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PCA 2002 Homeowner Survey

Impressive Increase in Consumer Awareness for Concrete Homes Awareness of concrete homebuilding returned to its high of 68% in 2002 after dipping in 1998 (52%) and in 2000 (55%). It also increased in all nine regions of the country and in all eight target states.

Awareness increased of all above-grade systems between 2000 and 2002. ICF awareness increased from 41% to 45% during that period and also increased in most of the regions and eight targeted states.

PCA Market Research surveyed homeowners across the United States in 2002 to assess the awareness and use of concrete above-grade wall systems and competing materials, as well as to measure the attitudes and perceptions of homeowners toward these systems. In addition, PCA hoped to learn where homeowners seek and receive information on the building materials in their homes.

The research was conducted as part of the measurement criteria research program, which strives to measure the effectiveness of promotions by tracking market share, promotional successes, and the attitudes and perceptions of decision makers. This survey is a follow-up to an original benchmark survey conducted in 1995 and two subsequent studies conducted in 1998 and 2000. Powerful comparisons are made among these four homeowner surveys and three homebuilder surveys conducted in 1997, 1999, and 2001. Future surveys planned include an update of the homebuilder survey in 2003 and an update of the homeowner survey in 2004.

Wood framing is the main competitor for concrete homebuilding, but steel studs and structural insulated panels (SIPs) are also serious contenders for market share. Steel studs are a system similar to traditional wood framing using light-gauge formed steel studs. SIPs are a system that has a structural composite wall panel consisting of rigid insulation sandwiched between two sheets of plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), or wafer-board sheathing.

Concrete homebuilding includes a variety of traditional and innovative systems. The most heavily promoted systems are concrete block, insulating concrete forms (ICFs), and autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC). ICFs are a system in which two parallel sheets of polystyrene are filled with concrete and left in place, acting as the insulation for the wall. AAC is a system of lightweight concrete blocks made with extremely fine aggregates and an expanding agent. Other concrete systems mentioned in this report include conventional poured-in-place concrete, precast concrete, shotcrete, and solid brick.

The three most important variables for homeowners when selecting a new home were energy efficiency, durability, and insect resistance. Indoor air quality, low initial cost, and material availability, rounded out the top six. The three most common sources of information on concrete homebuilding were newspapers, magazines, and TV commercials. It was also found that 85% of homeowners would be willing to spend at least 1% more for an ICF home, and 23% would spend at least 5% more.


When comparing concrete and wood, the strongest preferences for concrete were for durability, insect resistance, disaster resistance, and noise reduction, while preferences for wood were for design flexibility, ease of construction, construction time, and low initial cost.

When comparing concrete and steel, the strongest preferences for concrete were for energy efficiency, low initial cost, and noise reduction, while preferences for steel were for design flexibility and construction time.

Likelihood to Build a Concrete Home

The majority of homeowners were likely to build a concrete home if it had a comparable cost to wood in 2002 (52%)—up slightly from 2000 (50%). In 2002, 31% of homeowners were likely to build a concrete home if it cost 2% to 5% more—almost the same as 2000 (30%). More homeowners were likely to use wood and steel in 2002 than in 2000, while likelihood of building with other systems was either slightly less or unchanged. Homeowners likely to use ICFs decreased from 30% to 25% between 2000 and 2002.

In addition to measuring the general awareness of concrete homebuilding, data was collected on the awareness and use of specific systems. In 2002, wood (96%), concrete block (79%) and steel (69%) had the highest awareness among homeowners. Awareness for all concrete systems increased between 2000 and 2002. Wood and steel were included for the first time in the 2000 survey.

The three most important variables for homeowners when selecting a new home were energy efficiency (4.47), durability (4.46), and insect resistance (4.12). Results of the 2001 Homebuilder Report are also included in this graph.

Homeowners indicated the importance of various features of ICF homes with a willingness to spend at least 1% more for each feature.

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us