BIG INTERVIEW

Creating Designs that Inspire

An architect who designs every project like his first and believes that he is responsible for every structure that he is involved and should be designed for comfort of the people. His love for steel as a material is clearly reflected in his bridge projects which gives is an epitome of aesthetical appeal.

The Man-of-the-hour DIETMAR FEICHTINGER,
Principal Architect, Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes
is here with us sharing his beautiful journey and some insightful thoughts…
Read on to know more…

How has been your journey from your first venture as an Architect to now?
When you go on a journey you usually have an aim. What was it on my journey into architecture? Creating spaces and life circumstances for people that are comfortable, interesting, forming the scenery of everyday life or special occasions. Considering the social and environmental dimensions. This journey was not well defined. I did not have a clear plan of how to get there so I just got going.

Some very important people in the adventure have joined me, made part of the way together or still are with me. Like on all these adventures there are ups and downs, like winning an important competition for a footbridge in Paris and then waiting for eight years due to political and technical matters to see the project realized. Looking back the way we found seems to be a good one, not too many deviations and we are getting close to achieve our dream to create spaces full of life.

With wide variety of experience in high rise structures, what is your take on high rise buildings in India?
Well, I know there is a big activity on high rise buildings in India. I must admit that I do not actively, as an architect participate in this activity as I did not get an opportunity yet. India is a very, very dynamic place nowadays. I have been there not so long time ago, and I was really fascinated. There is a lot of contrast, though.

Talking about steel structures in high rise buildings, there is often a logic in how you do a building and how you build the reserve and situations that lead you to prefabrication and mounting methods. Especially, in big cities like Mumbai often the situation is quite dense, and I think there steel structures are very much appropriate.

Architecture influences many people’s lives without them even realizing. This is the big responsibility that architects have. We are working on public buildings, school buildings, leisure buildings. Observing people evolving in our realized project the way we imagined gives us the most satisfaction

What is the significant difference you have found while working with Indian and International firms for building steel infrastructure?
I do not make so much the distinction between Indian firms’ as big European steel companies have been brought into Indian societies. It is a global issue not so much linked to either Europe or India or other places. I think India has a very important input to give now, because there is Mittal who has a big participation in the fabrication of steel and also, of course, in the price of steel, because that’s also a very big factor.

There are ecological aspects to steel construction today. There are good sides and bad sides – The bad side is that it takes quite a lot of energy to build in steel, to produce it, make it ready for construction. The good side is that you can do very efficient structures, you can work in complex situations, also steel can be reemployed. If the construction is done properly the building can be demolished and the steel can be recycled and reused for new building, I think that is a big point. This brings me to a point that you must do construction seriously in considering that you might have to reconstruct, and you must not mix too many materials. Mixing materials makes it quite difficult to reuse certain materials. If they are not mixed, they can be distinguished and with steel there are quite good possibilities.

What aspects do you consider while designing any project?
There are two main aspects – where do you build your building, what are you referring to, who are your neighbors and what kind of situation – dense, delicate, sensitive landscape – or is it something that has to be a significant object – like a landmark building in the urban composition. The other aspect is the content of the building, what is the program, who are we building for, is it a public building or an intimate space.

Of course, there is the specification of the sight and the content of the brief. These are the driving elements in design. Mounting conditions, prefabrication, the impact of the building process on sight are additional elements that influence the design and sometimes can modify the way of approaching the design.

What is your signature style while designing a project? What makes your design style different from other contemporaries?
We are trying not to be stylish and not to repeat ourselves. With a certain amount of experience you may try to redo the experience, that was successful and do something similar. We are referring to every project as new project and starting from scratch.

We want to treat every project as singular project. Every project has its own context and destination. We are trying to be as objective as possible but at the same time we are looking for open buildings, welcoming buildings, we are looking for comfort for people. We are very much considering issues like natural light and ventilation, being oriented towards ecological issues, build buildings that are simple buildings because more buildings are complex in their technological way their use is difficult. We are trying to design buildings with lot of intelligence but least complex. We try to be open to all kinds of briefs, working for public and private clients as well, building for education, leisure and sport, culture, work and living environments.

As an Architect what scope do you see in the Indian Steel infrastructure industry?
We know a lot of steel comes from India and China is also present in the market, as well as Europe and India are working very closely together.

A far as my practice is concerned, we use steel for a foot bridges as an example – when we get to a certain span, want to have a quite a light transparent structures that is considering and integrating landscapes, to be delicately installed in the landscape, not to be imposing. Often steel comes to be a good meaningful answer in such cases We are trying not to be pre-conceived in our ideas. We do not think in the beginning that we shall do this structure in steel or not. I think there are materials appropriate to our ambition and the best material is used which helps us achieve the ambition. Often in my practice there is presence of steel.

Can you please mention steel related projects designed by you?
Talking about steel structures we are implicating metal louvres, big facades, office buildings, interior connections, or multiple ways to apply materials within all kinds of buildings and they are not necessarily steel buildings because we mix materials. We use it in our bridges as it requires long spans.

Other than this we are working on Sports complexes like public pool complexes and gymnasiums in France and Austria, bridges in Europe (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany), in steel.

How have technological advancements influenced your work?
We have had the chance to work with several great engineers. They help us make our imagination real by creating transparent open structures, modern design, lightweight and efficient objects. There was a big advance in calculation of structure, non-linear approach, taking into consideration dynamic aspects and searching for the limits of the possibilities.

Combining these aspects while searching for simplicity, easy mounting and maintenance, making the buildings and object long lasting and using our natural resources the best.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your work?
When I was fourteen years old, I discovered the Centre Pompidou Project under construction in Paris. I was astonished and fascinated by the structure and its impact on the city.

I was amazed the way it was erected, and it was something that never left me and I think from there comes my interest for understanding the form of the building and the way we are building it.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?
To me what I am doing at the moment is important to me. Like the project on my table is my favorite because right now I am totally into it.

It is not a matter of size and recognition, it is what we are trying to achieve. I am trying to do find coherence with my ideas of life, contributing to the society with architecture. Architecture influences many people’s lives without them even realizing. This is the big responsibility that architects have. We are working on public buildings, school buildings, leisure buildings. Observing people evolving in our realized project the way we imagined gives us the most satisfaction.

Making Headway with Optimism

A leader in real estate across all sectors of construction. Merlin Group aims at elegance, aesthetics and comfort to its customers and customer satisfaction is their utmost priority.

To speak about the future ventures and plans post COVID we have with us…
The man-of-the-Hour Gauarav Sanghvi, Director, Merlin Group

What is your take on the Indian Real Estate Sector?
As the entire world is seeing the aftermath and unavailability of raw materials etc. a lot many projects have got stalled and lot of new projects have not been launched while the tenants who were supposed to occupy the commercial spaces have not, everything is paused and I think slowly when we are trying to unlock and open up the economy we will hope that these workers come back, transportation is available and materials get available and only then our construction would start.

What is your take on Steel v/s other convention materials?
Steel is the future of buildings. All over the word steel is used so much that in all the leading countries the finest buildings are made of steel. It is just that it makes the construction fast, improving construction quality and if there is good amount of scale it reduces cost, you save a lot on time, save a lot on manpower vis-a-vis other materials because the other materials are not easily available, whereas you need a lot of manpower well as lot of manpower to fix those materials vis- a-vis steel is easily available in various shapes and once everything is pre-designed the construction is faster

According to you what are the key challenges faced by the Developers?
The key challenges faced are non-availability of skilled manpower, non-availability of materials required to complete the projects, increase in cost of materials which increases the overall cost as well as inflated land costs which adds to the overall project cost.

