Pre-fab Technology: The Building Block For 'Housing for All by 2022'
Many Indian real estate developers are now embracing the new pre-fab technology to build modular and affordable homes in India. Pre-fab technology entails walls, foundation stones and other units of construction, which are manufactured in bulk, transported to the location of the building and simply 'fixed' on site.
Advantages pre-fab technology
Developers are experimenting pre-fabrication with by constructing few units or even constructing an entire kitchen or a bathroom equipped with electrical and other plumbing fittings.
Here are some advantages of pre-fab technology:
- This method cuts down on construction time. Truncate time-to-market of a building thereby landing windfall gains in terms of interest cost savings. Presently, it takes nearly four years to construct a part of a building , which only will rise given the growing number of high-rises
- Though this construction technique is around 20-25 per cent costlier than the traditional methods, it cuts down on construction time by 30 per cent or even more depending on the extent of modularisation
- Quicker construction gives developer a better control over the project timelines and hence, service his customers better
- Cut labour worries: The pre-fab technology is not labour intensive when compared to the conventional method of construction. In fact, the biggest challenge that the construction industry faces is the lack of skilled workers. This can be solved by bringing in pre-fabricated and fitted units and assemble them into the residential units
- Modular homes can solve many labour issues especially when building projects in distant localities
- Pre-fab technology brings in assembly line proficiency to construction. If a large part of the construction is done on-site, a continuous thorough inspection is is required. On the other hand, pre-fab units can be manufactured by experts in manufacturing plant, thus, cutting on the on-site construction. Also, if the unit is damaged or deviates from the design, it can be rejected before purchase
- Sufficing the need of specialised homes such as heat-resistant homes or earthquake homes
- Modular construction technology can help developers work on better margins without increasing the price of affordable property. This can be achieved by reducing time used to build these
Additionally, the technology is also maturing with time to minimise error. One such innovation in pre-fab technology is the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. This software helps developers easily integrate modular components and plan better to make sure no engineering mistakes occur during the course of construction.
With Narendra Modi government's 'Housing for All by 2022' scheme, it will become necessary for developers to build affordable units at a faster pace. This will be achieved by using modern construction technologies.
Moreover, it is believed that if the volumes of the pre-fab material goes up, its price would come down thus, making it more profitable for the developers.
The historic connect
While modular homes and technology became popular during the II World War in the United Kingdom (UK). The soldiers required a quick and cheap accommodation, which was achieved using pre-fab technology. This technology later became popular for building micro-homes in the United States (US) and across Europe. However, the origin of pre-fab homes dates back to the 1600s, when ready-made homes were shipped from England to the US to house a fishing fleet, cutting down the need to cut lumber on the site.
The US is also credited with a lot of innovation on pre-fab technology as Chicago saw the first balloon frame building in 1833 in Chicago. The building involved using slender wood studs held together with mass produced nails. This became the basis for the experiment of modular homes in many more urban centers as population burgeoned.