There is prejudice that using precast technology is viable only for commercial projects. Is this technology a viable option for residential or other sectors?
Precast concrete uses the concept of buildability and standardization of element sizes in order to achieve its myriad advantages which are reflected in its products being extensively used in commercial and infrastructure applications. However, precast is not the first material to come to mind it comes to residential applications despite the fact that it offers design flexibility, excellent quality and speedy construction.
Precast is slowly emerging as the preferred choice in the construction sector and most of the clients/ consultants/builders are adopting precast technology in their upcoming projects. Precast wall and slabs system have found favour in the market since it makes way for reducing the building maintenance cost. Even in the high-rise commercial buildings the framed structures with columns, beams and slabs are being put to good use. Also, as RERA is implemented in the country, the completion time of project is monitored by the government authority. This will bind developers to complete the projects on time and this scenario will lead to precast technology being a prominent option for the future projects.
Application of the precast technology should be envisioned right from the earliest stages of construction in order to design the project in a manner that employs precast at its most advantageous facets. When it’s the matter of private real estate, intense collaboration is required between the precast companies in the real estate and development communities. Several precast companies have ventured into the real estate branch by getting involved in the construction of high rise buildings, low cost housing etc.
Precast in independent housing will remain a challenge until there is an increase in the demand for precast products, when they can as easily be provided as purchase of brick and other materials of construction and there is a significant decline in the conventional method of the practice of construction.
The infra sector in India has to change its thinking of constructing projects in conventional methods. For example, constructing of drains, trenches will lead the traffic congestion in years' time due to road block. If the same thing done in precast, all elements will be casted offsite, precast vendors will transport them at night and assemble them on-site and finish the job. Even roads can be done using precast technology. Precast pre-stressed roads are more durable and faster for construction. If all departments plan together, all the trenches required can be planned in the same interval. This will ensure that drainage pipes, conduits and cross can be laid out without any further digging.
In respect to the current situation, how easy or difficult is it to adapt to precast technology?
The utilization of precast requires lesser manpower on-site and since companies are now operating with limited manpower, likewise, the use of construction machines on site is also reduced. So, in a way the lockdown may be actually good news for the precast industry.
At present, the supply and demand is not critical. Supply is available more than demand. If demand comes in market, supply will increase automatically. Currently, due to the lockdown situation, enormous construction labour shortage will occur in many states. People are stuck in different places and they cannot move easily wherever required. This will scale up the demand for precast supply. The precast vendors have to gear up to address this demand.
About the author
Mr. C N Sridhara, Head-Technical & Marketing, Preca Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. is one of the prominent faces in the Precast Industry in India. He is a qualified Civil Engineer with Masters in Prestressed Concrete Structures and has 20+ years’ experience in the industry including design and detailing of large scale Precast Structures in the GCC. He has been with Preca as Head-Technical & Marketing for 7+ years during which he has headed the Design Department for 65+ projects across all sectors of construction. He is a life member of ICI and is a regular guest faculty at organisations like NAC, NCB, ESCI to educate the engineers in Precast Technology.
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