Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dream House - PreFab Technology

Fastrack world and everyone wants everything immediate, which is in human's control (ofcourse God has his own pace...). The fast approach has been adopted in everything we do and it has started in construction business too. Earlier we used to construct overbridge which took years of years and huge man power, but now its time of prebuilt structures. Yes the overbridges, overhead rail tracks, commercial buildings have got into prebuild technology which is what we are seeing daily.

It has now interested many individuals to adopt in their dream house too, because they want their dream house as soon as possible. PreFab (PreFabricated) technology is what it is called. The whole process is get the layout, design them in the software, and it provides the strcutural elements to construct the house. Even though it sounds simple, the design part takes the complete time and once that is ready and soundproof, its only to fabricate the structures and fit them in the desired place. Structures are not just the walls or pillars, but the software is capable of giving the list from a screw till plumbing, wiring details in advance. So most of the time is spent in designing the complete house and finalizing it.

Many of you may wonder by this time, that this technology is for small house, which is not. It is followed in multistory commercial buildings so far, but slowly catching up interest in residencial house segment too. A structural house and finished house will look something like this. All are heavy duty casted steel under pressure which gives the entire support and life. These casted streel structures are made in the same way rail tracks are made, so now you should be understanding how much they can withstand. Already readymade kitchen, wardrobes, staircases have entered into residential segment and its now part of any house construction. Humans are the most creative creature and they have thought of taking this readymade concept to the complete house.

Lets discuss few things about their life and pricing. Experts who are into this business have guaranteed 40-50 years of strong life for a prefab structure, which is slightly less than a 80-90 year building using concrete, motar, bricks, but think of the designs our grand grand children will have after 80 or 90 years. So even the plan we dream may not be liked by our grand childrens and it is either altered or demolished and reconstructed in modern way. So 40-50 years sounds good compared to the ready made concept. Now about the pricing, it is roughly going to cost Rs.1300-1500 per sqft construction including labour, which is the same incase of traditional way of building. The greatest advantage of prefab building is they are easily refitted any number of times. Roads 20 years back are not in the same level, many houses built 20-30 years back are somewhere below the road atleast 5 feet below, but incase of prefab structures, they are easily disassembled, and the basement level can be increased above road level after 20 years and the structure can be assembled again, which is almost 20% cost of demolishing and reconstructing the house after 20 years.

This prefab technology is slowly picking up speed in Indian market. Many commercial institutions have come up with plans to build a township for their employees using prefab technology in the same way, and bulk orders are finished soon with in the specified time.

Go Green Initiative - ECO Friendly Homes

With modern design and beautiful interiors, my friends bungalow in Bangalore looks like just another building made of concrete and bricks, while its not. they moved into its new home two years back, which

  • Harvests rain water for drinking and cooking. 
  • Treats waste water in the garden. 
  • Has a basement which gets day light and is visually connected with the rest of the house.

Overall cost for consutructing Allamsetti house was around Rs 1,350 per sqft, including construction and fittings. This is the same as what we would have spent to build a traditional house.

Green Apartments
With an increase in awareness about conserving resources and lowering the carbon footprint-the amount of greenhouse gases an entity emits-going green is the in thing in the real estate market, both residential and commercial. More and more developers are marketing their buildings as eco-friendly. Pirojsha Godrej, executive director, Godrej Properties Ltd says "The awareness level of Eco friendly homes is much higher in case of commercial projects. We have started getting enquiries about such residences. As consumers become increasingly aware of the advantages of living and working in an eco-friendly environment, we will see a gradual increase in interest in such properties."

All properties being advertised as 'green' or 'eco-friendly' may not be so. Many small- and mid-sized builders call their projects eco-friendly just because they have lawns and landscaped gardens, which is incorrect, because a lawn consumes four times more water than the native species. 'eco-friendly' label is a eyewash, so what are the criteira to call a building GREEN? How are they evaluated ?

  • Site planning and eco-friendly building design
  • Preservation and protection of top soil and landscape during construction
  • Heating, air-conditioning, ventilation, lighting and electrical and water heating systems
  • Optimisation of building design and structure to reduce demand for conventional energy
  • Integration of renewable energy sources to generate energy
  • Water and waste management
  • Selection of ecologically sustainable materials for construction
  • Indoor environmental quality (indoor thermal and visual comfort and air quality)
  • Conservation of soil during construction and proper top soil for vegetative growth
  • Renewal energy-based water heating system such as solar water heaters

Who validates all these factors and certifies this Green building?

Institutions such as Indian Green Building Council (IGBC), which is part of the CII, and the Association for Development and Research of Sustainable Habitats (ADaRSH), a joint initiative of Teri and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, analyse buildings and give them ratings based on parameters such as design, construction materials, energy efficiency, ventilation, lighting, and water and waste management. Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) by ADaRSH has been made mandatory for new government buildings, which must score at least three Griha stars out of five.

