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Monday, 08 Oct 2012
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Prefab Structures A Feasible Model
 
Nayan Bheda_Naptune Group_ProjectsToday  
Nayan Bheda, Chairman & Managing Director, Neptune Group Started in 2002 by Bheda and his friends, Neptune Group has created no less than history in a short span of nine years. Mr. Bheda has an excellent grasp of the real estate landscape with a vision to create world-class sustainable real estate development. An experience of over 17 years gives him an edge to understand the nitty-gritties of the real estate business. What makes Mr Bheda and his team formidable is the fact that their agenda, business model and approach are unusual and eclectic. Their repertoire of projects include residential projects ranging from high-end to affordable to low-cost categories for high, middle and low income groups. He is also credited with bringing Foster + Partners -- a leading UK-based architecture group -- for the first time to India for developing a project. The latest feather in the cap for the group is the 10,56,000 sq ft Neptune Magnet Mall in Bhandup - one of the city's largest shoppertainment destinations. The mall, a one-of-its-kind, will redefine the landscape of Bhandup.
 
  Naptune Group_ProjectsToday

The skilled labour crunch, increasing material & labour cost has put the Real Estate industry in flux. This has resulted in delay in construction as well as increased production and construction cost. Therefore, the industry has started looking out for options. One such technology is 'Prefab' or 'Pre-cast structures'.

 

The concept of pre-cast (also known as "prefabricated") construction includes those buildings where the majority of structural components are standardised and produced in plants at a location away from the construction site and then transported to the site for assembly. These components are manufactured by industrial methods based on mass production in order to build a large number of buildings in a short time at low cost.

 

The main features of this construction process are as follows:

 

 
  • The division and specialisation of the human workforce
  • The use of tools, machinery, and other equipment, usually automated, in the production of standard, interchangeable parts and products.

 

In the wake of rising labour & material cost & widening gap in demand & supply, this technology maintains highest levels of quality control as opposed to on-site pouring of concrete where temperature, humidity, material quality and craftsmanship play an important role. Since, it is produced in a pre-cast plant, it can be properly cured and closely monitored by plant employees. So, there are no issues of leakage or cracks, thus ensuring uniform quality and reducing the maintenance and foundation costs considerably.

 

In India, only 27 per cent of all industrial and institutional buildings are pre-engineered, while in the United States, more than 70 per cent of all construction in industrial and institutional segments are preengineered. In India, the hybrid precast technology is under implementation. However, here a builder uses 'Shuttering' method for faster completion of technology. But in this kind of technology, the structures assembled are made at the construction site itself unlike the prefab which are ferried from the factory situated in remote location & are installed onsite to complete the structure.

 

There are various advantages for the pre cast structures; some can be classified as below:

 

 
  • Efficiency - Pre-cast technology saves up to 50 per cent of construction time
  • Low maintenance - Pre-cast concrete produces products of the highest quality, where stringent quality control measures are adopted. So, the usual post construction problems like leakage or cracks can be avoided. Therefore, it requires little or no maintenance post construction
  • Weather resistance - Unlike other construction materials that can rust, rot or degrade in the presence of moisture, pre-cast concrete actually gets stronger if the un-hydrated cement particles in it react with water, thus making it completely water-resistant
  • Fire resistance - fire resistance of precast structure is same as any conventional RCC structure. (Steel and cement are not flammable materials but both behave differently in case of fire. Steel tends to give away its strength and concrete starts turning into powder in very high temperatures) hence the RCC structure conventional or precast have similar resistance in case of fire as the concrete offers protection to the steel inside it
  • Durability- Using precast concrete improves construction quality and thus extends the life cycle of buildings. Studies have shown that pre-cast concrete products can provide a service life of more than 100 years
  • Pre-cast structures do not require finishing, like plastering or wall putty. Though more expensive than the conventional method, pre-cast helps put buildings together more quickly

 

According to a recent industry figures the industry for such structures is growing at 10 per cent per annum over the past five years, compared with overall industry growth of 20 per cent. The overall size of this industry is Rs 2,000 crore out of which Rs 500 crore is of residential projects.

 

The biggest technical advantage is the elimination of most formwork & considerable reduction in on-site concreting & brick laying, hence to cope up with the surging demand & increasing cost of labour & material, pre-cast can be solution and a feasible model.

 


 

 
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