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Affordable Rapid Mass Housing Using GFRG Panels

Guided By: Prashant Kumar Nayak

Presented By: Suman Pati

There is a huge growing requirement of building materials in India due to the existing housing shortage of 24.7 million units{ 2007} mainly for the low income groups in urban India. Estimated urban housing shortage in 2012 is 26.53 million, while the housing shortage of rural India in 2012 is 42 million units. Thus total estimated housing shortage for Urban & rural India in 2012 is 68.53 million units. To meet this challenge, India requires innovative, energy efficient building materials for strong and durable housing in fast track method of construction at affordable cost. It is also important that housing and buildings are disaster resistant to protect the lives and properties of people.

The building industry accounts for 40% of CO2 emissions. GFRG panel is an energy efficient green building material with huge potential for use as load bearing and non load bearing wall panels. GFRG panel is a large load bearing panel with modular cavities suitable for both external, internal walls as well as floor slab or roof slab in combination with RCC as a composite material. Rapidwall buildings are resistant to earthquakes, fire and cyclones. Rapidwall panels based on construction manual prepared by IIT Madras to suit Indian situation. FACT & RCF, two fertilizer giants under public sector are together setting up Rapidwall and plaster products manufacturing plant at Ambalamugal using Rapidwall technologies of Australia called FACT RCF Building products Ltd. (FRBL). FACT has about 7 million tons of industrial by product gypsum. Glass fiber reinforced gypsum is made up of glass fiber and gypsum wastage from fertilizer industry.


Rapidwall panel is worlds largest load bearing lightweight panels. The panels are manufactured with size 12 m length, 3m height and 124 mm thickness. Each panel has 48 modular cavities of 230 mm x 94 mm x 3m dimension. The density is 1.14g/cm3 , being only 10-12% of the weight of comparable concrete /brick masonry. The physical and material properties of panels are as follows:

Weight Axial load capacity Compressive strength Flexural strength Tensile Strength Fire resistance Elastic Modulus Water absorption

44 Kg/ sqm 160 kN/m{ 16 tons/ m} 73.2 Kg/cm2 21.25 kg/cm2 35 KN/ m
4 hr rating withstood 700-10000 C

3000-6000Mpa < 5%



Panels are vertically loaded at the factory on stillages for transport to the construction sites on trucks. Each stillage holds 5 or 8 pre-cut panels. The stillages are placed at the construction site close to the foundation for erection using vehicle mounted crane or other type of crane with required length for construction of low, medium and high rise buildings. Special lifting jaws suitable to lift the panel ,are used by inserting into the cavities and pierced into webs, so that lifting/handling of panels will be safe.


Wall to wall L, T, + angle joints and horizontal wall joints are made by cutting of inner or outer flanges or web appropriately and infill of concrete with vertical reinforcement.

FOUNDATION: For Rapidwall Housing a conventional foundation like spread
footing, RCC column footing, raft or pile foundation is used as per the soil condition and load factors. All around the building RCC plinth beam is provided. Conventional water proofing materials are used in the foundation

RAPAID WALL: Rapidwall enables fast track method of construction.

Conventional building construction involves various time consuming processes, like i) masonry wall construction ii) cement plastering requiring curing, iii) casting of RCC slabs requiring centering and scaffolding and curing iv) removal of centering and scaffolding and v) plastering of ceilings and so on. Construction time is minimized to 15-20% by the rapid wall method. Instead of brick by brick construction, Rapidwall enables wall by wall construction. Rapidwall also does not require cement plastering as both surfaces are smooth and even and ready for application of special primer and finishing coat of paint. OPENINGS: Door/window/ventilator, openings will be cut and reinforced concrete is provided there.

LINTEL: Embedded RCC lintels are to be provided wherever required by

cutting open external flange. Reinforcement for lintels and RCC sunshades can be provided with required shuttering and support.

CONCRETE INFILL : After inserting vertical reinforcement rods as per the

structural design and clamps for wall corners are in place to keep the wall panels in perfect position, concrete of 12mm size aggregate will be poured from top into the cavities. There is no need to use vibrator because gravitational pressure acts to self compact the concrete inside the water tight cavities. Generally every third cavity should be concreted.

TIE BEAM: An embedded RCC tie beam to floor/roof slab is to be provided at

each floor/roof slab level, as an essential requirement of national building code against earth quakes. For this, web portion to required beam depth at top is to be cut and removed for placing horizontal reinforcement with stirrups and concreted.

Instead of a solid concrete floor slab, which is typically 100 to 150mm thick, the GFRG panels are used. They are placed horizontally over the walls in different roofs. The roofs typically spanning along the shorter direction. Concrete tie beams connect the panels to the walls at all junctions. Every third cavity in the horizontal GFRG panel is cut open from the top and reinforced cage is inserted to serve as a concealed beam. Further a steel welded mesh is placed on top of the entire floor slab and subsequently embedded in screed of concrete 50mm thick. The advantage with the system over conventional concrete slabs is the there is no need of shuttering and the finish at bottom is excellent. It also not required any plastering. Conduits for electrical work are kept in place before concreting the slab.

STAIR CASE: The stair case work is taken

up using GFRG panels as the landing slab with reinforced concrete bars in all the cavities.

FINISHING WORK: Once concreting of ground floor

roof slab is completed, on the 4th day, wooden planks with support props in ground floor can be removed. Finishing of internal wall corners and ceiling corners etc can be done using wall putty or special plaster by experienced plasterers. Simultaneously, electrical work, water supply and sanitary work, floor tiling, mosaic or marble works, staircase work etc can also be carried out. Every upper floor can be finished in the same way.

Comparative study of Rapidwall building and conventional building (For 2storey 1500 sft):
Materials/ items Cement Steel Sand Granite Bricks Rapidwall Building Conventional Building 16 tons 1800 kg 20cum 38cum 32.55 tons 2779 kg 83.37cum 52.46cum 57200 Saving in % 50.8 35.2 76 27.56

GFRG panel
Water Labour Construction time
Wt. of superstructure

50000ltr 389 mandays 21 days 170 tons Rs 13.25 lakhs 200000ltr

75 67.59 82 65 61.5 1200 mandays 120 days 490 tons Rs 18.27 lakhs

Construction cost

Rapidwall Panel provides a new method of building construction in fast track, fully utilising the benefits of prefabricated, light weight large panels with modular cavities and by the use of concrete and steel reinforcement. By this process, man power, cost and time of construction is reduced. The use of scarce natural resources like river sand, water and agricultural land is significantly reduced. Rapidwall buildings thereby reduce burdening of the environment and help to reduce global warming. Rapidwall use also protect the lives and properties of people as these buildings will be resistant to natural disasters like earthquakes, cyclone, fire etc. This will also contribute to achieve the goal of much needed social inclusive development due to its various benefits and advantages with affordability for low income segments also. Fast delivery of mass housing is very critical for reducing huge urban housing shortage in India. Rapidwall panels will help to achieve the above multiple goals.