Scoring a Goal for Concrete in Mexico

Amid the nation-wide fervor of Mexico's second game in the first round of the World Cup, this year's World of Concrete-Mexico had a definite soccer theme. Most exhibitors had draped images proclaiming support for the Mexican soccer team in their booths. Others gave away souvenir soccer balls. One exhibitor, Sika Chemical, had its workers hand attendees green jerseys numbered 13, demonstrating support as the soccer teams 13th player. And during the afternoon broadcast of the Mexican team's second game in its first round, attendees watched the contest on televisions everywhere.

While the game's outcome, a scoreless tie, may have briefly dampened the crowd's spirit, World of Concrete was a winner. The Mexican construction industry is scoring goals and winning. And concrete construction is playing a dominant role.

According to Daniel Damazo Juarez, director general of del Instituto Mexicano del Cemento y del Concreto, one of WOC-Mexico's co-sponsors, the construction spurt is giving producers and constructors a growth impetus. “We have heard of many new concrete block plants under construction in the last six months,” he said. In addition, manufacturers report that the number of CMU construction projects is growing at a two-digit rate. Other strong markets are pavers and segmental wall units.

Juarez's observation seemed supported by the 2006 show's increase of exhibitors offering block production and placement equipment. Attendees showed up in record numbers to view new tools and equipment.

One factor behind the construction growth is the residential housing market. Exhibitors displaying residential tools received particularly strong attention. Many attendees also participated in Edificacion Sustentable en Concreto. The conference was a national symposium promoting sustainable residential construction.

“Each year World of Concrete-Mexico grows in both size and importance to the Mexican construction industry,” said Tom Cindric, WOC's show director. “We plan on building on this strong foundation by combining our first-class trade event and strong seminar program with important national Mexican symposiums and initiatives,” he stated.

World of Concrete–Mexico returns to Mexico City on June 14-16, 2007.

Commercial Construction Rebounding

Commercial construction, one of the last industries to recover from the most recent recession, is poised for its best year since 2001, contributing more to economic growth just as homebuilding starts to ebb. Job growth and falling vacancy rates may push investment in non-residential construction up 9% this year to $531 billion, the most since at least 2001, according to the Associated General Contractors of America, Arlington, Va.

“After six years of recession-like conditions in the industry, 2006 is shaping up as the year that will launch a non-residential expansion, picking up some of the slack from a cooling residential market,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist with the American Institute of Architects, Washington, D.C. Architectural billings, which are a leading indicator of construction, have risen 12 months in a row, according to the organization, which predicts a 5% growth rate for the industry this year in inflation-adjusted terms.