Affordable housing in India

by | Oct 14, 2020

Affordable housing is the new buzz word in Indian real estate. Especially after the clarion call from our prime minister about “Housing for All”, affordable housing has gained renewed traction. Affordable housing is construed to be an offshoot of innovative alternatives that we have realized for pre-existing construction practices and methods that we have resorted to, for ages.


Efficient use of materials, while deploying innovative methods and practices in construction has led to reduced construction time and cost. While making the concept of affordable housing, not a distant dream but a present reality.


Innovation in construction


Reinforced concrete: An Expensive Affair

In India, reinforced concrete has been the mainstay in construction for some time now, besides being a costly affair. Fortunately, faster adoption of technology has led to the introduction of new-age materials as an alternative to erstwhile materials like reinforced concrete ensuring a substantial reduction in overall construction cost.


Stone-Brick-Mortar Trio vs. Alternatives

Masonry forms a considerable chunk in the construction cost. With the influence of technology, many alternative materials were introduced surpassing the dependence on the stone-brick-mortar trio. For example, fly ash bricks and Siporex blocks are a widely used admixture to concrete as against conventional concrete mix. Moreover, these bricks are fire-reticent and encompass a wider area of cross-section as suppose to traditional concrete blocks.


Hollow bricks and associated benefits

Off late, the usage of hollow concrete bricks has gained wide acceptance. Mainly because they are light-weight and easily amenable ensuring the swiftness in the construction process. The hollowness of the brick inherently provision for air gaps, ensuring necessary insulation, while defying the necessity of additional materials for insulation purposes. The quantity of mortar required in its making is less, thus further reducing the cost.


Filler Slab Technique vs. RCC

The application of the filler slab technique as an alternative to normal RCC is instrumental in lowering the construction cost by a considerable measure. In this technique, a grid is prepared with RCC and infused with cheaper materials as against concrete, while not compromising on the strength of the slab. Materials like Mangalore tiles, bricks, hollow concrete blocks, clay pots, and coconut shells which are lightweight and inexpensive are best used as stuffing materials.


The factory manufactured pre-engineered products

Out-of-factory or pre-engineered products are gaining traction as an innovative technique in the present day construction industry. They are finished products on their own right, manufactured in factory set up, and translocated to the construction site, and assembled to form the desired shape. Insofar as constructing stairs, slabs, and floors are concerned, there is the increased usage of pre-cast concrete panels. The application of pre-cast concrete panels is expected to reduce the time consumed for in-situ construction.


GFRG panels are revolutionalizing the construction industry

Researchers from IIT-Madras have brought out a Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum panels, whose application stretches from walls to floors and roofs, effectively ruling out the necessity of the traditional column beam system. By the use of these GFRG panels, one can bring down the cost of construction by 25% and substantially reduce the construction time.


India on the verge of reaping the benefits of the Demographic dividend, With half of its population below the age of 28, effectively hinting at a large working-age population and intern demand for housing and other related infrastructure. It is not only an opportunity, but a dire necessity to take necessary steps for ensuring affordable homes for a large chunk of the population.


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