While with the current market scenario there is so much of competition where we are not able to increase the selling price and costs keep on rising which reduces profit margin at large

How is technology changing the Construction Industry?
I think technology and construction are going hand in hand in today’s age. With technology we can provide artificial intelligence in the form of virtual reality experiences to the customers who can have a look at the model apartments seeing at their homes. We are able to show them the project by giving them virtual tours by sitting at home and we are able to explain them which floor and flat is available or not at the click of a button, do video calls where we are able to give them similar experience if they had to come to the site.

It is helping us streamline our vendor management, our supply chain management all the orders and procurements everything happens on ERP. So, it makes it full proof, there is no chance of infringes and overall, there is lot of saving on time and cost and wastage due to technology.

As the country has been strike by COVID-19. How long do you think will it take for the halted projects to get completed and how will this hep the industry to go ahead with a new outlook? How do you think we can overcome labour shortage?
The way the country is trying to unlock and start the economy again, I see the projects commencing from January 2020. We are expecting migrant workers to come back in a while as they may be hesitant because of monsoon season they want to be there for harvesting looking after agriculture and then there are festivals like Diwali etc so only after that we can expect them to come back slowly.

The other reason we can expect them to come back is they do not have enough avenues and jobs in their village and how it is there in urbanised centres – metros and big cities. The moment they come back they will be deployed by the contractor and work will start on the sites. The interstate transport will also open in next 2-3 months hopefully, that will also help us get material supply and deploy them in the projects so is see work starting aggressively and smoothly from January. The government should allow interstate transport wherein the buses can bring these labourers to different metros, subject to proper screening and testing. The government and developers should collaborate and do it.

What are the prime factors that prevent the developers from opting for steel buildings, provided the long-term benefits that steel offers?
I think the prime factors even today is lesser exposure to steel technology and its benefits and uses. There is a whole notion that steel building will be expensive there is a lot of technology involved non-availability of skilled manpower to install these steel structures. So, I think there is whole bit of educating the developers and reaching out to the developers all over the country would make them aware that this is not the fact there is of advantages and benefits in steel.

There is also so much of delay in getting approvals in our projects that makes it very unviable and there is a grey area as to when our project will be launched, when we have to procure the material and here you have to do lot of advance planning when you have to opt for a steel building. All the designs must be frozen all the timelines have to be set, that becomes a little difficult for the developers today. Lastly, the fact that I think there are lot of customers, who, think conventional materials like brick and mortar will make the building more stable as it is tried and tested, they may not be accepting it. So, Developers may have apprehension to go with regular RCC and Brickwork structures.

According to you which are the prime sectors of construction that will turn the tables for India, as far as the growth is concerned? Why?
Firstly, I see warehousing being a big business opportunity for the landowner, developer, and tenant because of the robust growth of the e-commerce and other companies who are into manufacturing because they are looking for a big space for storage.

Secondly, I also see a lot of growth for student housing soon because we have lot of colleges across the country, but the quality of accommodation is not up to the mark for all the students. There is a lot of opportunity for someone to do quality housing in and around colleges and universities and rent it out to the students for a long term. Thirdly, I see a good amount of demand picking up for affordable housing but larger homes. Going forward people may opt for working from home and they may want a study room so that they can work from home. So, I see a demand for larger homes going up but again in the affordable segment because COVID has made economy cripple a lot of job losses, lot of salary cuts, so I think the game would be to offer larger apartments with a good ticket size because people would like to buy homes and work from homes. So, I see a demand for homes for sure but at the right ticket size. I also see a lot of demand for Data Centres, as all the technology companies need lot of server space and technology space to store their servers which will be in the outskirts of the metros which they can rent it.

What outstanding newness does Merlin Group plan to bring in the coming years?
In the coming years we plan to bring a lot of new projects like a mall inside the airport warehousing and we are looking at some interesting models like a sports city in Calcutta where we are going to focus housing along with sports academy which can promote sports like swimming, cricket and football.

What is your mantra for success?
I think it is consistency, hard work and passion towards your business

Enduring the Way of Excellence

A leading state-of-the-art Steel Service Centre that believes that quality is the only key to success. It is not only known for its quality but is also known for its on-time delivery this has what has made Triveni a leader in south.

To enunciate about Triveni’s journey and how has it overcome this pandemic situation we have with us the captain of the ship with us Ashirwad Agarwal, Managing Director, Triveni Enterprises

Follow on…

With a legacy of over 50 years, how has been your steel journey so far?
Triveni Enterprises is the third-generation family business which was started in seventies. When my father moved from Hyderabad to Bangalore to pursue his flying, but what interested him was our family business of steel. We set up Triveni Enterprises in 1970 with trading business for B2B and today under the new leadership has transformed itself into one of largest service centre and retail chain, end to end business solution in the state.

Triveni is among the leading Steel Distributor and Service Centre in India, what is your take on the Indian steel production capacity and available sections?
Indian steel industry has evolved over years. Today, we produce over 100 million tonnes and the government aims to produce 300 million tonnes by 2030. India today not only produces world class steel but also all kind of grades of steel which are used in excavator/tipper bodies which is Hardox, High resistance steel, API grades for water pipelines.

India produces steel of global standard but lacks world class service centres. This is where Triveni comes in and bridges the gap. Currently, India is the 2nd largest producer of steel in the world and has all the resources to support our steel growth.

What newness does Triveni offer to its customers with its line of products and services?
Triveni is built by people. Hence, we call it Quality People Quality Steel. We bring in newness with world class machines which are supported by IOT. This is introduced recently to give the customers seamless deliveries without compromising in quality.

Today, you can buy the best steel but if it is not processed well you will not be able to use it. This is what we guarantee in Triveni – Just in Time is our focus and hence customers do not need to have high inventory and warehouse space. We can deliver steel whenever they need.

We have got in double lamination, narrow slitting, precision cut to length. Today we have customers who demand point five-micron accuracy which we can deliver. We can deliver Ashok Leyland materials with ZERO diagonal length variation in HR sheets which very few mills are able to achieve. We also got own fleet of vehicles to cater on time delivery. To top it up construction industry needs efficient steel, less wastage steel to be delivered on site ready to use which we have implemented over few years. Moreover, during COVID times where labour shortage has made use of ready to fix steel more malleable.

What are the key challenges faced by our Steel Industry today? How do we plan to overcome it?
I think the steel industry has not moved on other than their production quality. The marketing still follows the archaic style, the old models of distributors and dealers. In this modern world of e-commerce there is just one thing that exists the producer and the end user. Those levels must come down. The best way the producer can reach the end user is by using service centre by using e-commerce models which will make the entire steel supply chain more efficient.

This would bring down the cost and the customers can get an unbroken supply chain experience. The manufacturers must be encouraged to invest in world class stockyards for last mile delivery. India is a large country, most of our steel plants are either situated in the eastern corridor whereas finishing plants in the western corridor. While the South and north are not efficiently placed to get steel immediately.

I would encourage the manufacturers to set up service centres in this last mile which would make consumption centres more efficient. The other thing is that supply chain management is not customer friendly large manufacturers have not been set up in line with the service centres.

These are standalone service centres which are not world class. I would encourage manufacturers and government to look into recognizing service centres as a key to success for usage of steel.

Make in Steel for Make in India’ is an initiative by the Government of India. How do you think this will benefit the Indian Steel Construction Industry?
Steel is an integral part of our country and the backbone of any economy. Indian Steel industry contributes 2 per cent of GDP and employs over 6 Lakh people. Without steel industry a country cannot be recognized, and it cannot grow.

We have all the natural resources to encourage the industry to grow, provide employment and become a global manufacturing hub for steel related items to serve the global industries of Automobiles, Heavy Engineering etc.

