Glass Fibre Reinforced Gypsum (GFRG) is a
new building panel product, known as Rapidwall®, made essentially of gypsum plaster, reinforced with glass fibre rovings. This product, suitable for rapid mass-scale building construction, was originally developed and used since 1990 in Australia by Rapidwall Building Systems. In India, the panels are made from processed phosphogypsum (recycled industrial waste from the fertiliser industry) and are manufactured by Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers (RCF), Mumbai and FACT Ltd, Kochi.
The cavities in the panel can also be used to conceal wiring, piping, and insulation. The panels can be factory-cut to required room sizes with openings for doors and windows.
GFRG building construction is gaining popularity in India, holding the promise of rapid affordable housing. Presently, there are 300 GFRG buildings built in India, mostly for individual houses.
Building Materials Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) has sponsored the construction of 36 apartment units for EWS and LIG categories at Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. The Nellore project is the first mass housing project built in the country using the GFRG technology. Five two-storeyed blocks have been constructed. Four of these comprise 8 EWS units (four in each storey), each with a built-up area of 462 sq.ft. The fifth block comprises four duplex LIG units, each with a built-up area of 764 sq.ft.
GFRG panels for this project were supplied by FRBL, Kochi. The construction work was awarded to Hastha Alternate Building Technologies and Research Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, who has experience in constructing GFRG buildings.