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CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 GENERAL
The basic principle of prefabrication, whereby a home is prefabricated in one
location and then delivered to another, has been around for at least a few hundred years. The
most widely cited benefit of prefab is economy of scale, as components or entire homes can be
produced in large quantities. But this is not a prerequisite for success. Theres value in faster
project schedules, fewer weather delays, and more efficient use of materials thanks to
optimization and quality control. One of the primary benefits for the buyer is predictability:
Predefined design details and construction processes give the client a degree of surety about the
outcome that is often absent in custom projects.
2.2 PRESENT SCENARIO AROUND THE GLOBE

Between 1908 and 1940, Sears, Roebuck, and Company sold over 70,000
prefabricated house kits by mail to enterprising do-it-yourselfers across North America. These
ready-to-assemble homes featured precut wooden components cross-referenced to a blueprint.
Thanks to robust engineering, durable materials, and some good craftsmanship, many of these
homes are still in use.
After World War II the United States faced a severe housing shortage, and several
ventures attempted to use industrialized factory-built housing to solve the crisis, including
Lustron Homes and the General Panel Corporation. The Eames House, in Pacific Palisades,
California (1949), explored the idea that a home could be constructed from off-the-shelf
industrial parts and harness economies of scale for ready-made components.
In the 1970s the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
sponsored Operation Break-through, which advocated the use of factory-based industrialization

and mass production in the national home-building industry as a way to drive down costs and
make housing more affordable. Unfortunately, Operation Breakthrough did not break through,
and the entrenched method of site-building homes remained in place.
Throughout the 20th century, the promise of prefab captivated architects and
designers. Luminaries like Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, and Buckminster Fuller were
among many who experimented with prototypes intended for mass productiona goal none of
them achieved.
The last decade has seen a resurgence of interest in prefab as entrepreneurial
architects redefine the architect-client relationship around a product-based business rather than a
service-based practice. Most of todays models are manufactured in small quantities to the same
codes and with similar materials to site-built houses.
The most widely cited benefit of prefab is economy of scale, as components or entire
homes can be produced in large quantities. But this is not a prerequisite for success. Theres
value in faster project schedules, fewer weather delays, and more efficient use of materials
thanks to optimization and quality control. One of the primary benefits for the buyer is
predictability: Predefined design details and construction processes give the client a degree of
surety about the outcome that is often absent in custom projects.
Few of the following development trends have been adopted in the recent projects:
Majority of the latent defects such as poor joining and water leakage problems found in
previous projects have been eliminated using in-situ fixed approach.
Application has been diversified to other form of building construction.
Capable to apply to the construction of rather complicate-shaped buildings.
More precast elements are involved in the construction process.
Other techniques like the using of mechanical formwork system, lost-form or tensioning
techniques, are incorporated in the construction process (Ref. 2)

2.3 PREFABRICATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: A CASE STUDY OF INDIA

Prefabrication in India began with the emergence of the Hindustan Housing


Factory. The company was developed by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal
Nehru, as a solution to the housing crisis that resulted from the influx of refugees from West
Pakistan in the 1950s. The Hindustan Housing Factory pioneered the production of pre-stressed
concrete railway sleepers to replace dilapidated wooden sleepers on Indian Railways. The
company changed its name shortly thereafter to reflect the diversity of its operations. It is now
known as the Hindustan Prefab Limited or HPL. Located in Delhi, today the government- run
company prefabricates primarily precast concrete for architectural and civil projects throughout
greater India.
When HPL began it was intended to produce low-income housing solutions for
the deficit in India. Precast wall panels and frame members such as beams and columns provided
a much needed set of tools to erect quick structures for mass housing. The most difficult
technology transfer obstacle for the HPL has been the cost of machinery and materials for
production. Since the government could not recoup the return on investment for the factory
through housing production, prefabrication from HPL began to service other markets including
higher dollar civil and larger public and hotel buildings.
The quality of construction is much higher when components are manufactured in a
stable environment such as the factory. This is especially true in India where today,
prefabrication has become synonymous with durable, modern, and western construction
methods. Materials are used more efficiently, are safer from climatic damage, and can be reused
in the material stream. Because of these benefits, a general consensus in India is to move
prefabricated building systems beyond precast concrete for large-scale construction to additional
market sectors including a resurgent interest in applying prefabrication technology to housing.
Traditional construction techniques involve the use of timber molds or shuttering for
roof spans and other structural systems. These temporary timber structures have a short lifespan
and due to the volume of construction in the peak seasons of spring and summer for larger wellfunded projects are often unavailable. This hinders construction schedules and does not allow
projects to be completed before cooler or rainy seasons begin. However, construction does not
stop in the summer despite the lack of proper equipment and material. Instead, using makeshift
methods for construction on site leads to inappropriate means and hence a substandard quality of

construction in finished buildings. The prefabricated alternative to roof construction removes the
issues of timber molds and shuttering.
Material advances in the prefabrication housing market have also helped to mitigate
material failures. The use of fly ash in concrete increases its workability and improves thermal
performance. In addition, fly ash concrete block is beginning to replace traditional clay bricks
because it does not contain expansive soils that cause walls and floors to crack with fluxes of
temperature and humidity. Fly ash is captured from the coal burning process that generate
electricity and then reused to manufacture more durable and stable building materials in a factory
environment. The material manufacturing is more predictable and therefore serves to build more
seismically resistant structures.
Prefabrication technology has not transferred as easily when compared with other
technologies because it is a production technology or knowledge based and not a consumption
technology or product based. Technology transfer of prefabrication is not as pertinent to
architects as it is to manufacturers of building products, but we are caretakers of culture in the
AEC industry. In many cases we are asked to help with many of the transfers that are occurring
by way of global practice or working for multi-national firms that are producing prefabricated
components and entire buildings for India and elsewhere. Although transfers will continue to
occur, especially in the area of prefabrication in building, we should be well aware of how the
decisions of U.S. and western architects may have an effect on the ethical dilemmas regarding
less developed countries development and culture (Ref. 3).
2.4 A FEW SUCCESSFUL PROJECTS EXECUTED IN INDIA USING PREFAB
1) Project : Cluster of EWS Houses 350 Nos
Client : Karnataka Housing Board Government of Karnataka
Area of plinth: 285 sft. Single storey, 1 Hall, 1 Kitchen, 1 Bedroom and 1 Bath cum toilet
Grade of concrete: M20 Dynamic grade for wall and M20 for Roof and foundation
Shuttering : Aluminium shuttering
Cost of House : Rs. 2 Lacs

Mass Housing involves designing and building a home on the inside and maximize performance
and conserve resources. A concrete home consumes less energy, water and natural resources;
creates less waste and is healthier and more

2.5 CONCLUDING REMARKS


In order to cope with the demand for housing to fulfill the deficit in housing,
prefabrication will definitely stay once it is adopted. This may definitely improve quality of
construction, durability of components, time of construction, aesthetics of surroundings. The next
chapter gives the details of prefabrication in general and Modular Co-ordination as applied to
Pancheswar Project.