Vollert’s cutting-edge precast machinery at India’s largest onsite precast plant measuring 76,000 sq. ft. ensures maximum flexibility and best control over processes and timelines allowing Sobha to complete construction up to 25 per cent faster than conventional methods producing an average of 20,000 sq. ft. worth of precast elements every day.
In present day India, precast construction is the flavour of the season within the construction industry and is likely to last many seasons without doubt. It had its past in ancient Rome where, its builders used to pour concrete into moulds to create tunnels, culverts and aqueducts; which turned to be a faster process. These struc-tures still stand today, thanks to the durability of precast technology. Today it is much more evolved through modernization of techniques catering to a whole host of ar-chitectural and structural needs be it individual parts or entire building systems.
Cut to the India of the present, and precast is what will make Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Housing for All by 2022’, launched in June 2015, to reach its target of building nearly 20 million houses over the next seven years. And in a brilliantly quick move, the Bengaluru headquartered Rs. 25 billion construction behemoth Sobha Limited, has gone the precast way with the Sobha Dream Series project. The brainchild of its chairman Ravi Menon, a civil engineer from Purdue University, Sobha Dream Series, a new segment in housing initiated in 2015; is targeted at first time home buyers, who are keen to own their dream home quickly where international quality meets affordability.
The first project under the Sobha Dream Series banner is Sobha Dream Acres. It occupies 81 acres and is located at Bengaluru’s Golden Quadrilateral off ORR Balagere, near Marathahalli, Bengaluru East. An over 6,500 numbered housing mega project in Bangalore, it is made entirely of precast concrete elements, manufactured in-house in a modern factory set up within the project site. Over 1,200 units have been sold out. There is provision for 80 per cent open space; amenities include five club houses, five swimming pools and more; and infusion of smart technology all over is ensured.
Since inception in 1995, Sobha has completed 111 real estate projects and 278 contractual projects covering about 81.64 million square feet of area. Today, twenty years and counting, the company is a Rs 2,500 crore brand and has earned its place as one of the largest real estate organisations in India with a presence in 25 cities and 13 states across India and also throughout the Middle East.
Why go the Precast Way?
Precast is the smartest solution for affordable mass housing projects to be delivered to its owners in the shortest span of time. The reasons range from the ease of construction, quality assurance, faster delivery, less resources used and less labour required therefore bringing down costs significantly. Today modular precast is one of the world’s most reliable ways to build with no compromise on quality or safety. Due to its industrial method of production it has lower lifetime costs than any other building solution lasting several years with very little maintenance needed. Logistically it is a winner with just one delivery vehicle needed to transport precast floors, walls, frames and foundation to a construction site ready-to-install instead of many raw material trips to and fro. It can be used as the only building material, or combined with steel for a composite structure. Precast can be manufactured in any shape, color or finish. Once the slabs are arranged, painting is immediately done as there is no need to plaster because the curing done earlier smoothens the wall surfaces thus saving a week’s time.
Sobha and Vollert: Partners in Precast
Sobha uses advanced precast technology to deliver better homes faster. Precast concrete is produced by casting concrete in a reusable mould. It is cured in a controlled environment, transported to site and lifted into place. It is highly versatile, available in vast range of different sizes, functions and finishes. At the site is India’s largest onsite precast plant measuring 76,000 sq. ft. thus ensuring maximum flexibility and best control over processes and timelines allowing Sobha to complete construction up to 25 per cent faster than conventional methods producing an average of 20,000 sq. ft. worth of precast elements every day.
The technology is from companies based in Germany and Italy. Germany’s Vollert active in India since June 2011, supplied the knowledge and know-how of precast technology to Sobha and advised it on how to implement the optimal building system and develop the right turn-key system solutions as well. Debashish Roy, Country Head, Vollert India, says, “We have set up precast manufacturing centers for top-notch developers and contractors in India. And the precast set-up equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology is the one for Sobha Limited.”
In addition to batch production of plane wall and slab elements, complex special concrete parts, precast staircases, facade elements, concrete columns and beams are also going to be produced. To ensure that the complete manufacturing process runs in very high cycle times, these special concrete elements are produced using stationary formwork technology from specialist Nuspl.
“With Nuspl, which has been a part of the Vollert Group since 2012, we offer our customers the most modern manufacturing processes for plane and structural precast concrete parts. We plan the complete system technology in a single step. At Sobha Limited we used 3D simulation to develop a spatially optimised solution for the stationary formwork technology and a highly modern palette circulation system for solid walls. The customer profits from the know-how that we have dev-eloped over decades. The degree of automation in the precast concrete part production at the new Sobha plant in Bangalore was coordinated optimally with the framework conditions in India. A special focus was placed on the machine technology, beginning with concrete output and ranging to logistical loading processes. For the high precast element quality, however, the overall work preparations are also becoming increasingly critical, for example when plotting part contours,” voices Steffen Schmitt Executive Sales Director Asia, Vollert.
The concrete output is fed by a highly modern concrete mixing system using leading Liebherr technology. Only the right concrete mixing enables high-quality, durable solid concrete parts to be manufactured. This problem was neglected by the Indian construction industry until now. The solid concrete elements are lifted vertically by two high-performance tilting stations. This occurs up to a maximum tilt angle of 80°. The ‘Vario Tilt’ tilting station also possesses a hydraulically driven support beam, which moves up to the fixed edge formwork during the tilting process. In order to regulate the automated machine technology, output management, retrieval, depositing and transport processes; a permanent software-supported, CADCAM-based control system regulates individual processes in the complete system structure. Structural precast concrete parts, on the other hand, are extremely variable with regard to dimensions and geometry. For these new requirements, Sobha also invested in modern form-work technology for concrete beams and columns production.
With the new precast concrete plant in Bangalore, Sobha has produced solid concrete parts and structural special elements for its construction projects since July 2015. It reached a genuine milestone for India with regard to component quality and system productivity. Project delays in construction plans are minimised or nearly eliminated. Scrap concrete is also significantly reduced compared with conventional construction situations. Simply put, precast construction technology is an intelligent combination of optimum cost raw material and highly intelligent system technology. “Our first precast based residential project, Sobha Dream Acres at Balagere in Bangalore, is yet another milestone in the history of Sobha Limited. The new construction technology made this a challenging project for us from the very beginning. However Vollert’s great know-how as a supplier of knowledge and precast technology helped us to take this next big step comfortably” explains Mr. Menon.
Precast concrete parts will reduce construction costs in India by 10-15 per cent and thus would become the best res-ponse to the increasing demand for cost-effective living spaces. Building repairs that frequently occur early on due to leaks and cracks are also omitted due to the fact that precast concrete parts are extremely solid and durable. Even noise emissions in the buildings are clearly reduced.
Well, at present, precast can no longer be ignored and it is the emerging reality in the Indian realty space.
“We have set up precast manufacturing centers for top-notch developers and con-tractors in India. And the precast set-up equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology is the one for Sobha Limited.”
“Our first precast based residential project, Sobha Dream Acres at Balagere in Bangalore, is yet another milestone in the history of Sobha Limited. The new construction technology made this a challenging project for us from the very beginning. However Vollert’s great know-how as a supplier of knowledge and precast technology helped us to take this next big step comfortably”
Debashish Roy, Country Head, Vollert India
Ravi Menon, Chairman, Sobha Limited