• Housing & Construction

    The housing and construction industry is second only to agriculture in the Indian context. It covers not only residential/non-residential buildings, but also other forms of construction and related areas, e.g. new building/construction materials, particularly alternative building material utilizing natural and waste resources; special structures, e.g. chimneys, cooling towers, other industrial structures; roads & bridges and traffic & transport.  With increased density of housing in urban areas, disaster mitigation has also become a key issue requiring immediate attention for repair, rehabilitation, and retrofit strategies. Attention has to be paid to structures distressed owing to natural/man-made hazards such as earthquakes, cyclones, fire, etc.

    As per the current estimates, India faces a shortage of over 20 million dwelling units with the backlog growing continuously. The weaker sections of the society face the brunt of this inadequacy. To make available such a large number of affordable basic dwelling units, both in urban and rural areas, is indeed a Herculean task. Similar is the case with roads and transport, bridges, etc. All this has put a grave responsibility on R&D organizations to devise appropriate, cost effective technologies, techniques and designs that could meet the growing needs of housing and construction sector. CSIR has been playing a key role in meeting the R&D requirements on almost all aspects of this sector.


    The core competence of the various laboratories is as follows:
    Labs Areas of Core Competence
    Central Building Research Institute (CBRI, Roorkee) Structural design of buildings, construction techniques, Mathematical modelling related to structural problems, Computer-aided structural analysis and design, Development of construction techniques and planning guidelines for buildings in disaster prone areas-flood/cyclone, Economical design of water supply and drainage system, Testing and design solutions for geotechnical problems, Reclamation of abandoned as ponds for human settlements, surface and ground water quality monitoring for organic/inorganic pollutants, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Environmental Audit (EA) & Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for  new and  expansion  projects of process industries and infrastructure projects, testing of soils, flyash, industrial and  mining waste etc, for manufacturing  of bricks  and tiles.  Bricks from unsuitable soils, mechanized production of clay-flyash, flyash-sand-lime and autoclaved products, technology for manufacture of hydraulic lime, cement and concrete, lime and lime-based products, super-plasticizer, high-strength concrete, anti-corrosion treatments, fibre-reinforced building materials, reactive silica from flyash, polymers, plastics, paints, protective coatings, adhesives, sealants, water-proofing compounds, utilization of by-product phosphogypsum and fluorogypsum as building material, environment-friendly termite control measures, thermal  designs of conditioned and non-conditioned buildings/cold storages etc., distressed buildings investigation, suggestion and remedial measures, repair/strengthening/retrofitting  measures of damaged buildings, design and fabrication of machines for construction technology, design of rural houses and construction methods  for  hilly areas, fire hazard assessment and analysis, Computer-aided-Architectural Design and Planning (CAAD), remote sensing and GIS related applications
    Central Road Research Institute (CRRI, New Delhi) Pavement engineering and paving materials, geotechnical engineering, bridge-engineering, traffic-engineering, transportation planning, road traffic safety, environmental impacts, highway planning and management, instrumentation for highways and bridges.
    Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC, Chennai) Fatigue and fracture, experimental mechanics and shock and vibration, steel structures, transmission line towers and other steel skeletal structures, computer-aided analysis and design of structures and software development, concrete composites and materials and reinforced concrete structures, construction engineering and pre-stressed concrete structures
    Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI, Karaikudi) Corrosion inhibiting formulations/processes
    Central Fuel Research Institute (CFRI, Dhanbad) Building materials, steel plant refractories, etc.
    Central Glass & Ceramic Research Institute (CGCRI, Kolkata) Building materials, high temperature structural components
    Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT, Hyderabad) Anti-corrosive coatings, nuclear radiation resistant coatings for nuclear power plants, adhesives, insulation boards, etc.
    Central Mining Research Institute (CMRI, Dhanbad) Design for underground space, tunnels, dams caverns, and hydel projects.
    National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI, Nagpur) Rapid and comprehensive EIA of developmental projects, rural sanitation
    National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML, Jamshedpur) Building materials and components from locally available raw materials and wastes, new building materials, blended cement formulations, concrete and steel bridges, railway wheels and railway tracks, offshore structural components, corrosion inhibiting formulations/processes
    Regional Research Laboratories (RRLs), Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Jorhat and Thiruvananthapuram Building materials and components from locally available raw materials and wastes, alternative building materials


