Trying to describe an industry as diverse and multifaceted as the concrete industry is like trying to describe the role that electricity has played in modern society. Because this ubiquitous material of construction finds its way into practically every type of construction, the industry it represents is enormous, but also fragmented and sometimes elusive. Companies in the United States engaged in construction work involving concrete run the gamut from concrete contractors doing driveways to heavy construction contractors doing dams, from highway builders to highrise builders. The concrete industry is rarely viewed collectively, but when it is, concrete emerges as the single most significant material of construction in the world.
In an era of uncertainty about energy, availability of natural resources and environmental considerations, concrete enjoys many inherent advantages that augur well for the future of the industry. The energy required to produce concrete's constituent materials (mainly cement and aggregate) is decidedly less than the energy requirements of such building materials as steel, aluminum and glass. The raw materials for concrete are among the most abundant materials on the face of the earth and are comparatively well distributed geographically.
All of these factors make the concrete industry one of unparalleled economic significance in the field of construction, yet one with exciting potential for making increasingly significant contributions to mankind.