June 9, 2011 by Parthajeet
Over the past 3 years or so in India, I have been noticing a lot of debate and talk around faster methods of construction and low cost housing. Often the two issues are linked, without much logical reason.
Of course it goes without saying that if one is able to complete housing projects faster (50-70% faster), then one can pass on the cost benefits of such methodologies to the end consumer. This, along with other modes of value reengineering like smarter designs, better use of materials, eliminating wastages, etc, can make a substantial difference in the production cost of housing units.
However two questions come to my mind:
- What about land cost?
- Are such customers able to accept faster delivery?
LAND COST: Most of the talk about low cost housing is in urban areas. With no control on land prices, in cities like Mumbai, shanties are euphemistically termed as “Bungalows”. In such cities, even if one comes up with a lower cost of construction, how does one keep a check on the land prices? With land prices being so high, “affordable housing” in such cities are unaffordable.
FASTER DELIVERY: I have noticed that at the lower strata and/or in semi-urban areas, customers are beginning to say that they do not need faster delivery, as they cannot have the funds in place on time. They are happy with the usual slow pace of delivery (18-36 months) as this allows them breathing space to collate funds.
These two issues need a bit of pondering before we go all out tom-tomming about faster and cheaper ways of constructing. The governments need to be a party to this, for a marketable solution to the 20 million housing shortage.
FAST METHODS DO WORK
Faster methods of construction do work well in case of projects which do not always necessarily come with a “low cost” tag. Shown alongside is a picture of a hotel project where the civil and interiors were completed in 6 months.