How does Triveni plan to serve its customers in this pandemic situation and what are the plans post lockdown to Fastrack its business activities?
Triveni is among the few companies during COVID times that served the industry with its products. We had given steel to ventilator and hospital bed manufacturers and critical government jobs like hospitals related equipment. Post lockdown we call our steel – COVID FREE STEEL. Triveni’s 90 per cent labour workforce stays within the factory premises. We have sanitizing tunnels; regular temperature checks and all industry parameters are followed very strictly. But most importantly we have educated our team regarding the preventive measures.

I can proudly say this has helped us as none of our team member has been infected by COVID. We also reached out to our customers and did not press for payments and did not take undue advantage of the situation by shooting up the prices. We sat with them we rescheduled the payment cycles. This is what helped the industry to keep the faith on us. We have acted as partners rather than suppliers to our customers.

What makes Triveni Enterprises different from its contemporaries?
Triveni as mentioned is a third-generation family business but has been professionally driven. We have experts who bring in expertise from SAIL and Tata Steel both in the management and top-level teams.

We give our customers complete solution. We not only solve the problems, but we act as an aiding agent by understanding the reason behind it. It is not only limited to steel but also help customer by garnering funds and make new products. These are the few initiatives that have helped customers to stay with us over last few Years. Our World Class Machines, Our World Class Drivers, Our World Class services, our logistics this is what Triveni is all about and this is what differentiates us.

What message would you like to give our readers?
To all the readers in this COVID times it is important to stay positive, stay connected with your customers and suppliers and share your problems. These are difficult times and we will tide over this if we are positive. COVID is a virus but economy is our lifeline. Either we beat the virus and build the economy or live with the virus and kill the economy. Our Honourable Prime Minister did a very smart thing of controlling the virus when it could have been and today we need the economy to grow and the virus will take its own path. I would say be positive, be smart, be safe and keep the economy running and take India on the growth path. Jai Hind!

Gearing Up for Era of Automation

A leading Project Management Consultancy, whose focus is creating maximum value for its clients by realizing the issues at hand with the key stakeholders and agencies. Formulating comprehensive plans and addressing the challenges in an efficient and impactful manner.

To speak about the beauty of steel with references to some of their projects and how technology will revolutionize the way forward we have with us Dinesh Dubey, Director of Operations, Turner Project Management India

READ ON TO KNOW MORE…

What has been the role of steel in changing the construction dynamics? How?
Steel has been a phenomenal breakthrough in the history of construction practices. Owing to numerous unparalleled benefits that it can offer, steel has been the ideal choice for contractors, engineers, and architects alike. The concept of tall buildings would not have existed without the attributes that steel can endow to any structure such as durability while being lightweight.

Being lightweight steel can be easily and quickly transported and lifted, thereby saving significant cost on fuel. Steel is also the most eco-friendly and economically viable option among all the other metals besides being easy to install and assemble. I believe that currently, it would not be an overstatement to stay that steel is perhaps the backbone of the construction industry.

Having been involved with ‘Statue of Unity-the Pride of the Nation’. How was your experience working on the project?
The Statue of Unity has today become an epitome of masterclass design, precision engineering, and exemplary project management. The tallest statue in the world has achieved the status of a global icon because of the sheer scale, magnitude and accuracy required on the mammoth project. As project managers, we at Turner not only needed to be at the top of our game (efficiency), but also had to micromanage several aspects of the construction process. The margin for error on a first-of-its-kind project was negligible, and our estimations had to be on point throughout the different phases of construction.

In terms of material, in addition to cement concrete, structural steel and bronze cladding had a major role is the edifice of the gigantic structure. On the technical front, our expert team ensured accuracy in our estimation of machines, cranes and resources required to complete the tasks within the projected timelines. The work was effectively mechanized to reduce confusion, human errors, and glitches on site.

Creating synergies among the various agencies was imperative for the actualization of the project plans, and to achieve that we had to conduct frequent meeting with the various teams to define specific roles, allocate tasks and avoid any kind of conflicts and mix-ups. Other factors such as weather conditions, laborers’ psychological apprehension in working at such a height, coordination between agencies, etc. had to be effectively and duly addressed to complete the project within the stipulated timelines.

This landmark project tested our capabilities and merit at several levels. Thanks to our proficient team and their commitment to the project, we succeeded in all aspects of the project management, and today the glory and magnificence of the Statue of Unity is there for everyone to see and admire.

Having worked on projects both in India and overseas, what is your take on the future of Indian Construction Industry?
The Construction industry and its practices across the globe vary due to several factors. While there are certain challenges in the construction industry now, the remedial actions/policies by the government coupled with India’s demographic advantage still makes the country a great investment prospect.

The high percentage of working youth population in urban India with increasing purchasing power of individuals allude to a great promise for the growth of the real estate sector in times to come. With the frequent influx of novel technologies, the industry, in India and overseas, is undergoing a brisk technology transition. However, when put on a global map, India is yet to explore the extent of technology. While innovative technologies are widely being used in the global markets for design, engineering, construction, the Indian industry has only gradually started comprehending the value of these technique and tools.

In all, India is on a growth trajectory and its urbanization drive along with the smart city mission have paved way for rapid development in areas of construction of airports, highways, roads, smart cities and tourism projects. For instance, the proposed development of the Jewar Airport and the Navi Mumbai International Airport will not only be a massive construction assignment, but it will also boost the demand for real estate developments in the adjoining and/or connecting areas.

What is your take on steel v/s RCC?
Both Steel and RCC (Reinforced Cement Concrete) are commonly used construction materials and have their specific advantages and disadvantages from construction and maintenance perspective. While RCC is composed of materials that are cheaply and readily available, it is weak in tensile strength. It is easily moldable and has high compressive strength, but it may develop creep under constant load.

On the other hand, when compared with RCC, steel is lighter, has better tensile strength, and can be easily fabricated, assembled and replaced. Additionally, the ductile ability of steel ensures there is prior indication of failure through deflection. The downside of using a steel structure is that it requires skilled labor for the construction and the initial cost may be higher. In all, the advantages that a steel structure brings to any construction far outweighs the benefits of RCC. From a safety and sustainability point of view, the steel structure will always be the preferred choice.

How is technology changing the construction industry and the way we execute Buildings?
According to me, in the near term the construction industry will be dominated by Industry 4.0 – an era of automation. Digital technologies and modern methods of operations have disrupted all industry sectors, and construction is no exception. Transformation of processes, methods and tools will indeed play a pivotal role as the construction industry advances towards modernization, pro-activeness, enhanced efficacy and less wastage.

For example, ‘Building Information and Modelling’, is a multi-dimensional (3-D++) model process that helps plan, design, construct and manage projects more efficiently. Every minute detail of the project can be modelled in BIM to create visuals that give prospective clients a complete understanding of how the project will look before implementing it on ground. Likewise, technology integration in cost management for any construction project can help the project owners view live linked quantity count, reduce turnaround time for design analysis, evaluate models for constructability, prompt evaluation of design differences, calculate multiple component budgets and pay application verifications.

Besides, the integration of AI and wearable technology in construction processes will go a long way in improving safety at the site, reducing injuries to the staff and workers, improving operational efficiencies and enhancing quality of life for construction workers. Advanced Internet of Things and Augmented-Reality technologies are enabling the construction professionals to digitally access the information about the surroundings and equipment of the site in an interactive way, thereby facilitation remote monitoring, operations and controllability.

Which are the grey areas that need to be addressed by the industry to advocate structural steel construction in our country?
There are a few challenges that the steel industry is facing in the existing times. Inadequate logistical planning and inventory management have posed huge constraints in the adoption of steel in construction.

