Precast technology from Elematic brings value-addition to project in terms of faster and efficient construction, reduced material and energy consumption, safety, mechanization, lesser wastage of materials, and savings on overall costs.
Elematic India - Shridhar Rao, Sales Head
Elematic has been at the forefront of Precast Technology since its establishment in 1959. We are one of the founding members of technologies like Hollow Core Slabs, Acotec Partition Walls, and other innovative products and hold over 450 patents. The Carbon footprint of precast is much smaller than cast-in-situ construction and material savings can be up to 25%, compared with traditional construction or steel buildings.
Preventable wastage in construction
Most of the detriments have been observed in the choice of raw materials and their usage; for example, clay bricks, which if wasted, are very difficult to re-use. Secondly, the water requirement in construction for curing of Bricks, Plastered Wall, and the Concreted Column, Beams, and Slabs require curing for 7 days, which, though a necessity, is a wastage.
If time is the most important resource, then in traditional construction practices, this is the most wasted. According to data released by the Ministry of Statistical and Programme Implementation, delays in government projects skyrocketed to 56.7% in March 2023, the highest in 20 years.
Benefits of precast construction
Use of construction technology like precast can prevent wastage. Compared to cast-in-situ, precast uses less cement, less water, and less steel, leading to 10-15% savings. It produces only 1-2% wastage in the factory and on the site. Today, the share of recycled raw ingredients is growing worldwide in the precast industry, plus recycling of used precast slabs and leftover concrete saves resources. Precast elements have good insulation and thermal properties that decrease the total CO2 load of the building throughout its lifetime. For example, insulated sandwich walls especially reduce energy consumption during both cooling and heating.
Savings in time, money & resources
In Precast Construction, most of the work is happening in a controlled factory environment, hence material wastages are limited to 1-2% only. In the production of Hollow Core Slabs, Beams, Columns, Walls, Staircases, etc we are using a curing system called the Hot-Water Circulation Method; in this, hot water is circulated in a closed steel pipe coil. The hot water enables the concrete to attain maturity at a faster rate, and the re-circulation technique helps conserve water.
The concrete used in precast construction can be salvaged for aggregates and steel, thereby providing an opportunity for their re-use. Adoption of precast technology can save 50% on project time since parallel processes are being undertaken at the factory and at the construction site, while in traditional construction the processes have to be done sequentially.
Carbon credits an effective mechanism
The carbon footprint of every project must be calculated. In construction projects, this is directly proportional to the quantity of concrete and steel being used in the project. The aim must be to restrict the quantities of these key ingredients to build the same amount of built-up area. In fact, all the stakeholders should be required to facilitate decarbonization. In building projects, for example, the government should bring a legislation that restricts the carbon footprint to the built-up area being developed. This will allow structural engineers to think of innovative ways to reduce concrete and steel consumption. There are technologies available to achieve these results, many of which are already being implemented in European countries, and in countries in the Middle East.
Focus on technology, its objectives and implementation.
The government had taken initiatives in the past to form organisations for promotion of technologies. However, knowledge of the standards for a particular technology is necessary for a newly formed body to deliver fruitful results. In case the government forms a new body or seeks to reform an existing body, it should focus on the following points:
- The objectives should be clearly established and must be developed in consultation with a global technology company with experience in implementation and development of the technologies.
- The process of technology implementation should be developed vis-à-vis local Indian conditions, and in collaboration with the global technology consultant, who can guide on any challenge.
- The specific codes and standards must be developed for every technology keeping in view its effect on the carbon footprint, safety, and quality requirements. Here also we will reiterate that involving a global technology company will pay dividends though successful implementation and attainment of set goals.
We have observed that a lack of knowledge and limited awareness on carbon emissions can cause confusion. Introducing courses in engineering colleges and providing part-time capsule courses for professionals in collaboration with a global partner can be a productive step in raising awareness.
The initial Investment required for implementing a new technology is often a de-motivating factor, even though the paybacks can be received within 3 years. Here, the government can come up with incentive schemes like carbon credit points, wherein the contractors and developers who are reducing their carbon footprint are given tax benefits.
Initiatives taken to reduce carbon emission.
Elematic has done various projects in collaboration with contractors and developers, the most recent being a project in Hyderabad with MY Homes developer, who is constructing a G+43 storey building and 8 commercial/office buildings with a total built-up area of 30 million sq.ft. Once the construction is complete, around 200,000 people will be working in these buildings. The technology and structural design was provided by Elematic. Hollow Core Slabs and Pre-Stressed Precast Beams have been implemented to save on material consumption and reduce the building’s carbon footprint.
We are promoting the use of Sandwich Wall Elements (wall elements with insulation, load bearing wall and external façade). These sandwich elements will form the building envelope, which will help to maintain the required indoor ambiance since the heat ingress inside the buildings will be significantly reduced, and lesser amount of electricity will be consumed to produce the same cooling effect which will lead to higher savings in energy costs and reducing lifecycle costs for the building