    Knowledge-Based Products/ Technologies Developed and Basic Findings


    • Construction Products/Technologies: Precast L-Panel elements waffle units, channel units, cored units, in-situ ribbed slab, stone blocks, concrete blocks, hollow concrete blocks, aerated/cellular concrete walling blocks and roofing slabs, coconut fibre and wooden chips roofing sheets.  • under reamed pile foundation. • precast brick arch panel system. • ferrocement • channel/shell units •precast plank and joist   flooring/roofing extruded structural clay unit floor/roof • precast brick panels  • un-reinforced pyramidal brick roof  • cement bonded fibre roofing sheets  • precast jack-arch panel system, skeleton system •prefab concrete panel system • roof cooling device  production of solid pre-stressed concrete poles employing direct electric curing
    • New Materials, Machines/Equipment bricks from inferior soils •corrugated roofing sheets from coir waste or wood wool  • concrete blocks • ferro cement doors/shutters. • natural fibre reinforced polymer composite door panels •stabilized, compressed earth blocks  • clay fly ash burnt bricks •lime/sand-lime bricks •clay red mud burnt bricks • cement bounded composite panelling, partitioning, cladding, false ceiling boards/panels •gypsum- based ceiling tiles, panel blocks, door and window shutters •medium density fibre board, doors and windows, panelling, ceiling, flooring, •partitioning and built-in furniture •rice husk board doors, partitions, false ceiling boards/ panels • improved process for the manufacture of natural fibre- based composite laminated useful for making plain/corrugated sheets  • acrylic water-based coating for protection of concrete structures • C-BRICK machine energy- efficient gypsum calcinator • epoxy-cardinol coating system for protection of concrete and steel structures • epoxy/phenolic IPN system for protection of steel and concrete structures •epoxy/phenolic IPN system for protection of reinforcement in concrete EPS composite and doors shutters fire-doors and partitions high draught brick kiln hydraulic concrete block making machine  • lime hydrating machine mini climbing crane microdata cabinets stationary concrete block making machine semi-automatic cutting table for extruded clay products •silicate- based waterproofing formulation solar water heater water- based epoxy system for concrete structures waterproofing treatment for exposed masonry and lime concrete surfaces beneficiation of phosphogypsum flooring tiles from waste gypsum polycem tiles polytiles plant for shaping of building bricks from inferior soils/industrial waste by extrusion process gravitational settling chamber for pollution control in brick kilns  pollution control unit for vertical shaft lime kiln
    • Rural Technologies: Stabilization of soil •non-erodable mud plaster •plinth protection of mud walls  • improved method of making fire retardant thatch-roof •use of secondary species of timber •low-cost latrines for low and high sub-soil water level areas  • night soil disposal systems •waste water disposal system •leaching pit for black cotton soil/expansive clay regions •decomposition tank-cum-leaching pit  • ferro cement water tanks •biogas plants

    Special Structures

    • Development of cold worked deformed bars (It received the ‘Import Substitution Award.’) prefabricated industrialized construction and development of a wide range of pre-cast products  development of bubble type dome units for the roof structure of the Parliament library  development of design recommendations for high strength and high performance concrete mixtures including fibre reinforced concrete and self compacting concrete   •low- cost, high- performance housing schemes full-scale dynamic testing and evaluation of TG pedestals for the first time in India  •testing of wind energy support towers
    • Fatigue testing on different types of joints of offshore structures  fatigue and fracture behaviour studies of power plant tubular structures  design of aerodynamically shaped cyclone shelters •development and marketing of wide range of software for structural analysis and design analysis, design and testing of transmission line/communication towers  •blast resistant design of structures
    • Evaluation of the existing condition of special structures including bridge structures • retrofitting repairs and rehabilitation methodologies and full-scale testing methodology for lowering of in-service gas line evaluation of wind loads and responses of complex structures including interaction effects using atmospheric boundary layer wind tunnel facility seismic resistant design of structures including vibration isolation development of dampers etc

    Roads, Transport, Bridges, etc.

    • Construction Materials: Use of burnt clay pozzolana and lime-pozzolana mixtures for partial replacement of cement low temperature tar as road binder improved bituminous materials and mixes with polymer additives fibre reinforcement, anti-oxidant and rejuvenating agents and durable bitumastic compounds for the paving of bridge decks • technologies for use of waste materials – Fly Ash Mission, etc., • lean cement concrete • lime-flyash concrete • rapid repair materials such as epoxy resins and magnesium phosphate cement • location of hidden deposits of low-grade aggregates through air photo interpretation
    • Road Construction: Brick sandwiched concrete pavements • composite rigid pavements • roller compacted concrete pavement • new paving system comprising hollow precast concrete blocks with interconnecting dowels for deserts • stabilized soil rural roads • mechanically stabilized soil sub-base and thin sand asphalt surfacing • techniques for strengthening and rehabilitation of existing thin cement concrete pavements, which show signs of distress, by providing suitable flexible and rigid overlays • soil stabilization for construction of low-cost rural roads
    • Road Roughness Measuring Device: Profilograph • unevenness indicator • automatic road unevenness recorder (ARUR) • microprocessor-based axle mounted system. The riding quality of trunk routes has been characterized and pavement deterioration models, spectrum of axle load on national highways, quality control methodology and pavement management system have been developed
    • Transport Planning: Study on traffic simulation modelling for inter-urban road sections • planning model for rural road network • assessment of socio-economic impact of rural roads on the basis of nine district-level studies • study on the future needs of road technology.
    • Prevention of Landslides: Horizontal drilling to provide drains for quick ingress of water • spreading coir netting to promote vegetation on the hill slopes • geogrids to control rock falls • use of geotextiles to improve the strength and load bearing capacity of weak strata in many situations
    • Bridge Engineering:• Non-destructive testing • Computer program for inventory rating of slab-bridges •T-beam slab bridges and Warrens truss bridges • corrosion inhibition in concrete bridges and surface coating of rebars •technique for measuring deformation during the load test of bridges • codes of practices for expansion joints, wearing courses and bearings for the bridge decks
    • Investigations have also been made to identify the sources of pollution and hazards. Cost-effective remedial measures have been suggested.


