Home buyers, and not builders and contractors, should be the focus of innovative plastics products, according to a study by Battelle. Concept homes are a popular way to push new technologies such as plastics, but they are targeted to builders, according to the Columbus, Ohio-based industrial research organization.
``These homes, however, do not recognize that the home buyer - and not the builder - is the ultimate buyer of the technology,'' the study said. Concept homes ``fail to create a pull for new technology through home buyers.''
Battelle is concentrating on the construction industry at its Polymer Center. Battelle's new study, ``Opportunities for Poly-meric Materials in Construction,'' examines the United States, Europe and Japan.
In the United States, plastics and composites account for only 3 percent by weight of the 500 billion pounds of building materials used annually. Over the next five to seven years, more money will be spent on remodeling than on new construction. That means plastic do-it-yourself products that fit together without the need for expensive tools will be popular.
In Europe, polymers account for 2 percent of all materials. Germany, the most important housing market, is just starting to generate a DIY market.
Japan will be a more difficult market, because the Japanese prefer natural building materials to plastics, according to the study. The DIY industry is very small, as people do not have much leisure time. On the other hand, Japan is a world leader at developing composite building products.
Battelle is selling the report for $150,000. The package includes the report, two videotapes and a half-day private consultation with Battelle officials.
A bibliographic database lists more than 1,000 references Battelle reviewed for the study. Contact Shalendra Porwal of Battelle's Polymer Products Group.
Tel. (614) 424-5578, fax (614) 424-7479, e-mail [email protected]