Latest construction material for affordable housing


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With a major focus on affordable housing in India, the need for sustainable construction material has become the need of the hour. Experts opine that the selection of such material will help in promoting better quality of structures, faster construction solutions, and foster new economic development.

While the Indian real estate sector is actively working on providing ‘Housing for all’ but delayed project deliveries and increased prices have dampened consumer sentiments. This can be seen particularly in affordable and low-cost housing segments which form the major group. However, with technology evolving day by day, experts feel that it will help in realizing affordable housing for all as reduced procurement cost of new technological equipment and other products and materials is the need of the hour.

Rohan Agarwal, Managing Director, Geopreneur Group, shares, “Technology is influencing every industry and there is constant R&D to make each sector function more efficiently and get better. In real estate too, there are several new introductions and innovations taking place with the same objective.” New material speeds up the construction process as well as uplift the building elevation and façade looks. The newer materials are easy to install which reduce the time required for work completion, he adds.

Here is some of the new-age construction material that can be or has already been used for building low-cost homes:

fly ashFly ash bricks: Fly ash is an undesirable by-product generated in large quantities in a thermal power station. At present, India produces around 120 million tonne of fly ash every year. While fly ash cannot be used directly, it can be used as a mineral admixture in concrete. They are also known as Siporex blocks. Further, experts are recommending using red mud which is an industrial waste generated in aluminium plants. According to a recent study conducted by IIT Bhubaneswar, 80 per cent fly ash and 20 per cent red mud can form self-compacting concrete with strength similar to cement. The construction cost will be reduced to a larger extent as both these materials are available in plenty and industries are finding it difficult to dispose them.


  • Can cover more area as compared to clay bricks
  • High resistance to fire
  • Easy to transport; no fear of breakage
  • Reduced water leakage
  • No need to soak them in water unlike the clay bricks


  • Low mechanical strength
  • Size limitation



bamboo sheets

Bamboo corrugated sheet: Bamboo has been extensively used as a construction material in ancient times. However, with wood facing scarcity in the past few years, bamboo has started gaining prominence as an alternative source of renewable fiber. Bamboo is especially suitable for building low-cost housing in areas which are prone to frequent earthquakes. Bamboo corrugated sheet is an industrial product created by using bamboo and is used for roofing purpose. Experts feel that it is an ideal substitute for galvanized sheets and asbestos.


  • Sturdy and versatile
  • Environment-friendly
  • Fire resistant


  • Requires preservation
  • Lack of design guidance and codes
  • Prone to attack by fungi & insects



concrete hollow blockConcrete hollow block: These are modern construction materials and are used for constructing residential, commercial and industrial buildings. These blocks are made by using cement, sand and aggregates. They are majorly used for making walls to conceal electrical wires, water and sewer pipes.


  • High speed of construction
  • Cost effective
  • Fire and thermal resistant
  • Larger size as compared to clay bricks
  • Require less mortar


  • Prone to water seepage
  • High cost
  • Unattractive look



rice huskRice Husk Ash Concrete: With India being a major producer of rice, a lot of husk is generated during rice milling. The husk is generally used as fuel for generating steam in the rice mills. While burning the husk, about 25 per cent ash is generated. This is known as Rice Husk Ash (RHA). With Portland cement containing calcium oxide, which can weaken the performance of cement concrete, experts are using RHA. The silica present in RHA is mixed with calcium hydroxide as an admixture with concrete to improve solidity and workability of the concrete.


  • Reduces greenhouse emissions
  • Durable
  • Improves compressive strength
  • Reduces material cost



  • Issues with transportation
  • Unburnt RHA not suitable for producing concrete
  • Need better furnace/machinery to generate good quality ash
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  • Comments
  • Vinay Mangalwadi October 2, 201711:02 pm

    Sir I need to make a house in 1000 sq feet and need cheap construction material with
    sandwich tin roof. please help

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