Concrete consumption is up, and that’s good news for everyone in the construction industry photo by: Alex Proimos, from Flickr.com
I’m not talking about your personal health, although that’s definitely an important topic. I want to talk a little about the heath of the concrete industry. As we know the economy in the U.S. is less than stellar right now, which is causing a lot of issues in the construction industry. The simple fact of the matter is that when people don’t have money they don’t start new projects around the house.
But there seems to be good news. The just-published stats from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) indicates that their forecast for overall volume of cement consumption is on the upswing. Through the first half of this year the cement consumption levels are up 14.6% from last year’s levels. That’s a pretty significant gain and it shows that we might be possibly getting out of this rut. Of course, this is also due to concrete replacing other materials such as asphalt and steel, but one can’t help but smile when an industry is doing better than expected. PCA believes that this strength is here to stay and is sustainable, which is also great news.
So maybe the construction industry is ramping up. I’m not holding my breath just yet, but any positive sign is welcome.
Carlos Perez puts the finishing touches on a creation in concrete.
Carlos Perez is a man who knows something about color and cement. As principal for Custom Concrete Designs in West Palm Beach, Fla., he’s developed an expertise in combining cement with a variety of different materials including wood and glow-in-the-dark color. He displayed his latest offering at the most recent decorative concrete exhibit within the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas. Although most of his cement business is “pump and polish,” he developed a specialty in adding glow color to cement that provides a surreal radiance from the floor. It’s been an unusual specialty to sell in his native Florida, but he knows someone is always looking for something different. And that’s why he continues to experiment, even as he works the pump and polish every day.
Adrian Gascon and Neil Hughes represent true artisans in the medium of cement. The two men‘s Ventura County, Calif.-based company, Multiple Use Unlimited Design (MUUD), came through the ranks of glass fiber-reinforced cement work seen the world over in custom waterfalls. Adrian handles the decorative component, often referenced as position work, and Neil is the flat-surface/counter specialist. They came to the Bosch-sponsored concrete surfaces and decorative cement pavilion at the World of Concrete trade show in January through an industry sales rep and a contact at Concrete Construction magazine. After showing their portfolio to a judging panel from the magazine, they were brought to the Las Vegas show to work as artisans in concrete. They appreciate the flexibility, strength and stability of the material and the opportunity to create in what is essentially a heavy industry category. “I like the material because I can make my own formula,” says Adrian. “That offers me consistency and that’s important in creating a dynamic piece. You need to know the characteristics of your material every time” The proof is in the resulting creativity – in the case of the concrete show an impressive fireplace/mantle image that incorporates warm elements of wood, etched art and stone – all mastered in cement. After seeing the work of MUUD and other concrete artisans at World of Concrete, I’ll never look at any cement work the same again – it’s really a piece of art just waiting to happen. See what others are saying about MUUD here