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.

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.

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

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.