Affordable housing in India with Precast Construction

Affordable housing is meant for the section of society whose income is below the median household income as recognised by Housing Affordability Index. There are numerous threats and challenges associated with the development of affordable houses as mentioned below:  

1. Rapid increase in urbanization – With constant need of skilled manpower in cities, there is a huge transition of skilled manpower from smaller cities to metros, thus leading to immediate requirement of houses and infrastructure.

2. Availability of skilled manpower – Efficiency is driven by skills. As the Indian real estate sector is moving from unorganised to organised sector, productivity from the available manpower is a key challenge that leads to increased time and cost.

3. Diminishing natural resources – Natural resources are getting diminished as 90% of the construction work in India is driven by natural resources. Also, developers do not use new techniques and substitute material, thus leading to rise in material cost.

Challenges

1. Fast delivery – Fast delivery is a challenge due to unskilled manpower leading to less efficiency and construction techniques.

2. Affordability – To make any project affordable, the base material cost and production time should be reduced and the same is applicable in the real estate industry.

Given the above-mentioned threats and challenges, affordable housing is still possible using the precast technology by embracing integrated design approach, precast framed structure, less manpower, etc. In the precast construction technique, numerous modules of the structure are built off-site and taken to the project site and assembled. It is a way to design and construct significant number of homes in a reasonable time frame and cost. The precast concrete construction is of two types - Cube mould and Panel mould

The qualities of precast suiting to affordable housing include:

  • Fast track construction - The shorter construction time of the buildings makes precast an optimal technology for large housing projects 
  • High finishes - The precast articles can be given the desired shape and finished with accuracy
  • Cost reduction - The cost of construction is less than the conventional method, keeping in mind the wastage-control and speed of construction 
  • Reduction on dependability of skilled labor - The labor required in the manufacturing process of the precast units can easily be trained

Although, development of residential houses is still heavily dependent on the manual labor and on-site construction, thus leading to large amount of material wastage, labor inefficiency and delay in project delivery. Adoption of precast technology will lead to sustainable and cost-effective development of projects that can be delivered within the stipulated time frame. 

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