Rapidwall wins “2009 Global Gypsum Product of the Year Award

Rapidwall wins “2009 Global Gypsum Product of the Year Award”

The award which recognises excellence in all aspects of design, production, processing and innovation was presented to the company at the conference held in Rio de Janerio in May.


Conference convenor Dr Robert McCaffery presents  

the award to Greg Rice of Rapid Building Systems

Rapid Building Systems Managing Director, Peter Zwaans said, “The company was thrilled to be presented with the award especially as we were up against international competition.  It’s a great achievement to be recognised as Product of the Year.”

“The fantastic thing about Rapidwall is that it can be used for all types of building applications.”  It is especially suitable for high speed construction at a low cost.  This makes it an ideal product for solving the problems of providing housing to people living in slum conditions in the emerging economies.

Rapidwall selected by UN-Habitat Business Award Committee

Rapidwall selected by UN-Habitat Business Award Committee.

The UN-Habitat business awards committee has recognised Rapidwall for “Good Practices” in making an outstanding contribution to improving the quality of life in cites and communities.

Rapidwall, an Australian designed and developed 12 metre by 3 metre glass-fibre reinforced gypsum plaster building panel provides an ideal solution for the problems of providing housing to people living in impoverished conditions in the emerging economies.

The UN-Habitat business awards aim to recognise and publicise outstanding achievements contributing to sustainable urbanization through corporate responsible practices.

Rapid Building Systems Managing Director,Peter Zwaans said, “Our corporate mission is to provide the most environmentally friendly and superior products to improve housing for the disadvantaged worldwide. This is completely in keeping with the aims and objectives of UN-Habitat.”

In India and in China, as well as other countries, there are significant stockpiles of waste chemical gypsum from the manufacturing of fertiliser and from coal fired powerstations. Presently this waste gypsum largely degrades the environmentbut can used by Rapidwall in the production of high strength buildingpanels.

Rapidwall, a product of Rapid Building Systems, has very low CO2 emissions, can be recycled and is suitable for all types of construction.

“It is especially suitable for high speed construction at a low cost.” said Mr Zwaans

GFRG Meets Emerging Challenges | Wall

GFRG Meets Emerging Challenges | Wall And Ceiling



Construction today places an unprecedented emphasis on building materials that support the achievement of ambitious green construction standards such as LEED 4.0, deliver superior product durability and design aesthetics, and reduce the time and cost of construction. Simultaneously, the boundaries of design have been extended by use of advanced 3D modelling software that allow for the creation of complex designs that commonly break from traditional architecture.

Rapidwall wins 2014 FT/IFC Transformational Business Award

Within 6 months of being classified by the UN as the first building material in the world to be eligible for UNFCC carbon credits, Rapidwall’s recognition as one of the most environmentally friendly, innovative and sustainable building materials in the world has continued after being announced the winner for the FT/IFC 2014 Transformational Business Awards in the category of:

Achievement in Project Finance – Construction & Affordable Housing

The FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards, presented in London – June 2014, attracted 237 entries from 214 institutions in 61 countries. The Awards highlighted innovative, commercially viable, and replicable products and services that can create long-term, transformative solutions to development needs in areas such as infrastructure, energy, food and water, affordable housing and health. Other award winners included; JP Morgan Chase, US/Lion’s Head Global Partners and Standard Chartered Bank.

The FT/IFC Transformational Business Awards, presented in London – June 2014, attracted 237 entries from 214 institutions in 61 countries. Featured here are the winners from all award categories.

The award submission by Rapid Building Systems, demonstrated Rapidwall’s ability to convert natural and waste (synthetic) gypsums into water resistant glass re-inforced load bearing wall panels suitable for a broad range of construction applications, in particular the mass housing projects in emerging economies where the demand for housing is growing rapidly.

Co-chair of the awards judging panel and US Managing Editor of the Financial Times, Martin Dickson said “The judges were delighted with the quality of the entries in this inaugural programme. Many of the initiatives highlighted on the short-list were fascinating in their level of innovation and the impact they could have if replicated widely. It was not easy to pick the winners and those that prevailed should be congratulated.”

Martin Dickson, US Managing Editor of the Financial Times and Co-chair 
of the awards judging panel.

Cut the cost of construction

The researchers at the Department of Civil Engineering in IIT Madras decided to put these two numbers together to come up with a brand new idea — a housing construction technology that combines gypsum with glass fibres to manufacture lightweight pre-fab building panels.

Called Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum or GFRG panels, they enable substantial savings in the use of conventional building material. For instance, cement usage can be reduced by almost 50 per cent, steel by 35 per cent, and sand by a staggering 76 per cent.

The entire building including walls, slabs, staircase, and parapet walls can be made using GFRG panels, thus entirely eliminating the need for burnt clay bricks.

