BIG INTERVIEW

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.

Astute an approach for Delivering Excellence

He has world’s most notable projects to his credit along with wide range of structural design experience across the diverse field of construction. He also has been honored with the title of “40 Under 40 Recognition Award” and believes that steel plays a supreme role in delivering LERA’s landmark projects due to its quality of faster construction.

In an Exclusive Interview, NAYAN TRIVEDI, PARTNER, LERA CONSULTING STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS shares his richworking experience on projects that includes supertall towers, mixed-use complexes, cultural projects, educational facilities and transportation projects both in India and overseas, and, the key to delivering projects with brilliance…

Being one of the award-winning structural consultants’ firm, what makes you unique?
LERA Consulting Structural Engineers has a portfolio that includes award-winning and landmark projects across the world. We have created successful designs for the entire spectrum of buildings including office, residential, hotel, retail, government, aviation, and transportation projects. We pride ourselves on the close working relationship we maintain between our New York and international offices through all stages of a project, which helps us provide a unique combination of global institutional knowledge and local “street smarts.”

It is our combination of local experience and global expertise that allows us to fill a very special role in the market. We work closely with our clients to push the envelope in terms of design and construction through the world-class techniques we bring to their projects, while also being knowledgeable of and responsive to the local market. LERA has worked successfully in 50 countries across six continents.

Such diverse and far-reaching work demands a high level of flexibility. One standard project approach is not enough. All project stakeholders, including the client, architect, consultants, and contractors, need to work as a team to understand the parameters of each individual project and deliver contextual solutions. In all projects, we endeavor to instill an early and open dialogue between all members of the design, ownership, and construction teams in order to create a successful collaboration, which is crucial to the success of a project.

Having worked on projects both in India and overseas, what is your take on the future of construction Industry?
The impetus to deliver projects of the highest quality, faster and more economically will continue to push the development of new techniques in design and construction. At the same time, more advanced modeling abilities will lead to ever more dynamic architectural designs that will also call for innovative engineering solutions.

In the Indian market, the push for faster construction is creating an opportunity for developers that are able to successfully implement a holistic design and bring new techniques to the market. The teams that invest time and resources into making smart, context-specific decisions early in the design process will come out on top.

It’s important to remember that moving fast is not the same as going somewhere fast. The decisions made early in the design process have the biggest impact on the overall schedule, with their effects compounding over the duration of the project. You can move very quickly through the initial stages of design, but if you have to come back and rework it all later because the proper inputs were not gathered and considered, the overall schedule will be affected. The teams that put in the work up front are more often than not the most successful.

How do you think steel has been an aid to keep up your tradition of innovation and advancement in technology?
Structural steel has enabled our landmark projects around the world – The Oberoi Mixed-Use Tower in Mumbai, located in Worli next to Three Sixty West. The wind loads in Worli drive the design of the lateral system of the slender tower. The outrigger system utilized to make the lateral system work is made possible by structural steel, creative engineering, and carefully planned construction.
In the context of the previous question, steel will be an enabler to speed up the overall project delivery cycle, thus providing better value to clients.

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?
We feel there will be growth in all areas of the Indian market, but we see a lot of opportunity to use steel construction to deliver high quality commercial real estate. Yes, steel has additional costs compared to the more ubiquitous reinforced concrete construction, especially in the Indian market. But as the industry continues to develop, steel will provide significant benefits to speed of construction. As the value of time becomes more and more important to developers, and contractors gain more and more experience, we believe that steel construction will gain an edge in the market.

Also, it is imperative to keep advocating for sustainable construction techniques. Sustainable design is crucial in meeting the challenges of urban densification, and, protecting the environment we all depend on. We are seeing a positive trend in the industry in this regard. Buildings and construction account for around a third of global energy use, and sustainable design and construction will make a big difference in the lives of Indians and people everywhere.

What are the various concerns of the Indian Construction Industry vis-à-vis the developed countries?
The rules, regulations, and code requirements in the Indian Construction Industry are evolving as the market matures. This is a positive trend, and one that we have seen in other developing markets. As the market matures, the rules and regulations improve along with it. However, negotiating the changes while they are happening is a challenge for the industry. Participants need to keep an open mind and remain flexible in order to make the most of an evolving landscape.

Which has been your best work so far involving structural steel?
In New York, we are very proud of 4 World Trade Center. Completed in November 2013, 4 World Trade Center was the first tower to open on the original 16-acre World Trade Center site, 12 years after the September 11 attacks. LERA worked closely with the owner and architects to realize their vision of an office tower that maintains a quiet, dignified presence while offering stunning clear views of the cityscape.

Designed to meet LEED Gold criteria, 4WTC is 977 ft tall (298 m) with a gross above-grade area of 2.3 million sf (213,700 sm). Utilizing an innovative structural system, the tower boasts column-free corners, 80-ft (25-m) clear main spans, and 20-ft to 45-ft (6m to 14m) cantilevers around the perimeter, accomplished by the use of only four perimeter columns per side, which pass seamlessly into a complex below-grade program.

