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Market and technology trends for waterproof membranes

Market and technology trends for waterproof membranes
The construction industry in Europe has been in decline since 2008, with figures from Euroconstruct showing total spend of 1444 billion euros in 2008, 1316 in 2009 and an anticipated 1264 in 2010.

Jon Nash of AMI Consulting reviewed this data in a market paper at the annual AMI conference Waterproof Membranes 2010, which took place in December in Cologne, Germany. Around 50% of construction was new build this year. The situation is expected to improve in 2011 with around 1% growth. Civil engineering has been sustained throughout this time frame by government expenditure.

The Russian market has been studied by NTC Gidrol-Krovlja using data from sources such as Rosstat: the country’s GDP dropped by 7.9% in 2009, but started to rise again in 2010 by an anticipated 2.1%. The construction market fell by 16% in 2009, and a further 1% in 2010, which led to a 20% fall in output of waterproofing materials in 2009 and one third of companies left the market. In 2009, 1.2% of membranes were imported and single ply membranes comprised 75% of the quota, with Finland supplying bituminous, and Germany and Switzerland polymer products.

In the Middle East, Polaris International (a division of the Khalifa A. Algosaibi Group of Saudi Arabia) has established a new PVC and TPO waterproof membrane production plant in the Kingdom of Bahrain with 2 coextrusion lines. The company conducted market research in Saudi Arabia, which showed that bitumen still holds the main market share at 25%, with PVC at 21% and other polymer membranes (EPDM, TPO, etc.) at 21%, alongside liquid polyurethane systems at 21%. The Arab Water Seal company has been providing waterproofing since 1998 in the United Arab Emirates and estimates that around 40% of the Middle East uses bitumen waterproofing, 26% is liquid applied, 20% is PVC, and 5% each is EPDM and HDPE, with the remaining 4% going to bentonite. The trend in the region is towards green building products and construction including LEED accreditation for new projects (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The Princess Noura bint Abdurrahman University in Saudi Arabia is the largest new development with 38 buildings and at least 3 of these are aiming for gold LEED status.

Solar panels are being combined with waterproofing membranes using technology from companies such as Solar Integrated, which uses components from its parent company, Energy Conversion Devices (ECD). United Solar makes thin film laminates for this market and has annual production of 150MW: over 6 million square metres has been installed worldwide. Integration into the membrane avoids adding the weight and wind load of conventional crystalline photovoltaic systems and an ETFE front cover protects the system. TDDK in Dresden is using this system to generate average energy output on some of its factory roofs of 677MWh/year.

Trelleborg Waterproofing has examined the environmental aspects of membranes, including the use in walls for waterproofing and airtightness (typically EPDM or PVC membranes), which conserves energy. The driver in Europe is the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2010/31/EU, which requires that all new buildings must be nearly zero energy by 2020. In the UK air tightness is now a specified test (Part L Building Regulations 2010). The company supplies products such as EPDM roofing panels, which can be electrobonded using the Centrix system from Afast BV. In this system, metal stress plates in the roofing support structure are activated by a magnetic induction system to heat them, which activates their surface coating and bonds the support to the membrane. The membrane panels are joined using hot bond vulcanisation or TPO thermofusion techniques.