This also means that labour time is reduced by about 65 per cent and construction time by 82 per cent. The panels come with a great surface finish, which eliminates the need for plastering. Overall, you can reduce construction costs by one-fourth with this technology.

Research has found gypsum to be a durable material, and it is already heavily in use as partition walls. Experts predict that a building made of GFRG panels can have a life span of 60 years. A GFRG building does not require beams and columns. And the material has been approved as green building material by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The panel cavities can be partially or fully filled with reinforced concrete to provide additional strength. Buildings with load-bearing systems made of reinforced GFRG panels can go as high as 8-10 storeys in low seismic zones.

The panel cavities can also be used for electrical wiring and piping work.

To demonstrate the technology, IIT has built a two-storied GFRG residential building on its campus.

The built-up area of this model building is 1,981 sq. ft, and it has four apartments, two of 269 sq. ft. carpet area and two of 497 sq. ft. The entire super structure, excluding foundation work, was completed in just one month.

Clearly, the potential for this technology for use in affordable mass housing projects is high. Today, there are two factories in the country that make GFRG panels — RCF Mumbai and FRBL, Kochi — from where they are transported to different parts of the country. There are plans to set up more factories, with at least one in each state.

Sivakumar Palaniappan, Philip Cherian, A. Meher Prasad and Devdas Menon; Department of Civil Engineering, IIT, Madras

Towards cheaper, mass-scale housing

Can panels made of gypsum reinforced with glass fibre be used as load-bearing walls replacing brick in a multi-storied building? Can they also be used as floor/roof in place of reinforced cement concrete (RCC) slab? The simple answer is, yes.

A few years ago, Bace Swift Building Systems, Australia, developed a technology to make gypsum strong and water-resistant enough to be used as load-bearing walls. This is by calcining process where glass fibre is combined with gypsum plaster to produce glass fibre reinforced gypsum (GFRG) panels. Now, researchers at IIT Madras have gone a step further.

They have developed a technology to make GFRG panels to be also used as floor/roof, thus eliminating the use of RCC slabs. An eight-storied building, for instance, can be built using the panels as load-bearing walls, floors/roofs and staircases.


They also collaborated in the indigenous development of an excellent water-proofing material. Water-proofing is essential for prolonged durability of the GFRG panels, especially in the case of roofs and toilets.

A demonstration building — ground plus first floor — is being built inside the IIT-M campus. The building, with electrical and sanitary fittings, will be ready on April 8 — just 29 days of construction after the foundation was completed. “It will be ready for occupation when it is completed,” said Prof. Devdas Menon, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras.

The building will have four units — two with a carpet area of 269 sq.ft are for the economically weaker section, and another two, with a carpet area of 497 sq.ft, are for the low-income group (LIG).

A few years ago, a couple of buildings were constructed at the GFRG panel manufacturing plants at RCF in Mumbai and FACT Cochin, and one at Visakhapatnam using the IIT technology. “Those were pilot projects,” said Prof. Menon. “This is a demonstration that the material can be used for cost-effective, mass-scale and quickly buildable housing, with improved water-proofing.”

What makes the rapid construction possible is that the panels are prefabricated and cut to desired sizes based on room sizes with openings for doors and windows.

A panel has two skins of 15 mm thickness that are interconnected at regular intervals (25 cm). The cavities formed by these interconnections are used for several purposes — filling with concrete, and laying electrical conduits and plumbing pipes.

In Australia, the Bace Swift technology has been used for constructing several 2-3 storied buildings. Since the walls act as load-bearing structures, every cavity in the panel is filled with concrete. They use conventional RCC solid slabs for the roof/floor.

“We recommend the use of two steel bars instead of one and filling all cavities with concrete in the lower floors in the case of a high-rise building,” said Prof. A. Meher Prasad of Civil Engineering Department, IIT, Madras. The number of concrete-filled cavities and steel bars keeps reducing from the ground to the topmost floor. The topmost floor will need very few concrete-filled cavities.

A reduction in amount of concrete used in turn reduces the total weight of the building. The ripple effect is the reduction in the foundation cost. The demonstration building at IIT Madras is about 25 per cent cheaper than conventional ones. “There will be greater savings when used for mass-construction,” Prof. Menon stressed. Aside from the savings and speed of construction, the buildings are subjected to lesser earthquake forces. This is because of their lighter weight.

For the floor/roof, the panels are placed over the vertical wall panels and the top skin of every third cavity is cut open. Steel reinforcement is placed in these cut cavities before being filled with concrete. The concrete-filled cavities tend to behave as hidden beams. The panel is then covered with a 5-cm thick concrete topping.

