By Nikhil Bothra,
The Government of India with its ambitious low-cost flying scheme UDAN is striving to connect tier 2-3 with air services to fuel their economic growth while making travelling easier. This is why the government has been emphasising on the development of new airports and the expansion and upgradation of existing airports across the country. Under this transformation drive, terminals, hangars and administrative buildings are being constructed. However, considering the time traditional civil construction takes and its other disadvantages, it seems an uphill task to fulfil the aspirations of common Indians to avail air travel in the near future.
In such a scenario, the key stakeholders will have to ponder over how they can deal with the shortcomings of traditional civil construction practices. Here emerges prefabricated structures as a solution, adoption of which has become indispensable today. Numerous issues such as meeting web traffic demand, the instant requirement of facility and understanding of quick growth opportunities can be resolved easily with prefabricated construction. Also, the heavy construction in tier 2-3 cities is a little bit difficult due to limited resource availability, especially machinery.
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The factory-made enclosure buildings that contain structural frames, roof and wall support can assist authorities in reducing the construction time significantly which has been the major roadblock in the path of UDAN Scheme. The entire process of designing these buildings takes place at the factory. Then, the components are brought to the site and erected. This clearly shows how simple the building construction process is. It has the potential to increase the pace of construction of new structures at airports.
At the same time, with traditional construction, it becomes necessary to stop a part of the operation, resulting in commuters’ inconvenience. And, sometimes, construction workers are forced to stop work. These conditions either cause a delay in the delivery of the project or a complete stoppage of flight operations. The case is completely different with prefabricated construction. As these buildings are manufactured offsite, the creation of extra space doesn’t affect the flight operations at the airport.
Also, these modular buildings allow airport authorities to create temporary spaces and meet urgent requirements. In cases of remodelling or renovation of existing airports or terminals, a momentary space created by prefabricated materials can offer a viable solution. As these designs are custom-made and flexible, they can offer solution in every situation. In this way, besides meeting space requirements, these buildings can also help the ATC in ensuring smooth flight operation.
Additionally, an important factor that causes difficulties for the stakeholders is cost. The cost of construction or renovation always remains a concern for them as the projects demand an enormous amount of money to become fully operational. Here too, prefabricated construction is a solution that can help in cutting costs. These factory-made structures don’t require building from scratch at the site as traditional construction. Thus, they reduce costs significantly. At the same time, they are durable and require low or zero maintenance which also makes them a financially viable alternative to traditional construction.
Under the UDAN Scheme, the government has to develop airports in different areas having extreme weather conditions such as North-East and Himalayan regions. Prefabricated designs are quite fit for such weather conditions as well. They can withstand powerful rain, strong wind, snowstorm, etc. Not only that, these buildings are earthquake resistant as well and can tolerate the earth’s vibration to a certain magnitude.
Most importantly, they are eco-friendly structures. The materials used in the construction can be reused and recycled. These features can facilitate the environmental safety efforts of the stakeholders involved. At the same time, they can ensure a safe environment for commuters that is not possible with traditional building practices as they produce dust.
As the government is keen to make flying easy and affordable to enhance the ease of travelling in tier 2-3 cities, airport infrastructure requires rapid, durable, and eco-friendly building solutions. A smooth and hassle-free travel experience can be ensured with such structures only. Adopting modular prefabricated building practices is the best alternative to traditional construction and meeting the demand of the people. It will facilitate accomplishing the objective of the UDAN Scheme within the time limit. The stakeholders must look into the possibilities of these building solutions and reap the maximum benefits to augment the pace of airport development in line with ‘New India’.
(The author is Director, Epack Group. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)