Having fledged with its own identity, today this construction giant is a front-runner in the Indian real estate sector. The group not only brings newness in every project they undertake, but, leave their identifiable legacy in every single job they do. With a touch of finesse being a hallmark of their works, Phoenix Group has added quite a few precious gems in their crown within the past few years.
In a candid interview, the nucleus of the group, SRIKANTH BADIGA – Group Director, shares his insights on the changing phases of construction industry; enlightens how the use of steel has actually been the game-changer for them; and how they are known for doing things differently when compared to its contemporaries.
Read more of his perspectives and analysis on steel…
Q Being one of the key players in the real estate sector. How does Phoenix stand out among the rest?
A Phoenix was established in the year 2002. From the day of inception, we have had our own identity. We are and were famous for swimming against the tide. We always believed in trend setting, and, were the first to launch premium residential apartments also the first to venture into IT SEZs.
We always believed in transformation, and, are famous for our construction of our IT buildings in steel structures and pre-fab.
We could deliver maximum space in minimum time. Likewise, believed in giving back to the society and our Chairman took up the re-development of crematoriums which is a nation-wide movement now. So, even though we are in the business of property development, we are known for doing things differently when compared to our contemporaries.
Q What is your take on the growth of steel in the Indian Building segment?
A The take is direct. We prefer practicing than preaching. We are developing all our buildings with steel structures. We are planning to develop around 20 million sq. ft in the next three years. The development of properties using steel structures saves time and resources. Moreover, it is safe in comparison with the conventional construction.
Q How would you analyze the advantages of steel over conventional materials for Commercial, SEZ & Residential?
A Steel is the most convenient and safe material. As mentioned above we prefer steel structures over the conventional methodology. It is most adaptable, and, our customers also prefer the same technology. The Implementation of design modification is also possible with ease when using steel structures.
Q What are the key challenges faced by the developers in our country?
A Delays in obtaining construction permits for project development, increasing cost of raw materials and limited availability of land in urban areas are some of the challenges that Developers in India face. Other issues, such as complexity of projects owing to increasing demands from customers, increasing land prices etc.
Q Steel structures are boon for the Developers. Can you explain this statement?
A Steel structures are economical for high-rise builders like us. They also weigh less compared to RCC and Composite structures of the same design, which is good and energy efficient. Steel enables lesser disruptions to the environment, improved aesthetics, increased inner (interior) flexibility are the other benefits that steel structures offer. The time-savings these steel structures offer is the most important benefit, not only for controlling project construction cost, but, also because delays in projects are being taken seriously by the government of late.
Q According to you what are the prime factors that prevent the developers from opting for steel buildings, provided the long-term benefits that steel offers?
A In India, our structural engineers are still not very favorable towards steel buildings because of complexity in design and unfamiliarity in analysis.
Q What is your take on the revised construction norms carried out by the government? Are there any policies that you anticipate, or you believe that the government should rollout?
A The policies rolled out are good and encouraging, as and when we keep practicing amendments can be done, since, government policies are always enabling.
Q Is there adequate structural steel supply to meet the client requirements?
A As of now, it is difficult to comment on this because, if Developers embrace steel as the major component of their structures, suppliers will see potential opportunities, and hence, the vertical supply chain will evolve eventually. It depends on how the value chain emerges.
Q Phoenix has mandated steel structures for most of its buildings? Can you take us through the journey which leads you in this decision?
A Well, we are in the business of construction since 2002, and, we have done some projects previously too. Most of them conventional, and, very cumbersome on mobilizing the resources. The steel prices were never constant and were fluctuating every three to four months, thereby, hampering the progress of the project. Availability of steel in those days was also a challenge.
When, we started developing larger IT parks the situation became more challenging. The mobilization of manpower to shuttering material to materials has become a major uphill task. Above all, the time consumed for completing the project was almost three to four years.
Since, most of the projects were large the modifications in the structure at the time of construction was not possible, and, we had to literally break down the major portion and re-build it.
We started using prefab from the year 2013 -2014, which, really eased the construction to large extent. The delivery of the buildings on time started improving gradually.
In the year 2013, we were introduced to steel structures by Kirby. In record time they were able to erect around one lakh sq. ft of incubation space. Later, we realized the speed with which we can construct our buildings in much lesser time.
The cost was on a higher side, but it was feasible because of the amount of time we were saving by using steel structures. Finally, we decided to construct all our buildings with steel structures only. In next four years, we are anticipating developing around 20 million sq. ft of space using steel structures.
Q What message do you have to give to our readers?
A Contractors, suppliers and customers need to understand that newer and innovative technologies are highly essential for building smarter and leaner constructions, which provide long term benefits. It is important to quickly adapt and adopt them, thus, becoming responsible citizens of the planet.