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BASF Catalyst India Pvt. Ltd., Chennai


The design, fabrication, supply and construction of PEB package for project Pasumai was awarded to Kirby India by one of its Indian BASF divisions – BASF Catalyst India Pvt Ltd. Kirby Building Systems India Pvt Ltd has been the pioneer of Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings (PEB) in India. The team convinced the client to go ahead with PEB, as all their requirements related to process changes and various other specifications can be easily accommodated during the design stage which was well appreciated by the client who firmly believed in the company’s capabilities and awarded this project. Headquartered in Germany, with world-wide operations, BASF is the largest chemical producer in the world and supplies products to a wide range of industries.

The building at Chennai is itself a contemporary example of a large scale operation and flexibility of designs. The project consists of five buildings – Production Building, Slurry Tower, Finished Goods Storage/Warehouse Building, Central Operations Building and Utility Building.

Project Specifics
This project is named as BASF “Pasumai” project; with “Pasumai” in Tamil referring to green which symbolizes the unique concept of using green and sustainable construction model and techniques used in constructing this plant. This project is built up in Mahindra World City on the outskirts of Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Highly technologically advanced and among the largest and most sophisticated processing plants, this BASF facility will ultimately manufacture catalytic converters used in automobiles. This facility near Chennai will cater to all the automobile facilities located in and around the region, thereby reducing the overall transportation cost and lead time for all automobile manufacturers.

The buildings are designed as per IS 800:1984 codes with serviceability criteria as per IS 800:2007 codes with all the geographical data like wind velocity (IS 875), seismic loads (IS 1893:2002), loadings (IS 800:1984), etc. taken into consideration. The design of the building is complex in nature with new innovation techniques used to meet all the stringent building requirements that could meet all their processes. The plant is dependent on the process right from building specifications to machinery layout. Even with the project being in the construction phase, all the design changes in the building layout were incorporated right from beginning to the end, without hampering the schedule of the project.

The engineering team successfully managed to overcome the restrictions on height of the column and on depth of both beams and columns to fit in all the client’s requirements. Special emphasis was laid on the design parameters in order to ensure that all changes, including the complex pipe racks arrangement running all around the building with varying loads and levels, were accommodated to suit the varying processes for different type of vendors.

Structural Elements
All the buildings feature majority of heavy star columns (double I section columns) and beams where a single piece is spanning 15 m long and weighing upto maximum of 14 MT.

The Slurry Tower is the highlight of this project with its G+4 structure. Built at a height of 27 m, this tower consists of cruciform columns with heavy loads to the tune of 100 KN/sqm or 10 MT/sqm on each mezzanine floor which are loaded with very heavy machinery. Glove fit accuracy defines the design for the heavy pipe racks and utilities that run all across the structure. This design perfection is the byproduct of employing latest engineering/drafting tools with the highest precision of fabrication well within the allowable tolerance limits as per MBMA standards. Mezzanine layout on all four levels ensure that the members were connected with ease at site, ultimately aiding in reduction of overall construction time. Some part of the slurry tower is provided with fascia which consists of MS box sections, mainly for fixing the BASF logo on the fascia with additional steel supports.

This building also consists of 8 mono rails from 4 MT to 6 MT, at different levels to take care of machinery movement without any outside crane requirement. Many openings are given all around the building to ensure free movement of the machinery from one place to another with the help of internal cranes. FM Approved Standing Seam roofing system is used with solar panels loads which makes the building 100% leak proof. Sinusoidal wall cladding has been used with high precision finishes to make it aesthetically appealing and architectural beautiful.

Finely Fabricated
The expertise of Kirby design department helped in giving special aesthetics to the utility building with curved fascia on side walls and architectural wall cladding in front of the building, which is one of the most unique features of this project. The fascia fins dropped from the top of 27 m to a varying height upto 15 m, the curved roof of the utility building, the cantilever staircases, valley gutters made of stainless steel materials, fire rated paint applied to the operations building and many such features with high-end and super rich specifications make this project unique in nature.

