemicals market is segmented as infrastructure sector and residential and commercial sector. Infrastructure sector is likely to grow at a CAGR of 18.3 per cent. The residential and commercial segment has a share of 34 per cent in overall India construction chemical market with a steady Y-o-Y growth of 16 per cent in 2020.


From a regional perspective, the Indian market is segmented into northern region, eastern region, western region and southern region. Currently, northern region is expected to experience highest CAGR of 17.8 per cent as compared to other regions. Southern region is likely to create an opportunity which is three times the value in 2013. The southern region comprises the states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala. This region realizes the potential of IT services and hence are able to attract significant investment from these service and manufacturing companies. Chemical and engineering industries are the main drivers of growth in western region particularly in Maharashtra and Gujarat.





The global market outlook for CC is also very buoyant. According to a new report published by Grand View Research, global construction chemicals market size was valued at $39.17 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $67.61 billion by 2024, rising requirement from various end-use industries including residential and non-residential and infrastructure, the growth of these end-use industries is expected to further fuel construction chemicals market growth over the forecast period. Growing focus towards infrastructure development in emerging economies and rapid shift towards urbanization in these countries will fuel market expansion over the next eight years. Construction chemicals are chemical compounds that are added to materials such as mortar and concrete to improve compatibility with the building structure, performance and protect structures.


Owing to the presence of stringent environmental regulations, players in this market have been focusing on R&D activities to launch new products which comply with guidelines set by different regulatory bodies. Usage of biochemicals as construction chemicals is in introductory stage.


This factor could prove to be a breakthrough technology in coming years. Economies including China and India are expected to drive the market on account of numerous upcoming infrastructure projects to connect and develop cities.




Leveraging the Nano revolution

An all-pervasive industrial revolution of the 21st Century, the nano paradigm will bring about seminal changes  in the field of construction chemicals. It will enable CC and construction materials to be modified in  a customised manner geared to specific end applications. The possibilities are endless, and they will only expand the CC spectrum as nanotechnology develops over time and reaches the stage of commercialisation. However, its penetration in the construction sector is still very nascent. The scope of its applications in construction chemicals, from imparting specific properties to construction materials, to extending lifecycle of structures, etc, is still to be fully defined. Scientists are yet to define just the basic research parameters - which range from a strategic roadmap for basic research, to identifying environmental hazards of nano engineered materials, to defining a Standards code and legal definitions of nano materials. The new mantra of the construction, “Build it Fast, Build to Last” will be nurtured further by nanotechnology. Development of these chemicals and their applications have grown hand in hand with modern construction methods, especially precast concrete and prefabricated structures, and most of the product development has been driven by the need for quick curing agents that shrink the construction cycle, impart durability to the structure, and extend its lifecycle.


Designer Chemicals

Development of nanotech enabled designer construction chemicals have brought about a qualitative change in construction chemicals themselves, their applications, and dispersion methods, moving them to a new level of sophistication. Always smaller, always faster nanotechnology has ushered in a paradigm shift in materials science for the construction sector, and the new shift is to design and fabricate dynamic materials that react to ongoing variables like weather, natural processes like corrosion and structural stress during earthquakes etc. Gaining control of materials at the nano scale brings different laws of physics into play. Traditional materials show radically enhanced properties when engineered at the nano scale. It utilises special properties of nano materials, to improve products and enhance their  performance. New findings in basic research are spawning new products with structural and chemical properties only dreamt of before. Many nano-products do not contain solid nano particles but do have or form nano-structures to achieve particular properties. These include emulsions that contain nano scale liquid drops, as in dried paints with nano-structured surfaces and microemulsions (internal structures). Nano products can be selectively produced by using nano particles to achieve specific new product properties.Most of these properties are based on chemical or physical effects in the nanometer range which can only be produced with the aid of modern analytical techniques. In case of nano-optimised materials it is possible to designate every type of cement binder as a nano structured material in the widest sense (strength through the formation of crystalline structures on a nanometer scale). Additional modern variations include ultra high performance concrete (UHPC) and polymer modified high performance mortar (flexible cements and repair mortars). Nanoscale additives can now influence the rheology of formable or flow capable construction materials and optimise flow properties of single and multicomponent liquid resins and enhance their workability.

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