Housing- Mass Housing and Technological options

   It is well known that shelter is next to food and clothing in the hierarchy of human needs. Hence, the social importance of housing cannot be over emphasized. Burgeoning population has created a serious situation in fulfilling the shelter needs of teeming millions. Despite the various schemes of shelter for masses, an acute shortage of housing numbering around 27 million units in urban India and 40 million units in rural India has been a major cause of concern. To address this issue, one of the needs is to look at technological options that would enable speedy and durable construction.

   Realizing the challenge, the Govt. of India took several initiatives to create opportunities and supporting environment to overcome this housing shortage in most effective manner. The National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy 2007 by Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation, inter-alia, lays emphasis on using technology for modernizing the housing sector for enhancing energy and cost efficiency, productivity and quality specially to meet the housing needs of the poor. It encourages use of prefabricated factory made building components so as to achieve speedy, cost effective and better quality construction.

   In India due to massive migration to Urban areas affordable mass housing is the requirement. For this precast technology is the most preferred solution. All over the world, this technology is widely used.


(i) Precast – Pre-stressed Concrete Panels for Mass Housing:
   In this technology, majority of structural components above plinth level such as walls, floor slabs stair cases, water tanks etc. are standardized and produced in a factory at a location away from the building site with strict quality control and quality assurance system. These components are then transported to site and assembled. These components are manufactured in the factory in mass production in order to build a large number of buildings in a short time at low cost.

 Number of projects have been executed in India, using precast pre-stressed concrete construction. Few projects are worth mentioning because of their pioneering nature, logistics and special requirements, including one constructed in extreme cold climate of Leh-Laddakh for MES while other in extreme hot climate of Kutch, Gujarat for UNICEF and other NGO’s. A multi storied building for Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and low cost houses in Mumbai were also constructed.

  There is a growing realization that providing mass housing using industrialized construction is the only way of fulfilling the ambitions of State and National Housing Plans.

(ii) Rapid Monolithic Disaster Proof (RMD) Technology for Mass Housing:
  RMD Technology is the construction in which all the elements are cast together with reinforced cement concrete (RCC) by using aluminium- form/similar form work which supports wall, beam, column, roof slab and other elements together for concreting at single go. This ensures absolutely no joints (monolithic) between the elements with great surface finish, hence highly durable and earthquake resistant. This is nothing but the strong concrete house. This can be a preferred technology for economically weaker sections (EWS) and low income groups housing schemes. Rajiv Gandhi Housing Corporation Ltd. (RGHCL) is the first Govt. agency to adopt RMD Technology in mass housing.

  These technologies reduce the labour dependency, improve quality of construction,manages early delivery of project within budgeted cost. These are cost effective and durable structures.

  In Europe and Middle East, use of precast concrete and engineering homes technology has enabled certain developers in saving up to 64% of the total man hours needed using conventional methods.

  A recent study conducted by KPMG (a global network of professional firms providing audit advisory and tax services) and National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO) has revealed that by 2022, 110 million housing units will have to be built (60 million rural and 50 million in urban) to provide housing for all.

  The cost of housing projects development could be reduced by over 30% and the completion time shortened by over 40% if more developers start using the latest construction methods and standardized project designs, (for instance, assembling housing structures from pre-fabricated components manufactured off-site). Process improvements such as efficient procurement methods would help as well.