Precast technology has many advantages such as speed, quality and cost over the traditional construction method - the reason why it is particularly suited for high-rise projects, says Petteri Laitinen, Vice President, Projects and Services at Elematic
In the 1960s, Finland was growing fast, and cities were expanding as industrialization powered ahead. Urban centers were being built and people needed affordable housing. Due to the harsh winters, buildings had to be ready before the onset of winter. The Finns began producing all the housing elements in factories for rapid onsite installation, and pre-cast technology began to be adopted to meet the rising demand.
Over time, precast technology was quickly adapted as an innovative way of construction and since then it has been used widely across the Nordic region. Today, India too needs thousands of affordable houses to cope with the rapid urbanization. Due to paucity of land and rising cost, building vertically is the only way to meet demand. Pre-cast is ideal when it comes to high-rise projects. Firstly, construction speed is nearly twice as fast, and time is money.
“Speedier construction allows the builder to sell the building faster and move on to the next project, and the cost of fixed costs is reduced due to shorter construction time, with both leading to the much-needed cost savings,” says Laitinen.
Many projects are marred by unpredictable circumstances. In India, most developers suffer from a shortage of skilled manpower, which leads to delays. With precast, even large-scale high-rise projects can be managed better. “The production cycle is much easier to manage in an industrial environment with automated equipment than in a construction site under changing conditions,” notes Laitinen.
Further savings can be created by using less equipment and manpower. Materials produced at a precast plant are versatile and durable, made by highly skilled people, with virtually no raw material wastage. Once panels are completed, they can be quickly erected on the job site with minimal disruption to the site, no matter how high the building is.
Safety of staff is paramount these days. Precast uses highly automated processes, which means accidents are down to a bare minimum as staff spends as little time on site as possible, where it is difficult to manage processes and where it can be an unsafe environment.
Another advantage of precast method is the high-quality finish of high-rise buildings. Structures built using precast do not need plastering, as this method makes the surface very smooth, and all the surfaces have the same quality,” adds Laitinen.
However, despite the obvious benefits of precast, many developers are hesitant to adopt the method because they see it as costly. Allaying the misconception, Laitinen explains: “Elematic has different production methods for different needs - from basic production lines to fully automated large-scale plants. With Elematic’s products, a builder can customize each project’s production capacities. Customers who may have the initial lower capacity requirements, can start with a small investment and then gradually increase the capacity of their plant as the requirements grow. So, in fact, Precast Technology can keep costs in large-scale projects in check.”
What’s more, Elematic supplies end-to-end solutions to pre-casters from initial consultation to machinery supply, structural design of buildings, and training for production and installation of precast elements. Big names such as Amrapali and BG Shirke have adopted precast methods to keep up with the rising demand.