In the sprawling IIT-Madras campus I came across a swanky two-storey building with four flats. It looked sleek, elegant and was cooler inside. The interesting aspect was that this building wasn’t there a few weeks ago! The whole construction, including the finishing, had been done in less than a month! India has a severe housing shortage problem, which is well known. In particular, there is a need to address the shelter needs of the lower income groups and their aspirations. The challenge is to make these aspirations a reality, by providing for an affordable solution. Ideally, the solution should be scalable – to reach the masses – and should be quickly built, and at the same time addresses issues of sustainability and quality. Clearly, we need a ‘game changer’ in the housing industry.
The GFRG technology and its panels may be unfilled, partially filled or fully filled with reinforced concrete, as per the structural requirement. Experimental studies and research have shown that GFRG panels, suitably filled with reinforced concrete, possess substantial strength to act not only as load-bearing elements, but also as shear walls, capable of resisting lateral loads due to earthquake and wind. It is possible to design such buildings up to ten storeys in low seismic zones (and to lesser height in high seismic zones). However, such construction needs to be properly designed by a qualified structural engineer.
The GFRG demo building also demonstrates the use of an innovative waterproofing treatment using a nano-technology based solution, developed by Zydex Industries, Vadodara, for the specifications evolved by IIT Madras.