Post 4 in a Series of 4

 

Q&A Session with Anuj Dayama, who lives in Jaipur, India. Anuj works in the natural stone industry in India and is exploring advanced, “greener” building products and technology in hopes that he can introduce safer, cost-effective, and energy-efficient solutions to the Indian building community.

 

The Panelman Asks: What would you like to see happen in the construction industry in India?


Anuj Answers: I would like to see India continue to embrace lighter, more energy-efficient structures that are sustainable and green. Building with SIPs would allow us to complete construction projects faster, with less waste, and at reduced energy and labor rates. The SIPs technology can also be used to manufacture wood-free, moisture-resistant and fire-rated doors very cost effectively. This will prevent a lot of trees from being chopped down for compressed wood-base doors which are used presently.  These green building techniques would provide our citizens with safe (earthquake-resistant!), sustainable, comfortable structures. Our affordable housing sector could really benefit from SIPs building technology.


 I also see potential in modular construction and high-rise steel building (check out www.livingsteel.org). SIPs are so versatile and can be used for home extensions, prefabricated construction, and high-rise steel buildings where there is a strict requirement of fire safety. For example, magnesium oxide (MgO) panels are naturally fire-resistant.  I would like to see a SIPs manufacturing plant or an onsite assembly system right here in India, and would like to connect with anyone out there who’s interested in making that a reality. 

 

MgO SIPs would save on time, labor costs, and energy.

Pictured here is a new construction site in India. Building with SIPs would save on time, energy, and labor costs.

 

 Anuj is interested in connecting with U.S. construction companies who want to be a part of the fast-growing alternative building movement in India. Contact me (Fred, aka the Panelman) and I will get you in touch with Anuj! fmiller@totalpanelsource.com 

Post 3 in a Series of 4

 

Q&A Session with Anuj Dayama, who lives in Jaipur, India. Anuj works in the natural stone industry in India and is exploring advanced, “greener” building products and technology in hopes that he can introduce safer, cost-effective, and energy-efficient solutions to the Indian building community.

 

The Panelman Asks: What are the building code requirements for MgO SIPs and how do they compare with ICC codes?


Anuj Answers: Presently, most of the building codes in India are based on conventional construction techniques. Like aerated concrete, the new SIPs technology will have to find a place in the building codes eventually. But for that to happen, we need more local test reports. The international test reports, like ASTM and UL are also accepted in India.


I believe SIPs building – especially magnesium oxide board (MgO board) will really take off once basic testing certificates are also acquired from reputed local testing labs like CBRI Roorkee (http://www.cbri.res.in/). Their reports are well respected in our country and their costs are quite reasonable. Also, the SIPs technology can be used right away within the existing building codes for non-load-bearing applications and partitions which are a major part of new construction and remodeling. SIPs (and MgO board) technology could replace problem-prone gypsum board and fiberglass wool insulation that is currently being used. An awareness initiative and solid technical support from a SIPs company could help the Indian building community understand and use this already fully developed building technology in their projects.


Third Floor Addition in India

A Third Floor Addition Using Conventional Construction in India.

Anuj Says: “This picture I took demonstrates a great potential of SIPs use over existing flat concrete roof slabs. Where a third level is being added, the builders are using 9″ brick walls and a rebar roof. It is very cumbersome and time-consuming to build another level at this height with conventional heavy materials. You can see the shuttering work in progress. As for the roof, without SIPs use, this is going to be a very heavy structure which is going to absorb a lot of heat from all sides. A lighter, more energy-efficient building technology would help both the builder and the building owner.”
 








Anuj is interested in connecting with U.S. construction companies who want to be a part of the fast-growing alternative building movement in India. Contact me (Fred, aka the Panelman and I will get you in touch with Anuj! fmiller@totalpanelsource.com 

Post 2 in a Series of 4: Ideas for Overcoming Challenges in Conventional Indian Building

 

Q&A Session with Anuj Dayama, who lives in Jaipur, India. Anuj works in the natural stone industry in India and is exploring advanced, “greener” building products and technology in hopes that he can introduce safer, cost-effective, and energy-efficient solutions to the Indian building community.

 

The Panelman Asks: What do you believe are some of the solutions to overcoming the challenges that conventional building methods present in India?


Anuj Answers: The green building movement is really gaining momentum here in India. (Check out the list of upcoming tradeshows below for an idea of just how much industry buzz is going on!). Many of us in the construction industry are exploring lightweight materials that can still hold strong in an earthquake, are resistant to corrosion and water damage, and that require less labor and energy to implement.


