Concrete Homes Newsletter
Concrete Homes Gain Significant Market Share
Preliminary Numbers Show 2% Jump
The most recently compiled residential market share numbers have been released
by NAHB, and they bear good tidings for the concrete homebuilding industry.
The preliminary numbers indicate that 16.1% of all new single family homes
built in 2003 employed a concrete wall system. This is a 2% increase over
2002 market share data.
“We saw over 42,000 more concrete homes built in 2003 than 2002,” says
Craig Schulz, PCA Director of Market Research. Overall, an estimated 211,000
concrete homes were constructed in 2003.
One reason for the boost in market share is the emergence of subdivisions
featuring concrete homes. Developments in California, Missouri, Washington,
Texas, and Florida, among others, were started in 2003. In 2004, new concrete
home developments appeared in South Carolina and New Jersey.
Every concrete building system realized a gain in market share. ICFs and
AAC saw slight gains of .2% and .1% respectively, while masonry (+1.1%) rebounded
after a 1.2% dip in 2002. The precast/removable form category also saw modest
gains, as reflected in a .6% increase.
Christy Martin, Executive Director of the Concrete Promotional Group of
Greater Kansas City, offers a metropolitan perspective. “In 2003, the
Kansas City area experienced a 23% increase in concrete homes, and we’re
not done yet.”
This is the largest national market share increase in consecutive years
since 1994–1995, when concrete homes skyrocketed from 3.5% to 5.9%.
Concrete Homes, the Norm in China
China is undergoing the world’s hottest-ever housing boom. With billions
in foreign investment pouring into the country, the number of well-off Chinese
is growing, and the demand for housing—mostly small apartments in and
around China’s big cities—seems insatiable. The Freedonia Group
in Cleveland predicts the overall housing market in China will grow at a
7% annual rate through 2008, the year China hosts the Summer Olympics.
Western-style homes are a tiny niche market, though some estimate a 15%
annual growth for such homes in the next 5 to 10 years. The NAHB Research
Center and the Chinese Housing Industry Association just finished the first
Chinese Annual Builder Practices Survey. Kevin Mo, the Research Center engineer
who directed the study, said Chinese students spent the first five months
of 2004 surveying Western-style homebuilders in Beijing and Shanghai about
the materials and building practices they used. Results showed the typical
home was 3,100 square feet on two levels, a one- or two-car garage, three
or four bedrooms, and three and a half baths.
Most Chinese homebuyers want amenities like acoustic and thermal
performance in a concrete shell. “They are used to concrete,” says
Alan Chan, a Hong Kong native whose Toronto-based company, Davey International,
recently started a homebuilding operation in China. “The mentality
is that if they buy a house, they want to be able to leave it for their
Last March, American Polysteel started building concrete homes in a subdivision
called Shanghai Long Island Villa, located near the heart of Shanghai. “The
reception has been unbelievable. We were pouring concrete in the middle
of the night,” says Dave Watson, Polysteel’s national sales
Watson says when the Chinese code authorities first saw the ICFs, they
were skeptical. Polysteel paired up with a Chinese partner who spent a
lot of time educating builders and government officials. “Once they
realized it was just a reinforced concrete wall, things went smoothly.” American
Polysteel is already exploring setting up an ICF plant in China.
Most Chinese homes are built with concrete and/or stone,
and most builders use only those materials, so people who understand
wood framing are in short supply. Nevertheless, steel and wood frame
homes are trying to enter the marketplace. Those building systems require
a lot more documentation than concrete structures, which is almost the
opposite of the American process. U.S. groups, including U.S. China Build,
a Seattle-based government-industry partnership that promotes American
building products in China, have had some success in getting wood and
steel frame codes developed. But it appears the Chinese are standing
by their concrete homes.
“Virtually nothing is built out of wood,” says Jim Rasmussen,
president of Modern Building Systems. The company won’t do any
more homes in China.
Thanks to Builder magazine for portions of this article.