The industry needs to improve on the on the skills as well as the infrastructure required to manage the Just in Time inventory. Besides, the limited vendor base of suppliers and contractors in the current scenario needs to be expanded to capitalize on the huge opportunity we have for India’s growth in steel consumption. The global consumption of steel is 224kg per capita out of which China alone consumes 590 kg per capita, while the consumption in India is less than one-sixth of China at 71 Kg per capita.

In my view, there have been several developments in the recent past that will significantly boost the adoption of structural steel construction in India.

The government’s Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) along with the development of industrial corridors will drive the growth of steel consumption in the construction and real estate space.

The government has also revised various duties and set minimum import prices, providing a level playing field for Indian steel enterprises against China’s massive export capacity in the steel sector. The Coronavirus pandemic may prompt us to build internal capacities in the country while addressing issues pertaining to transport logistics.

Steel is regarded as a “green” material for its recyclability. Increased focus on safety and sustainability is an imperative if we must foster widespread adoption of structural steel in the country.

What outstanding newness does Turner plan in the next 5 years?
As a leading project management enterprise, Turner has always been ahead of the curve in terms building capabilities, developing advanced pool of talent, and adoption of novel tools and technologies. Innovation has helped us deliver value to our clients and partners. At the turn of the 20th century, we pioneered the use of steel-reinforced concrete for general building to deliver safer, stronger, and more efficient buildings to clients. Today, innovation channels the ingenuity of our people and partners to advance breakthroughs that deliver new value to our clients.

In the next 5 years as well, we shall continue to be proactive in finding solutions for our clients that best achieve their goals while remaining true to our founding values of Integrity, Commitment & Teamwork. Recognizing that sustainable best practices have changed and will continue to evolve, Turner will lead by example and serve as an ambassador for environmental, social and economic sustainability. We will utilize our technical expertise to create a healthy, prosperous and sustainable future for our people, clients and the environment.

What message would you like to give our readers?
Industry stakeholders have acknowledged the value that modern methods of construction can bring, and this has significantly accelerated their acceptance. One size will never fit all, and hence, it is important that along with the availability of technological tools and infrastructure, there are specialists who can estimate the value and viability of technology integration.

All the readers who hail from the construction industry would also recognize that the success of any project depends significantly on how well the project is planned and executed along with coordination, communication, and interaction among various stakeholders.

Project Management specialists can offer myriad ways to build resilience and to improve the efficiency of Project’s planning, decision-making, communication and delivery procedures. A competent PMC can bring in best resources, systems and processes and add tremendous value to the Project.

Turner’s role as a leading Project Management consultancy is to comprehend the issues at hand, liaise with the key stakeholders and agencies to formulate comprehensive plans, and address the challenges in an efficient and impactful manner. The persistent focus is on creating maximum value for the clients in complete awareness of the situation and shortcomings.

Technology Modernizes Warehousing Industry

One of the leaders in Pre-Engineered Buildings with a supreme legacy of over 35 years is none other than Interarch Buildings Products Pvt Ltd. Equipped with in-house resources at par with international qualities standards and technology know-how; Interarch aids to shape a better, green and modern India.

To orate about their new benchmarks and the future plans, we have with us
ARVIND NANDA, CEO & FOUNDER DIRECTOR, Interarch Building Products Pvt Ltd

 

What is your take on the current state of Pre-Engineered Buildings in India?
The usage of Pre-Engineered Buildings across several applications has broadened the scope of its market in India. The demand for less time-consuming and cost-effective construction with high aesthetic values has helped the market for pre-engineered buildings to grow in all major Commercial, Industrial and Infrastructure sectors. Also, due to various government policies, the number of SEZs in India is increasing significantly, which will drive the demand for the Pre-Engineered Buildings in the region.

The factors leading to increased awareness about PEBs are the ease of installation, faster completion, design flexibility, expandability, workshop fabrication, a recyclable material, and energy efficiency. Forthcoming trends such as the development of smart cities in India are gaining popularity as they are highly innovative in sustainable Real Estate, Infrastructure, Communication Technology, and Market Viability. Furthermore, in these cities, IT, automated sensor networks, and data centers will establish the central infrastructure to offer the residents all the vital services. The government has announced 98 cities as smart cities, which comprise of 24 capital cities, 18 cultural and tourist cities, 24 business and industrial centers, three education and healthcare hubs and five port cities.

What role does Pre-Engineered Buildings play in aiding steel as a prime material of construction?
Pre-Engineered Buildings is getting its due credit as a favorable alternative construction methodology in India today as more sectors are realizing the benefits of steel over brick and mortar. The scope of steel buildings is very vast for the Indian market. PEB proves to be relevant and beneficial to several construction verticals. The advantages of having a steel structure or building over traditional concrete are far too many. Primarily, speed and quality of construction are the top two benefits. Steel buildings are fire, quake, and cyclone-resistant – hence from a safety and longevity perspective, these buildings are long-lasting.

Steel, the basic material of PEBs, being very eco-friendly, allows any project high scores on Greenfield compliancy. Design optimization ensures the quantity of steel is controlled, and the high tensile strength of the material makes the structure light. Consequently, the foundation is more sustainable. Timesaving, clean construction sites, recyclability with low maintenance and extended life cycle of the building are taken. Further, PEBs allow dismantling, relocating and expansion if the need arises.

According to you how has the PEB technology in the warehousing domain evolved over the past few years?
In earlier days, warehouses were constructed with traditional brick and mortar construction which was followed by steel building with trusses and other types of sections. But, with the advent of sustainable construction, Pre-Engineered Buildings (PEB) technology came into limelight in the warehousing segment. Due to the number of advantages it offers, PEB technology has become one of the most preferred modes of construction for warehouses being set up across India.

The benefits demonstrated by the PEB industry has attracted many users who use to earlier think RCC and conventional steel building as the only source are being amended by putting their preferences on PEB as a better solution. There is almost no risk of error on the steel frame members that are manufactured and controlled at the factory and that can be assembled very easily. By using structural steel in the loadbearing system, various geometrical forms can be designed, which is not possible with other materials.

With PEB technology warehouse buildings can be customized to meet the unique demands of the customers. Today, warehousing companies’ demands are multifaceted. Including state-of-the-art construction, next-generation technology, a structure with zero maintenance, fast construction with ease in future expansion, etc. to name a few. Hence PEB techniques are most preferred as compared to the conventional mode of construction.

PEB comes in virtually any size with options for exterior features and is customized to suit specific clients, i.e. an end-user, size, and geographical location. Most of the warehouses are standard box type buildings with higher storage space because of no intermediate columns as the design and infrastructure for any warehouse depends on the storage requirements. The warehousing facility requires customization, which is led by factors like insulation, PUF panel walls, and requirement fueled by the demand for partition wall within the warehouse.

What advantages does Interarch’s Pre-Engineered Buildings Solutions offer to its warehousing customers?
We can provide a customized solution to any shape or size with clear height up to 50m and clean span up to 120m possible. We provide cost-efficient, well-ventilated structures with skylights for daylighting that reduces power consumption. We are equipped with global construction technologies at par with international quality standards. We are helping to shape a better, green and modern India.

Which are the grey areas that need to be addressed immediately by the industry?
The inability of the industry to get good workable prices due to the severe intra-industry competition has completely ruined the profitability and consequently, not only driven many good companies to bankruptcies but also stopped the industry from innovating and improving their quality and safety standards.

The lack of availability of efficient and productive engineers for design and project execution, lack of skilled and trained manpower is and will become a major handicap as well as lack of competition among steel suppliers and lack of service attitude has hampered our industry badly. New suppliers who will adopt a service attitude and not act as a cartel are necessary for the future growth of the steel construction industry in India.

