Construction
Using precast technology, Paddy Menon says he can build better and cheaper homes much faster than normal methods.
By Arvind Dev

Paddy Menon is a self-confessed rebel. To the extent that he also named his company REBEL Disruptive Building Technologies and occupies the position of Chief Disruptor.

"I am a disruptor. I am a rebel. I am against authority. I make my own roads and I am going to define how construction should be done," he proclaims.

On Saturday, in another display of his rebellious streak, Menon attempted to set a world record by building a three bedroom, 2400 sq ft house within 24 hours using precast technology in T Agrahara, on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

Menon aimed to make it into the Limca Book of World Records with the house built on fast-forward.

"I can build houses faster and this is the way we should be going towards to move India forward," he says.

The precast technology that Menon advocates involves casting wall panels at a plant. During this stage, electrical conduits and water pipes are also fixed into the panels. Once the basement is ready, these panels, including the roof, are erected using cranes.

Structures made using this technology are said to be of better quality, cheaper and requiring less labour than the regular method of construction. This kind of construction is also time-saving and can cut down on up to 64% of the time taken for similar projects using normal construction methods.

Several countries, especially in Europe, have long been using this method to build their infrastructure.

Paddy, a 50-year-old entrepreneur, calls the method "super-quality housing for people at a super-fast speed".

"Our construction methodology is pretty jurassic. Our labour is also not skilled. I hate mediocrity and I think perfection is required here. And you can achieve perfection with engineering and planning. What I am trying to show here is that a house can be made of solid concrete in a day. It is simple and easy with the right planning," he says.

For the record, Menon had exactly 24 hours to complete the house. He used nearly 1.5 hours of it last week to lay the foundation of the house, and the rest of it was used at a stretch from Saturday to Sunday morning. He had to ensure that the house was put together in a way that it was fully functional, from the structure to electricity to plumbing, at the end of the day.

Unfortunately for Paddy, however, heavy rains stopped the team from beating the record. "I am a bit disappointed. We were able to complete nearly 90% of the house in 24 hours. The rain slowed us down and it was not something that was under my control. I couldn't carry on with something that was structurally compromised," he says.

With the record out of their grasp, the team plans to take their time and complete the house by July 22. That’s still just a week’s time to build a three-bedroom house from scratch.

"There are plenty of horror stories about house buyers and their experiences with builders. I want to show that building is simple and that customers don't have to go through that. And precast is cheaper too. If a regular house comes at a price of Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000/sq ft, a precast one can be around Rs 2,000/sq ft," says Paddy. 

Photographs by: Arvind Dev