Q Being one of the pioneers in the field, what is your take on the growth of the Real Estate Sector in the country?
A There was a temporary disruption in the real estate sector in the recent past post demonetization. However radical the move, it proved to be progressive. Demonetization has helped in preventing investors in buying real estate just to evade tax, and, keep black money in the economy. With 2017, setting the tone for revival with affordable housing, RERA, GST, we can expect a great future for the realty industry. Moreover, the passing of GST and RERA is set to bring about fundamental changes and increased transparency along with timely completion of projects. Luxury housing has picked up the pace in the current year, and with the rise in the number of millionaires in the country, demand is expected to surge in this niche market. Infrastructure status grant to the affordable housing sector will significantly address the housing needs of millions.
Moreover, with tax and other monetary incentives granted to affordable housing, we can expect a rise in affordable housing projects and achieve the government’s housing for all vision. Furthermore, India is also well placed in the top 100 nations clubs for ease of doing business. The policy reforms and developments will have a cumulative positive impact on the overall sector and help build long and trusting relationships between the developer and buyer. There is tremendous scope for growth, which is also helping up in putting up satellite towns closer to major cities and the focus is on improving Infrastructure to accelerate it further.
Q Having created one of the Landmark projects of the Country – ‘The Capital’. How was your experience working on this project?
A ‘The Capital’ is indeed a Landmark project. What makes The Capital an innovative space, is the attention to detail in creating a unique corporate environment, but, also acknowledges the requirements of every stakeholder, visitors and employees alike. The conveniences are built with the intent to provide an experience that matches the jet-setting lifestyle of its corporate honchos. Work-life balance at this complex cannot get any better. Its architecture is its beauty.
Every day in the construction business is a new challenge. Tremendous work by big players and standing out as the best brand is in itself a challenge. Competition has reached a peak now, and, to serve the best of quality and build smart is a challenge. The projects today have fast track deliverables promises to match with customer requirement and competitive market demand, to foster this technology amalgamating operations are to be used and we make sure we deliver it.
There were many structural changes in the economy and due to a few policy amendments too, one of the major challenges while executing this project was the timely availability of machinery for the smooth execution. However, the efforts which our labors had put in for completion of this project and the support they extended towards constructing this landmark project was tremendous, the result of which was beyond satisfaction.
Q What have you to say about Steel vis-à-vis Concrete Buildings?
A India has been traditionally building concrete buildings, and, use of steel (structural) for the residential and commercial building has been on the far lesser side in terms of steel consumption compared to western countries. But, now more and more projects are being taken up, for its sheer speed of construction and as more and more high rises with going over 150 mts high are coming up, the concrete section especially columns are becoming thicker and wider, eating up into floor space, with steel sections these can be restricted, and leaner sections can be designed. Also, new codal requirements are helpful towards this. So, my view is the use of structural steel in residential and commercial buildings may be composite design, it will come into play more and more apart from its use in Infrastructure works.
Q According to you what are the key challenges faced by the Developers?
A The steel industry is known for being recurring, and, reflective of overall market conditions. The demand keeps fluctuating, as per the recession or inflation. The major challenge with regards to usage of steel for the construction industry is the non-availability of the required sections, and grades of structural steel. The over-production of steel in the last decade has led to a depletion of high-grade raw materials. Using low-quality raw materials can lead to GHG emissions which can cause disturbance, and, will also result in major energy consumption. This steel when imported leads to the escalated tariff.
Q How is technology changing the Construction Industry?
A The construction industry has witnessed much significant advancement in the technology over the period and helping the industry to improve the productivity and save in costs and time. We have seen heavy investments in developing, and, acquiring new technologies by construction industries that will benefit them. Technology could do wonders in terms of speed if selected appropriately and save a lot of time in the construction phase – which invariably lands up being a saving for the project in the big picture as your delivery is expedited. Initially, any technology would cost higher than the conventional method, however, post factoring the time value of money and taking into account the faster delivery it facilitates, it’s a sure shot winner in the whole project cycle.
Today, we cannot think of any high-rise building without technology. Also, we are surrounded by technology 24 x7 which is a must in the future apartment you would want to stay. Today, newer developments especially the luxurious projects are equipped, with well-integrated systems of data / telecom / security and CCTV surveillance and the elevator management system in place for the comfort of the residents.
Some of the latest technologies that are responsible for the transformation of the construction industry are:
3D BIM that helps the workers to imagine and deliver the same way they thought of, 4D and 5D are responsible for better cost-effective model designing with comparative lesser time than the usual model would take. 3D laser scanning is one that helps in understanding the exact dimensions of a project using this form of construction technology means there is no reliance on human measurements, and so reducing human error.
