Smart and Sustainable: Concrete Ways Construction Companies Can Make the Best of the Infrastructure Bill

The most successful contenders will start focusing on material procurement now – and will focus on both sustainability and quality

This is an exciting time for the construction industry. The $1+ Trillion infrastructure bill is poised to make a significant impact, with transformative funds intended for roads, bridges, transit and other major projects. Shares in some large construction companies rose amid news of the bill, and many in the industry eagerly anticipate getting to work. 

Months before the bill went to a vote, industry experts predicted a “substantial boost to the longer-term outlook for construction activity” if it were to pass. (Source: Moody.)

Seize the opportunity

Across the country, business leaders are exploring what that looks like for their company. There’s one question on the minds of many in the industry:

How can we make the most of this bill?

The potential upside is huge, but it also comes with logistics: More hiring. More demand. And the need to procure more materials. There’s also a question of standing out in what will certainly be a crowded field of companies vying for contracts.

We have three concrete (pun very much intended) ways companies can respond:

1. Even with increased volumes, focus on quality.

Lumber prices famously skyrocketed during the pandemic, along with steel to a lesser extent. Much of that was in response to residential demand, but the infrastructure bill is likely to shift emphasis – or, at the very least, elevate a whole different segment of the industry.

In order to win contracts and capitalize on demand generated by the bill, companies operating in infrastructure-related segments will be scrambling to secure high quality raw materials. Not all raw materials are created equal, and investing in high quality can mean higher value by helping companies stand out, earn business and deliver on expectations.

2. Build for the future: Lean into the sustainability trend.

Sustainability is a key them in the infrastructure bill, with a strong emphasis on clean energy and responsible building practices. That puts even more pressure on construction businesses to make smart selections in their raw material procurement.

Over the last several years, it has become clear that sustainability need not come at the expense of quality. With the right chemistry, sustainable practices can enhance quality and durability, requiring fewer resources for maintenance. 

Lower maintenance needs are just the beginning. Smart chemistry can also play an active role in supporting the environment. Case in point: in road construction, demand has skyrocketed for chemical additives that reduce emissions, save energy and ensure recycling. 

3. A strong foundation: Start with the right ingredients.

The final product is only as good as its ingredients. That’s why the construction industry has increasingly focused on gaining a competitive edge via additives that enhance quality, durability and capabilities. 

A clear example of that opportunity can be seen in concrete admixers. Additives can control foam to reduce density in concrete. Comb-copolymers are widely used as water reducing agents. Biocides can provide production from a buildup of microorganisms. Air entraining agents aid in the resistance of concrete deterioration due to the climate freeze/thaw cycle. Other additives enhance binding power or reduce shrinkage, and that’s just a partial list.

The bottom line: the construction industry is heading into an unprecedented season of opportunity, with implications for a long time to come. Successful companies will act quickly while also thinking about the future.

We can help: BASF is a leader in chemicals for a wide range of industries, including construction. Learn more about our additives for concrete admixers and our entire portfolio of innovative solutions