KOCHI: Green buildings, which are coming up in the state, will be more costly for customers, courtesy the hike in freight rates by the Indian Railways.
Green buildings, also known as sustainable buildings, use a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s cycle and is 10 to 20 per cent more costlier than the normal apartments and buildings.
Several well known builders in the city are constructing buildings with green features though not necessarily green buildings in the strictest sense of the word. With freight rates going up by over 6 per cent, the project costs are bound to go up further. Prices of cement and steel, main inputs for the construction sector, would go up - by `10 per bag and `2-3 per kg - respectively, putting pressure on builders to pass on the higher costs to customers. Green buildings are meant for high-end customers and provide such facilities, including solar lighting, and efficient use of water.
Sunil Kumar, managing director at Asset Homes and joint secretary, CREDAI, said most of their upcoming projects have green features though they do not have green rating. Kumar admitted that the cost for green buildings would go up after the Railways hiked the freight rates. “Most of our raw materials such as steel and cement are transported into the state from outside. The hike in freight rates would trigger a rise in input costs,” he said, adding that he was yet to calculate the extent of input cost increase.
Paul Raj, director at Alfa Ventures, also secretary, CREDAI Kochi, said the exact increase in input costs for the construction industry needs to be ascertained after the freight rate hikes. “Most raw materials for the construction industry come from outside the state. We need to ascertain the exact increase in input materials after the freight rate increase,” he said. Alfa Ventures’ upcoming commercial complex at Vallarpadam will have green facilities, including water conservation, he said. CREDAI members would meet soon to take stock of the increase in freight rates, he said.
T Padmajan, president, Kerala Builders Association, pointed out that cement manufacturers have been hiking prices unilaterally even before the freight rate hike. This would impact green buildings as well. “There has been a 30 per cent increase in cement prices. The prices are expect to go up further,” he reckoned.