At a press conference in Delhi recently, RICS launched a revolutionary concrete panel-based mass housing concept — known as ‘India Concept House (ICH) — in partnership with Sam Circle Venture and its partners, Kieran Timberlake and Projectwell.

ICH is conceived as both a dwelling for inhabitation and as a process by which homes are produced through a managed supply chain. It is designed as 23, 46, 70 and 93 sm increments; its modular component system facilitating expansion from one room to four rooms. ICH has been developed with the objective of bringing standardization, principal of supply chain and assembly line production to construct houses.

RICS has taken on the agenda of educating key stakeholders including policy makers, developers, banks, financial institutions and academia, because without this education and engagement, it will be impossible to address the huge housing shortfall that India is confronted with.

A white paper titled ‘India Concept House – manufacturing and assembling of an affordable, quick to build and sustainable mass housing solution for Indian cities’ was released by Mr. R.V. Verma, CMD, National Housing Bank. The white paper describes the complete housing solution including its spatial arrangement, modularity and expansion, wall and roof components, their manufacture, associated construction time, delivery process etc.

On this occasion, Verma, said, “I believe this is a great initiative by RICS and Sam Circle Venture and one that has great potential to give an impetus to the affordable housing sector in India today. My personal belief is that this will see great success in Tier II and Tier III cities of India where there is more flexibility and availability of land. The role of technology in creating innovative products such as India Concept House has the potential to commoditize the housing sector in India today and I see industry bodies and other stakeholders needing to play a big role in driving both acceptability and adoption of the India Concept House in the immediate future.”

Taking inspiration from automobile industry, which was also hand crated till Ford introduced Model T in 1908 to bring assembly line production, Amber Malhotra, Managing Principal of Sam Circle Venture drew an
analogy, explaining, “affordable housing in India needs a similar approach of component based off site production with supply chain linkages to the material suppliers and backward linkages to create skill manpower. This will help houses to be manufactured rather than built.”

James Timberlake, the design partner for the ICH, defines its potential broadly. “While this was designed within the Indian context, and responds to India’s unique culture, we think it forms the basis for a model that can be applied to a variety of cultures worldwide,” says Timberlake.

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