With the increase in demand for RCC structures and the government taking up large infrastructural projects the need based scope for various construction chemicals opened up in India in later part of 1980s. Practicing engineers then, were not aware of the Construction Chemicals. It was the construction chemicals industry, which had to first introduce itself and then discuss the utility and the necessity of the construction chemicals on their project. Since the construction chemicals were not specified, they were not reflected in the bill of quantities and hence not quoted for. This became an unavoidable necessity at an extra cost to the civil contractor, who would look for the most economic alternative on this extra item for which he is not going to be paid for. The knowledge about the use of the right type of admixture in concrete, for the required end result comes from an understanding of the concrete in depth with respect to available raw material’s ingredients, type of cement used, strength and placement requirements and site condition apart from thorough knowledge of the chemistry of admixtures. Since the admixtures were not specified, the construction chemicals industry took upon itself the strenuous task of training engineering professionals into this discipline of understanding and using specific chemicals in civil construction. Today a construction chemicals professional is a practicing civil engineer and a chemical engineer rolled into one irrespective of his academic qualifications. Today we see Constructions chemical executives moving to various sites providing solutions through their knowledge irrespective of whether they have been able to sell some product of their company or not. They help in fine tuning the concrete mix designs for achieving desired workability and strength and suggesting the precautionary measures to be exercised in achieving end results in various aspects.
Construction Chemicals in india – INDUSTRY TRENDS
Construction chemicals industry is knowledge based industry which has got to go on evolving itself with new products, technologies and specifications to keep the construction industry going. The relationship of construction chemicals to the civil engineering industry is exactly like that of a Pharmaceutical industry to human body. Spurious and duplicate medicines are threat to the pharmaceutical industry, as well as to human life, so is the case with construction chemicals industry also. Absence of specifications, reluctance of consultants to specify construction chemicals, absence of a regulating body similar to FDA and the human tendency of the contractor to pick up the most economical product available has encouraged the unorganized sector jump into this business. Today spurious integral waterproofing compounds and tile adhesives and tile joint fillers are being manufactured sold in the market by the unorganized sector in such quantities that the organized sector can hardly catch up. Unfortunately this industry is without any support from civil engineering fraternity, architects, specifiers and the government. Because of non recognition and lack of knowledge about the importance of this industry, every manufacturer is fighting his own battle with the Central Excise or sales tax departments, to explain the classification of his product, which is not easy anyway even for an engineer to understand. The time and energy which is thus wasted could be harnessed for constructive developmental works. The role of this industry is close to that of a doctor in providing solutions to the civil engineering industry to get healthy and long lasting structures which last for years without any risk and fear.
In an effort to safeguard their interest construction chemicals manufacturers have finally been able to form an association which is CCMA (Construction Chemicals Manufacturers Association). This association under the able leadership of its current president is in touch with various organizations like FICCI, BIS, Architects Associations, Civil engineering Associations, etc. to get a deserved status in this industry from the government, removing mindless bureaucratic hurdles faced by this industry in its classification under excise/sale-tax and to get the requisite specifications incorporated through codes and relevant specification documents. The sensitiveness of this industry, its utility in the construction and nation building, demands that it be treated slightly differently with other manufacturers and the government needs to simply support it.