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Nov 30th 2021
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Home Lifestyle Miscellaneous India's premier institute offers solution for country’s housing shortage

India's premier institute offers solution for country’s housing shortage

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Model house from IITMIIT Madras showcase its rapid affordable mass housing technology.


Chennai. Researchers in the Civil Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) have developed a method of design and construction to make use of Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum (GFRG) panels to build rapid, cost-effective mass housing. To showcase this technology, a ‘model housing apartment’ comprising four flats in a two-storeyed building, has been constructed inside the IIT-M campus.

Since 2003, the IITM research team had conducted extensive studies on the use of these panels as structural members for all components of the building, including earthquake resistant design. These panels, originally developed by RBS Australia, were intended as wall panels (‘Rapidwall’) suitable for rapid erection of walls in buildings to carry gravity loads. The panels are made of calcined gypsum plaster, combined with special additives and glass fibres, to produce GFRG panels. The IITM research group extended the application of this product for the entire building system – including floors, roofs, and staircases, thus significantly reducing the consumption of Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC). The team also collaborated in the indigenous development of an excellent water-proofing material, which is essential for prolonged durability of the GFRG panels, especially in the case of roofs and toilets.

This demonstration building will also be used by another research group at IITM Madras working on decentralised solar photovoltaic systems with Direct Current (DC) appliances, to demonstrate savings in electrical energy consumption.

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras said, “The GFRG building is replicable for mass housing, vertically and horizontally. The use of prefabricated light-weight GFRG panels not only implies faster overall construction time but also a safer working environment. The cost of the construction, with all amenities, has been reduced to about Rs.1250 per square foot.”


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