Given the requirement of 26.5 million affordable housing units in India and project execution challenges and shortage of human resources, the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ construction is giving way to prefab structures and materials. Prefab technologies can be used to build homes quickly and cost-effectively, especially as traditional construction costs continue to rise. As the cost of borrowing is steep and developers are facing a liquidity crunch, time means money. Modular construction is faster and adds to the revenue stream of builders. Pankaj Bajaj, MD of Eldeco Group and President of CREDAI-NCR says that:
“Real Estate industry is a customer for the construction industry and the benefit of faster construction cycles or lower cost would accrue to it and ultimately to the general public.”
Timely delivery of properties is important for both builders and buyers. From the buyer’s point of view, early possession of an apartment means early freedom from rent payments.
In large construction projects, various modules of the structure are cast off-site in factories and then assembled on the site.
In the process, prefab materials such as wall and terrace blocks, wall panels, steel frames and plaster boards are used along with innovations such as the dry-wall technique. In prefab technology, the entire building can be designed using architecture software. Later, components such as steel frames, wall and ceiling panels and floor tiles can be custom-made.
The components are then brought to the construction site and the structure is assembled on-site. Houses using steel frames for structure can have multiple stories without pillars, beams and concrete. Alternatively, the main structure and outer walls can be constructed using the conventional techniques and inside partitioning and interiors done with prefab materials.
Who knows factory-made houses might soon become common across the country, providing affordable as well as luxury homes to lakhs of families. Or, the next time you relocate, you might be able to hire a transporter to move your entire house to a new city.