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Houses that can be transported

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With pre-cast technology that helps build four houses a day, it’s an interesting sight at the site, says B. S. Satish Kumar

Factory readyPre fab technology is here to stay
Factory readyPre fab technology is here to stay

How much time does it take to build a house? Four to six months, at least? Well, here is technology that helps build a minimum of four houses a day. These are ready-made houses built in the factory with all the amenities and later transported to the construction site. Of course, this is applicable only for the vertical or group housing structures like apartment complexes and hotels. The application of such a technology, which has got Australian and New Zealand patents, has silently commenced in Bangalore. The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), which is building a residential apartment complex with 1,520 houses on 12 acres of land at Alur, of Dasanapura hobli in Bangalore North Taluk, has adopted this technology.

Houses sent on trucks

It is interesting to watch the way this housing complex is built as they transport the entire house from the factory on trucks and place it on the construction site. The flooring, windows, kitchen benches and even the commodes are fitted at the factory itself. This is not all, the electric wiring including fitting of switches and plumbing work is done at the factory itself. Even the staircase for the building is a pre-cast one which has been made at the factory.

New Zealand builder and head of Moore Living, Gavin Moore, who is the inventor of this pre-cast technology says about 95 per cent of the construction and other works are completed in the factory itself under this pre-cast technology, unlike the conventional pre-cast technology where a meagre percentage of civil work is done in factory.

Another difference is that it uses cubes as units unlike the conventional technology that uses walls as units. Explaining the housing project of BDA, Moore notes that they have divided each house with an area of 400 square feet into two units of 240 sq. ft and 160 sq. ft for easy transporting. These structures would be built completely at the construction plant located nearby and then sent to the construction site.

The walls made up of concrete are linked to iron pillars at the corners which bear the load. According to Moore, they have better quality and more longevity than the conventional houses. “These pillars have a locking system to hold together the building structure. The outer walls have a thickness of four inches while the inner walls are three inches. The structure is earthquake resistant too,” explains Moore. Though this project is meant for economically weaker sections, Moore reiterates that this technology is ideal for luxury houses too and notes that they have built motels in Australia and residential complexes in New Zealand using the same expertise. One has to get license from the Moores to use this patented technology.

BDA, the biggest user

While four houses are being built a day presently, it will be possible to build 12 houses a day by the middle of this month when we will be adding two more construction plants, he says. Each plant can help build four houses a day.

Moore, who is supervising the construction at Alur, says this technology can be used to build structures up to a maximum of 12 storeys. While this technology was developed in 2010, the ongoing project of the BDA is the biggest one to use this construction method so far.

Even as the cost of construction under this system is on a par with the conventional building methodologies, this pre-cast system “has advantages due to its versatility, the speed involved in its production too helping to avoid cost escalations,” says C. P. Umesh, who is executing the BDA’s Alur project, besides obtaining the license from the Moores for implementing the technology in Karnataka. He says it is possible to provide quality, comfort and luxury within reasonable rates through this technology through mass production.

This is the first time in the country pre-cast technology is being used to build the entire house, he says.

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