Offsite Construction – Exploring the new innovations in construction in India

Construction needs are on the rise in India. Like all other developing nations, India too requires infrastructure development. While housing development is a real time need for a rapidly urbanizing India, rural infrastructure developments include roads for better connectivity, healthcare facilities, as well as cheap housing options. The pressure on the construction industry is immense and the demand far outstrips the supply.

Introducing the new technological innovations is one way to bridge this demand and supply gap. Use of off-site modular construction offers a solution here. While traditional on-site construction cannot be done away with in totality, manufacturing modular units in factories off-site significantly speeds up the construction process.

A well known way to construct
Component manufacture has been a well known way to build for many centuries. While brick kilns produced bricks that were transported to construction sites for use way into the past, more recent developments have included using pre manufactured tiles for flooring and wall covering, sanitary fittings, doors and windows and the like.

Prefab construction enlarges the scope of this manufactured factory made units to all parts of a building.

The method
Factory manufacture methods are used for both two dimensional units like walls and panels and volumetric units and modular units.

The two dimensional units are installed on previously fitted metal or concrete frames onsite.  The volumetric units are completed in factories and fitted on full stand alone structures. They include full rooms, shower boxes and the like.  The modular building units are fully prepared in factories and only need to be fitted in at the construction site. They are part of the structural construction of buildings.

India’s usage pattern
The Indian construction industry has been using two dimensional units for a long time now. Floor panels and walls built in factories and set in place at the construction site are a common occurrence.  Property developers, particularly those that are involved in construction of large facilities such as hotels and hospitals, are already using the volumetric units. They use pre built bathroom and toilet units in their commercial construction. Residential construction uses kitchen units along with the other two units.

The structural modular units are the ones that need to be considered now. The structural units are larger and require space for transportation and storage. Not all construction sites can provide the infrastructure and road width needed to accommodate these units. developers keep this in mind when deciding on the feasibility of using them.

Factors that make off site construction attractive to developers
Developers using offsite construction for their projects have experienced many advantages: cost benefit, on time completion, durability, sustainability, uniformity, and workers’ safety being a few of them.

Limitations faced in offsite construction
The most prominent barrier to embracing off site construction is the orthodox mind set of developers. In addition, the initial cost escalation involved is off putting.  There is also a dearth of skilled workers competent in handling off site modular units.

Providing training and proper codes and standards will help popularize offsite construction in India

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Pre cast concrete construction – What is it and why is it better?

Concrete structures are strong and durable. Construction work uses concrete to build the skeletons of buildings. They form the weight bearing structure in buildings. They are also extensively used for areas that have heavy vehicular movements and footfalls.

What is concrete?
Concrete is needed for all construction work. it is formed by mixing cement, sand, stone chips and water in appropriate proportions and pouring the mixture into prepared iron mesh molds. This mixture is allowed to set and cured for the concrete to form. The formed concrete is used in building.

What is precast concrete?
Precast concrete uses the same concept to prepare concrete offsite. The precast units are manufactured in factories. The molds have pre-stressed wires set in them and the curing is done under controlled conditions. The process is safer and faster.  The molds are reused several times. This brings down the cost of making concrete units.

Why is it an improvement on traditional concrete?

  • Precast concrete uses molds multiple times thereby affording uniformity to each unit. The handmade molds in traditional concrete can vary in dimensions.
  • Curing is done under controlled conditions giving precast concrete smoother finish. Curing done on site takes more time and is not uniform across structures.
  • The amount of mixture used for each unit is the same. In traditional concrete the amount of mixture could be different making the concrete less uniform.

Ways in which pre cast concrete is used

  • Building and expanding parking areas
  • Office buildings with unusual facades that is both functional and aesthetic.
  • Hotels, dormitories, and apartment complexes
  • Schools and hospitals

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Benefits of using precast concrete

  • Precast concrete provides engineers with greater opportunity for creative designing.
  • The customized units are easily assembled and installed.
  • Saving time on curing and installing concrete translates into less expense for builders.
  • Precast concrete is fire and heat resistant.
  • Precast concrete gives you control over project time frames along with control on quality of product used
  • It can be used as structural frames and for creating facades for buildings.
  • It is easy to install.
  • Its density and strength make them ideal for sound proofing.
  • It can be tested for quality before it is installed.
  • It provides a healthier interior as it needs no chemical treatment throughout life.
  • It is made from natural and local resources. This makes it environment friendly.

Increasing use of precast concrete makes infrastructural development sustainable. it serves varied human needs at affordable pricing and simultaneously protects the environment from harm. In this way it serves the three P’s of sustainable growth.

Precast concrete construction can be used for structural parts of buildings such as beams and pillars, roofing and flooring. This concrete is equally useful in building roads and bridges. The slabs are lighter than slabs of traditional concrete. This makes them easier to handle. Use precast concrete for all your construction work and complete your projects efficiently and on time.