A Move Towards Prefabricated Construction

We have seen New Delhi’s air pollution situation worsen year after year. It is reported that 30% of the total air pollution in the city is caused by construction dust proliferated by materials like concrete, cement, aggregate and sand. In this context, many companies and developers executing large-scale projects have observed that prefabricated construction is a valuable and significant solution to reduce dust, air and environmental pollution on site. 

In prefabricated construction, modular building components are manufactured in factories, transported to the site and assembled on-site. It ensures that more than 50 per cent of the project work occurs in factories, reducing air and noise pollution and water consumption on site, in contrast to RCC construction. A recent example is the new Parliament building project, currently under construction on Central Vista in New Delhi, using prefabricated blocks manufactured in factories out of Delhi. 

Prefabrication or using modular components has enabled a rapid speed of project development, with a higher quality of building execution and more control over cost prediction. In addition, the standardisation of building components and pre-calculated numbers of units can potentially reduce material wastage on site. Shorter time of construction, curbing air and noise pollution, and minimising wastage all directly contribute to a building’s sustainability goals. Further, reduced disruption to the building site and surrounding environment also mitigate the negative impact of construction on the neighbourhood community. 

Like all construction techniques, prefabrication also has challenges that might discourage developers from using it. Transportation of bulky or heavy building components from factories to the site, especially in crowded cities like Delhi, is a major inconvenience which also incurs high costs. In such cases, architects, engineers and project managers can design units suitable for transport or arrange transportation during off-peak hours. In such cases, the fabrication location must also be decided in advance, considering the allotted project costs and other logistics catering to feasibility. Furthermore, in prefabricated development, there is little room for error or spontaneous, ad-hoc changes. Owners must make final decisions on spatial design, material selection, and overall costs well before the work begins. 

With all the positives and negatives of prefabricated construction, one has to consider that this field is rapidly evolving and advancing in the current times. However, the fact remains that it is a vital resource for enhanced and rapid construction that leaves a lesser impact on its surrounding environment as compared to conventional methods. Considering that it has several benefits concerning pollution and the conservation of resources, developers must opt for prefabrication, especially in Delhi and other metropolitan cities in India prone to high levels of pollution.