11 July 2020

Table of Contents for Industry Focus- Precast Concrete & Equipment

Industry Focus- Precast Concrete & Equipment

India shifts to Precast


India is in a hurry to modernize its creaking infrastructure and the government has launched a slew of initiatives and a trillion dollar budget to do that. Also the government’s ‘Housing for all by 2022’ is gathering steam. All these have a common denominator, an urgency to build as much as possible and just as soon, which has prompted India to shift to precast construction. This also augurs well for modernization of India’s construction sector, feels SATISH P CHAVAN.


Till recently precast construction was virtually unknown in India. Now as its benefits are being realised, precast technology is fast gaining acceptance in India. The best thing about precast is that you can cast virtually any section or component of a structure, be it an EPC project, or urban infra, or real estate. Till recently precast accounted for a mere 2 per cent share vis-à-vis traditional methods in India’s construction sector. But now a gradual shift is occurring and precast building technology is making rapid inroads in the Indian market. With the need for speedy project execution in all segments -- ranging from real estate, to infra EPC projects, to urban transport infra -- contractors are opting for precast technology. The biggest drivers for precast are the Smart Cities domain, affordable housing, and infrastructure projects. Another important development in India is that both, precast concrete manufacturers and equipment manufacturers, are developing products specially developed for precast technology, they are filling in all the product gaps to develop a complete precast ecology in India. Still in its infancy in India, early movers in precast materials and equipment will emerge entrenched players in the long-run.




The new imperative in India’s infra sector is timely execution of projects, and precast is the fastest way to ensure that projects don’t have time overruns and the consequent cost overruns. Till recently the biggest demand drivers were EPC projects in the infra sector. That’s because precast technology allows you to cast entire sections of a bridge or a road, or elevated transport corridors, and in urban infra like metro rail, logistics parks which use PEB warehousing, tunnel projects for metro rails, etc. With fast track roll out of projects in the form of large scale commercial, industrial and residential developments and infrastructure projects demand for precast is increasing rapidly. Now precast is spilling into the real estate segment also, due its ability to meet tight timelines of project execution and the ease of modular construction where every floor is simply repeated using precast sections like walls, beams in all dimensions, and other sections and panels. There is huge demand for precast across real estate verticals, ranging from affordable housing to commercial and industrial real estate. Most of this demand is fuelled by rapid urbanization in India, which is increasing the demand for housing and real estate. Smart city development and redevelopment projects are another demand driver. With the fourth list of Smart City projects announced recently, Greenfield and brown field projects in urban infra and power and water utilities, all will be using precast technology and materials. Like a Lego toy block set, precast allows you to build easily and with speed. Precast delivers a surfeit of benefits over traditional, in-situ building construction and are produced by casting individual concrete elements like solid walls, solid floors, hollow core slabs, prestressed and precast Currently, at 67 per cent housing accounts for the biggest consumption of cement and concrete, followed by infra at 13 per cent, commercial real estate at 11 per cent, and industrial real estate at 8 per cent. To meet this rising demand for precast materials cement companies are expected to increase capacity to over 56 mt next three years.




The two most important virtues of precast are it allows offsite manufacturing and fabrication of various sections of structure, and more importantly it helps you tide over your skilled labor shortage problem, which is aggravated due to the transient and migrant nature of construction laborers and the remote site of a project. The most versatile advantage of precast is that it an expanded range of design possibilities which creates structural versatility. Precast concrete can be used to form any shape, while any pattern or color can be reproduced or created on its surface. Architects are already exploiting the enhanced design possibilities provided by pre¬cast concrete. These buildings deliver surfeit benefits over traditional, in-situ building construction and are produced by casting individual concrete elements like solid walls, solid floors, hollow core slabs, prestressed and precast stressed and precast beams and rafters, staircases, compound walls, roof tiles, paver blocks, etc. in a controlled environment, to be then transported to the construction site, lifted and fixed into place.




