There are many applications of structural and nonstructural plastics being used in the building and construction industry worldwide. Plastic use continues to expand in present and new products in homes, bridge structures, etc. They continue to be based on a combination of factors

that include understanding building requirements, reliable stadc and dynamic testing of products, material reliability, public acceptability, feasibility, keeping up-to-date on customer problems, product identification, quality control establishment of engineering standards, approval of regulatory agencies, supervise installations, accurate cost and time estimation, organizational responsibility defined, meeting delivery schedule, development of proper marketing and sales approach, resolution of profit potential based on careful selection of application, economics, and acknowledge competition exists. The trend is to resist change in appearance so that plastic originally had to look like something else. With time passing the beauty and aesthetic of plastic was accepted and at the same time usually at lower costs and more benefits developed to the consumer (Fig. 4.36).

This industry consumes about 20wt% of all plastics produced. It is the second-largest consumer of plastics following packaging. This amount of plastics only represents about 5% of all materials consumed. Plastics will eventually significandy expand in this market. Its real growth will occur when plastic performance is understood by the building industry (meeting their specifications, etc.) and more important when the price is right in order to compete with other materials. Interesting that due to the destruction caused by wars, particularly WW II, use of plastics in most of those countries significantly escalated due to their desire to change specifications and standards allowing the use of plastics where it was technically beneficial.

The present and growing large market for plastics in building and construction is principally due to its suitability in different internal and external environments. The versatility of different plastics to exist in different environments permits the ability for plastics to be maintenance-free when compared to the more conventional and older materials such as wood. So it is said (factual) if wood did not have its excellent record of performances and costs for many centuries, based on present laws and regulations they could not be used. They burn, rot, etc. Regardless it would be ridiculous not to use wood. The different plastics inherendy have superior properties that make them useful in other markets such as high strength and stiffness, durability, performances, insulation, cosmetics, etc. so eventually their use in building and construction will expand.

The plastic industry understands that the subjects important to the architect and builder includes information such as code requirements, setting up building standards and logical identification of over 25,000 plastics, static and dynamic load capabilities in structural parts, use of multifunctional parts, products provide new or better solutions to the myriad problems that plaguing the construction industry, performance

Monsanto house in Disneyland, California designed by MIT (Courtesy of Monsanto)

data rather than sales type data, realistic and understandable technical data, limits on service life, fire safety, educating labor on benefits in using plastics, consumer acceptance, legal risk, competitive products, and costs.

Regarding codes unfortunately, particularly in the past, USA codes and other standards would contain requirements that certain plastics could meet with flying colors except those that would specify a specific material such as steel could only be used. So plastics could not be used until other materials such as plastics would be included or no specific material was specified. Outside USA the changes in most cases were immediate.

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