To meet the large demand for housing, to maintain quality and to speed up building construction, production of standardized low-cost high quality building materials and components need to be encouraged, on a decentralized basis. Houses in Kerala
have been mostly built using locally available low cost building construction materials till recent times.
To propagate and promote the use of low cost standardized building materials and components, as well as appropriate technologies and designs, demonstration-extension-cum-training centers need to be set up in various parts of the state. Right from the first five-year plan, the national government initiated steps in this regard. Till a few years ago, the training centers that imparted training in low cost building construction methodologies were an instant hit. Hundreds of young men and women were trained in these centers. Due to the paucity of funds, many of these institutes are now not functioning properly even though these institutes can be restarted to reach out to those intending to take up work in the construction sector.
As building materials account for up to 75 percent of the cost of construction of houses, production and supply of these materials at low cost must be given utmost priority. The public and private sectors have augmented the production of steel and cement in recent times. Even then the production of traditional building materials like bricks, tiles, building lime etc. must be increased considerably by the private sector enterprises with government support.
If locally available building materials can be used, major savings in input costs is possible. A major constraint here is that the mindset of the people is tuned in a different way. Vast majorities of the people intending to build a new house are of the notion that the traditional building materials are not durable. The fact that some of the locally available building materials are as strong as those in wider use is totally unknown to many.