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.
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