Polyvinyl Chloride, commonly known as PVC is a common and effective construction material. PVC is also one of the most common types of plastic. In 2008, global production and consumption of PVC was approximately 34.5 million tons. The construction industry is responsible for about 70% of the world's consumption of PVC. The largest construction use of PVC is for pipe and conduit. Modern construction, especially structures built for data services depend heavily upon PVC conduit for underground pathways to distribute electricity and data. PVC is also at the center of a fierce effort by environmental groups who would like to see it eliminated completely. If environmentalists are successful in their efforts to eliminate PVC; builders will be left without a material that is crucial for many applications. Seven alternative conduit materials have been identified as potential replacements for PVC electrical conduit. PVC electrical conduit is commonly used in commercial, industrial, and civil construction. This thesis undertook to study the four major electrical contractors in the state of Utah which employ more than one hundred electricians. Because major electrical contractors use large quantities of PVC conduit, electricians working for these contractors were surveyed to determine their preferences of alternative materials. A questionnaire was distributed and received 112 responses, which represent 6.5% of the total population. This study found that PVC was the most used, most preferred, easiest to install and was perceived as the least expensive conduit material. Polypropylene and High Density Polyethylene were rated next highest, but were also the least commonly used of the alternative materials. The other materials, which include: Nylon, Fiberglass, Fiberglass Reinforced Epoxy, Polyurethane Coated Steel, and Galvanized Steel were also examined. Many of the respondents expressed displeasure by the effort to eliminate PVC and the vast majority felt that green certification for construction did not justify elimination. These responses indicate that more needs to be done to introduce alternative conduit materials to users of PVC and educate them about the value of the alternatives. This study represents an important step in evaluating the value of PVC conduit and its alternatives.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Robert Andrus, PVC, polyvinylchloride, conduit, electrician, conduit alternatives, green conduit, green building, green materials, electrician preference



Technology Emphasis

Construction Management (CM)