Precast Technology for Low Cost Housing

Er. P Surya Prakash, President – Association of Consulting Civil Engineers (India) President – PSI (Pre Engineered Structures Society of India), M.D - SatyaVani Projects & Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad

"Huge and large Compact Dwelling Units Scattered & Spread over Thousands of sites with Speed, Efficiency High Quality and Low Price" is achieved using innovatively crafted Taylor made house components factory produced transported to site, lifted to position for assembly into decent dwelling units.

This paper aims at how the Precast Concrete Building Technology can be efficiently and effectively used on various Low cast Mass Housing Projects being planned by the present Govt Policy "House for all by 2020.

With an annual growth rate trend of 2.7%, it is estimated that the India's population will be standing at about 1200 million marks by the end of 2014. Sizable of this population is below the poverty line and lack basic human needs. They do not have proper housing accommodation. Many live in slums and some have shared accommodation. The housing is a basic need and like any basic human need will be constantly in demand. The gap between available housing stock and that required is ever increasing. The potential for housing in this country is huge. NHB estimates that the housing shortage at the beginning of the 12th Plan is 18.90mn units, bulk of which, say 18M units, are in the EWS and LGH sectors.

There are other estimates, which suggest that it is at a much higher level. Even going by the conservative estimate taken by the NHB, the requirements in the area of housing are enormous. This really means that a lot of large investments, prudent planning and suitable adaptable technology are required for the low cost all inclusive habitable house constructions, with great speed in the coming years. The present government has a pious policy planning "House for all by 2020", which desiderates construction of nearly 20mn units in a span of 5years at 4 to 5mn dwelling units an year. This calls in a pragmatic approach, credible efforts, meticulous planning and monitoring on the part all the concerned and a resolute will to go ahead with the realistic plan of action. The government has to identify suitable sites in the needed areas, and duly notify, configure and freeze the lay out plans with drawings of decent dwelling units with their arrangement as individual or Two/Multi storeyed, based on the demand and availability of space and the number of family units to be constructed for allotment. Each dwelling unit should be compact with a toilet, so planned, and constructed as to have 40% of free land space for future expansion. Rural housing for labour or the artisans is to be planned with some vacant space for a shed to have some cow or goat to rear. The dwelling unit's grid shall be, with one toilet in each house, and assured drinking water supply, should serve the objective. The owner should feel happy and agog to occupy. The idea is that the houses are to be neat, attractive and habitable with basic amenities, such as electricity, water and communications and other needed infrastructure facilities close by. These should be affordable and calling for least maintenance. This massive housing construction is to be carried out with sincerity, speed and proficient planning. Constructed houses remaining unoccupied and in some cases facilitating unholy and nefarious activities in vacant/deserted spaces is a criminal waste of public funds.

Shortage of Dwelling Units in India
chart-1". Shortage of Dwelling Units In India

All these require a colossal resource planning of materials, manpower and machinery besides a suitable acceptable technology and most importantly the finance of Rs.6000 bn in 5 to 6 years timeframe at the rate of Rs.1000 to1200 bn. an year. This is a challenging task. It requires meticulous strategic planning, procedural frame work, national policy, as the gigantic program is spread over in different states having diverse sociological, & deviant customs and divergent practices, Some of these are in extreme climatic zones, and some in certain Geo-hazardous prone areas and some terror-.targeted. The stakeholders are to be taken into confidence and their viewpoints are given due consideration. The state of U.P. is leading in the housing shortage followed by Andhra Pradesh.

To build large scale compact and cost effective habitable dwelling units (for instant willing occupation) spread over several parts of the country, with speed, and round the clock operation independent from weather/(seasonal) conditions, the traditional in situ construction is not a success and was found to be a failure in the past.

Mass housing targets can be achieved by replacing the conventional methods of planning and executing building operation to suit the special and individual common needs optimally using the locally available materials and even rationally utilizing other new/ make shift/substitute resource materials. Partial prefabrication is an approach towards the above operation under controlled conditions. The essence lies in the systematic approach in building methodology and not necessarily particular construction type or design. The methodology for low cost housing has to be of intermediate type-less sophisticated involving less capital investment.

The instant answer or ready solution to this gargantuan plan is to go in for innovative compliant Precast Technology tailored to suit situation specific requirements and easily adaptable to the location, making optimum use of the locally available construction materials and the transport facilities.

NBM&CW February 2015