Developed India is building with practical precast
There are several reasons for why precast building technology is rapidly gaining a foothold in the Indian market. First of all, socio-economic development means that the demand for affordable housing is increasing fast. The precast industry is currently concentrating on the “Affordable homes” concept. The Indian government is planning to provide subsidies for builders to meet the shortage of 25 million affordable apartment buildings. Precast is increasingly popular also for commercial projects. Secondly, government regulations are changing in such a way that they favor precast because of its advantages compared to other building techniques; it is affordable, fast, and safe. The schedules are always tight in the construction business and precast makes it easier to stick to project timelines and eliminate unexpected interruptions in work. From 2007 to November 2011, Elematic has sold six precast factories in India. Of these six, four are already fully operational. The first in line, VME Precast in Chennai, is already planning an expansion of its facilities to accommodate the increasing demand for precast products. VME produces hollow-core slabs, beams, columns, and wall panels. The current capacity is 200 000 m² of hollow core slabs per year, and doubling this up to 400 000 m² is already under negotiation. In Delhi, one of Elematic’s clients manufactures solid slabs, precast columns, and beams for an 18 000-unit apartment block. Janapriya in Hyderabad has been manufacturing wall panels and staircases since October 2010 with a capacity of 250 000 m². The biggest unit so far, Amarapali in Noida, is currently under construction and due to be ready in March 2012, and will produce hollow-core slabs and wall panels with a capacity of 400 000 m². Elematic has also delivered precast factories for B.G. Shirke (solid slabs, 210 000 m²) in New Delhi and B.E. Billimoria (solid slabs, wall panels, staircases, lift shafts 200 000 m²) in Pune.
Practical precast meets nature’s requirements
India’s geographical position poses some challenges to the construction industry. Seismic activity is the most worrying natural threat the building industry has to take into careful consideration. The precast industry offers solutions that have been widely tested in real conditions. Precast is a safer and more durable option for building technology than some of the traditional methods that are still widely used. The rainy season lasts for four months, creating additional challenges for the building project management. Precast parts can be manufactured in surroundings where the effects of rain and other weather conditions can be eliminated. Precast technology has been proven to be a good solution for work safety. Like many other countries, India is also facing a shortage of skilled labor in the building industry. Precast is less labor-intensive. An additional advantage of precast is that during manufacturing and installation similar work-routines are repeated. This helps workers to learn and become more efficient, project after project.