The GST input credit for buildings not being available to the user /owner/factory owner is a big handicap in formalizing the Steel building industry. Since GST is 18 percent but credit not available, many small and medium industries go for informal construction companies to save GST. The government must amend this anomaly at the earliest.

What is Interarch’s plan of action for the next 5 years for the warehousing industry and PEB in general?
The whole Industry is very hopeful that there will be a huge growth in demands for all types of Industrial and non-Industrial buildings in steel in the coming years. India needs infrastructure and industry at a very large scale and steel pre-engineered buildings and structures are the only way to achieve it. The whole World has achieved growth only through Steel and we will also it the same way. India’s per capita consumption of Steel is among the lowest in the World and to become a USD 5 Trillion economy by 2024 we will have to build with Steel. We have very high expectations from India in the coming years.

What message would you like to give our readers?
To give our customers world-class products and experiences. To set new benchmarks and be the most preferred brand in PEB. We aspire to acquire more expertise and technical know-how along with shaping a greener, better and modern India.

 

A Stellar Construction Choice

A one stop solution provider for Pre-Engineered Buildings and optimum customer choice rightly known as Everest Industries. It not only provides solutions under one roof but also does so on time. It is one of the pioneers in the industry with over eighty-five years of legacy.

To enunciate about the same and talk about its future we have with us…
The Man of the Hour S KRISHNAKUMAR, Chief Executive-Building Solutions, Everest Industries Limited

 

Being country’s one of the leading Building solution provider, how has been the journey over the years?
The Journey has been very exciting since the start, right from creating awareness of steel buildings, to offering factory made quality & precision components for buildings, to speedy delivery of projects to safety and now towards sustainability in construction of buildings. We have seen the industry grow & graduate into a mature sector.

According to you what is the current construction scenario and the upcoming trends in India with respect to steel construction?
We are upbeat about the growth of construction sector and PEB Buildings in the coming year. Stemming from the Pre-Engineered building industry, what is taking shape is the new Heavy Engineering and larger Infrastructure projects which is next in line for the infrastructural development of the country. Projects like Warehouses, Logistics Parks, Airports, power plants, ports, Railway & Metro Stations and multi-storey buildings for institutes and healthcare will fuel the growth.

What are the key challenges faced by our PEB Industry today? How do we plan to overcome it?
The high dependency on steel as a major raw material, fluctuating steel prices, fragmented market and mushrooming of players which do not have engineering centers or believe in safety or quality are some of the major challenges. The Unit rate buying concept as opposed to solutions concept as well as adverse payment and liability terms are some more encounters faced by the PEB Industry. Industry needs to create awareness in the customers mind about the advantages of PEB as a value-added solution rather than a Rs/kg commodity. We need to demonst4rate these values to our customer by only committing that we can deliver & delivering to our commitments. This way we can partner & create win-win solution.

Which is your key customer focused segments? How different is Everest from its contemporaries?
The key customer focus segment includes the Warehousing and Logistics sector and Manufacturing sector. Everest is the only company in the industry which provides integrated solutions to its customers – Steel Buildings, Roof-Top Solar Power Plant and Rapicon Walls. It is the onlyOne stop solution Public Limited Company in the industry, which is transparent, reliable and financially strong with a heritage of over eighty-five years.

What is your take on on-site structures vis-à-vis factory fabricated structures?
There is no comparison between the two construction technologies. The Factory-made buildings are manufactured in a controlled environment under stringent quality and safety norms; hence the product is a high-quality finish & aesthetically superior building in comparison to the on-site fabricated buildings.

What are your current priorities and your action-plan to achieve them?
We feel people are looking at convenience and partners who offer one-stop solutions. They don’t want multiple agencies to work in their buildings. At Everest, we provide integrated and one-stop solutions to customers for building with solutions for steel buildings, Solar panels, ready-made wall panels solutions and façade solutions for the aesthetic appeal of the building.

We want to provide the customer with the convenience to work with one vendor for multiple solutions.

What are your plans for the next 5 years?
The pace of infrastructure expansion in the country is expected to accelerate in the next few years. Pre-engineered structural steel system is now increasingly becoming the preferred alternative for construction in the country. Projects like 100 smart and sustainable cities, new no frill airports in tier two cities, Industry corridors, Railways & Metro Stations, Power Plants, Ports etc. require heavy steel structures and a different approach as opposed to conventional buildings.

Moreover, the government’s focus on making India a manufacturing hub through the development of exclusive industrial corridors, the most prominent among them being the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project, apart from the continued focus on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and the National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs), has spelt good news for the PEB industry.

What is your success Mantra that you can share with our readers?
At Everest PEB Buildings our mantra is to work for customer delight with focus on 4’S- Safety, Sustainability, Strength & Speed and provide the customer a solution ontime and every time – No Cost-Over Runs, No Delays, Now you can Relax.

Advancing Towards Magnificence

A pioneer in the field of project management with some huge projects on their name and a reputation of delivering high quality projects named Potential Project Managers Pvt Ltd. The believe in enhancing their engineering, project management & delivery capabilities through reliable and collaborative practices.
Enunciating about the same we have with us the man of the hour
B A MADHUKAR, Managing Director, Potential Project Managers Pvt Ltd

 

Having worked on mega projects what is your take on Steel Construction Industry in India?
In recent years there have been rapid advances in construction of steel structures, but we are still at a nascent stage of development in terms of steel construction industry if we are to benchmark against the best in the world. I am saying this without taking any credit away from the wonderful people who have done so much to make the industry what it is today – be it the architects, the structural consultants, the developers who decided to go for it or the specialist suppliers & contractors and the project management consultants who make it all happen who are involved in any project. I am looking at it from the perspective of what can be done & what are the possibilities, if we become one of the best steel construction industries in the world – from this vantage point there is still long way to go.

We as people are facing challenges of scaling up – on a back of the hand calculation, we need hundreds of architects, structural engineers, thousands of trained construction engineers, detailers, QAQC & EHS personnel and something like twenty thousand skilled fitters, welders & riggers – all trained with deep knowledge of all aspects of structural steel construction if we are to meet the challenges of a mature steel construction industry in India. Our quality of workmanship & extent of mechanisation in all aspects of construction needs to improve significantly. This eco-system is something that other developed countries (in steel construction) have been able to create successfully pointing the way for all of us to put our thinking hats together and take some affirmative action. This is where publications & institutions meant for promoting steel construction can come together & formulate strategy for healthy & sustainable growth of industry.

According to you which are the prime sectors of construction that will turn the tables for India, as far as the growth is concerned? Why?
I guess the government is doing what it can, to push construction industry through heavy investments in infrastructure projects across the country. The results will take time, but the immediate takeaways would be employment generation & growth in this sector. Coming to the private sector, we still lack facilities like convention centres, sports facilities, good interchanges, transportation hubs as well as tall / mega structures that meet the aspirations of a growing country.

All, of this involves huge outlay in private investments as these cannot be taken up by government alone and this in my opinion will give the necessary push that is needed for our industry to turn the tide. Talking about the very ordinary growth that we have seen in the recent past the potential for upside is very much there.

How do you think the Make in India to make in steel initiative is aiding the construction Industry?
It is a very good initiative especially for the steel industry as we can overcome the plague of cheap/inferior quality imports from other countries. This will surely help in boosting the demand side thereby drawing investments to the supply side.

Hopefully, the challenges faced by big steel makers with inventories & balance sheet issues will also be resolved and we can see some fresh capital infused towards improved manufacturing facilities / capacities which will help us in producing better products at competitive prices. R&D in the industry is also something that needs to be looked at and government can consider some incentives for developing local expertise in this area.

