Plastics are known for their durability, aesthetics, high performance, and easy handling. In building and construction, plastic is mostly used in plumbing fixtures, insulation, doors, windows, bathroom units, railings etc. After the packaging industry, the building and construction industry is the largest consumer of plastics. Plastic is heavily used in fire safety equipment such as in smoke detectors and fire fighting systems in the building and construction sector. The various types of plastics used in building and construction include acrylics, polyethylene, polycarbonates, extended polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, etc. The main advantages of using plastics in building and construction are sustainability, innovation, cost efficiency, recyclability, and low maintenance. Mostly thermoplastics are widely used in the building and construction industry.
The global market for building and construction plastics is expected to grow at a substantial rate. The U.S. and Europe dominate the market on the basis of consumption, while the Asia Pacific region is the fastest growing market. According to the end-use segment of building and construction plastics, pipes and ducts accounts for a major share in the total market, followed by insulation, and doors and fittings. Doors and fittings is the fastest growing end-use segment of building and construction plastics.
The industry is primarily driven by growing infrastructure in developing nations and increasing awareness of “green buildings”. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is mostly used in the construction industry due to its physical properties. PVC cladding is rated A+ in BRE’s ‘Green Guide to Specification’. Some challenges faced by the industry include environmental regulations and fluctuating raw material prices. However, these challenges can be overcome by maintaining a balance between environmental concerns and technological development and functionality. Due to high crude oil prices and environmental concerns, some companies have already started working on bio-plastics which is expected to witness lucrative opportunities in the near future.
Some of the leading participants in the industry include BASF, American Packaging Corporation, Bayer AG, Dow Chemical, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, North American Pipe Corporation, DuPont Corporation, Solvay S.A., and Eastman Chemical Company. Companies such as BASF, DuPont, and Metabolix are the leading players in bio-plastics production.
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