Shridhar Rao, Sales Head India, Elematic
Precast construction integrated with BIM will bring about organised construction, replacing inefficient use of material, machine, and manpower, says Shridhar Rao, Sales Head India, Elematic.

How can the Precast method meet India’s construction requirements and bring better quality and affordability to the projects?
The construction industry in India, traditionally, has always been site based, which has led to a build-up of inefficiencies, resulting in delays, material and time wastage leading to increase in construction costs, while missing out on the benefits of assured quality and standardisation.

Due to the impact of Covid-19 we are seeing a backlog of pent up demand for building infrastructure in the residential and commercial space. At the same time, a shortage of affordable housing for the needy segment has grown to unmanageable proportions. The only way to meet the required scale of construction will be by adopting a construction technology like Precast, which has proved to be the most effective, especially when you have large volumes to achieve, as it offers quality, speed of construction, and is cost-effective.

Precast uses concrete, which is the cheapest raw material on the planet, and reinforced steel. The technology is compatible with the existing building codes, which are in line with RCC buildings, and suited to seismic zone requirements in a seismic active country like India.

By taking a manufacturing approach and implementing technology in construction, we will have the benefits of cost saving, quality construction, and timely completion of projects due to the faster speed of construction enabled by the Precast method, which will also bring standardisation - currently a missing element in India’s construction industry.

What could trigger greater demand for Precast construction?
As with any enterprise, a systematic approach and standardisation can transform the construction industry - making it more organised. The precast method, backed by technology, is a proven construction technique and highly recommended for meeting India’s housing and infra development requirements. In fact, there is already an impressive number of precast reference projects in the country.

We believe that the push for technology and mechanization due to the pandemic is one such trigger event that is fast unfolding. The shortage of skilled labour is another trigger. Market demand for transparency in the construction business and expectations of a quick RoI by customers due to their changing perception of project delays, is also transforming the way the construction industry market will perform in the future.

In fact, we believe that the industry is set to change for the better within the next 5 years as there will be a greater need for mechanization, construction technology, and cost efficiency. Government initiatives in infra development and housing projects will see bigger participation of architects and engineers, because when push comes to shove everybody wants a better quality of houses, and commercial and industrial buildings, which are also affordable. Precast construction technology can meet all of this.

Elematic - Precast construction technology

What challenges lie ahead for the Precast Industry?
Success begets success. The Precast industry would need the Government’s support and the big builders to understand what constitutes a good precast structure so that they can build by following the best construction practices. Efficiently designed projects by architects who understand the precast methodology, and a vibrant, supportive ecosystem will help make precast popular in the country. Once the benefits are seen, then the drive to change the traditional way of construction will become unstoppable.

What are your expectations for the Precast industry in 2021?
We are seeing renewed interest in the commercial and residential segment with many projects taking off in 2021. We expect the trend to accelerate as we will see many success stories of the precasters, which will encourage more players to enter the precast segment. It may not be far away when a precast building in the residential, commercial, and industrial segment becomes a commonly seen structure. Elematic has an expert in-house structural design and service team to support the market in the drive towards precast construction.
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