While sales of all segments of construction chemicals are charting an upward trajectory, admixtures continue to enjoy a dominant position. It´s big.
India´s construction chemicals industry is currently worth Rs 4,200 crore, according to Sukanta Mallik, Assistant Vice President-Business Development, CICO Technologies Ltd.
¨As of today, the construction chemicals industry stands at Rs 4,500 crore across seven segments: Waterproofing, repairs, industrial flooring, tiling, foundation grouts, admixtures and sealants,¨ says Sarjerao Kasbekar, Senior Sales Manager, Dow Construction Chemicals
And it´s poised to grow bigger
¨Business is estimated to grow 20 per cent in the coming two years with admixture, waterproofing, tiling and repair as the key drivers,¨ opines Kasbekar.
Mallik expects the market to grow to between Rs 4,500 crore and Rs 5,000 crore by next year.
Although at a nascent stage, the Indian construction chemicals market will exhibit a CAGR of 17.2 per cent during 2016 to 2020, to reach $1.89 billion (approx Rs 12,633 crore) by 2020, as per Dr Sanjay Bahadur, Global CEO, Construction Chemical Division, Pidilite Industries Ltd.
Developments that will yield additional demand for construction chemicals include the creation of affordable housing to cater to fast-paced urbanisation and government investments in the expansion of the country´s road network, metro and infrastructure construction, according to Kasbekar. ¨Regulatory changes such as the ban on mixing cement on site and mandating the use of ready-mix cement (RMC) in metros will also spur demand for chemicals,¨ he adds.
¨Over the ensuing five years, demand for construction chemicals will be driven by new construction in response to urbanisation, which is expected to grow from about 30 per cent today to 40 per cent by 2030; the government´s 100 smart cities project; housing for all by 2022, which itself mandates 110 million housing units; greater awareness of building rehabilitation technologies; the investment of $290 billion in infrastructure; the implementation of the National Manufacturing Policy (to grow manufacturing´s share in the GDP from 16 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022); and the growing use of RMC in construction, which is expected to expand from 7 per cent to over 20 per cent,¨ says M Vivekanandan, Managing Director, Flowcrete India.
Growth across segments
While sales of all segments of construction chemicals are charting an upward trajectory, admixtures continue to enjoy a dominant position.
¨Admixture technology has become a norm in concrete as users look for high-performance, durable concrete,¨ says Nilotpol Kar, Business Director, Construction Chemicals, BASF India Ltd.
¨Products for repairs and rehabilitation and anti-corrosion are trending as these are essential to rehabilitate and retrofit older structures to ensure those live out their average life of 50 years,¨ opines Mallik.
¨Buyers of flooring systems are analysing the life-cycle of repair products and new flooring, and hence, are open to more durable and initially expensive systems,¨ says Kar.
Adhesives make up 7-8 per cent of the construction chemicals market, according to BS Nagaraj, Product Segment Manager-Waterproofing, Sealant & Adhesives, Fosroc. In this segment, tile adhesives and tile grout solutions have good prospects because of the expanding range of construction materials used. For instance, Fosroc´s Nitotile solutions can be used to fix ceramic, vitrified and glass tile, and natural stone like granite and marble, indoors or outdoors, even under water. Tiles can be fixed to walls, floors, and tile itself. ¨All these are of tropical grade to suit Indian working conditions,¨ clarifies Nagaraj.
All-round growth makes this an opportune time to introduce cutting-edge solutions in the Indian market. To this end, Dow has introduced the exclusive Vorastar Polyurea, a polyurea spray elastomer system to protect steel (pipelines and holding tanks) and concrete from harsh environments, particularly high-acid and high-moisture environments. ¨We strongly believe that if this product can´t solve the issue, nothing can,¨ opines Kasbekar.
Bright prospects lie ahead for green chemicals too.
¨Today, customers are becoming increasingly aware of eco-friendly construction chemicals, which means construction chemicals made of green materials and also using chemicals to construct sustainable energy-efficient structures. Customers are ready to pay a small premium for green chemicals,¨ opines Dr Bahadur.
Trends in waterproofing
Waterproofing compounds comprise the most sorted out construction chemicals segment, enjoying 14 per cent of the overall market on the back of greater awareness, focus on quality standards and product performance.
¨Waterproofing and repair product customers are shifting from two-component products to single component, ready-to-use products, gradually overcoming cost constraints to emphasise the simplicity of handling and ease of application,¨ observes Kasbekar. ¨Also, we´re seeing an uptick in demand as against a few years ago, for PU-based products or blends of acrylic and PU for high-end waterproofing.¨ Dow´s Elastene 8850 polymer-based product is a single-component waterproofing system. As elasticity increases dirt pickup, this product balances both, providing long-term waterproofing with UV stability and low dirt pickup.
