According to the NRMCA, commercial, multi-family and residential market segments make up 40% of all ready mix production, which accounted for 130 million cubic yards of ready mix concrete in 2014. If the estimated share of pumping on these types of projects is roughly 90%, that’s a potential market of 117 million cubic yards of pumping just in the low/mid-rise segment.

Over the past 10 years, the soft wood industry, through its calculated and extremely well-funded WoodWorks campaign, has steadily increased market share in the low/mid-rise market sector, culminating in a now-alarming shift of demand for low/mid-rise building materials. Concrete’s share of the low/mid-rise building sector has deteriorated significantly, from 30% in 2004 to 22% in 2014, whereas the increase in wood’s share has increased from 23% to 40% during that same period. In 2014 alone, the wood industry boasted it successfully converted 380 projects from concrete to wood, half of which were three stories or taller.

So what do we do about it?

NRMCA’s board of directors recently voted in favor of an increase in membership dues to fund an aggressive five-year, $20.5 million plan aimed at recovering market share specifically in the low/mid-rise sector. One of their strategies is a Design Assistance Program (DAP), which will work with developers and their design consultants on preliminary designs, cost estimates, and operating cost benefits, with the purpose of influencing them to use concrete framing for their projects.

On a wider focus, Portland Cement Association (PCA) has hired a strategic marketing and development firm to develop a collaborated plan for promoting concrete in all market segments of concrete construction. Phase one of the project, currently underway, consists of widespread data collection and assessments from each sector of the concrete industry.

The American Concrete Pumping Association will continue to support both NRMCA and PCA programs, as well as the Alliance for Concrete Codes and Standards (ACCS). However, influence in the early development stages of a project is crucial. You can help by spreading the word to your contractors and asking for their help in identifying upcoming projects in your area which may be built with wood as opposed to concrete, and then advising NRMCA of these projects. NRMCA will contact the developer and offer support through their DAP plan. Please forward all project information to Kathleen Carr-Smith at or call (240) 485-1145 for follow up.

The Concrete Producer recently recognized the concrete producers’ response to the wood threat as a 2015 Influencer.

Read More