Pre Fab Structures : In the Indian Context
Alternative construction technologies such as prefab structures are slowly gaining acceptance in the Indian housing market. With burgeoning population and need for cheaper housing options; it is very important for architects and construction companies to develop new technologies that can provide the same look and feel of traditional housing (made up of cement brick and mortar) but can be constructed in lesser time and offer cost effectiveness to developers.
Prefab structures are constructed from factory made components that are assembled on site by simply being bolted together as per manufacturer’s specifications. Foundation is made on site and finishings (plumbing, electricity cables) are done once the structure is completely erected on site.
Plaswall, sandwich panels, polyurethane composite panel system are some of the technologies available in the market and claim to be an alternative to traditional housing system. Developers are now experimenting with these technologies in their affordable housing projects. The primary cost benefits of prefab structures are derived from the speed of construction and the optimization of raw materials. Integrated engineering design and detailing make it possible for prefab structures to be erected at a fraction of the time that it would take a conventional building to be erected. The time savings contribute to lower interest during construction costs and thereby lead to commencing commercial activities far earlier. The optimization of raw materials has the effect of reducing material cost of the building. Lowering the weight of the structures brings about significant savings in the foundation cost.
ProjectWell, India’s first and only Development Management Company and a group company of iDream, in partnership with a global leader in the industrialised production of prefab structures, now introduces such technology in India. This allows one to have the structure of a house installed in 3 days, preceded by around 1 month of factory production.
Although prefab structures offer a lot of advantages to developers but still there are stumbling blocks in the path of their success in India. There is a wrong notion that prefab structures limit the design choices as there is lack of flexibility in on-site design changes. The biggest myth is that the quality it offers after construction and subsequently acceptability to Indian consumers.
Though prefab structures are successful in the developed world, the technology is still in its nascent stages in the Indian market. As demand for low-cost housing and affordable housing in India grows this technology will certainly prove itself.