By Kumar Bharat
Any emerging nation thrives due to its economic, political, and social well-being of its people. Besides the political and economic reforms that support this economic growth, and to ensure optimum benefits of the changing patterns of global investment, it is imperative to provide investment opportunities that would attract financing from the pool of global saving.
The labour industry is typically characterized by labour-intensive technology, hard labour conditions, low productivity, and high risks, and there is an urgent need to lower overall project cost and thereby increase the profit margins. In a developing country like India, one of the key areas that could trigger the changes in planning, process, and form is the reflection of technology, socio-economics, demographics, architecture, laws, entertainment and recreation, manufacturing, and industry.
And, to augment that particular thought one must join forces with the Real Estate development plan as a corresponding beneficiary and collaborator. Therefore, the cost of using precast concrete components in a project rather than employing traditional construction methods plays a significant role in the extent to which precast concrete systems are preferred.
Pre-cast technology in India
While internationally precast technology is considered as a mature technology, in India, it is not widely utilized, despite the advantages.
But, now, with the construction sector in India growing steadily, and its contribution to the national GDP at about 11 per cent being comparable to the Indian agricultural sector, the construction industry will see a rapid development in its technology, which is also required in order to keep up its growth phase.
Precast increases productivity
And, so, the role of prefabrication in architecture is bound to be lauded for its potential to increase productivity and efficiency while not sacrificing quality. In this line, the Indian construction industry now marches towards high rise constructions in housing and industrial buildings, underground tunnelling, roads, etc.
A study report by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) validates precast concrete bent cap systems for use throughout the any nation’s seismic regions. Several research and development programs conducted mostly through the support of PCI and the National Science Foundation (NSF) and published in Transportation Research Board (TRB) have also supported it.
Additionally, standardization and modularization are two of the major benefits that the use of precast concrete components also promises. Use of precast technology in construction has numerous advantages. Through effective planning and design, material quantity required for doing the same construction can be reduced by using precast technology. As the precast elements are produced in a factory, better quality of concrete can be achieved because of the controlled environment.
Less labour intensive
Precast mode of construction has a lesser dependency on labour force compared to conventional technique which helps in minimizing the disarray in coordination, scheduling, and sequencing of the project. There is no need for curing on site after assembly of members because the members are cured in a factory for the desired duration. The cost of the formwork is eliminated by using precast which can result in savings. The cost to carry out post concrete repairs can be eliminated by using precast members.
Precast is also increasingly seen as an economic and high-quality option that enhances occupational health and safety as minimum operational risks are involved. Its use can lead to significant wastage reduction at the site because on-site construction activities are minimized. This can be compounded by the fact that it helps in waste reduction making precast a more sustainable and environment-friendly technology for construction.
The biggest advantage of precast is that it accelerates the construction process thereby reducing the duration of the project. Conventional buildings shall have a traditional way of construction with formwork, rebar, and concrete whereas precast building will have precast segments, elements, their production cost, transportation cost and erection cost.
With so many advantages, precast concrete technology today is recognized worldwide as offering significant advantages, especially for industrial and residential buildings. The present economic growth demands faster construction without losing quality aspects and without project delay, project cost outfit involved in labour shortage or similar related construction uncertainties. This further justifies the use of precast technology.
No delays due to unforeseen reasons
Apart from the low cost and timely delivery, buildings constructed using this technology are more robust than traditional brick and mortar constructions. As the construction is done in a controlled factory environment the delays and issues caused by environmental factors like bad weather are also eliminated.
On the safety front too these buildings are at much more advantageous position. The precast wall panels extend into a building’s footings, which helps these buildings cope with interior fire, water damage and accidental impact. Fire typically destroys a building’s roof. When a structure is built on grade, the collapsing roof often pulls the walls down into a building.
To avoid this problem, continuous panels – unlike masonry or concrete block walls – are firmly anchored into the ground. As a result, they will not break apart.
This technology also addresses another key concern of the developers of finding skilled labourers as it cuts down on the need of a large workforce. With a reduced no of the workforce, the project is both easier to manage as well as the risk factors are also reduced in comparison.
With the help of technology the construction process is much more organized and standardized and hence dimensions are more accurate that gives a much superior finishing. This technology is also environment-friendly. It reduces wastages as well as construction is done in a controlled environment prevents pollution of the outside environment.
No transportation cost
The main concern for the industry is transportation in a country as big and varied as India. But the rapid growth of road and transport infrastructure will soon address this concern. There has been a lack of awareness and information in both developers and buyers that have made them hesitant in adopting this technology. But looking at the greater advantages of this technology over the traditional method of construction both buyers and developers will be enthusiastic about using this technology.
New real-estate growth
This technology will not only take the real estate industry to a new growth path but also give a solution to major issues like green construction, affordable housing, timely delivery and safety of construction. Precast technology is sure the future of real estate in India.
The Indian construction industry marches towards high rise constructions in housing and industrial buildings, underground tunnelling, roads, etc. and particularly for industrial and residential buildings, precast is increasingly seen as an economic and high-quality option. The present economic growth demands faster construction without losing quality aspects and without project delay, project cost outfit involved in labour shortage or similar related construction uncertainties.
(The writer is the Director at BCC Precast (India) Private Limited)