Can technology combat high costs and extended delivery timelines?

While advancements in construction technology, can reduce the cost and time for construction and optimise the usage of space, the extent of its adoption by developers remains to be seen

A Mumbai-based developer announced last year, that they would give possession of completed apartments within two years of launch, failing which, the apartments would be given free. While this may have sounded like a mere marketing strategy, advancements in construction technology, have enabled builders to announce such schemes with confidence.

On being probed, the developer, Omkar Realtors & Developers, revealed that they are using a technology that enables them to deliver the project, Ananta, in just 21 months time, by March 2017. “It is a technology that has not been used in India. Very few real estate projects in the world have made use of this technology,” said the company’s director, Devang Varma, while refusing to divulge further details.

Omkar is not the only developer that is confident of timely delivery with the use of high-end technology. As a matter of fact, KEF Infra in Karnataka recently delivered one lakh sq ft factory-built residential complex that was designed and constructed in a record nine months. The project was fully prefabricated, including MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing), sanitary ware, tiling and fittings.

See also: Can prefab construction make homes more affordable?

 

Technologies that Indian developers are adopting, for faster construction

Other developers, like Sobha Ltd, have gone to the extent of establishing a prefabrication factory at their project, Sobha Dream Series, in Panathur, Bengaluru. Similarly, in Gurgaon, Raheja Developers is using construction systems by German company PERI, for their super- luxury project, Raheja Revanta. “Prefabricated shuttering scaffolding systems and rail climbing systems, designed by PERI, have decreased the cycle of slab construction from 20-25 days to 5-6 days, thereby, increasing the speed of construction, achieving a seven-day cycle per floor. During the construction of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Arabtec achieved a floor cycle of 3.5 days,” elaborates Naveen Raheja, CMD of Raheja Developers.

Hybrid technology, ready-to-fit components and assembly of pre-cast hollow blocks, are some options that are now available during construction, and possible owing to advancements in technology, explains Siddharth Bhatia, marketing head of The Wadhwa Group. These options enable fairly quick construction, without compromising on quality. “This ensures reduced on-site work and allow faster delivery of ready properties to customers. Thus, technology offers speedy execution options at a lower cost, thereby, making affordable housing a reality,” maintains Bhatia.

 

How technology can help the affordable housing segment

Technology can also aid the creation of affordable housing, in the design stage. Experts point out that most of the budget home projects in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru, are not designed for optimal and maximised use of the available spaces. Technology can minimise wastage of space and excessive loading of built-up area. Designing affordable homes with the help of housing design software, can make a big difference.

In the construction stage, the use of Alu-form and Waffle Crete technology and construction materials, such as autoclaved aerated lightweight concrete blocks, fly ash bricks and building blocks made of mud that have been stabilised with cement or lime, can provide benefits and reduce project delivery timelines. While there is no doubt that technology can add a great deal of value to the Indian real estate sector, only time will reveal how many developers are willing to adopt it.

(The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)

 

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