Decorative Concrete and ACI
The American Concrete Institute has long treated decorative concrete as if it were the quirky long-haired grandson of the concrete family. You know, the one who sits in the back of the room listening to his headphones; the one you chuckle about-flamboyant and immature but basically harmless. Now perhaps the institute is realizing the impact the decorative business is having on concrete and the public’s perception of it.
The August issue of Concrete International, ACI’s member magazine, focuses on decorative concrete, with several feature articles and a buyer’s guide. Further evidence of ACI’s shift is the founding of a new decorative concrete committee earlier this year. Committee 310, chaired by Michael Smith with Concrete Artisans in Prospect Park, Pa., has a mission to “develop and report information on the application of artistic finishes of non-structural, cast-in-place concrete.” Knowing how ACI committees work, though, and the rapid pace of change in the decorative industry, any report from this group will be out of date before it ever gets published. Perhaps they will focus on educational sessions at ACI convention, which would be a welcome relief from some of the technical presentations.
In other news, Builder magazine reports that the big public homebuilders are taking it on the chin with some huge losses. Editor Boyce Thompson says that $2 billion in losses were posted during the second quarter; D.R. Horton took the biggest hit at $852 million-mostly in write offs of land and options. This deep correction in housing is expected to reduce cement consumption by 4.4% in 2007, according to Ed Sullivan at the Portland Cement Association. How is this impacting the decorative concrete business? Send me a reply to tell me how your business is going and what you see coming over the next year.