Realizing that growth and success for the concrete construction industry will come from innovation and new technologies, the industry is working together to position concrete as the building material of choice.

Scientists are working on new generations of admixtures that will deliver higher levels of control over concrete performance, both in the plastic and hardened states. Nanotechnology used in the research and development of chemical admixtures will bring new flexibility and opportunities.

These advances will usher in an era where the durability of concrete is significantly improved, allowing a competitive advantage for concrete. With these innovative admixtures, the industry will have the ability to “engineer” concrete to meet specific life-cycle cost and performance specifications. Technological advances in concrete performance will allow concrete structures to be safer, more secure, and longer lasting.

Environmental issues will continue to influence the concrete construction industry. The use of byproducts and recycled concrete, pervious concrete, and new technologies to control concrete waste will be important in positioning concrete as a “green” building product.

One of the most significant changes for the concrete industry will be the widespread acceptance of the Prescription-to-Performance (P2P) initiative, an NRMCA program advocating the use of performance specifications. This will facilitate more rapid acceptance of new technology both into the private and public sectors.

—Mike Shydlowski

Read more prognostications by industry leaders on the next 50 years of concrete.