Q What are the prime factors that prevent the developers from opting for steel buildings, provided the long-term benefits that steel offers?
A The major factor is price escalation. With the recent hike in import duty on steel, the real estate sector is faced with the proximity of further hikes in the domestic prices. This, in turn, is resulting in costly homes for the end customers’ making affordable homes not so affordable. The undue hike in prices is a huge deterrent for investment in real estate and its growth, as it burdens the sector with an additional cost.
Q Where do we lack in terms of Real Estate Sector as compared to the other developed countries?
A India is lagging in terms of quality and quantity of steel. In India, the Steel Industry is passing through a challenging phase. While the use of structural steel is growing, tall building technology is still in its infancy in the country and India lags in adopting structural steel due to high cost. Limited supply is another area where we lack in terms of steel usage in real estate. At present, the construction of steel buildings is also being limited by the paucity of skills. There is no dearth of appropriate software tools to develop and visualize complex designs. These factors eventually are resulting in Indian Real estate’s shift from steel to concrete.
Not only this, Indian steel industry itself is lagging in terms of technological advancements. India, however, lags in terms of innovating new technologies for steel production, largely due to a lack of investment in R&D by major steel players. Imported technology is available, but there is a need to develop domestic technologies that are compatible with the domestic raw material. Local coal is high in ash content and iron ore is of low grade, and therefore, India needs to invest in developing technologies that are able to upgrade various raw materials for high-quality steel production.
A plan has been mooted to set up a national steel research institution for furthering the above objectives. Enhancing R&D and innovation in the steel sector will not only reduce capital costs but also reduce the dependency on the imported raw material, which will enhance the competitive position of the Indian steel industry.
Q With lineups like the “Smart Cities Mission”. How do you see this changing the Indian Infrastructure Segment?
A In India, the Steel Industry is passing through a challenging phase. The demand for steel is at its lowest. Domestic consumption is severely affected due to lack of activity in infrastructure, as well as in the manufacturing space. The biggest challenge facing the domestic steel industry, is to have the per capita steel consumption in India at par with the average global standards. The new Government at the center has, however, rekindled hope in the industry. The ambitious infrastructure projects, and, the thrust in manufacturing through the “Make in India” campaign are steps in the right direction. The plan for smart cities, improved roads, and rails connectivity by building highways, bridges and dedicated freight and superfast rail corridors have huge potential to spur domestic steel demand.
Smart Cities coupled with Tag of affordable housing has changed the scenario of housing Industry, which is actually resultant of the huge focus on Infrastructure. The Government is now focusing on putting up required infrastructure like railway, roads bridges airports first and then looking up to developers to exploit such locations which will help housing industry to come up with newer developments, like satellite towns.
Q What outstanding newness does The Wadhwa Group plan in the next 5 years?
A The Wadhwa Group has launched an Integrated Township in Pavel, known as Wadhwa Wise City. ‘Wadhwa Wise City’ will offer a unique proposition of efficient Studio, 1 & 2 BHK apartments that will be constructed in various phases. Out of the total land holding of 450 acres, The Wadhwa Group is planning to develop 138 acres in phase 1. The project has got all the approvals for the first phase in place – location clearance under ITP, Letter of intent (LOI) under ITP, Environmental Clearance for the Township, as well as, the buildings under Phase 1along with the building CC for Phase 1 building. The mandatory Maha RERA registration for relevant buildings has been obtained.
The project is strategically located with excellent rail-road connectivity to both, the central and western lines making it easy for commuter travel. The location Panvel is close to Mumbai-Pune expressway, and the Sion-Panvel, providing easy access to both Mumbai and Pune. This affordable housing project will be the mixed development of residential and commercial. All these comprises of about 6 to 7 million square feet of development catering to affordable, mid-segment and luxury segments which will be different for different micro markets. Apart from the usual requirements of such a township, what we Intend to give is a very high HAPPINESS QUOTIENT and HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT utilizing all the natural resources available at our disposal, such as the lakes, ponds and huge green cover. Our other upcoming projects this year are in these locations – Chembur, Kandivali, Matunga, Mulund.
Q What message would you like to give our readers?
A Futuristic constructions should have expert involvement. With introduction of new technologies, it would be wise to opt for designers, structural consultants to construct efficient and ultramodern buildings that would bring delight to the ultimate user.