Speedy delivery of houses at affordable cost is the need of the hour and is one of the key challenges being faced in mass housing sector today. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) reports that India’s rural housing shortage stands at 40 million dwelling units whereas the urban housing shortage is 18.78 million units, of which 99% relates to Economically Weaker Section (EWS) and Low Income Group (LIG) types.
Scarcity and increasing cost of construction material calls for alternative affordable solutions for these segments. IIT Madras carried a research on GFRG (Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum) panels for over a decade in order to address this issue. The technology promises fast-track delivery of quality houses at an affordable cost.
GFRG technology is being seen as a revolution in construction that could bring down the costs significantly.
GFRG panels made of high quality gypsum plaster reinforced with special glass rovings were first introduced in Australia in 1990. This technology replaced the traditional method of construction where use of blocks and bricks was popular for the structure of a house. These panels are prefabricated and manufactured at factories and brought to the construction site directly. Once the foundation is laid, these panels are erected on the foundation with the help of cranes. These panels do not need plastering and painting like in a normal wall.
“GFRG Panel known as Rapidwall is a building panel made-up of calcined gypsum plaster, reinforced with glass fibers. GFRG panels can be load bearing walls or partition walls in multi-storeyed buildings. Although this concept has been used in India only on experimental basis and has not yet been commercialised because of certain limitations. It does not allow fancy architecture and there are a lot of plumbing and electrical restrictions which have till now limited its commercial use but these are things of the past,” said Deepak Kapoor, president CREDAI-Western UP.