Precast methods to gain share in growing sound wall market

Sources: Freedonia Group, Cleveland; CP staff

Rural and suburban residential and commercial development, especially in close proximity to highways, will sustain outdoor noise barrier demand, where annual growth through 2019 is forecast to rise 3.7 percent, to 9.5 million square feet. Outdoor Noise Barriers, a five-year U.S. outlook from market researcher Freedonia, finds highways accounting for the vast majority of installations, and concrete structures holding a commanding 92 percent share against plastic, metal and wood product alternatives.

Researchers track 10 years of concrete shipments in the outdoor noise barrier market, estimating a 1.3 percent annual growth rate from 2009–2014, or 6.8 million to 7.25 million square feet installed; and, a 3.9 percent growth rate through 2019, which will see a projected 8.8 million square feet of structures completed. Precast concrete panels, which accounted for the largest share of outdoor noise barrier demand in 2014, will continue to take share from concrete masonry units and cast-in-place methods.

With highways representing the vast majority of outdoor noise barrier installations, Freedonia Analyst Matt Zielenski observes, “[Departments of Transportation] generally install noise barriers along highways and roads because of their moderate cost compared to other sound mitigation strategies and their proven ability to reduce traffic noise.” Once installed, he adds, barriers seldom require replacement or repair. —