Which are the grey areas that need to be addressed by the industry to advocate structural steel construction in our country?
The challenges are many and have several layers. On the propagation part, the use-cases of success stories of steel construction needs to reach all the practitioners & decision makers. Today, there is dearth of availability of well documented & informative use cases. Perhaps, you can take the lead in featuring at least one use-case per month under each category so that knowledge spreads.

Secondly, at aspirational level, I would like more architects & designers to take the plunge & explore the limits of spaces & volumes – something that would automatically tilt the debate towards use of steel as de-facto material of choice. Thirdly, today, the clear benefits of usage of steel – especially regarding quality & time are shadowed by non-conformances and slippages in almost all areas of the construction life cycle – be it the design phase or procurement or construction or handover or maintenance.

This needs to be addressed by all of us as such by bringing in standards, compliances & best practices as a way of life. I have seen far too much effort & time wasted in re-design, re-work, snagging which otherwise could have been avoided thereby giving a stronger case for steel usage. Lastly, use of software & platforms for design collaboration, procurement & construction management including monitoring & control need to be emphasized by all stakeholders leading to stricter adherence to quality, timelines and deliverables.

This in my opinion would help make the much-needed shift in perception – that steel is too costly, too difficult to control in terms of quality or services integration etc and that by itself will advocate steel construction in time to come. Perhaps an association of practicing structural steel work professionals to take the industry forward.

Which has been you best work so far involving structural steel?
We have done several projects with structural steel and personally, the most satisfying as an engineer was the construction of Hall 4 & Hall 5 of the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre in very challenging timelines set by Owner, Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers Association (IMTMA). The structural steel canopy of 90m with column free exhibition space gave lot of satisfaction to all stakeholders the Owner, architects (Mistry Architects), Structural consultants (Sterling Consultants) with Kirby as PEB Contractor and us as PMC which is cherished.

On a personal front, the 230m clear span structural steel bridge connecting the Terminal 2 & 3 of Singapore Changi Airport as a part of the underground metro station project where I was involved intimately is perhaps the most satisfying in terms of range & complexity of challenges (platform is 21m below ground level) – would say intellectually gratifying and once in lifetime project in so far as works involving structural steel is concerned.

What are the challenges faced by project management consultants?
As far as the project management consultants are concerned, we face challenges in terms of bringing in much needed monitoring & controls at every stage of the project – be it design or procurement or construction or handover besides convincing the owner to go for steel where cheaper (but more time consuming options) of concrete are available is another challenge.

What are Potential Project Managers Pvt Ltd plans for the next 5 years?
We aim to actively collaborate with other stakeholders like builders, architects, consultants and specialist contractors to significantly improve the delivery model of steel construction works in India so that we meet global best practices as far as predictability in terms of quality, cost, timelines & risk management are concerned.

What is your mantra for success and message for our readers?
Keep doing more of good work, be open to inputs & ideas of others as no project is done by one person or agency alone, get to understand the real issues & leveraging technology would be my take on success mantras.

Knowledge is out there. One just needs to go & get it to empower oneself continuously. Otherwise, we would become obsolete just like the drafting scale or the typewriter of yore. Lastly, if in doubt, please ask those who know the subject better than you.

Nature Fosters Architectural Aesthetics

It would be right to call him a man with a golden heart as he not only puts his soul in his designs which is in harmony with the nature but also has his heart out reaching to the less privileged children by aiding them with their education.

He has been inspired by some of the stalwarts in the field and his works reflect the same which first serve the humanity and then the client requirements.

The man of the hour Rahul Kadri, Partner & Principal, Kadri Consultants Pvt Ltd is here with us speaking about the same in-depth….

 

What originally made you want to study architecture and become an architect?
I spent most of my formative years amidst lush landscapes exploring the forests of the Kumaon Himalayas while studying at Sherwood College, Nainital. This early relationship with nature infused within me, a deep passion to create buildings & spaces, which are in harmony with its natural context.

What particular aspects of your background and upbringing have shaped your design principles and philosophies?
My Father being an architect was a major reason for my interest in architecture. I have been mainly influenced by the work and writing of Christopher Alexander and Charles Moore.

How would you describe your approach to design?
We are passionate about building environment in harmony with nature and are committed in our endeavor to find creative solutions to people’s issues. We believe in delivering and following a rigorous design process to achieve our goals. At Kadri Consultants we have a four-pronged approach to architecture that spans the entire realm of expression from sound engineering and environmental consciousness to community building and finally, timelessness.

Level 1
At the fundamental level, it is our aim to plan a feasible project that is structurally viable, follows building codes and regulations and is economical & robust.

Level 2
To consciously design a building that is contextual, sustainable and environmentally holistic – through careful articulation of form, materials, textures and proportions.

Level 3
To design socially responsive environments where people and activities thrive. To infuse spaces with vibrance & warmth by fostering a connect between the users, the outdoors, light & nature.

Level 4
To craft buildings that are contemporary, yet timeless. To use cutting edge technology and innovation to build environments that evoke awe and inspire.

What do you feel is the role of architecture on a humanitarian level?
Humans are biophilic and perform the best in good daylight and plenty of oxygen. Planning for maximum daylight, thermal comfort and fresh air requires orienting the building in accordance with the sun path. To achieve this, all our buildings follow simple rules. Maximizing the Use of North glare free light with large opening/ Windows for educational, institutional buildings. Adequately shades the south and west to avoid heat gain, harness the wind pattern to promote cross ventilation.

Use single loaded corridors with functional rooms on one side and the other side facing an open space or courtyard. These simple principles reduce the energy consumption by 50 per cent and enhance human performance by 10 per cent. Also, architecture plays an important role for creating socially vibrant places for people to connect with each other. The way the built form interacts with its surroundings dictates the social space quality. Spaces need to be designed considering the users most important needs, they need to be functional.

How have technological advancements influenced your work?
The biggest technology input today is from applications and software’s. Software’s like Vectorworks, Revit, AutoCAD, Naveswork, Synchro etc. not just helps convert an idea into precision drawings but can also quantify and help in total management of a project till execution.

Apps like Trello can be used for project management application that makes collaboration simple. It allows a shared perspective on any project enabling teams to work more efficiently together and Apps like WhatsApp is enabling quick and effective communication between the site and design team, resulting in quicker coordination.

Construction technology wise, post tension concrete is permeating to other building typologies like hospitals and hotels and bringing more flexibility. In the design of such building’s, flexibility is key in order to meet the challenge of complex room configurations and circulation routes.

What does “sustainability” mean today?
Sustainability today means efficiency in order to preserve for the future. It looks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, while driving innovation and not compromising our way of life. Using methods of design, material, energy conservation and development that is not damaging to the surrounding ecosystem.

Do you think that building heroics kill the beauty of the material?
No, Infact to build heroics material play an important part of the structure- The Form.

Could you tell us about your interest in the immaterial part of architecture, and how you handle light and space?
Immaterial part of architecture is to experience a place spiritually rather than physically. It is the Perceived sense of a place rather than the actual sense of a place by seeing it. The User experiences the space differently due to the absence of something rather than what is present in that space.

Eg. A Jaali wall and its use in play of light and shadow in a sunny area which creates a design due to the absence of a material in the Jaali which partially allows the light to penetrate. Here the user experiences this place differently by the absence of light. The play of light and shadow plays an important role to create immaterial architecture. Another example- the overwhelming mental effects of entering a large hall due to perceived sense of volume.

