Off late, there is increased attention on quality of workforce accommodation and office space at construction sites. Comfort of people staying and/or working on site is essential. Lack of comfort can adversely affect morale of project staff, increase chance of ailments which ultimately lower productivity.
Temporary Residential Solution for Labourers
Housing & office solutions for project sites have specific requirements.
• Easy & Quick to Erect & Use: Being temporary structures, there should not be any delay in commissioning them for use once project starts.
• Easy to Dismantle: Once project finishes, the solution should be easy to dismantle before shifting to next site.
- Portable: The solution should be capable of moving easily from one site to another. Portability allows for reuse, which decreases cost of ownership substantially. This means that the solution should not be heavy.
• Modular: This feature allows for addition or removal of units based on requirement of resources at site.
• Functional: Although luxury is not a requirement in most project sites, the solution should be functional. If it is an office space, it should allow comfortable working through the day. Residential solution should allow for comfortable stay during the course of the project.
Traditional concrete or brick & mortar structures are not suitable in these applications since they take time to erect, difficult to dismantle, non-portable and non-modular. In this scenario, other types of solutions come into the picture.
With increased focus on employee and labour comfort, better solutions are being demanded and offered in the market. Typically, the following modern solutions are used currently.
• Custom Units Made From Steel & Structural Sections: Such units are custom-made from steel sheets and structural sections. They take more time to erect but can be customized to site requirements.
• They are typically appropriate for very large project sites, where customization gives benefits such as a more efficient layout. These benefits can offset the time taken for erection and dismantling.
• They are also commonly used for residential accommodation at project sites. There is a shift from using GC sheets to colour coated galvalume sheets to provide more comfort to residents.
• Eventually, such housing may be offered as readymade units with addition of more features like insulation.
• Shipping Containers: Among the most commonly used solutions, they are available of the shelf for use at project sites. Their modular nature makes it easy to scale up or down based on the need at site. Shipping them is also easy on any container truck. They are particularly preferred for office spaces as their standard size matches the standard office desk/cubicle dimensions.
• Plastics (PVC, PUF Panels and GRP etc.): Shipping containers are not available in smaller sizes and customizing them takes time and effort. This is where plastics come in. They can be moulded to any shape and size, based on need. Being costlier, these solutions are used for smaller structures like bathrooms, toilets, security cabin at project sites.
In the future, it is likely that complete solutions will enter the Indian market. In western countries, readymade single, double and triple room accommodations with or without kitchen and bathrooms are available off the shelf for purchase or rent. They can be easily transported by trucks/trailers to site and used immediately. They are made using insulated panels for comfort during any type of weather. Further, the panels are reinforced for protection during natural calamities. High-end solutions offer plug and play capability; fully furnished with completed electrical and plumbing. Companies offering such solutions outside India include Karmod (http://www.karmod.eu/), Black Diamond Group (http://www.blackdiamondgroup.com/) and ATCO (http://www.atcosl.com/en-ca/).