Dr Vijay Raman, Business Director, Construction Chemicals, BASF South Asia sees construction chemicals playing an important role in the expansion of the affordable housing segment, by reducing the cost of construction. In India, he says, “as it is, inordinately long project completion periods significantly drive up the cost of labour and energy and overall project cost.”
“Affordable housing developers are budgeting for the use of construction chemicals, which is a good sign,” says Preetham Yeada, Associate Vice-President, Commercial & Corporate Strategy, MYK Arment. “Many affordable housing developers are fairly experienced players, and so they are aware of good construction practices.”
In an affordable housing project for the Karnataka Slum Clearance Board in Bengaluru, BASF’s Smart Dynamic Concrete (SDC), containing admixtures that increase flowability and ease of pumping of concrete at site, enabled the construction of a building of three floors in 20 days, vis-à-vis a minimum of 35 days when using traditional concrete. Essentially, SDC increased the speed of placing concrete by up to 40 per cent, thus speeding up the construction process. A total of 1,200 low cost flats were built in 18 months, as against the 30-36 months projection time. By lowering the cementitious content in concrete, SDC also helps reduce construction costs. Once in place, the concrete self-compacts and maintains durability.
SDC has also been used in Sobha Ltd’s Sobha Indraprastha residential project in Bengaluru project and Pashmina Developers’ Pashmina Waterfront residential project in Bengaluru.
“It is imperative that we don't build vertical slums in the name of affordable housing,” cautions Sanjay Bahadur, Group CEO, Construction Chemical Business, Pidilite Industries, alluding to the need to select an appropriate system for each project. For the best results, he says it is important to protect the general areas of application failure such as corners, and areas around pipes and expansion joints.
“In general, the affordable housing boom has increased the uptake of performance-enhancing construction chemicals,” concludes Basab Saha, Business Head, Dow Construction Chemicals, South Asia. However, he notes that developers can still do a lot more in terms of applying the latest construction tech solutions. “Affordable housing has the potential to absorb a variety of hybrid solutions such as acrylics, silicones, polyurethane and others, which can be offered in segments like precast, lightweight concrete and more.”
- CHARU BAHRI