What do you feel is your practice’s strongest skill, and how have you worked to develop that over the past years?
I.M. Kadri Architect deeply looks into the client’s highest aspirations. We are not just concerned about a clients’ requirements of building a project, but also its end users and the wider community. In order to achieve that we have a disciplined process called the IMK SCRUM System. We have been developing this process system with experiences from clients and their feedbacks from the past years. This helps us be focused, achieve our timelines and deliver a product which is line with what the client wants and needs.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your work?
Christopher Alexander, Charles Moore, Jeff Sutherland, Frederic Laloux, Martin Selijmas, Byron Katie and Erkhant Tolle.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your work? What do you want to be remembered for?
Being a firm that is continuously learning better ways to serve the users of our buildings, someone who has trained many architects to lead effectively.

Enunciating an Engineering Marvel

Dhirubhai Ambani International Convention and Exhibition Centre, is India’s largest well-equipped Modern Convention Centre with state of the art infrastructure. It is a first of its kind in Asia drawing inspiration from best in class hospitality and exhibition centers from the World. DAICEC is a multi-use development project located within the heart of Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), a commercial complex in the suburbs of Mumbai.

We have with us the man behind the success of DAICEC, sharing insights about the same,

Girish Dravid, Director,
Sterling Engineering Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd….

Read on to know more….

Can you tell us something about the project in terms of its magnitude?
Yes, first of all I would acknowledge the vision of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) for planning such a Big & International level convention center in Mumbai and then comes Reliance Industries, the clients, who appointed us for taking up this challenge to design such a very large & complex project and then all other stake holders, architects, consultants and contractors who did a fantastic job.

As far as its scale is concerned, it is an 8 million sq. ft construction area in one single building. One can imagine this convention centre where we are sitting now is 1.3 million sq. ft, whereas 8 million sq. ft is so many times of this space that we are talking of, and the challenge here was of course the time period within which we had to complete the project. We were given only 5 years from design inception to the completion and that challenge was taken by Reliance and we were all involved in it.

What was your overall role in the project?
My company is purely into structural design services. There must be more than 40- 45 consultants involved in this project & more than 100 vendors and contractors.

So, my place if you look at the huge project organization, is somewhere in the matrix of vendors and consultants, but of course, it’s a key role- structural design is the basis of the entire project. Responsibility of making the project safe & stable lies with the structural engineer.

What was the initial thought process before finalizing the design of this project?
The architectural design of course was done by TVS Design, who specialize in Convention Centers from Atlanta, USA. When they showed us the initial architectural planning, we were quite excited, because there were huge column-less spaces & then the respective floors and above these spaces they had planted the commercial & residential spaces & those columns naturally could not come down in the convention & exhibition spaces.

We immediately realized that there were challenges in terms of structural framing & there had to be large scale transfers – load transfers & column transfers over large spans so that the exhibition center as well as the banquet hall could remain column free. Hence, this was a major challenge right in the beginning we had to face.

What are the key structural elements of this project?
There are 5 basements in this project and therefore the excavation went down 21meters deep from road level. As this plot lies next to the notorious Mithi river in Mumbai which is prone to flooding and toxic water getting collected, the exhibition center had to be designed keeping this in mind. The exhibition space was designed for very heavy load of five tons per sq. meter so that any kind of exhibition could be held there and in fact five tons per sq. meter can support exhibitions of ships & Jumbo jets.

The exhibition center had to be a large column free structure and above that were banquet halls which are column free spaces as well, with a span of 70 meters. On top of the banquet hall is a garden as the podium top forms sort of ground for the residences which are planned on top of the podium. Almost 1.8 meter thick soil load had to be supported on this banquet hall roofs. Naturally these large span structures had to be conceived in structural steel. Steel was the obvious choice for the convention center but the residences which were planned above the podium had to be built in conventional material because in India people don’t like to see steel beams hanging in the ceiling. So residences had to be in concrete and this was another challenge supporting heavier construction material over a structural steel frame. There is a theater with 2500 audience seating capacity. The roof is spanning 40 meters as the auditorium cannot have columns inside. On top of the roof of the theater there is a clubhouse & swimming pool.. So, in-short heavy loads are supported on very long span roof structures in all blocks of the building.

What were the various challenges faced by you in making of the project?
Since the construction had to be completed in 5 years there were almost 14 or 17 tower cranes dotted all over the plot & construction was happening everywhere. The construction methodology of each of the blocks – theater, exhibition, retail and the office was different. It was like working on 10 projects simultaneously. The methodology of the same was devised by the contractor, with our suggestions and modifications, to ensure smooth working. As 10 different sub-projects were going on simultaneously it required identification of the requirements of each of the projects and separate teams were put to work on them.

The analytical model of the building had to be one unique model and the member forces were extracted from the same model and then used by different teams. The strategy that we adopted right in the beginning was that we recognized that we are not only the structural designers but we are part of the larger team & whatever we do, whatever output we take out from our models, our software models should go as input to the next user and so that there is no duplication of work. The inter-operability of software’s was used in the project right from the beginning.

What role did steel play in the making the world-class convention and exhibition venue in Mumbai?
There is no doubt that there was no material that we could use for such large spans & heavy loads other than steel in this building. You can imagine that the exhibition center is 225 meters long and 90 meter wide & the banquet halls are 150 meter by 70-meters in dimensions. Then the theater having 40 meters span, so all these loads could be supported by no other material than steel.

In fact we derived a very beautiful benefit from using steel in the roof above the banquet hall which is spanning 70 meters. We designed a 2 floor deep, 9 meters deep truss and that truss had a middle level as well as a floor. The bottom cord formed one parking level, and the middle level was also a parking floor itself. The top cord was used to support the gardens. This is possible only because we used steel trusses which allowed cars to pass through the truss’s diagonals & verticals.

As the planners were falling short of cark parking in the basement, the cars could be housed in these trusses. Thus it was optimization of space as well as material, which was possible only because of steel. When you use steel, you can fabricate it while you’re doing something else. While the basement was been constructed, almost 50 per cent of the steel fabrication was complete. This was a big contribution to our efforts of achieving the targets on time.

How did the software RAM and RCDC aid in the construction of DAICEC?
RCDC is truly speaking a concrete design software. We modelled the building using RAM, STAAD.pro and analyzed it for the various forces – dead loads, live loads, earthquake loads, wind loads. We got the member forces. The forces in the concrete members were transported to RCDC which in turn gave us the reinforcement design of the concrete members.

RAM & STAAD.pro softwares have been used by us for the last 30 years and they are time tested & completely polished, they can give us all sorts of analysis data. It was seamless and STADD output can be transported to Tekla quite easily.

What are the unique features of Dhirubhai Ambani Convention Centre?
I believe that it’s the largest in India. There is no such huge space which is dedicated to Exhibition & Convention Center. Apart from Goregaon which is a huge ground so far, but this is first of its kind in India – Modern Convention Center with facilities.

Although it took so long, Mumbai today has this Cultural & Exhibition Center with all the facilities – the Exhibition Hall, Banquet Halls, Meeting Halls, Conference Rooms, Theaters, World Class Theater of 2500 capacity and then Art Gallery, Cultural Plaza, Auditoriums, Residential Blocks & some of these residences are also going to be serviced apartments for guests who would be coming for the conferences. It’s a complete whole infrastructure.

What were the project timelines from design to execution and how were they met?
The construction started in January 2014. The structure was completed in 2017 march which is 39 months, but the high point is structural steel fabrication. Almost 30000-32000 metric ton of steel was fabricated in just one year that was the high point. Just the next year a huge quantity of steel was in place, erected – which was a great achievement.

Can you share details about project collaboration between various parties involved?
As mentioned earlier, various contractors, vendors did use output provided by us and that’s how the duplication of work & time was avoided. Of-course we had so many glitches as it was like working on 10 different projects going on simultaneously, and the interfaces of those various areas, the speed at which we were working and then we were having RAM & STADD, Revit, ETABS, Auto CAD & so many software’s going on together & the Tekla person waiting for inputs, so all these things definitely had its ups & downs but the software teams were helpful & whenever problem cropped up, they smoothened the situation quickly.

