Researchers in the Civil Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT M) 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. The ‘GFRG demo building’, constructed in just a month, was inaugurated today by Sri TKA Nair, Advisor to Honourable Prime Minister of India, in the presence of Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras.

High speed of construction: GFRG demo building with four flats in two storeys (total 1981 sq. ft.) built within a month!

— Less built-up area for the same carpet area: wall panels are only 124mm thick.

— Less embodied energy and carbon footprint: significant reduction in use of cement, sand, steel and water; recycling of industrial waste gypsum.

— Lower cost of structure: savings in materials; no plastering.

— Lower building weight (panels weigh only 43 kg/m2), contributing to savings in foundation and reduction in design for earthquake forces, particularly in multi-storeyed construction.

— Buildings up to 8-10 storeys can be designed using this load-bearing system, without the need for beams and columns.

— Excellent finishes of prefabricated GFRG panels – used for all the walls, floors and staircases, with minimal embedded concrete: no need for additional plastering.