With growing demand of affordable housing units at ticket price less than 30 lacs in India, developers are bound to look for alternative construction solution which is cost effective and can mitigate the following existing challenges in a project.
- Timely project completion
- Project quality assurance
- Availability of sufficient manpower
- Availability of sufficient water
- Efficient project management
- Efficient cash flow management
Precast construction technology could be the solution to all the problems; construction industry is facing today, in India. It's a proven technology which is already being extensively used in USA, Europe, and New Zealand for last many decades for various types of commercial and residential structures.
Some of the developers and contractors have already adopted this technology. Still, India has not seen the boom in usage of precast technology as it should have, even though the technology is the most favorable solution to all the problems in construction industry. Why is it so? Is it not a true solution to the construction industry problems as it seems? I believe there is no single reason to it.
Adoption of precast technology in any project goes through the following processes. If it fails in any of the processes, the project tend to stick to conventional way of doing construction.
- Precast construction feasibility
- Structural stability
- Financial feasibility
- Project planning
Why does a project fails in terms of suitability for precast construction? Can something be done to avert the same? Answers to these questions lie at the stage of conceptualization of the project. If an architect hasn't designed the project keeping the precast suitability in mind, then later it becomes quite difficult to change the layouts to suit precast technology, because of time constraints, unwillingness for the change etc.
Steps to adopt precast technology in your projects and to maximize its benefits:
Step 1: Appoint a good precast consultant as soon as the project is conceived.
Step 2: The consultant shall evaluate the precast project initial viability with respect to project size, duration, location and availability of precast elements.
Step 3: Architect and structural engineer shall work in unison to come up with precast friendly building layouts.
Step 4: Concept design study for structural stability and cost estimation
Step 5: Project report
Step 6: Management approval
Once the project has gone through the due steps mentioned above successfully, I don't see any reason why precast should not be adopted.
In my opinion, precast is the only affordable solution for affordable mass housing projects in India, because of the ease of construction, quality assurance, shorter project duration, material saving, and less manpower requirement.