Indian Scenario of Prefabricated Construction
By the year 2025, India is expected to be the home to the world’s third largest construction industry. As our population grows so does the need for housing, hospitals, schools, malls etc. Thus, it isn’t surprising to note that the construction sector is slowly making a change from traditional brick and cement construction to prefab construction. As the industry grows, more houses, malls, schools etc. will be built with prefabricated walls, floor panels, staircases, and more. So, it’s essential to know more about these.
What is Prefabricated Construction?
Prefabricated construction refers to a construction process wherein the components of a building are not built on site but instead, are constructed in a factory. This includes floor panels, outer load bearing wall panels, inside walls, staircases, hollow core slabs, etc. These elements are then assembled on site to complete the building process. Prefabricated construction has a number of advantages over traditional forms of construction. It is faster than traditional construction, reduces dependence on labor and hence avoids a number of delays. It helps maintain quality and also reduces the overall cost of construction.
Prefabricated Construction in India through the Years
While it may be gaining more popularity today, prefabricated construction is not a new concept in India. One of the earliest examples of prefabricated construction in India was seen during the refugee influx from West Pakistan in the 1950s. Most prefabricated construction plans at the time were intended for low-cost housing. This target market soon grew to include more up-market residences, public utility buildings, and hotels.
Current Status of Prefabricated Construction in India
Today, modular technology and prefabricated buildings account for only 1% of the country’s $100 Billion Real Estate Market. In comparison, prefabricated buildings in the global market are expected to grow at a rate of 6-7% until the year 2020.
While there are many reasons why the growth of prefab in India has been slow, the change in mindset cannot be denied.  A number of construction companies and builders in India are slowly realizing that though the initial costs of switching to prefab are high, it has a number of long term benefits. Thus, there is no single reason for the growing popularity of prefabricated construction in India.
Prefab and Green Buildings
With the changes in climate and ecology resulting from human behavior becoming more and more apparent, builders have also started to take a conscious approach towards sustainable construction. This is one area where prefab construction scores high against traditional brick and cement construction. Since the different components of a prefab structure are made in a factory, the need for heavy truck traffic carrying different raw materials to the construction site is reduced. The factories that produce prefab components such as precast columns and beams are better equipped to control the emission of toxic pollutants as compared to construction sites. In addition, they can also reduce wastage.
Prefab construction is eco-friendly not only in the construction stage but throughout its lifespan. Buildings constructed using these components are better insulated as compared to traditional constructions. Thus, the amount of energy required to heat or cool the interiors of a prefab building is significantly lower.
A Leaner Form of Construction
The need of the hour in India today is faster construction and shorter timelines. This must be done without compromising on quality. In shifting from creating all the components of a building on site to factories, builders can avoid delays caused by environmental factors such as bad weather as well as social factors like transporter strikes etc. The process also reduces the builder’s dependence on labor. Thus, the construction process can be streamlined and made more efficient. Prefab construction that is tied to technological applications like Building Information Models gives the builders data-centric information that helps them track cost, errors, and timelines. As a whole, this can lead to significant shortening of building schedules. It also makes it easier for builders to work on several projects simultaneously.
Savings with Prefab
There is a large difference in the costs associated with prefabricated construction and traditional construction. The former is much cheaper thanks to the reduced costs of transporting raw materials, wastage, labor etc. Builders can now transfer these cost benefits to their customers without affecting their profit margins. In the long run, this can increase the demand for new buildings and thus be beneficial to both builders and their customers.
According to analysts, the next decade will see a dramatic increase in prefab construction in India. One of the reasons for this will be the government’s planned projects of building 98 smart cities and over 20 million affordable houses by 2022. The construction sector of the Indian economy is set to contribute over 15% to the country’s overall GDP and expand to a market size of around $1 trillion. Prefabricated construction will be one of the key enablers of the Digital India mission and India’s infrastructural development.
Magicrete and Prefab Construction
As a leader in the field of green building materials, Magicrete offers a wide array of prefab products like columns and beams, stormwater drains, cable trenches, lightweight and load bearing panels and precast staircases too. These can be installed easily and quickly, are cost-effective, robust, and ensure design flexibility. These high quality prefab components can contribute significantly to the prefab construction scene in India.