    Developments in this sector have focussed on composite materials, structural ceramics, etc.


    Among the notable programmes and accomplishments are fly-ash, red-mud based low cost building materials; use of fly ash as a raw material in pottery and other ceramic industry; sanitary ware, floor tiles, terracotta products utilizing locally available raw materials of Gujarat and West Bengal; glass-fibre reinforced gypsum as wood substitute; low cost glazed/unglazed hollow blocks and tiles developed from inexpensive raw materials; granite tiles from beach sand; and heat reflecting coating on flat glass for building purpose. Radiation shielding windows used in nuclear installations are viewing devices, which allow direct viewing into radioactive areas, have been developed.


    One of the major achievements in the field has been the development of a prepeg sheet molding process using needled felt fibre and thermoset/thermoplastic for fabrication of high volume fibre composite sheet and moldings. Polycoir is a coconut fibre based thermoset composite used to fabricate door shutters. Lightweight bricks with savings on energy and costs and life-extended coconut leaf thatch as roofing material have also been developed. A process for the manufacture of composite panel materials using banana pseudo-stem/leaf sheath has been scaled up for commercialization.


    Some of CMRI’s major achievements in this sector include Numerical modelling for development of underground and surface mining methods as well as design of underground pillars, development of quick-setting organic cement capsules for effective roof bolting, technique for safe slope design and analysis of slope-ability


    CECRI’s contribution in this sector lies in corrosion control in concrete structures:  Condition survey of existing structures • Assessment of residual life based on rate of corrosion • Development and evaluation of surface coatings for concrete and steel rebars, • Cathodic protection of sub structures • Repair and rehabilitation of corrosion - affected structures • Radiography examination of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete bridges.


    IICT's contributions to this sector include: Nuclear radiation resistant coating for Nuclear Power Plants • Anti-static rain erosion, • resistant coating for LCA Radome (Air-craft industry) • Rebar coating formulation • Crack filling compound for concrete structures  • UV resistant coating for outdoor exposure • Anti-static floor coatings for electronic and pharmaceutical industry

    RRLs (Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Jorhat)

    • Building ceramics from Industrial and Agricultural wastes at both laboratory as well as pilot plant scales • Clay coconut pith bricks (Light -weight bricks) • Vitrified red clay tiles • Corrosion and erosion evaluation facilities • Development of Vertical Shaft Kiln (VSK) for mini cement plants • Process development for ceiling boards from agrowaste, • Low cost cement (Alite and belite -rich) based on rice husk as fuel • Ferrocement elements for roofing, storage tank, etc. RRL-Bhopal has developed ‘R-wood’ from red-mud, fibre and polymeric composition, as a used substitute.


    • Rapid and comprehensive environmental impact assessment of developmental projects for cement, steel, mining projects, port and harbour projects etc., Life cycle assessment for steel sector in India.


    • Process for building bricks using fly ash, sand and lime.


    • Non-destructive testing


    CSIR laboratories have been continuously upgrading their infrastructure and facilities and gearing up to face the challenges of the new millennium. The emphasis is on the study, design and development of functional, energy efficient, economical and eco-friendly housing and other types of buildings suitable for different climatic zones

    Considering the challenges faced by the country arising out of globalization of the economy and natural disasters, the major thrust area would cover the use of improved structural systems, their detailed analysis and testing under realistic loading conditions and for the use of GIS, GPS and Satellite Imaging Technology to make the operation of the road network and vehicle fleet sufficiently intelligent for required level of efficiency with respect to passenger and goods movement

    To meet the housing shortage, new building materials by utilizing wastes and innovative construction technologies including prefabrication and mechanization are being developed to help in speedy construction.

    Some of the futuristic research programmes in the field of Road and Transport include: Intelligent Transport Systems, Geographic Information System (GIS) and Geo-Positioning System (GPS)- based planning and management of transport network, service and environment, Development of safety audit methodology for existing and new roads, Artificial intelligence to enhance accuracy and versatility of planning tools, Environmental impact assessment, Mitigation of natural disasters on roads, and development of warning systems, Development of performance- based specifications of road materials and design, Fibre optic- based instrumentation for evaluation of roads and bridges, Use of industrial/municipal wastes in road construction and Development of high performance, materials, mixes and specifications.