A Survey-Based Vision for Restructuring Concrete Business in the New Residential Communities in Egypt
AbstractDue to its evolving technology and dynamic nature, a sizeable segment of the world’s construction market that used to partly rely on traditional site-mixed concrete (SMC) had almost completely shifted to ready-mixed concrete (RMC) several decades ago in the developed countries. Likewise, this targeted trend has been observed in developing countries. The Egyptian residential sector has also adopted some corrective changes in this direction in the last decade. Nevertheless, the vast majority of builders in the Egyptian market have continued to oppose to this global paradigm shift. The observed “cultural” resistance to change seems to be chiefly driven by the difference in the unit price of SMC and RMC, overlooking the latter’s superior characteristics and its added values that fundamentally overweigh this apparent difference in cost.This study aims at promoting the use of RMC over SMC for construction of new residential communities in Egypt. Proper business measures need to be implemented for the desired change in the culture of concrete market. A mixed (qualitative and quantitative) approach was used in this survey. A customized survey, comprised of a series of interviews with consultants/contractors in the field and a detailed questionnaire targeting practitioners (developers, contractors and end users), was conducted to gage market responsiveness to the desired change. The desired market shift towards RMC (targeted variable) hinges on generic variables: price, concrete quality and customer satisfaction, and market-specific variables: local concrete culture, perception of average customers, and permitting process.The survey revealed that professional participants, a small fraction of the local concrete market, are aware of the added values of utilizing RMC. The participation rate is clearly indicative of the absence of awareness of the numerous competitive advantages of using RMC in the Egyptian market. The resistance to change, unarguably, still hinges on the mistakenly believed difference in SMC and RMC unit prices, not the cost/benefit ratio.
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