by Bill Palmer
We’ve been talking about concrete homes for many years, but they never seem to have really clicked with home buyers. Maybe that’s about to change. During the World of Concrete’s Concrete Homes Luncheon and Forum, sponsored by the Portland Cement Association (PCA), Hanley Wood’s chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, presented the results of a study of home buying in areas at the greatest risk of damage due to natural disasters such as high wind loads and severe seismic activity. Using data generated by studies of key metropolitan areas, Smoke forecasts that 73% of single-family starts in 2014 will be located in these areas. In the upcoming issue of The Concrete Producer, Editor Rick Yelton writes that “The results of this exclusive HW research suggest strong market segment growth for concrete home-building systems as local jurisdictions adopt stricter building codes.” (Click here to read his entire editorial.) I hope he’s right.
In a related response to my blog last week about evolution in the concrete industry, “jeffjonestn” wrote that “One aspect of the ‘evolution’ we are seeing and hopefully will see more of, is in home construction with concrete. With the recent financial incentives (significant insurance discounts) provided for building to FORTIFIED standards and the Department of Homeland Security’s new “Resilience STAR” standard (again based on the IBHS FORTIFIED standard) you have to think that concrete homes or at least concrete wall systems for homes will begin to gain more traction.” Again, I hope he’s right.
The 2014 International Builders Show is going on right now. When the Hanley Wood editors who attend and report on that event get back home, I’ll follow up to try to learn if resilient construction is as important an issue in residential construction as we think it is. We’ll keep pushing and maybe someday the message will get through!