Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental necessity and a key priority especially since it’s on its way to becoming a scarce resource unless used judiciously. At Xrbia, we take natural measures to keep a shortage of water supply at bay. Given below are few ways in which we manage this valuable resource.
Power cuts are an annoying reality threatening to disrupt life and work across Indian towns and cities. We understand the need for an uninterrupted flow of power particularly because our lives are to a great extent regulated by electronic gadgets.
Connectivity is of crucial importance in a society that is characterized by unprecedented mobility. A well connected public transport network has always been the hallmark of world class cities. We’ve planned Xrbia’s roadways taking that as the yardstick.
Multiple transportation modes in Township Planning - Buses, Cars, 2 wheelers, Cycles and Pedestrians Diverse number of effective parking alternatives from Multi Level Car Parks (MLCP) to mechanized parking Dedicated pedestrian and bicycle trails.
There are few things we hate more than an internet connection that works at a glacial pace. The only thing even worse is perhaps a connection that requires a lot of time and effort to fix when it breaks down. To avoid the aforementioned problems, we’ve equipped Xrbia with the following.
Provision of Township level High Speed Fibre Network with connectivity by best practice service providers Data, voice, High Speed Internet, DTH Entertainment - all in a single infrastructure Continuous monitoring and fault detection Dedicated maintenance portals for customer interface
Urban housing sector in India has unique challenges of scale, affordability and delivery.
India is currently passing through a process of rapid urbanization. Steady growth in organic population, migration from rural areas and rise in nuclear families have created an exponential increase in demand for housing units in most Indian cities. However, housing units are not available in the numbers required and when available, not affordable by the target segments. Result has been the rise of slums and other informal settlements. It is estimated that more than 60% of the population in Greater Mumbai lives in informal settlements. Moreover, there is a steady decrease in the areas occupied by families.
According to a recent survey, Indians have per capita space equivalent to 117 sq ft per person in urban areas. In Mumbai, this is estimated to be as low as 45 sqft. All of these point to the large requirement of urban housing.
It is estimated that India needs to build more than 7 Million houses per year for the next few decades. More than 75% of these are estimated to be in “affordable” segment which implies a cost of not more than 5 times the annual income of a family. Therefore, houses costing not more than Rs. 10-15 lakhs are the major part of the need.
However, surveys show that the housing units under construction by most private developers are beyond this price band. Development firms cite the number of factors that make the houses expensive and therefore routinely target the upwardly mobile aspirational segment of the market where there is a larger profit to be made. Result is a spiraling increase in cost of the houses that aggravates the problem of affordability.
So, the question rises, how can one reduce costs to make houses affordable?
The following points address the root causes that make houses unaffordable and also discuss how a total solution can be developed.
Typically, in cities, the cost of land is a significant chunk of the total project delivery cost of a real estate project. Hence for private developers, it is very difficult to deliver an affordable housing project within the city limits. However, as one moves out to suburbs, the construction cost remains more or less the same but the land cost ends up being a small fraction of the total project development cost. However, it is important to locate each project with easy access by major transportation networks.
The concept of affordable housing is based on developing new self-sufficient cities that are accessible by major railways and highway connectivity, but are far from the existing cities where the land cost is not a significant fraction of total development costs.
After the usual research & development on bringing down the material & labor costs involved in construction of an affordable housing project, there still exists a major opportunity to lower the ticket price; which is usually the biggest factor in the masses being able to afford these houses.
Architects should be been able to conceptualize an apartment with a living area, sleeping area, kitchen, bathroom, patio & a utility balcony within a built-up area of less than 300 square feet using design innovation.
These revolutionary designs coupled with sharp engineering promotes cross utilization of spaces. For instance, the sleeping area in the 1 BHK Smart apartments can be used as seating area/study room during the day. Similarly, the living area can be quickly converted into dining area during meals.
About 30-40% construction cost of Reinforced Cement Concrete framed building in India comprises of Steel & Concrete. Hence a lot of value engineering is undertaken to cut down the quantities/sqft for these materials.
A cost effective way is constructing Low-Rise buildings (typically less than 24m height or Ground + 7 storeys) instead of a High-Rise building which will help in cutting down up to 20% & 30% costs/sqft in Concrete & Steel respectively.
This approach works well on projects on which the land costs are not a significant percentage of the overall project delivery costs.
An affordable housing project can immensely benefit from the scalability & replicability of design, procurement & construction processes.
Architects and Builders should standardize designs to a major extent with minor customization based on the specific site location, size, contour patterns, soil type & most importantly; the local statutory requirements. A core set of consultants working across projects enables to expedite design delivery & procurement management processes. This helps in reducing the timeframe between conception & execution of the project thereby saving financing costs for the developer.
The major delivery processes in building a house should be outsourced to external engineering and project management organizations. Thus, the efficiency of the work processes are benchmarked against market standards and a need for a large internal overhead is obviated.
Investment in contemporary construction technologies such as System Aluminum Formwork/Shuttering Systems has a large impact in large-scale projects. System forms are prefabricated & engineered modules of shuttering panels with a metal frame & thin contact metal surface. These series of panels are joined together edge-to-edge & spaced in parallel with a second series of panels. As per the Structural Engineer’s design, steel reinforcement is placed inside these forms & wet concrete is poured in this space to make beams, columns, slabs, walls, floors, ceilings, etc.
After the concrete within the forms attains the required strength, the series of panels are dismantled revealing a highly uniform, monolithic concrete structure with accurate tolerances & plumb levels. No further plastering is required on these surfaces due to them being highly finished by use of metal panels. Structures constructed using metal forms & design mix concrete provide greater durability & better seismic performance as compared to conventional brick & mortar construction. These systems are usually implemented in Tier I cities where their cost can be recovered from premium pricing on luxury projects. However, standardization being the essence of our design, the system forms can be repeated up to 300 times & hence their upfront costs can be recovered by utilizing them at multiple projects.
An often neglected aspect of affordable housing is that the target end user usually does not have the ability to sustain payment of two houses – renting the currently occupied home while paying the pre-EMI or installments while his/her own apartment during the construction phase.
Quicker project execution & faster move-ins for the buyer is possible if the product delivery timeline is highly optimized due to design standardization, system formwork technology, streamlined project documentation & effective project management.
Procuring materials locally helps the environment as well as saves costs of transportation, octroi, miscellaneous taxes, etc which can be passed on to the end user. Using local labor is more likely be cheaper than moving a large workforce & providing for their local accommodation.
An affordable housing project should stay affordable throughout its life-cycle; most of which is during occupancy phase. This is where sustainability comes into the picture. The immediate and most tangible benefit of a sustainable project is in the reduction in water and operating energy costs right from day one, during the entire life cycle.
Embracing sustainability in design & construction aspects, results in the following benefits:
Developing an integrated approach to address all the supply side constraints that make houses unaffordable for most urban dwellers, ensures that houses are built more than 30% cheaper than market benchmarks.