An eco-friendly home also helps you get loans at cheaper rates. State Bank of India charges lower interest rates for the first three years for loans taken to purchase properties in green projects which reduce carbon emissions and promote renewable energy. You also get other incentives from the bank.

With active support from the government and the private sector, green buildings will soon become the norm. "Corporate houses such as Infosys, Wipro and Tata have a policy to occupy only green buildings. Two years from now, only green buildings will be in demand.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Earth Quake Experience - 11 April 2012

It was an adventurous day for many of us today... It all happened around 2.30pm Indian time, I visited our new office, RMZ Millenia, Perungudi,  Chennai, along with my colleagues. We went to the top floor of the building to have the wonderful panoramic view, and were enjoying the view. Suddenly came an announcement alerting us about the earthquake. Many of my colleagues even felt chairs shaking, felt giddiness, some even were kidding what happens if we slip from top floor and this announcement proved the scene happening around, Yes its earthquake.
Everyone from the building started evacuating, some running to ground floor, some of them who felt the quake were really in shock, tensed, sweating and what not. All of them were calling their loved ones and alerting, mobile signals were jammed, all roads were jammed because 90% of organization have asked their employees to leave home and be safe. I somehow managed to take few snaps of the employees assembled outside RMZ campus. 
Tsunami alert has been announced in more than 28 places. What am wondering, is this something related to one of the incidents of DEC 21 mayan prediction? Am visualizing one scene from 2012 movie... We will know only after DEC 21, hope we get chance to it after DEC 21 :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reliance Fresh.... Is it really FRESH ?

Today I happened to visit Reliance fresh store in Chennai. Once you enter the shop, you wont miss the catchy 50% off on MRP offer, anyone will try that. I went there to have a look at the offer and was surprised, infact shocked to notice it was all expired goods on display with reliance's new label, new dates and price.
The product on display was cheese of top brands like britannia, amul... The actual package date of britannia cheese was 05/11(top left in the image), and it is clearly mentioned "best before 9 months of packaged date" (bottom left in the image), so it ends on feb 2012, but the new label pasted by reliance shows packed on 15.9.22, first question is what date is this? Did they make mistake of typing 22 instead of 11? Ok assuming it was a mistake on the year, and correct date is 15.9.11. Since the date is now changed, expire date the (already expired) product is now Jun 2012.

Is reliance trying to sell this expired product by faking the date as September 2011? Which is extending the expiry by another 4 months. And to attract customers to purchase this expired product, they announce 50% offer. Who is benefiting from this scam? Is it britannia or reliance? As per retail market policy, expired goods can be returned back to manufacturer, then why reliance isnt doing this? which raises the doubt on britannia, who might have made a deal with reliance. 

Can we stop this somehow. I dont know which goverment department will take action on this? even if inform will they take action against a bigretail player? hope media will reveal this to public and create awareness for not going behind such offers from reliance fresh.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rich Get Richer..... Audi Helps...

"Pre-budget diesel variant offer:Loan of Rs.24 Lakhs for 36 months at 0% interest*. The Audi A4 is a piece of engineering that manages to combine technology with aesthetics to create a unique automotive experience. With features like the integrated safety system with 8 airbags, the MMI for one-touch access and the Xenon plus headlights with LED daytime running lights, the Audi A4 is sporty, sophisticated and quite simply, the best that money can buy."

Benz landed in India a long time back, then came BMW, and now its Audi's turn. They have ramped up the sales in Indian market, by direct dealers in majority of Indian Cities. Today I noticed an advertisement for Audi A4, comes @ 28 Lakhs - 38 Lakhs (in rupees), ex showroom price. This is equivalent to 1000 sqft land in most of the commercial areas, ok that is a seperate topic to be discussed, lets come to the point. Anyone who is ready to buy a car at that price is obviously going to be big shot, and why this person needs a loan is my first question. I agree these are marketing strategies by the manufacturer, but they can attract customers with some other idea. 
Assume Audi sells around 1000 cars in India in this scheme, so 1000 Cars * 24 Lakhs = 240 Crores, which is given @ 0% interest to people who are already rich, with a simple 6% interest/pa, it approximates to 15 Crores. 

Why government does not monitor this? why are they always behind middle class families, rising tax for the small cars, which middle or upper middle class is buying ? Instead they can levy huge tax for high end cars, anyway the rich is going to pay them which they are affordable. We middle class are as-usual keep fighting for our rights, but the Government favors the rich who is getting richer and helps the ruling party to become richer.

Mistake by "The Times of India"

Two days back I was going through railway budget in Times of India newspaper... Being a top newspaper I dint expect any mistakes to happen. Sure there should be many rounds of proof checking, corrections before printing...

Surprising to see that there was a mistake on 15 march 2012 Times of India page 12, I took a snap of that, where anyone can notice the mistakes in the bullet points for Andrapradhesh, Madhyapradesh and Gujarat. The editor has just copied pasted the same text given for Kerala.

Maximum readers will just look for the bullets like me and the surprising part is how did the newspaper guys miss this... Anyways lets hope that these kind of mistakes ae not repeated.

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