Benefits & Challenges of New Construction Techniques in Lahore
While prefab technologies reduce timelines and benefit builders, some challenges remain to be addressed before these technologies are embraced by developers and customers alike.
With a pro-development prime minister at the helm of affairs in Pakistan, infrastructure, housing development and urbanisation will receive a big boost.
It is imperative the Government accelerate efforts to support the housing and construction industry, especially since it is estimated that the sector has forward and backward linkages to ancillary industries. Moreover, multiple challenges and human resource shortfalls will not make it easy to address the housing shortage, which will require efforts from the public and private sectors to ensure the Government’s mass housing goals are met.
Against this backdrop, the housing sector needs to adopt modern construction techniques to reduce housing shortfalls by 2017. One way to speed up the creation of homes is by supplementing the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ construction model with modern techniques such as the use of prefabricated structures and materials. In many regions across the globe, prefab technologies have been used to construct homes speedily and cost-effectively. Innovative construction techniques increase the speed of production and compress delivery timeframes. Aluminium form work, prefabricated modules and dry walls are some techniques favoured by construction companies in Pakistan.
Faster construction is a boon for builders because the longer the construction timelines, the higher their cost of borrowing funds. Time being money for developers, prefab modular structures and modern construction techniques lead to quicker unit sales and faster revenue generation. In such cases, factory-made components are used to construct buildings. Prefab materials include steel frames for structures, panels made of wood, cement, gypsum and other materials for floors, walls and ceilings, as well as factory-made doors, windows and ventilators. If the project is large, various modules of the structure are made off-site in factories and finally assembled onsite.
The aluminium form work comprises multiple replications of the floors, with all internal and external walls in RCC (reinforced cement concrete), which substantially slashes construction time. If the form work is complete, the multiplication and laying of typical floors is swift, unlike in conventional framed structures. Dry walls and prefab modules reduce timelines considerably as the components are produced at the factory and simply assembled at the site easily and speedily. Additionally, their dead load on the structure is minimal compared to traditional brick walls. Terrace and wall blocks, wall panels, steel frames and plaster boards are also used along with the dry-wall technique.
In fact, with prefab technology, an entire building can be designed through architecture software. Components such as steel frames, wall and ceiling panels as well as floor tiles can be custom-made thereafter. The different components are then taken onsite and assembled. In this manner, houses built with steel frames can have multiple storeys without pillars, beams and concrete. If required, the main structure and outer framework can be built with traditional techniques, while the inside partitions and interiors could be completed with prefab materials.