Growing Precast Market in Asia
Johs.Rieckermann e.K. has supplied various machines and complete plants to the building-materials industry in Asia for decades. Starting in 1997, the company teamed up with Elematic to introduce pre-stressed hollow-core slab production technologies all over Southeast Asia, along with extruded non-load bearing panel (Acotec) production for partition walls in some countries, including China. “Non-load bearing Acotec-panels are widely used in China and Malaysia nowadays in the construction of apartments, condominiums and semi-detached houses, as well as villas, and thus help to provide quality accommodation at reasonable cost,” explains Erich Garbers, a director at Rieckermann, in Hamburg, Germany. But the use of prefab products in housing developments still lags in the higher developed countries in the region, with the exception of Singapore and Malaysia. This may change, however, in the future, adds Garbers. “Lately, though, we do see increased awareness of the inherent advantages of prefab elements, with a shift also towards load-bearing walls and façade elements application. We expect positive market developments, in this respect.”
Developments in other markets
Garbers reports that he sees some developments in Vietnam, Thailand and China. “Precast partition wall panels are applied in some countries, such as Malaysia and China. Pre-stressed hollow core slabs and outside wall panels are used in other countries,” says Garbers. Besides for homes building, precast elements are finding their way into government buildings, offices, factory buildings, hotels and shopping malls. At present, precast elements compete with other local, mostly cheap, building materials, such as in situ casting, clay bricks, autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC), concrete blocks and wood products. But compared with these, precast offers certain advantages, feels Rieckermann, including “the uniform standardized high-quality, just-in-time delivery and quick assembly, tidy construction sites with lower risk of accidents, high-quality finish and fewer project-owner quality claims.” Faster completion allows for faster availability for rental, increased durability, superior thermal and acoustic insulation and design flexibility, Garbers also notes, adding: “Precast elements, coupled with local ornamental design features, result in beautiful buildings.”
Housing demand remains high
The demand for housing all over Asia remains intact, despite the global recession. “Consumer confidence to invest particularly in quality homes, apartments and condominiums in some countries is picking up, which is initiating investments for new production facilities even in low-cost countries, such as Vietnam and the Philippines,” says Garbers. Circulating line systems and battery molds for solid walls, façade elements and sandwich panels are the technologies now in focus. Rieckermann looks to continue its partnership with Elematic in the years to come, as the market in Southeast Asia grows. “We are delighted to work with Elematic and have found this collaboration to be very reliable and trustful. As a result, we are currently in discussions to extend our collaboration to other markets, as well,” concludes Garbers.