Plan pro­motes pre­fabs to in­crease ef­fi­ciency

The build­ings cut use of ce­ment, wa­ter and wood by 15 per­cent com­pared with tra­di­tional con­struc­tions

China Daily (USA) - - POLICY REVIEW - By HUY­ONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­

Air and noise pol­lu­tion cre­ated by con­struc­tion sites could be­come a thing of the past, as China is pro­mot­ing pre­fab­ri­cated build­ings, known as pre­fabs, to save en­ergy, im­prove safety and re­duce ex­cess ca­pac­ity, the State Coun­cil, China’s Cabi­net, an­nounced af­ter an ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing, which was presided over by Premier Li Ke­qiang on Sept 14.

The move is part of the coun­try’s ur­ban­iza­tion plan to ad­dress in­creased de­mand for real es­tate as peo­ple move from ru­ral ar­eas into cities. Build­ing pre­fabs can help re­duce con­struc­tion waste, dust and noise, com­pared with tra­di­tional cast-in-place con­crete con­struc­tions, ac­cord­ing to Chen Yim­ing, chief en­gi­neer at theMin­istry ofHous­ing and Ur­ban-Ru­ral Devel­op­ment. Chen said pre­fabs only use 85 per­cent of the ce­ment, wa­ter and wood in­volved in tra­di­tional con­struc­tion meth­ods.

Steel and con­crete are the main com­po­nents of pre­fabs, which are to be fa­vored for new­build­ings in ar­eas such as the Beijing-Tian­jin-He­bei clus­ter, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, a state­ment re­leased af­ter the meet­ing said. Mean­while, other cities with a pop­u­la­tion of more than 3 mil­lion will also start to construct pre­fabs.

Ac­cord­ing to a state­ment re­leased af­ter the meet­ing, 30 per­cent of new build­ings in the next 10 years will be pre­fabs, with min­istry statis­tics show­ing that the cur­rent ra­tio is less than 5 per­cent.

The state­ment also said the gov­ern­ment will im­prove stan­dards and tighten reg­u­la­tions re­lated to pre­fabs, en­sur­ing high-qual­ity de­sign and fur­nish­ing of new con­struc­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the state­ment, busi­nesses will be en­cour­aged to make more di­verse pre­fab­re­lated prod­ucts, de­vel­op­ing new tech­nolo­gies and equip­ment.

Pre­fabs are a low-cost, ef­fi­cient way to ease hous­ing short­ages as­so­ci­ated with wartime de­struc­tion and large-scale ur­ban­iza­tion. Such con­struc­tions were pro­moted in the 1950s when Euro­pean na­tions, such as the United King­dom, the Soviet Union and Poland, had to re­build their coun­tries af­ter WorldWar II.

Some multi­na­tional com­pa­nies also adopt pre­fabs to save time and hu­man re­sources. TheUnited States fast-food chainMcDon­alds uses pre­fab struc­tures to build new stores, which are able to be built and open for busi­ness within 13 hours.

Dur­ing the past few years, pre­fabs have been on the rise in places such as Shang­hai, Beijing and Zhe­jiang prov­ince, and are ex­pected to be seen in more cities un­der the new drive, said Liu Dong­wei, chief ar­chi­tect at the China In­sti­tute of Build­ing Stan­dard De­sign and Re­search.

In 2010, Yuanda Group erected a 15-story pre­fab ho­tel in six days in Chang­sha, cap­i­tal of Cen­tral China’sHu­nan prov­ince, while last year, a 57-story pre­fab build­ing was com­pleted in 19 days in the same city.

Liu said pre­fabs can be com­pleted faster, are cheaper and con­sume less en­ergy than tra­di­tional con­struc­tion meth­ods, while be­ing af­ford­able, safe and more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing, if man­aged prop­erly.

Xiao Feng, a real-es­tate de­vel­oper in­He­fei, cap­i­tal of East China’s An­hui prov­ince, said: “The ad­van­tage of pre­fabs is ob­vi­ous.

“China has a much larger la­bor force than many Euro­pean coun­tries, but faces prob­lems cre­ated by an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion. Pre­fabs can sharply re­duce the num­ber of work­ers on con­struc­tion sites, which will be im­por­tant when the coun­try’s older pop­u­la­tion grows in 15 to 20 years’ time.”


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