LCBs - an answer to red bricks

Light Weight Concrete Blocks have emerged as an answer to red brick construction. In a tête-à-tête with EW, Prashant Pitti - an IITian and director of Ultimate Infra narrates how this new technology has provided a breakthrough in the process of constructi

Tags: Light Weight Concrete Blocks, Prashant Pitti, Ultimate Infra

BY Gargi Bhardwaj | December 03, 2014 | comments ( 4 ) |

Prashant Pitti, Director, Ultimate Infra

Light Weight Concrete Blocks have emerged as an answer to red brick construction. In a tête-à-tête with EW, Prashant Pitti - an IITian and director of Ultimate Infra narrates how this new technology has provided a breakthrough in the process of construction.

What is the concept of LCB all about?

The concept of LCB is to change the shape of construction habits in India. Light Weight Concrete Blocks, fly-ash bricks and compressed earth bricks are direct substitutes to red clay bricks. These technologies use fly-ash obtained from waste in Thermal plants. In addition, they follow organised labour practices and save thousands of tons of cement, diesel and steel directly benefiting the environment through their application.

What are its advantages from developers and consumers point of view?

The advantages from developer point of view is that blocks are lightweight, precast and concrete building material that simultaneously provides structure, insulation and fire- and mold-resistance. These LCB are almost 10 times in size of red-brick. Since blocks made in factory are laser-cut, finishing is far superior. Hence, plastering is not required and only skim-coating is required. Overall, buildings can be made 2 times faster.

The advantages from consumers point of view is that the LCB are eco-friendly because major component is fly-ash (an industrial waste, which is abundantly available in India). It also reduces the cost of building by 20 per cent because of less usage of material.

LCBs are 2 times better in noise insulation. These concrete blocks have 48 DB noise insulation, while others have 38 DB. LCB are made of concrete, unlike soils as used by red-brick. Hence, blocks gain strength with time, only making it stronger for future.

How far have been these LCBs accepted by realtors and construction companies?

It is estimated that the market potential for green building products and technologies in India by 2015 will reach about $100 billion in size. Real estate developers are also increasingly turning to green building, egged by the ready availability of environment-friendly building materials such as LCB.

As a single component building material, LCB has achieved acceptance in new markets throughout the world. LCB are equally suitable for residential construction, multistory buildings, commercial and industrial construction.

For many years LCB has been strongly supported by leading real estate player. In a sentence, LCB has been an important factor in new building materials and has a broad market prospect.

How do you analyse the Indian Construction Industry in present times?

Indian construction industry is stone-age behind. When the rest of the world is using construction technology which is far better in terms of strength, weight, speed, lifespan, thermal insulation, noise insulation, environment friendly and even cheaper to construct, we are still hooked to old-age methods.

What advantages do the LCB offer over the traditional red bricks?

LCB are about 50 per cent lighter than clay bricks of equivalent size resulting into less dead weight of a building and allows entire structure to be lighter, therefore reducing amount of steel and concrete used in structural components like beams, columns and roof/floor slabs.

These are very easy to work with and can be cut accurately reducing the amount of waste generates. From Environmental concern, manufacturing of LCB does not consume high amount of energy. LCB’s are a requisite for green buildings.

Light Weight Concrete blocks do not lose strength or deteriorate over time. Hence, buildings constructed with LCB do not require routine repairs that are required for buildings using red bricks.

LCB’s offer excellent thermal insulation, which reduces recurring cost of energy required for heating and cooling. Better thermal insulation also allows usage of smaller HVAC than required conventionally.

With LCB’s, buildings can be built with 50 per cent faster compared to red bricks. This translates to lower project completion times benefiting project developers. LCB structures are known to maintain structural integrity despite of seismic activity (earthquakes), heavy rains, extremely low temperature and salty air.

In times when developers are deploying techniques to get tailor-made walls, what are the future prospects of LCB?

LCB also offer tailor made walls by providing various variable size to builder to suit their requirements. Our LCB product is patent pending product which removes the drawback of various products available in market.

We have started taking baby steps towards it, and with some support from the government and private enterprise, this technology can go a long way. The real estate segment has now become increasingly conscious about sustainability.

Clearly, time is ripe to shed old apprehensions about change and embrace new techniques in development. Most important of all, the Indian consumers – the new home and apartment buyers – can go a long way in creating a sustainable future for our future generations.

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