  • Speed, Quality, Economy
  • Low Maintenance
  • Seismic Resistant
  • Quick Turnover of Money
  • Universal Application


  • Lack of awareness, acceptability & availability
  • Resistance to Change
  • Fear of Unknown
  • Unfamiliarity of Architects and Engineers
  • Lack of Exposure to the technology in Technical Institutes


  • Huge Requirement of Affordable Houses
  • Shortage of Skilled Labor
  • Large Size Projects
  • Exposure to Global Market
  • Demand for Quality Construction


  • Govt. Tax Policy, Lack of Govt. Support & Encouragement
  • Bad Past Experience with Substandard
  • Technology & execution
  • Vested Interests
  • Lack of Standardisation
  • Imaginary Problems





Originally developed in the Nordic countries, modular precast is one of the world’s most common and resource-efficient ways to build. It ensures fast construction times, high profitability and excellent quality. Still, requirements for beautiful, modern buildings are not compromised. With precast technology just beginning to take roots in India manufacturers of precast materials and equipment are developing innovative products.

As concrete manufacturers developed precast concrete specially suited for this technology, concreting equipment manufacturers kept pace by developing relevant machinery. Major precast products and equipment manufacturers include Elematic, Vollert, Spancrete, Piekko, Webau, Nordimpianti, Weckenmann , Progress Group, Intellectual Building System, Parex, Magicrete, Precast India, Spiroll etc.




The biggest challenge currently faced in precast industry is Standardization of product specifications, which include precast structural, floor slabs, walls, architectural facades, masonry, paving, roofing etc. Towards this end the Pre Engineered Structures Society of India (PESSI) was set up with a view towards disseminating knowledge by conceptualizing, executing and managing quality events, workshops, etc for development of India’s precast concrete industry. As precast method of construction becomes commonplace across India, it is imperative to set up Precast Product Standards to regulate the precast industry in India. As in other product and equipment verticals of construction, PESSI needs to set up some common Standards and ensure they are followed strictly by all precast construction materials and equipment companies.

The Precast Concrete technology has already arrived in India due to large size projects, need for quality construction with speed and reduced labour force. All these advantages can be exploited to the maximum by careful planning and designing. But the common denominator for precast is the time and related cost savings associated with the enhanced safety of building sites where precast concrete solutions are deployed. The economic implications of using precast aren’t being efficiently factored into the costing process at the front end, which would help disseminate the use of precast more rapidly.  The big advantages in terms of safety is that you’ve got less men on site, less bits and pieces being delivered, less clutter and less waste to remove. A safer site means less downtown from accidents and other contingencies, which translates into economic benefits for a building. Globally precast accounts for approximately 80 per cent of construction, and the globally precast construction market size is projected to grow from $124.77 billion in 2016 to $177.09 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 6.10 per cent.



KEF Infra’s GEMS project

The GEMS project is an excellent example of using precast technology for timely project execution. In Beginning of 2017, Bangalore based KEF Infra is manufacturing and assembling GEMS Modern Academy in SmartCity Kochi. The project showcases KEF’s innovative, end-to- end offsite technology with 90 per cent elements manufactured at KEF's state-of-the-art offsite facility in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu. The manufactured wall panels, columns, beams, staircases, facade, bathroom pods, modular MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) are just some of the elements prefabricated in the factory and assembled on site, allowing 50 per cent savings in time, allowing the school to open in time for the 2017 academic year. “As the first GEMS school in Kerala, being manufactured and assembled by us, is synonymous with progressive nature of the SmartCity project. KEF Holdings is uniquely positioned to deliver to the expectations of all the entities involved in this project by fully integrating world class design, manufacturing, and technology, towards engineered solutions of the highest quality in a timely and cost effective manner. At KEF Infra, we challenge conventional building methods and move the industry towards an efficient, and automated platform,” asserts Faizal E. Kottikollon, Chairman, KEF Holdings.



AUTOCOR Automates

Putzmeister has developed AUTOCOR (”Automatic Concrete Placing On Rail“), an automated delivery and placement of concrete in precasting plants. AUTOCOR makes particular sense in plants that process pumpable and preferably self-compacting concrete for medium and large-sized precast elements. If an expansion is planned for older plants, the AUTOCOR system can be easily retrofitted. It has a rotor pump system PUMI®, flexible placing booms with a horizontal reach of 16 m to 28 m and a mixer drum with a capacity of 7 m3 as temporary storage. The complete unit is mounted on a rail-guided working platform and needs no support devices. There is also a control unit which is integrated into the production process and the EBC system which has proven its worth for many years on PM truck-mounted concrete pumps. According to user data production can be increased by up to 60 per cent compared to previous method using automated concrete placement for precast elements. Due to intensive treatment in AUTOCOR mixer drum a consistently high quality of unset concrete is also obtained. Any later labour-intensive reworking of the precastings, like smoothing and grinding, is reduced to a minimum.

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