Brick, Stone, and Related Construction Materials

SIC 5032

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This classification comprises establishments primarily engaged in the wholesale distribution of stone, cement, lime, construction sand, and gravel; brick (except refractory); asphalt and concrete mixtures; and concrete, stone, and structural clay products (other than refractories). Distributors of industrial sand and of refractory materials are classified in SIC 5085: Industrial Supplies. Establishments primarily engaged in producing ready-mixed concrete are classified in SIC 3273: Ready-Mixed Concrete.

Typically, firms in this industry supply mineral-based building materials to building contractors and developers. In 2010, 13,284 establishments employed 110,543 workers in the industry, according to Dun & Bradstreet's Industry Reports. Total sales in the industry reached $11.4 billion in 2009. Most firms were small, with 75 percent employing fewer than 10 people. A majority of sales, however, came from larger companies, with those employing 10 to 100 workers accounting for 57 percent of sales and those with more than 100 employees accounting for 5 percent. Granite stone was the largest category in terms of sales, followed by marble stone, ceramic tile, sand, limestone, and aggregates.

Merchant wholesalers--those who take title to the goods they sell--accounted for about 79 percent of the industry's establishments; 17 percent were manufacturers' sales branches and offices; and the remaining 4 percent were agents, brokers, and commission merchants.

The industry was geographically distributed throughout the United States. States with the highest number of establishments in 2010 were California (1,462), Florida (1,252), Texas (1,120), and New York (764). Other states with a large number of firms in the business included Illinois (469), Pennsylvania (467), Ohio (449), Georgia (437), and New Jersey (425).

The industry benefited from the increase in construction in the early to mid-2000s. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), single-family housing starts increased every year from 2000 to 2005, when there were 1.72 million new single-family housing starts. The subprime mortgage crises in 2007, however, brought the housing boom to a quick end. The mortgage crisis as well as the slowing of the U.S. economy affected the construction materials industry as single-family housing starts dropped to 1.05 million in 2007. The decline continued in 2008 and 2009, when the U.S. Census Bureau reported 622,000 and 445,000 single-family housing starts, respectively. Industry experts were cautiously optimistic in 2010, however, and predicted a recovery--albeit a slow one--in the housing construction industry during the 2010s.

Cement was one of the important sectors of the industry, and according to the Portland Cement Association (PCA), in 2008 27 percent of the commodity produced in the United States went to street and highway construction, with 25 percent destined for residential buildings. Water and waste management construction accounted for 11 percent, commercial buildings for 8 percent, and bridges for 7 percent, with the remainder going toward farm construction, public works and utilities, public buildings, and nonconstruction. The market for cement and other building supplies declined along with the U.S. economy in the late 2000s, but the PCA predicted a 2.4 increase in consumption of cement in 2010 as compared to 2009, followed by subsequent years of higher increases, with consumption rising 18.8 percent by 2013, when highway and street construction was expected to rebound.

One of the largest building materials manufacturers in the United States in the early 2010s was Lafarge North America of Herndon, Virginia. Specializing in concrete, cement, asphalt, and aggregates, Lafarge had sales of $4.3 billion in 2009 with 10,833 employees. Vulcan Materials Co. of Birmingham, Alabama, was the largest aggregates producer (crushed stone, gravel, and sand) for the construction market, with $2.6 billion in 2009 sales and 8,227 employees. Martin Marietta Materials Inc. of Raleigh, North Carolina, was second in this category, with 4,554 employees and 2009 sales of $1.7 billion. Smaller industry leaders included Lafarge Granite Rock Company of Watsonville, California, which provided rock, sand, gravel, stone, concrete, and asphalt for construction. Founded in 1900, "Graniterock" employed about 700 people in 2010. Dallas-based Eagle Materials Inc. gained about 40 percent of its $467.9 million in annual sales from cement. The firm employed 1,350 in 2010. Finally, Pacific Coast Building Products Inc. of Rancho Cordova, California, and Walker & Zanger Inc., of Slymar, California, were important companies in the industry.

Trends in the industry in the early 2010s included the move toward more environmentally friendly building materials. According to BCC Research, as published inCeramic Industry, the market for green building materials was worth approximately $9.6 billion in 2009. The firm predicted the market for these types of materials would increase at a five-year compound growth rate of 26.7 percent, reaching $31.4 billion by 2014. Structural materials were expected to show the most growth, followed by interior materials and exterior materials, respectively.

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