¨Waterproofing systems are moving from conventional methods, which are a failure, to foolproof high-end options. Consumers are more concerned about the properties of solutions and their interaction with concrete and impact on the environment,¨ says Kar.
¨To save cost and enjoy uniform warranties, customers are increasingly demanding end-to-end solutions from a single supplier,¨ says Prasad Satavse, Country Head, Chowgule Construction Chemicals Pvt Ltd.
¨To save time, customers are asking for waterproofing and other applications that are imbibed in the initial construction phase, which is a good sign because waterproofing is not an ad-hoc fix but an essential construction step to ensure the longevity of concrete structures.¨
In future, Satavse expects the use of mechanisation in application to increase to offset the lack of qualified workers.
What makes a chemical a bestseller?
Chowgule´s bestselling product is CrystalFlex2Ksuperstrong, an impregnating crystalline system that becomes an integral part of the substrate. ¨CrystalFlex2Ksuperstrong stands out because it self-cures after being applied, and does not require water curing, unlike other sodium silicate-based systems that have to be water cured for four to six days while the crystalline process is completed,¨ explains Satavse. ¨Another unique feature of CrystalFlex2Ksuperstrong is that it is alkaline with a stable pH value of 11.5, which makes it most compatible with concrete whose pH is around 12.¨
Dr Fixit´s bestselling products are waterproofing solutions like Dr Fixit Pidiproof LW+, Dr. Fixit Pidicrete URP, Dr Fixit Crack-X Paste, Dr Fixit Roofseal, Dr Fixit Raincoat, etc, for their dual household and industrial use and for suiting both new construction as well as remedial solutions.
¨Our bestselling waterproofing solution MasterSeal Roof M800 can be applied in a plethora of applications - underground, podiums, over ground, roof - and across construction sectors such as marine, infrastructure, commercial, underground metros, road tunnels and power,¨ says Kar.
¨Single-component, liquid-applied polyurethane coating, polyurethane sealants, cementitious grouts, micro concrete (Tamms Form and Pour) and grouts (NSGrout) contribute to our volume,¨ says Vivekanandan.
¨Our bestselling products are CICO Tapecrete P-151, an acrylic-based, polymer-modified cementitious waterproofing compound, and CORCHEM 206i, a single-component, high solid content, moisture-cured, polyurethane-based, tar-extended elastomeric protective coating system, suited for the waterproofing of terraces, walls, etc,¨ says Mallik.
Clearly, there´s a world of choice out there!
Busting 7 myths about construction chemicals
MYTH 1: Construction chemical products are costly.
¨Construction chemicals add approximately 1 per cent to the cost of a project and help cut down on maintenance expenses,¨ asserts M Vivekanandan, Managing Director, Flowcrete.
MYTH 2: The greater the dose of construction chemicals, the better the performance and durability of concrete.
¨Actually, the dose needs to be optimised based on the cement and sand quality used from site to site,¨ explains Sarjerao Kasbekar, Senior Sales Manager, Dow Construction Chemicals.
MYTH 3: Environmentally sustainable, high-quality construction chemicals do not make economic sense.
¨In fact, these qualities are no longer mutually exclusive,¨ opines Kasbekar. ¨Very often, chemicals made of higher quality and sustainable materials deliver better performance and durability and are more potent. Greener construction chemicals can help reduce structural heating or cooling and repair costs. An optimal solution will deliver results without adding cost burden.¨
MYTH 4: High-end, technologically advanced products are difficult to apply and need skilled intervention.
¨Many of our technologically advanced products are extremely easy to use,¨ says Kasbekar.
MYTH 5: New technology will not work as it is not time-tested.
¨Newer solutions are based on science, and are working in similar environmental conditions (as India) across the globe,¨ explains Nilotpol Kar, Business Director-Construction Chemicals, BASF India Ltd.
MYTH 6: Construction chemicals are supposed to be ´very cheap´.
¨Construction chemicals aren´t cheap but holistic solutions that add economic value across the lifecycle of structures,¨ says Kar.
MYTH 7: Structures can be equally durable without using construction chemicals.
¨No, the quality of raw materials available today necessitates the use of chemicals to make the serviceable life of structures longer,¨ opines Kar.
Application faux pas
India is known to be a price-sensitive construction chemicals market. So, the focus is often not on the long-term outcome of the solution and, hence, accurate product application. ¨This is especially so because most application companies work on a tender basis on projects.
Customer affordability, not performance, drives the choice of solution,¨ says Sarjerao Kasbekar, Senior Sales Manager, Dow Construction Chemicals.
Industry voices identify the top application errors based on their experience:
M Vivekanandan, Managing Director, Flowcrete
Nilotpol Kar, Business Director-Construction Chemicals, BASF India Ltd
Tips for applying new concrete on old
Sarjerao Kasbekar, Senior Sales Manager, Dow Construction Chemicals, says:
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