The global insulated concrete form market is likely to grow at a moderate pace over forecast period owing to rising adoption in the modern construction industry. The performance benefits associated with the product including maximum energy efficiency, superior sound resistance, and durability are likely to be the key factors driving market growth.
Rising consumer consciousness about well-being and environment coupled with improved consumer lifestyle has compelled the builders to turn towards ‘green building’ solutions. The key advantage of Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) is continuous insulation on both sides of the structure, resulting in minimal air leaks. The ICFs have a permanent structure and are available in sandwich-type forms acting as insulating layers, in which concrete is poured. High consumer demands for energy efficient buildings is driving the market.
The demand is expected to grow on account of reduced construction time and safety associated with ICFs. These systems can be applied for construction walls, roofs, and floors. The rising application in building construction also results in superior thermal insulation and improved indoor air quality and flame spread rating. Furthermore, enhanced strength and impact resistance offered by insulated concrete form systems is expected to propel product demand over the forecast period.
Commercially, the product is available in three forms, namely, panels, blocks, and planks. In terms of raw materials, the insulated concrete form market can be segmented into polyurethane foam, polystyrene foam, cement-bonded wood fiber, and cement bonded polystyrene beads. Expanded polystyrene is the most widely used raw materials for manufacturing insulated concrete forms owing to its superior insulation, lightweight, and superior resistant to pests and moisture. They are easy to handle and easy to install on account of their low weight, which makes them a preferred choice of consumers.
Residential application segment dominated the market for insulated concrete form in 2017. Rapid population growth, high living standards, and improved spending capacity of consumers have resulted in requirement for more construction projects. This factor is expected to positively impact growth in the forthcoming years. Initiatives taken by governments from the developing countries to offer housing schemes to the low and middle-class population is expected to further fuel product demand. Strict government regulations for infrastructure along with increasing funding for commercial construction projects are likely to be the key factors driving the demand from non-residential segments.
Europe has been the oldest consumer for insulated concrete foams, thus it witnesses highest product penetration. The construction industry in Europe follows stringent regulations and standards. High consumer acceptance of advanced technologies coupled with the presence of major manufacturers resulting in smooth supply chain, is likely to drive the regional product demand in the forthcoming years.
Asia Pacific is expected to be the largest consumer, with a majority of demand derived by China, Australia, Japan, and India. As of now, the regional market penetration is low on account of low awareness, cost issues, and fewer regulations. However, changing government outlook, which promotes infrastructure and commercial construction growth; is expected to open new avenues for the industry. Furthermore, increasing investments in educational buildings and commercial and residential complexes are expected to drive the demand for ICFs in near future.
High initial investments and low consumer awareness in the small markets are the key obstacles faced by the market players. Fluctuating oil prices, which result in price variations of polymers, is expected to hamper profit margins of the industry players. Rapid growth of construction industry and changing construction practices are expected to attract new players, thus increasing the competitiveness among market participants.
Major companies operating in the insulated concrete form market are primarily located across North America and Europe. However, they are expected to shift their focus to Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa to tap the rising consumer demand. The key market players include TF Forming systems; Nudura Corporation; Airlite Plastics Company; Amvic Inc.; Beco Products Ltd.; Durisol UK; ThermaGreen Blocks; Standard ICF Corporation; Vermont Insulated Concrete Forms; and BuildBlock Building Systems, LLC.
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