- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 19 Apr 2021
Plastic in construction
'Plastic' is a general name given to a wide range of synthetic materials that are based on polymers. The construction industry uses plastic for a wide range of applications because of its versatility, strength-to-weight ratio, durability, corrosion resistance, and so on.
Plastic can be manufactured into forms such as; pipes, cables, coverings, panels, films, sheets and so on; and can be formed or expanded to create low-density materials; and be dissolved in solvents or dispersed as emulsions.
- Expanded polystyrene.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
- Cladding panels.
- Pipes and gutters.
- Windows and doors.
- Wall linings
- Floor covering
- Ceiling panels.
- Roof coverings.
- Sinks, basins, baths, and showers.
- Insulation materials.
The advantages of using plastic in construction are that it is lightweight yet strong which makes it easier to transport and shift around sites. It is also resistant to rot and corrosion and has strong weather ability due to it being capable of achieving tight seals. Plastic can also be flexible, and is easily extruded, bent, molded, 3D printed, and so on. Plastic can also be easily removed and some plastics can be recycled.
The disadvantages of plastic are that it has a high embodied energy content and a low modulus of elasticity, meaning that it is generally unsuitable for load-bearing applications. Unless treated, most plastics are also ignitable and have a high thermal expansion rate which requires detailing to allow for adequate thermal movement.
There are environmental concerns about some plastics because of difficulties recycling them, there persistence in the environment after disposal, and concerns regarding chemical additives used to make plastics flexible, resistant to fire, and adhesive.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Construction materials.
- Construction plastics market.
- Fabric structures.
- Glass reinforced plastic GRP.
- India looks at using plastic instead of sand.
- Recyclable construction materials.
- Sandwich panel.
- Thermoplastic materials in buildings.
- Transparent insulation materials.
Featured articles and news
CIAT reporting from the Competition and Markets Authority.
Making sustainable construction number one priority.
Interview with ECA CEO.
Many provisions came into force on June 28, 2022.
With room to expand.
Refurbishment, Energy Efficiency, Indoor air and process.
Why building acoustic considerations must be non-negotiable.
Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) is one example.
Inventors and innovators at ICE.
Life, death and art at the Stuart court. Book review.
Real estate, place adaptation and innovation.
Review and comment on the revised draft before July 11.
Write about something you know, help us build and grow !
A blended event and triumphant return.
Mark Reynolds succeeds Andy Mitchell as Co-Chair of CLC
Designing Buildings is 10 years old.
From alteration to deconstruction on DB.
Understanding temperature in buildings on DB.
A call for home energy management to be modernised.
How many different types can you think of ?
Looking back and fourth to what still needs to be done.
Pioneering Indian environmental design Architect.
The greenest building is the one already built.
History of Temple Meads rewritten.
Currently standing at just 1%.
Find out more with BSRIA.
Changes come into force for F,L,O and S.