How was your experience and what are your learnings working on the project?
The key learning is that as a structural engineer we plan our work in advance along with the strategies that are not only useful for structural design, but also for the overall project completion. Just reiterating, this project was like working on 10 different projects. So we planned our resources, manpower & the design strategies, structural design strategies that helped other disciplines as well.

The learning is-along with doing this kind of planning in structural design, we can also plan strategically to make effective use of software. Bentley calls them playbooks – RCDC is a playbook, RAM is a playbook and so on. So these playbooks have to be seamlessly integrated one after the other, so that you can have this group of softwares playing consolidated role avoiding wastage of time and duplication of work. Ensure interoperability between the software has to be planned just as you plan your structural design activities. That is the key to achieve timely & quality construction.

Transferring Emphasis for Development

With a vision to witness infrastructure benefitting the world at large and, actively participating in the same with some of their marvellous and game changing projects. AECOM believes that infrastructure is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development and enjoys intense focus from Government for initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country. In an exclusive interview Neil Banerjee, Regional Director, AECOM enunciates about the changing infrastructure projects, role of steel in this change, and their plans and much more… 

Read on the interview to get detailed insights….

Being one of the forerunners across all sectors of construction, what is your take on the Indian Infrastructure?
Indian infrastructure is a booming workspace with plenty of ongoing projects and lot many planned for the near future. After, a flamboyant epoch in the development of the road sector, it is taking a motley taciturn shift in the other sectors predominantly in Metros & Monorail to High Speed Rail (HSR), Bullet Train to further extending its spread in Hyperloop.

Infrastructure sector is a key driver for the Indian economy. The sector is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development and enjoys intense focus from Government for initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country. Infrastructure sector includes power, bridges, dams, roads and urban infrastructure development. In 2018, India ranked 44th out of 167 countries in World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI) 2018. Market Size: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) received in Construction Development sector (townships, housing, built up infrastructure and construction development projects) from April 2000 to March 2019 stood at US$ 25.05 billion, according to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The logistics sector in India is growing at a CAGR of 10.5 per cent annually and is expected to reach US$ 215 billion in 2020. Investments: India has a requirement of investment worth Rs 50 trillion (US$ 777.73 billion) in infrastructure by 2022 to have sustainable development in the country. India is witnessing significant interest from international investors in the infrastructure space. Some key investments in the sector are listed below:

In 2018, infrastructure sector in India witnessed private equity and venture capital investments worth US$ 1.97 billion.
In June 2018, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has announced US$ 200 million investment into the National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).
Indian infrastructure sector witnessed 91 M&A deals worth US$ 5.4 billion in 2017

Government Initiatives: The Government of India is expected to invest highly in the infrastructure sector, mainly highways, renewable energy and urban transport. The Government of India is taking every possible initiative to boost the infrastructure sector. The Government of India has given a massive push to the infrastructure sector by allocating Rs 4.56 lakh crore (US$ 63.20 billion) for the sector. Achievements: Following are the achievements of the government in the past four years: The total national highways length increased to 122,434 kms in FY18 from 92,851 kms in FY14. India’s rank jumped to 24 in 2018 from 137 in 2014 on World Bank’s Ease of doing business – “Getting Electricity” ranking. Energy deficit reduced to 0.7 per cent in FY18 from 4.2 per cent in FY14. Number of airports has increased to 102 in 2018.

Being involved with one of the longest sea bridge projects – Mumbai Trans Harbour Link, can you share the details of the project?
The proposed Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL) which connects Sewri (in Island city of Mumbai) to Nhava-Sheva (Mainland) in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Maharashtra state, India has been planned with the basic objective of establishing faster connectivity between the island city of Mumbai and the Navi Mumbai on the mainland thereby facilitating decongestion of Mumbai and the development of Navi Mumbai.

The project consists of construction of a road bridge across the Mumbai Harbour connecting interchanges at both ends. The total length of the 6-lane road bridge will be about 21.800 km and will consist of approach roads, viaducts on inter-tidal zone, bridge across the harbour and interchanges at Sewri in Mumbai and at Shivaji Nagar and Chirle in Navi Mumbai. The MTHL will be constructed in three sections. About 4 km of the bridge length will be built with steel spans and the rest will use concrete. The MMRDA chose to use steel spans in these sections to eliminate the need to construct piers to support the bridge which could hinder the movement of ships in the area. This 4 km section includes a 180-meter-long steel span, which is the longest steel span in India. The shortest steel span on the MTHL is 110 meters long. The project requires 130 hectares of land. The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) will contribute 88 hectares. The remaining land is privately owned. According to MMRDA officials, landowners will be given the same compensation package as that given in the Navi Mumbai International Airport project. Three hundred and twenty structures in Sewri were affected by the project, of which 250 properties were residential.

What is your take on steel v/s RCC?
We do not have a binary answer for this question. Prima facie, the cost of steel construction is higher than concrete sections. However, steel structures are lighter and more flexible. Hence, the gravity loads (like dead load and seismic forces) would be less, often, giving an overall saving in cost. There is an apparent increase in maintenance cost of steel structures. However, periodic maintenance is required in all structures – irrespective of the material of construction.

For major infrastructure projects in urban areas, steel is always a preferable option for ease of transportation and handling. Steel is popularly used for obligatory crossings at busy intersections. The prefabricated steel girders can be erected overnight with minimum disturbance to the city traffic.

As far as Transportation projects are concerned, what are the major challenges faced by you?
Availability of encumbrance-free land is the major concern, Obtaining Statutory clearances like Forest and Environmental clearances, Slow progress of work due to Cash-flow issues and enormous delay in getting decisions in case of re-design / re-engineering.

According to you which are the prime sectors of construction that will turn the tables for India, as far as the growth is concerned? Why?
The Expansion of the Metro Network in all the State Capital cities has already turned tables , Monorail in the satellite Towns, High Speed Rail (HSR), Bullet Train, Hyperloop (Pilot project initiated between Mumbai and Pune) and New Airports in small towns will be a game changer once in operation.

Which are the grey areas that need to be addressed by the industry to advocate structural steel construction in our country?
India has 131,326 km (81,602 mi) of National Highways (NH) connecting all the major cities and state capitals. National Highways comprise 2.7 per cent of India’s total road network but carry about 40 per cent of road traffic.

Which are the grey areas that need to be addressed by the industry to advocate structural steel construction in our country?
India has 131,326 km (81,602 mi) of National Highways (NH) connecting all the major cities and state capitals. National Highways comprise 2.7 per cent of India’s total road network but carry about 40 per cent of road traffic.

Unfortunately, the entire NH network is connected with RCC / PSC Bridges. Often, this is governed by the designers’ choice of an available template design rather than economics. A complete change in the mindset is necessary to accept the change of technology from RCC / PSC Bridges to Steel Bridges. The Government agencies should also take a bold stand to accept the increase in cost for the shift from RCC / PSC Structures to Steel Structures.

Which has been your best work so far involving structural steel?
It’s difficult to single out a project as the best work. I have extensively worked in composite construction of flyovers, bridges and jetties. Steel has also been widely used as a temporary support for underground metro systems. The interaction between surrounding soils, permanent concrete diaphragm walls and the steel strutting system make the designs very interesting. To me all projects in which I have worked, are equally good, irrespective of the size of the project.

What are AECOM’s plans for the next 5 years?
AECOM envisions a world where infrastructure creates opportunity for everyone.

What is your mantra for success?
To stay focussed and work hard is my only mantra to success.