I attended the Metal  & Steel Building Systems Expo this past June here in India, and was amazed at all of the new building concepts coming to market that address our challenges. Magnesium Oxide (MgO) board in a SIPs application are most compatible with steel structures due to their low weight and very high fire resistance. A good approach for developing the market for MgO boards and  SIPs construction technology here can be through derivation of initial cost difference compared to other building systems, energy savings, and affordability in this highly cost-sensitive market. Good sourcing of raw materials, a cost effective marketing approach and maximum near site assembly of panels to save on transportation can result in lower labor and manufacturing costs. A huge potential still remains looking at the small number & variety of alternate building products currently available compared to India’s market size, growing needs and our great appetite for better, greener building products and technology.


Typical residential highrise in Mumbai, India

Pictured is a typical high-rise residential structure in Mumbai. High-rise building has fueled India's interest in greener, altnernative techniques like MgO SIPs.


Like Fred, I believe that MgO SIPs are an ideal solution to the challenges I have outlined. MgO SIPs could deliver the same load bearing and security that our standard 9” thick exterior brick/ concrete envelope walls provide for compatible roof systems – with much less material. In a modular application, MgO SIPs would reduce labor costs as pre-fabricated components could be assembled on site. The water damage issue would also be solved as magnesium oxide is naturally resistant to corrosion and mold/mildew growth. I believe that MgO boards could replace gypsum, fiber cement, calcium silicate, plywood, and other problem-prone building materials here in India. Just like in the U.S., we need to work together to promote these advantages to the public – and the entire building community.


 

                                                                                                                                    


 

Green Building Organizations and Websites to Reference

www.igbc.in   An organization established by USGBC in India

www.grihaindia.org  This organization also certifies green buildings, like IGBC

www.bee-india.nic.in  Bureau oF Energy Efficiency that rates buildings according to energy use


Fall 2010 Green Building Events in India

  • Green Building Congress 2010, October 6-9 2010 at Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai
  • ZAK: Innovative, Lightweight, Faster, & Sustainable Building Construction Technology Expo Sep 30.  Oct. 3, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai
  • ET ACETECH Chennai Trade Centre, November 26-18



One of the benefits of blogging is connecting with a community of other folks interested in the latest innovations in structural panels. We’re engaging in conversation, sharing ideas, and creating new partnerships – and that engagement is happening on a global scale.


Through this blog, I’ve met Anuj Dayama in India, who’s just as excited about MgO panel applications as I am (good to know I’m not the only one in the world all worked up about magnesium oxide!). Through our conversations, Anuj has shed light on the current construction situation in India – and how the latest panel and building technology could solve some of their challenges. Over the next two weeks, I’ll share Anuj’s answers to questions I asked. He’s also taken some great photos, which I’ll post. So without further adieu, here’s question #1…


Post 1 in a Series of 4: Challenges in Indian Construction

The Panelman Man Asks: We have our fair share of new construction challenges here in America, what sorts of challenges does India face in new construction?


Anuj Answers: Most of our commercial and residential new construction utilizes full density concrete-rebar for structural work and concrete blocks or red clay brick masonry with Portland plaster for walls. These materials require a lot of curing at various stages. Now, one of the main problems we face in India is a steadily growing potable water shortage in a lot of areas. This makes the curing process very difficult, expensive, and not very energy efficient. Curing results in pollution and wastage of our precious potable water, which is at dangerously low levels or already depleted in some regions. The increasing salt levels in our decreasing underground water table deteriorate concrete and plaster mixes while accelerating rebar rust.


Another challenge we face in conventional new construction is that concrete and brick yield little or no insulation, so we are forced to increase energy use to stay cool in summer. We have rising annual temperatures, which makes this an urgent issue. It is a challenge to stay cool in un-electrified rural areas as well as urban centers, where frequent power cuts reduce access to air conditioning.


concrete rebar flat roofs in India, SIPs would work better

Pictured are flat rebar-concrete roofs in India. These roofs account for maximum solar gains and very hot top-floor temperatures. A 4" SIPs roof structure would work much better...

To make matters worse, conventional construction creates the “heat island effect” by absorbing heat all day and then releasing it at night. Remember, in India we have nearly six months of extreme heat, and three peak months with average peak temperatures between 105 and 120 Fahrenheit. New construction is also very time consuming. Unfortunately that time is often wasted when an earthquake occurs as most conventional structures are not very earthquake resistant. We can never forget the 2001 Gujarat earthquake that took thousands of lives of people who were living in such structures.


One of the greatest challenges is the weight of concrete building; it requires so much energy to work with Portland concrete – both in transportation and labor. Until a decade ago, the other challenge was getting the building community to open up to new materials, and invest in testing (I know that Fred faces this issue, too.) Lately, thanks to government encouragement of alternative building methods, this has changed considerably. New materials like aerated concrete blocks, steel framing with boards, SIPs panels, and PU sandwich metal skin structures are steadily gaining popularity. Tomorrow, I’ll answer Fred’s question about ways we might overcome our challenges…