What's new in the world of construction technology?

What's new in the world of construction technology?

Rapid urbanisation coupled with an increased white-collar migration to bigger cities has placed the real estate market in the country on the growth trajectory in the last decade. But the soaring cost of construction and the intermittent availability of trained labour has always been a constant problem for its growth.

Realising the underlying challenges, the Indian real estate and allied industry have made significant transformations when it comes to construction technology and design aspects to weed out the existing anomalies to keep its growth on track.

Several leading developers have already been implementing state-of-the-art construction technology for their ongoing and upcoming projects for a long time. But on the backdrop of recent policy and structural changes, this has further propelled many players to adopt innovative construction technology.

Let’s look at three construction technologies that will define and shape the real estate sector in the future:

Technology 2.0

The use of pre-cast technology for building urban infrastructure and large urban housing projects is common in cities. Today, the technology appears to be used for the construction of apartments in the urban areas too. Especially developers who are focused on the affordable housing segment or have forayed into the sector recently post the sops offered in the budget are adopting the precast technology. Precast technology ensures quality, clean and speedy construction with lower construction costs.

An affordable housing project involves the construction of over 1,000 to 2,000 standard size apartment units; and in different phases, the construction requirements are different. To avoid skilled labour shortage, time delays with the end goal of delivering a quality product, developers and builders are opting for precast technology currently.

With affordable housing foreseen as the future of the real estate sector, precast technology will play a pivotal role. The construction is environment-friendly as the units are assembled at the factory, transported to the site, and then finally installed in a short span of time.

Zero energy homes

The green technology consists of ever-evolving techniques and innovative methods, using fewer toxic or non-toxic materials to curtail the adverse effects of pollution and preserve the natural environment. The term also describes technology that promotes the generation of energy by sustainable means such as wind turbines, hydroelectric plants, bioreactors, solar panels, etc. In turn, this ensures healthy living conditions for the current generation and a habitable environment for future generations.

One futuristic trend is zero energy homes. Zero energy homes refer to a method of construction which operates off the electric grid, utilising renewable energy sources to produce energy (for instance, wind collector and solar panel). They are designed to be highly energy-efficient with excellent insulation and are integrated with passive solar building designs. This term refers to the use of specialised materials to construct walls, roofs and windows that can collect, store and distribute solar energy to meet the energy requirements of a modern home. Zero energy homes are expected to become increasingly popular despite high initial costs, as they promote positive environmental impact and mostly pay off in the long run.

Modelling approach

The construction industry has long implemented manual processes when it comes to the designing of a structure or making of the miniature model. Blueprints are an architect’s best friend; however, they come with a host of unforeseen errors and miscalculations. Converting these blueprints into working models carries with it risks of its own.

Thanks to digital technology today, we have methods like 3D modelling and printing that help in deriving precision-based models of structure, leading to successful outcomes today. Building information modelling (BIM) is the process used to collect building data which is then converted into a 3D model of the final product. This model features the actual components of the building along with the exact dimensions on a smaller scale. It integrates design and construction to understand how the design will translate into building the structure.

In the coming times, technologies will continue to play a crucial role in construction landscape as India inches forward to meet its mission of providing homes for all. The Indian real estate sector, along with its 250 odd ancillary industries, is the second largest provider of employment opportunities in India.

With a likely improvement in the economic conditions and an increase in the number of white-collared jobs, the demand for housing segment will continue to rise.

(The author is managing director, Puravankara Limited)

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