Gone are the days when the construction of a residential or commercial buildings was a cumbersome process, consuming a lot of time and money. And the lengthy process of construction resulted in a substantial amount of waste, posing a threat to environment. New technologies have considerably eased the construction processes. Pre-designed or prefabricated homes are the in-thing as they are easy to handle and help bring down costs by one-fourth. In Pre-Engineered Buildings (PEB), walls, beams, doors and windows are pre-constructed and assembled at the site just as Lego blocks are assembled in order to make a shape.
Beams are formed by welding together steel plates to form a section. They are later field-assembled to form an entire frame of a pre-engineered building. “Pre-Engineered Building is a concept introduced in Oman in which all construction solutions are offered under one roof even as this method of building gains popularity,” His Highness Sayyid Faisal bin Turki al Said, patron of such an initiative, told the Observer. The demand for this technology is fast picking up in the region, with builders, including those in Oman, getting building blocks and walls from Asian countries, where the cost of construction is relatively cheaper.
“Prefabricated engineering is becoming popular in the GCC. Oman is not behind; we are sourcing the building blocks from India,” said Ahmed al Farsi, the representative of a leading Asian supplier in Oman.
While the demand for the technology, there are also apprehensions about it, with some critics questioning the adaptability of such technology to the harsh weather conditions.
Faizal E Kottikollon, Founder and Chairman of KEF Infra and KEF Holdings, however, said these apprehensions are unfounded as the technology has “already proved to be suitable for any terrain, any geographical location and any size of the land”.
KEF Infra and KEF Holdings is an offsite manufacturing technology company with a current order booking worth $207 million.
According to him, the popularity of prefabricated buildings has been on the rise in the last three years, with the technology bringing world-class proficiency in design, engineering, manufacturing, assembly and project management, all under one roof.
“It is transforming the traditional construction industry by significantly reducing costs and increasing efficiencies,” said Kottikollon.
“A pre-engineered building (PEB) is designed by a PEB supplier or PEB manufacturer, to be fabricated using the best-suited inventory of raw materials available from all sources and manufacturing methods that can satisfy a wide range of structural and aesthetic design requirements, leaving no room for any prejudices at any stage,” he added.
He said this technology is currently used in several places across India, including for the building of a one-million sqft college hospital in the city of Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu state) and 262 Indira canteens in Karnataka state. It is also being used for the construction of a two-million sqft mall for the Lulu Group in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh state). Experts say that in the Sultanate, many structures have been built using this technology, which satisfies the economies of scale, time, finance and the like. It also helps the builder save time and money, while ensuring the quality and durability associated with the traditional structures.