While spray foam has been around in different incarnations since the 1940’s, it is the modernization and improvement to its delivery methods that have truly made it a practical material for the wide range of applications that it is used for today. With more home and building owners searching for durable, environmentally friendly options that are also budget-conscious, the wide availability and ease of use that upgraded delivery systems have brought make spray foam an ideal solution for new projects and renovations alike. From its earliest days as a military grade material for the construction of war machines to its now everyday use in the hands of local contractors and commercial construction crews, the expanding market for spray foam has encouraged a steady market growth in a time of economic downturn that many other industries failed to enjoy.
The question remains, however, for all of us in the industry - whether manufacturer, supplier, or even an end user - is this growth sustainable? And what can we do to make it so? These are questions that we're very interested in at Bolair, as our is for mission to support both our customers and our manufacturing partners in continual improvement.
Current industry projections do forecast continued growth based on the increased demand for green building solutions, energy efficiency, and the surge in construction projects thanks to economic improvement, but all aspects of the industry need to work together to overcome potential barriers to these projected increases - which are expected to be 8.4% annually between now and 2021. It is up to us as an industry to not only to hold firm to our standards and regulations, but also to be proactive in anticipating market needs and identifying dangers to the market before they get out of hand.
Starting from the Top: Responsible Spray Foam Manufacturing and Supply
Depending on your region the rules and regulations may vary, but in order to be classified as insulation (particularly in inhabited buildings and structures), spray foam must adhere to a strict set of safety regulations and undergo extensive testing, starting right at the manufacturer’s level. Even if manufacturing an established product, quality control agreements must be made, samples kept on hand, and detailed records on maintenance and warranties kept. In addition, if any new product is created it must meet testing standards on many fronts including heat diffusion, smoke creation and flame spread, as well as environmental conditions like vapor diffusion and air permeance. It is critical to the industry that these high standards be upheld, as all it can take is one large batch lapse to open the door to lawsuits and other negative press. If a mistake happens at the top, the trickle down effect could have a sweeping effect on the whole spray foam supply chain.
The responsibility, however, does not end after the product has been manufactured and sold. Manufacturers and distributors alike need to have systems in place to provide support to their end use partners to ensure proper and efficient use of their product in order to protect the industry as a whole.
Finishing Strong: The Impact of End Users on Industry Perception
While it is, of course, essential that end users - whether contractors, commercial construction teams, or even homeowners - are receiving safe, high-quality product and distribution systems, the method in which the spray foam is applied is equally important to the continued successful growth of the industry. For example, if the foam is installed incorrectly the building occupants may experience drafts, heat loss, and even leaks; all of which could cause the perception that the spray foam is a defective or even ineffective product. There may even be fire code issues that can arise relating to the application method and thickness of the spray foam that is mostly dependent on the installers themselves.
This is why it is vital for spray foam users to work closely with their supplier and manufacturing partners in order to make sure they have full safety and usage training on the chemicals and distribution equipment that they handle in the course of their projects. A good supply partner will work with you (and your team) to ensure that you have the full training you need to safely and effectively use the spray foam tools you need to make your business more efficient. In a day and age where one small misstep can gain viral internet attention, it is imperative that the entire spray foam supply chain, from manufacturing to application, work together on maintaining our reputation and upholding our rigorous industry standards.
If you think that making the move to spray foam may be the right choice for your next project, don't hesitate to reach out to one of our experts to discuss the potential applications and how Bolair can help get your team the training and knowledge you need to help contribute to the growth of the spray foam industry. Contact us at 905-564-2231 today.