CHENNAI: An innovative building technology that makes it possible to construct multi-storey buildings in just a matter of weeks may become the game-changer in providing homes for the poor in the State. The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, which is in-charge of rehabilitating slum dwellers, has tied up with IIT Madras and is planning to carry out a pilot project by constructing houses using the Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum (GFRG) Building Technology in Kancheepuram district.
If the pilot project is a success, it will not only mean a 15 percent reduction in construction cost, but also that tenements for the poor can be built faster.
Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum panels are essentially made out of gypsum plaster - a fertilizer industry waste by-product - and reinforced with glass fibre rovings. It is manufactured by Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mumbai and FACT Ltd, Kochi. The panels would replace bricks and cement to build walls and drastically reduce the construction period. For example, IIT M built a two-storey building in its campus in 2013 in just 29 days using the technology. Researchers in IIT say that unlike conventional technology, GFRG buildings are scalable. Buildings up to 8-10 storeys can be designed using load-bearing system without the need for beams and columns.
Official sources in the Slum Clearance Board said that they are coordinating with IIT Madras to build four-storey buildings in Kancheepuram district as a pilot project. The pilot project will be carried out under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
If the pilot project becomes a success, it will help the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board in achieving its target of building 12.94 lakh houses for the economically weaker sections.
Advantages of GFRG
Faster construction speed - a four storey building will take 15 days to one month
Less built-up area for the same carpet area.
Less energy cost and carbon footprint
Significant reduction in cost of construction material