8 Essential Construction and Building Materials in India

Construction and Building Materials in India – Building material is any material used for construction purpose such as materials for house building. Wood, cement, aggregates, metals, bricks, concrete etc.

Construction and Building Materials in India

The construction industry in India integrates a variety of locally sourced materials. This highly depends on the kind of construction, which range from ‘Kuccha’ mud houses to modern urban infrastructures that use high-end materials.

The pressing problem with the industry is, however, the way the source materials are obtained. Sand mining, open fly ash factories, and disregard of sustainability standards have had a huge impact on the environment across the past decades.

While the civil engineering and construction industry has boomed over the past decade, the country faces strong challenges from the exhaustive and highly polluting nature of building materials.

Problems like illegal sand mining have been affecting the river systems. Densely clustered city planning has been leading to climatic disasters like the one Delhi experienced recently.

Materials Used In Construction

Construction and Building Materials used in India

In 1990, the Indian Government took an initiative under the Building Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) to encourage and promote sustainable, energy efficient and environmentally feasible building materials.

According to the National Portal of India,

The Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) is responsible to undertake research, development and large scale application of new building material technologies.

Users can obtain information related to the work areas of the organization, missions, objectives, thrust areas etc. Details of major services offered by the organization are also available.

  • BMTPC is an autonomous body under Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • It is registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and is primary task is the mainstreaming of new construction technologies.
  • It is responsible to undertake research, development and large scale application of new building material technologies.
  • BMTPC will manage newly formed National Urban Housing Fund (NUHF)

However, traditional sourcing continues to be a major part of the construction industry and includes:

1. Wood

Compared to alternatives like plastic and other engineered products, wood offers a great natural advantage. Traditionally, wood construction has been the primary choice of Indian construction, especially in rural areas. In modern times, wood as a building material is also making headway into urban spaces. The advantages include:

High tensile strength – lightweight and higher self-support length
Heat and electrical resistance – natural resistance to construction and heat – offering more stability and safety
Sound absorption – Naturally acoustic properties make it a great advantage in city living and workspaces
Aesthetic – Again, the natural touch of wood is fresh. Also, an incredible range of wood is available, based on the need.
Wood construction, however, has its set of disadvantages including:

Deforestation – sourcing requires cutting down of trees
Prone to damage – Easily damaged by natural elements
High maintenance – requires expensive maintenance

2. Plastic

Mainly used as polymers in the construction industry, they form a relatively small percentage of the building materials in India. Its advantages include:

Can be molded into any shape or form
Hard, resilient, heat tolerant
Immune to water damage
Cost effective
However, at the same time,

Environment damage – Is not biodegradable and hence pollutes the environment
Flammable – Can be an easy cause of fires

3. Glass

Glass has become an exceedingly important material in the urban scape. Not just corporate offices, but even modern homes are using glass as a façade alternative. The main advantages include:

Beautification – Looks good from outside
More sunshine – allows for maximum use of daylight, while saving energy costs
Privacy – Comes in a huge variety of reflective surfaces to offer privacy
UV Resistant – Keeps off the harmful UV rays from the indoors
However, glass fails when it is about:

Costly – Expensive to deploy and needs to be carefully handled
High maintenance – Requires regular cleaning and this can be challenging with high glass walls
Security concerns – Privacy and safety can be compromised

4. Metal

Aluminum and steel alloys form a big part of the construction industry across the globe and are in fact the framework for big structures. The strengths lie in:

Flexibility and resilience – Highly durable and strong
Weatherproof – Can withstand adverse climatic conditions to a great extent
Fire resistant – less prone to burning, compared to wood or glass
Its disadvantages include:

Prone to rust – and consequently affects the structural integrity of the construction
Difficult to seal – inconvenient to design
Expensive – metal constructions are highly expensive. Also, they require high maintenance

5. Cement

Cement is a binder and is perhaps the crux of all kinds of construction across India. It offers strong resilience to the construction and overall integrity of the building. The advantages include:

Massive and are better at accumulating heat – a longer warming/cooling cycle
Strong – can resist high compressive load
Easily manufactured
However, cement brings in several disadvantages when you look at the environment side of the issue. They have:

High carbon footprint
Are too hard and consequently very brittle – prone to cracking
Weather quickly – suck up dirt and dampness

6. Bricks and Blocks

Made up of clay or mud, bricks come in several shapes and offer high strength to the construction. They have long been used to construct homes and offices across India. Its advantages include:

High thermal stability
Made from local materials
Cheap to manufacture and durable to use
Offers a range of insulation, moisture absorption and resonance properties
However, bricks are:

Environmentally damaging – soil excavation resulting in soil erosion
Requires high construction costs

6. Concrete

Concrete, as in cement brings in the same set of advantages and disadvantages. They are long-lasting building materials and have become the foundation for India’s bridges, highways, reservoirs, dams, parking structures, and everything big.

According to the Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council

Sand Lime/ Calcium Silicate Bricks
Fly Ash Lime Bricks
Clay Fly Ash BrickFly
Burnt Clay Flooring Tiles
Burnt Clay Flat Terracing Tiles
Fibrous Gypsum Plaster Board
Precast Channel Unit for Floors/ Roofs
Precast RC Planks and Joints
Thin RC Ribbed Slab for Floors and Roofs
Precast Waffle Unit for Floors/Roofs
Precast Reinforced Concrete L-Panel for Roofs
Precast Doubly Curved Shell Unit for Floor/Roofs
Precast Reinforced/ Prestressed Concrete Ribbed/Cored Slab Units for Floors/Roofs
Reinforced Brick and Reinforced Brick Concrete Slab/Floor/Roofs
Prefabricated Brick Panel for Floor/Roofs
Precast Solid Cement Concrete Block
Precast Concrete Stone Masonry Blocks
Hollow and Solid Light Weight Concrete Block
RCC Doors and Window Frame
Ferrocement Doors Shutters
Ferrocement Water Tanks (250-10,000 lt.)
Concrete Manhole Covers and Frames
Fly-ash/Red Mud Polymer Door Shutters
Rubberwood Flush Door Shutters
Poplar wood Flush Door Shutters
Finger jointing & shaping technology
Micro Concrete Roofing Tiles
Ferrocement Roofing Channels
Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer doors and door frames
Bamboo Mat Corrugated Roofing Sheets
Bamboo Mat Ridge Cap
Two Storey Bamboo Housing System
Pre-fab Double walled Composite House

In Future, we will update Contact number of construction and building materials Providers of Your Local area. You can find the same thing here.

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About the Author
Er. Mukesh Kumar
Er. Mukesh Kumar is Editor in Chief and Co-Fonder at ProCivilEngineer.com Civil Engineering Website. Mukesh Kumar is a Bachelor in Civil Engineering From MIT. He has work experience in Highway Construction, Bridge Construction, Railway Steel Girder work, Under box culvert construction, Retaining wall construction. He was a lecturer in a Engineering college for more than 6 years.