Precast technology has already proven to be the most suitable building construction method for India. Chander Dutta, Managing Director, Elematic India, elaborates on the changing paradigms in construction with a focus on precast technology.
As India has progressed and developed, its demand for building infrastructure - both residential and commercial - has soared. The Indian construction industry has traditionally been site-based, which has resulted in many inefficiencies, with delays and increases in cost, and it has missed out on the benefits of standardisation. This is why the shortage in the lower housing segment has grown to unmanageable proportions.
These paradigms need to change and precast can be a catalyst for this change. It has already been proven to be the most suitable building construction method for India. History is witness to trigger events that have changed the existing paradigms. We believe that the market push for affordable housing is one such trigger event that is happening right now. The shortage of skilled labour is another trigger. The drive for clarity in getting return on investment, and changing perception on delays, are all part of the ongoing changes. We should see the construction market transforming in the next five years.
Precast is most effective with large volumes and big projects, but at the same time, it gives the best options in quality, cost and speed. It creates better organised construction, replacing inefficient use of raw materials, machinery and manpower. The technology uses concrete, the cheapest, most durable known raw material along with reinforced steel, making it compatible to existing building codes that are in line with construction regulations. In addition, it is also suited to seismic zone needs. Manufacturing approach and technology implementation need to be incorporated in building construction, which in turn will bring the benefits and create standardisation, which is currently missing in the Indian construction industry.
As with any enterprise, a systematic approach and standardisation alone can transform the industry into an organised venture, helping it reap the benefits of quality, speed and reduced costs.
Technology enables this. Precast in particular is a proven technology and is suitable to India's challenges. The country also has a decent amount of precast reference projects. There are things to be done. The government and bigger builders need to understand what constitutes a good precast structure and build according to best practices. Promotion of efficient designs from architects, who understand precast, and the creation of a vibrant ecosystem should help precast become popular.
This year we will see a renewed interest in the commercial and residential segment with many new projects taking off. Success stories of existing precast implementation will encourage others to enter the segment. Government initiatives along with larger participation of architects and engineers will change the landscape too.
Very soon, use of precast in both residential and commercial segments will become a common method. Acceptance of technology and push for cost efficiency should drive India to use precast. Once the benefits are seen, the change becomes unstoppable.