Since the panels have a smooth finish, the need to plaster them (as in the case of brick walls) does not arise. The total weight of the building (dead weight) is reduced substantially

According to the IIT researchers, tests conducted have shown that GFRG panels reinforced with concrete are also capable of resisting lateral loads caused by earthquakes. During an earthquake or strong wind, buildings tend to sway and the walls are subjected to enormous loads exerted laterally.

The Building Material & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) has approved GFRG for construction in India.

Maharashtra keen to use GFRG panel for projects

Maharashtra has evinced interest in using GFRG (glass fibre reinforced gypsum) panels manufactured by FRBL (FACT-RCF Building Products Ltd), Kochi for its upcoming developmental projects.

An assurance in this regard was given by the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during a recent meeting with Jaiveer Srivastava- CMD (FACT) & Chairman (FRBL), CP Dinesh-MD (FRBL) and other senior officials.

According to Srivastava, the Maharashtra Government has assured all possible help to popularise the GFRG (Glass Fibre Re-inforced Gypsum) panels manufactured by FRBL. The government has also shown interest in placing an order on FRBL for a pilot project of the proposed Nagpur Housing Project.

The FACT team met the Chief Minister and requested him to consider FRBL on a nominated basis, for the various upcoming projects in Maharashtra.

The FACT delegation also made a presentation and technical discussions on GFRG panels, which are useful for rapid construction projects at affordable prices, besides being environmental friendly.

For a direct appraisal of FRBL’s capabilities, the Secretary to Chief Minister and other senior officials of Maharashtra Government would be visiting the FRBL sites and facilities by next week.

Ananth Kumar unveils world’s largest glass fibre reinforced gypsum panel

Ananth Kumar unveils world’s largest glass fibre reinforced gypsum panel Prefab Gypwall, which is approved as an alternative building material, envisages new construction methodology for affordable housing BS B2B Bureau | New Delhi November 17, 2014 Last Updated at 18:25 IST Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilisers, unveiled the world’s glass fibre reinforced gypsum (GFRG) panel ‘Gypwall’, manufactured by FACT­RCF Building Products Limited (FRBPL), at the India International Trade Fair 2014. FRBPL is a joint venture of Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Limited (FACT), Kochi, and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Limited (RCF), Mumbai. FRBPL is now manufacturing the world’s largest load bearing wall panels (12 X 3 mts and 124 mm thick), which are light weight with high quality finish and water proof. Ananth Kumar said all labs including those from the US have tested and approved these panels, which could revolutionise the infrastructure sector of the country.


This environment friendly prefab Gypwall, which is approved by Building Material and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) as an alternative building material, envisages new construction methodology for affordable housing. Considering the potential of the panels in mass housing projects, IIT Madras has come out with a design manual for GFRG panels published by BMTPC. IIT Madras has been testing and conducting various studies on GFRG wall panels for the past 10 years. Considering the advantages of GFRG panels to the environment, IIT has Constructed a two storied apartment buildings at their campus, which took only 32 days for completion.

FACT-RCF to ink deal with Tata Housing

Gypsum-based wall/roof building panel and plaster maker FACT-Building Products Ltd. (FRBPL) is expecting to ink a contract with Tata Housing for supplying its products, a top company official has said.

He also said individuals are now looking at the gypsum panels for building their homes and the company is popularising the product among architects, builders and others.

“The negotiations are on with Tata Housing. We hope to conclude the negotiations soon and ink the deal,” C.P. Dinesh, managing director of FRBPL told IANS here Thursday.

The company is a 50:50 joint venture between Kochi-based Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd. and Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilisers Ltd (RCF) to make glass fibre reinforced gypsum (GFRG) panels for building projects.

Dinesh said their plant in Kerala has a capacity of 1.4 million sq.mtr per annum and started production in 2012.

According to Dinesh, Tata Housing is planning to construct ground plus four buildings and need GFRG panels in large numbers.

He said around Rs.150 crore has been invested by the two promoters in the project.

“We are looking at government, educational institutions and other mass housing projects. Meanwhile, we are getting orders from individuals,” Dinesh said.

In Kerala, a 2,500 sq.ft house was built in 60 days using our panels, he said.

“Currently, our order book position is around 27,000 sq.mtrs. We also offer project management consultancy services,” he said.

According to him, buildings constructed with GRFG panels would offer construction cost advantage of around 20 percent.

“In addition, the panels would occupy less footprint there by increasing the carpet area for usage. Painting costs will also be less as the walls will not absorb paints like the conventional brick walls,” Dinesh said.

Australian company Rapid Building Systems has provided the technology for wall panels and the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras have developed the technology for using GRFG panels for building roofs, he added.

Gypsum is an industrial waste from fertiliser units which is being sought to be used for construction.