With cost of construction material shooting through the roof, many builders these days are in search of alternative building materials which offer cost advantages too.

The concept of green buildings is also catching up fast, with high premium placed on eco-friendly buildings.

Smartboard, and Smartwood, two products introduced into the world market by the Siam Public Company of Thailand, are said to address these needs precisely. While the Smartboard rules out the use of bricks and concrete, Smartwood is an effective replacement for the natural wood, the company claims.

Smartboard wall system is the biggest alternative for a brick or concrete block wall, especially partition walls, says Harsh Bhutani, the Executive Director, Hydrobaths Ramco Marketing Pvt. Ltd. which is promoting the products in India.

“One of the biggest problems for project delays in India lies in the way we build partition walls. Over 95 percent of the partition walls here are primarily brick or block walls with cement plaster and POP covering. This is time consuming, dirty, cumbersome, and labour intensive.

In addition to these problems, the procurement of good quality bricks, labour, construction sand, water and other materials is becoming expensive and difficult by the day,” Mr. Bhutani says explaining the relevance of Smartboards.

Smartboard sheets are made of cellulose fiber, Portland cement, silica and water.

They are suitable for high performance dry walls, ceilings, claddings and raised floors, and can be used for external walls and ceilings, internal walls, partitions, ceiling and other areas. It is water proof, termite proof, fire proof, sound proof and has good thermal insulation.

It also reduces the costs indirectly, through its logistical benefits, as it can be pre-fabricated and can be installed on-site. Further, it saves on time also, as installation of Smartboard is about 30 times faster than brick wall, Mr. Bhutani claims.

Smartwood, on the other hand, is a fibre cement alternative to wood, and can be used as facading material.

It is produced as a fibre cement sheet with cellulose fibre, Portland cement, silica and other admixtures, under a highly controlled environment using the Firm and Flex technology.

Though globally most countries have graduated to the dry wall technology several decades ago, in India, it has been catching up only now, says Mr. Bhutani, and lists some builders using the technology, including Jimmy Mistry, Della Builders, Navneet Developers, Mumbai and Ravani Developers, Surat.

Those in the city who are interested in the smart wall system, may mail to ‘smarttech.hyderabad@gmail.com’ for more details.

Swathi V