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Global Building Materials Industry


The global building materials market (as a large part of the construction and building industry) is expected to grow at more than 6% yearly through 2015 to reach almost $890 billion, according to MarketLine. The industry encompasses cement, brick, concrete, sand, aggregates and gravel manufacturers. Cement manufacturing was the most dynamic market segment in 2010, reaching close to $200 billion, or nearly a third of the overall global market. Among the most-used building materials are steel, glass, wood, plastics and cement. The industry supplies related industries, including wiring manufacturers and furniture manufacturers.


The building materials market is fuelled in a large part by green building, with this market segment worth over $60 billion in the US. Green building is particularly popular in the residential market, lead by demand for such products as cork, bamboo and woven flooring. Concrete production from recycled materials is also a dynamic growth area within the industry, along with wood from sustainable forests, energy-efficient lighting fixtures and water-efficient plumbing fixtures.


Environmental Factor


The global green construction materials market is expected to exceed $405 billion by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts. Factors fuelling green building include falling green building material costs, rising energy costs, increasingly protective environmental legislation and general consumer awareness of environmental factors. The market will continue to expand because of consumer preference for green alternatives and pressure to optimize energy efficiency.


The EU is the leading region in the green building materials market, followed by the US. Emerging markets are expected to show stronger growth, with Asia-Pacific taking the lead. Rising living standards, environmental concern, falling costs and greater efficiency will all drive the green building materials market. Green floor coverings represent the fastest-growing segment, with green concrete and green roofs following. Green flooring materials include bamboo, hardwood, cork and ceramic tile. Residential building represents the biggest market for green construction materials, with the non-residential building market seeing the fastest growth.



Key Market Segments


  • The global hydraulic cement market is expected to rise more than 4% yearly to 3.5 billion metric tons, representing overall worth in excess of $245 billion by 2013, according to Freedonia. Emerging markets will see growth fuelled by infrastructure investment while developed countries will experience slower growth. Ready-mix concrete will remain the most dynamic growth sector through 2013, with blended cement gaining market share through 2013. China, which currently represents around 50% of global demand for cement, will see growth slow through 2013; India will see rapid growth.


  • The global drywall market is expected to grow more than 7.5% yearly through 2014 to over 10 billion square meters, according to Freedonia. Combined, the US and Asia-Pacific will represent around 80% of new product demand through 2014, with the US seeing 9% yearly growth. Growing populations and urban housing demand will make Asia-Pacific the fastest-growing market in the next four years.


  • Global demand for gypsum-based building plasters is expected to grow at over 5% yearly to reach over 36 million metric tons in 2014.


 Cement (portland, aluminous, slag or hydraulic) Export: Top 5 countries, *In US$ Bn, 2010



Regional Markets


  • The base metals market is expected to see almost 8% yearly growth in North America through 2015 to almost $35 billion, according to MarketLine. The base metals market encompasses copper, tin, nickel, zinc and lead.


  • The Western EU market for construction materials is expected to grow at almost 2% yearly through 2015 to over $80 billion, according to MarketLine. The market encompasses cement, bricks, aggregates, concrete, gravel and sand. Cement led the market in 2010, reaching almost $23 billion, or nearly a third of the overall market segment.



Market Outlook


Economic growth and rising population impact the construction materials market, and profitability will be curbed by high-energy prices. Economic slowdown is also likely to cut profit as companies absorb input costs they can pass on in a stronger economic climate.


Areas of innovation in the building materials industry include specialty materials, such as those used in storm rooms to provide shelter during extreme weather conditions. Much development is being carried out to limit thermal loss from residential buildings to boost energy efficiency. In addition, environmental regulations pertaining to building requirements and the need to cut energy costs will continue to fuel market growth, with smart buildings and green buildings set to see substantial expansion.



Leading Industry Associations




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