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  • Writer's pictureNathira Jezeefa K

Rapid Housing with GFRG panels

Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum (GFRG) Panel known as Rapidwall is a building panel made up of calcined gypsum plaster, reinforced with glass fibres. The panel was originally developed by GFRG Building System Australia and used since 1990 in Australia. Now, these panels are produced and this technology is in use in India.


What goes into the making of GFRG panels?


The GFRG Panel is manufactured in semi-automatic plant using slurry of calcined gypsum plaster mixed with certain chemicals including water repellent emulsion (BS 94), Retarder (D50) and glass fibre rovings which are cut, spread and imbedded uniformly into the slurry with the help of screen roller. The panels are dried at a temperature of 275°C before shifting to storage area.


There are 3 classes of GFRG panel:


1. Water resistant grade – GFRG panel for external walls, in wet areas and /or as floor and wall formwork for concrete filling.

2. General Grade – GFRG panels for structural application or non–structural application in dry areas. These panels are general unsuitable for use as wall or floor formwork.

3. Partition Grade – GFRG panel as non–structural internal partition walls in dry areas only.




Construction of GFRG


The foundation used in the construction is conventional and is designed generally as strip footing depending upon the soil condition. And going above: For superstructure, plinth beams are cast all around the floor, where walls have to be erected. The superstructure is entirely based on prefabricated panels. The procedure mainly include fixing of wall panels and roof panels using mechanical means, preferably a crane and filling the required joint with reinforced cement concrete as per structural design. Waterproofing is an essential requirement of the construction at different stages to protect the joints.


Why GFRG?


  • Using the system, the construction of a building can be very fast compared to the conventional building.

  • Panels can be used not only as walls but also as floors, roofs and staircase.

  • It makes use of industrial waste gypsum.

  • Does not need any plastering.

  • Uses much less cement, sand, steel and water than conventional building. It consumes much less embodied energy and less carbon footprint.

  • Since the thickness of the walls made with GFRG panels is less (5 inches) when compared with the conventional walls (9 inches), a greater carpet area is accessible in a GFRG building.

  • The GFRG panels made houses are fire resistant and earthquake resistant.


Disadvantages of GFRG

  • It requires more space for the movement of a crane during the construction time.

  • GFRG panels can’t be used for the construction of walls in circular or dome shape.

  • For installing the GFRG panels, highly experienced and skilled labor is needed and should be taken care while transporting so as to be free of damage.


Conclusion


A constant search and requirement for rapid mass housing equipment, methods and materials is inevitable. GFRG though has few limitations; the advantages are many in number. Hence, new technologies like this encourage the usage of industrial waste products in a useful way in construction.


References



Author:

Nathira Jezeefa K

CMTI, Campus ambassador

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