Multiple cranes up to 80 MT capacity with 120 boom lifts, suspended platforms, and aluminum scaffoldings were employed during the erection stage. The structure was erected in grid pattern in order to achieve the required speed thereby maintaining the safety and stability of the structure.
All the materials fabricated went through a stringent welding process as per the AWS standards with very negligible tolerances. The welding quality is ensured by tests like Dye Penetration Test/Ultrasound Test for the automatic Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) process used for the flanges to web welding & the Flexible Core Arc Welding (FCAW) used for the various fitments of child parts and the dimensional accuracy is verified for compliance to the acceptable tolerances.

Steel Specification
• Built-up Section Plates – Grade 50
• Hot Rolled Sections – Grade 36
• Cold Formed Sections – Grade 50
• Roof & Wall Sheeting – Grade 80
• Stainless Steel Gutters & Handrails-Grade 26

Overcoming Challenges
Due to availability of very less space for the storage and erection, handling of materials at site was one of the major challenges. The project management team at plant and construction management team at site, handled the project very efficiently with a detailed plan chalked out in order to supply materials in the required erectable sequence without affecting customer’s priorities.

To ensure timely project completion, a detailed micro-level plan backed up with precise supply chain management was followed through Kirby’s SAP system, right from the enquiry stage till the final dispatch. Kirby India’s SAP has been used to interlink design, detailing and fabrication, thus enabling proper coordination and timely sequential delivery of material to site. Communications and checks were initiated at critical points. Further, regular meetings were called internally to monitor critical paths and to endorse corrective actions as and when required.

Safety First
In addition to the inherently safe practices followed by Kirby, it also offers supervision and safety audits at site. The company deployed innovative solutions like highest safety standards which were followed in line with international norms to achieve zero accidents. The Kirby execution team showcased highest level of safety standards, with over 150 skilled workers working on-site at the peak. Daily tool box meetings were held to review the project status and the way forward was planned with regular quality check in collaboration with the client. Moreover, corrective measures were taken to meet the client’s schedule and all their requirements with world-class service.

There were safety sign boards installed at various locations and a session on safety induction was conducted for workers. Apart from this, workers also had to undergo medical tests at regular intervals. Personal protective equipment (PPE) was made mandatory for all workers to ensure safety of each and every person for different type of works handled at the site.

Tested and certified by authorized third party agencies, the project made use of boom lifts to take the labour to the required location, fall arrestors, life lines, safety net, aluminum scaffolding, etc. at the site.

With the erection process being highly technical, additional training sessions were also conducted at the site to educate the builder staff on correct installation procedures EHS practices to be followed. Skilled and trained manpower was employed to effectively execute the works and handle heavy construction equipment.

Employing Steel
With a total of over 3 lakhs man hours consumed for construction of all the buildings, over 4,500 MT of steel was used in this project and a major portion of the raw material such as plates, coils, etc. was procured from leading steel manufacturers based in India and other parts as per the project requirement.

Project Highlights

  • Standing seam roofing sheet of 24 gauge with 360 degrees double lock system outside and 26 gauge color coated liner sheet inside
  • Sinusoidal wall cladding of 26 gauge is installed and is constructed only up to 1m height. There is a gap of 200 mm between the column outer flange and wall. The sheeting is placed on the outside of the wall at a distance of 430 mm from the outer flange of the largest column on any given grid.
  • Fiberglass insulation of 50 mm thickness with GI mesh for entire roof area
  • Pre-galvanized secondaries (120 gsm)
  • Framed openings & canopies with necessary trims & flashings and soffit panel.
  • 4 per cent of roof and wall area consists of skylights and wall lights each for all the buildings
  • CHS (Circular Hollow Section) pipe bracing considered for roof and wall
  • High strength bolts (HS Bolts) have been used for all primary connections
  • 3 coats of paint involving epoxy primer, low VOC MIO intermediate paint and final polyurethane finish paint giving excellent durability and long term recoatability with total DFT (Dry Film Thickness) of 250 microns. Central operations building is fire proof and can withstand upto 2 hours of continuous fire.

Client: BASF Catalyst India Pvt. Ltd.
Architect : Aswathanarayana & Eswara LLP
Steel Solution Provider : Kirby Building Systems India Pvt Ltd
Steel consumed : Over 4,500 MT
Total Area : 15,900 sq. mtrs.
Status : Completed

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