IBC Program for Masonry
The pilot program for the Pennsylvania Concrete Masonry Association’s
new International Building Code Program for Concrete Masonry was held August
25 in State College, Pennsylvania. The pilot program was a great opportunity
for the PCMA Codes Committee members, selected architects, engineers, code
officials and industry representatives to see a draft of the final program
and evaluate the content.
This complex and highly technical program will include information on energy
and structural considerations, non-combustible and fire rated construction,
ACI 530 and more topics related to concrete masonry code compliance. The
full day program will provide 6.5 credit hours for attending architects,
engineers and code officials.
Thanks to the PCMA for the above article.
ACI Forms Committee to Analyze ICFs
The American Concrete Institute held its Fall Convention at the Hilton in
San Francisco, October 24–28.
At the convention, ACI created a new technical committee, ACI 560: Design
and Construction with Insulating Concrete Forms. Dr. Carla Yland, president
of East-West Consulting, Inc., was appointed chairman of the committee.
"The establishment of ACI 560 is a huge achievement for the ICF industry.
It brings serious credibility to the building system and speaks volumes as
to how far the industry has come in such a short period of time," says
Joseph E. Lyman, executive director of ICFA.
For more information about the committee, please contact Dr. Carla Yland
Thanks to the ICFA for the above article.
ICFs Making 'Grand' Strides in Myrtle Beach
ICF construction is changing the landscape of the homebuilding industry
in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. More than 200 ICF homes have been
built in the area since 1999, which gives Myrtle Beach one of the highest
of ICF homes in the country. In the prestigious Grande Dunes development,
well over 100 luxury ICF homes have been built, with an additional
1 to 2 ICF homes being poured every week. Several builders in the area
are now building
exclusively with ICFs and are responsible for three additional subdivisions
that feature all-ICF construction— Castillo Del Mar, Siena Park and
The greater Myrtle Beach area, known as “The Grand Strand” for
its world-class beaches golf courses, and resorts, is well suited to ICF
construction, with its location between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal
Waterway being very vulnerable to hurricanes. Homeowners in the area have
also been drawn to the energy efficiency, quietness, and termite resistance
of the ICF wall system.
For more information, contact Jim Niehoff of the Portland Cement Association
Dow to Make a Splash in Housing Market
The Dow Chemical Company is poised to make a major impact in the residential
market with their precast wall system. Styrofoam T-Mass Technology incorporates
extruded polystyrene or polyisocyanurate insulation and fiber composite connectors
sandwiched between layers of concrete. The system has all of the benefits
associated with concrete and foam wall systems—superior energy efficiency,
disaster and mold resistance, and a quiet indoor environment. The walls of
a typical T-Mass home can be erected in a day, thus providing tremendous
Runoff is being monitored from over 15,000 square feet of permeable
interlocking concrete pavement in the road and driveways of the Glen
Brook Green Subdivision in Waterford, Connecticut.
During a recent home raising event in Henderson, Nevada, approximately
80 Las Vegas area builders, contractors, engineers, designers, and architects
got a first-hand look at the process that was used to construct the exterior
walls of the 4,500 square foot residence. The steel-reinforced precast
panels were trucked out to the job site in the morning, lifted with a crane,
and fastened together, with all of the exterior walls in place by late
afternoon. The demonstration merited an article in the Las Vegas Review
Journal, and coverage by a local television station.
Dow has a number of T-Mass projects ready to get underway in Las Vegas
and around the country, including the construction of a prototype “zero
energy” home in partnership with Pinnacle Homes. In addition to Las
Vegas, Dow has licensed the technology to precast manufacturers in Seattle,
Washington; Tampa, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Raleigh, North Carolina;
and Bakersfield, California; with additional licensees soon to be on board
in the Southwest and Great Lakes Region.
To learn more about Styrofoam T-Mass Insulation Systems from Dow, visit
call (866) 583-BLUE (2583).
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