In Mumbai, we are currently working on One Lodha Place, a new 1.6 million-sf (149,000-sm) office tower located in Lodha Place in Mumbai’s prime business district, and the first A+ office building in India. The building has 43 above ground floors and two basements, with a structure comprised of composite floors spanning to composite columns and concrete shear walls.

What are the challenges faced by structural consultants?
Facing technical challenges and finding solutions is the part of the job of being a structural consultant, and at LERA we have some of the best structural engineers in the world. The real challenge is developing solutions that are context-specific, and then being able to effectively communicate those solutions to the client, the architect, and the design team.

The structure is only one part of the equation for a successful project. There are the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, the vertical transportation systems, the building envelope, a myriad of important architectural design considerations, the construction methods, and, above all, the financial considerations that make the entire operation possible. Great structural engineers don’t only design safe and efficient structures, they design efficient structures that enable the rest of the project to succeed.

It is often the case that the most efficient structure, in a purely quantities-based sense, is not the best for the project. As a structural consultant, sometimes you have the good fortune of being able to make “win-win” decisions that make the structure more efficient while also serving the goals of the project as a whole. However, this is not usually the case. Most of the time, spending a little more money on the structure is well worth the cost when the project’s greater context is taken into account. For example, using high-grade concrete and steel in composite columns can be expensive compared to low-grade materials. But when you factor in the additional FSI that the smaller member sizes free up as saleable area, the benefits can significantly outweigh the costs.

Another example we have implemented is to provide additional flexibility in the architectural layouts. If a plan is anticipated to have two separate 3 BHK units, a typical design might put structural walls or columns between the units. By removing some of the columns and walls, you may spend a little more on structure, but it completely opens the floor plan for maximum flexibility. As a result, potential customers can have 3 BHK units or take two and make their own 5 or 6 BHK units. This flexibility can be a big boon to the developer in terms of driving sales. The challenge is finding these solutions and then communicating them to the client, architect, and design team, so that the right decisions can be made for a successful project.

What is LERA’s action plan for next five years?
We plan to continue to work on the projects we enjoy the most: interesting projects with great teams where our collaborative approach to problem solving can bring value to the client.

What message would you like to give our readers?
The most important message we would like to share is that we love collaborating with clients, design teams, and contractors who enjoy working together to find solutions. In this industry, we are constantly faced with complex problems that demand complex solution. It’s important to work with people who respect each other and enjoy solving problems together what that makes our work so enjoyable, and it’s also the best way to deliver projects.

 

 

A global real estate player whose enduring projects is their identification. This has also made them as one of the market players of Ahmedabad. Going Green is their motto with they have and are implementing in all their works along with its prime focus of customer satisfaction.

To speak in depth about their most promising project and future plans we have with us the man of the hour
Vishal Sheth, Partner, Addor Realty Pvt Ltd & Savani Infrastructure …

 

What is your take on the Indian Real Estate Sector?
Real estate sector in India is expected to contribute 13 per cent of the country’s GDP by 2025. India is emerging as an important business location globally. It’s favorable demographics, and, strong economic growth has made India attractive for property investors.

Also, with the growing IT&ITES sectors, the Indian offshoring operations of multi-national companies are increasing the demand for commercial space. Now, the real estate sector is becoming more organized and is providing the much-needed infrastructure for India’s growing needs.

Having one of the landmark projects – Statue of Unity in your city, how do you think this would aid in the growth of Gujarat’s Infrastructure?
Yes, The Statue of Unity, made its name in the impressive list of man-made structures which has earned global admiration. Definitely, its presence in our city has boosted tourism both locally, and, Internationally. The history makes it evident that once-in-a-lifetime structures like the Statue of Unity, which is ambitious both in its scale and its design, will definitely help in the growth of the state’s infrastructure.

What is your take on steel v/s RCC?
Steel Structures has many benefits in terms of environmental friendly, high durability, speed of construction, reduction in dead load compared to RCC etc. But, as far as India is concern, steel structures are not common as it is an oligopoly market – only a few steel contractors – no perfect competition, which may result in affects the cost and quality, also affects the maintenance of costly fire rated paint, due to reversible deflection of steel members is another concern and leads to heavy maintenance cost.

Looking at the benefits and future aspects of steel structures I must say there should be healthy competition in terms of steel vendors and alternatives to costly paints to make it viable as well to increase acceptance level in market.

The Indian government has laid down quite a few polices RERA, GST, REITS and the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act. How beneficial are such policies to the Real Estate Industry?
Well, every well-planned policy defined for any sector by government is beneficial for that industry so is for real estate. Government has initiated and implemented good policies like RERA, GST, REITS and many others.

These policies have not only changed the sector, but also improvised a lot and are benefited by both developers and buyers. These policies would work as strong pillars for the industry to grow multifold with higher trust in developers, speedy paper work & other procedures, transparency in way of working and many more.

What are the major hurdles faced by the Developers?
Real Estate is considered a worthwhile investment for Indians. As an outcome, the real estate companies are exploring several prospects in the peripheral areas to create an impression. By 2020, the India real estate market is anticipated to reach US$ 180 billion, according to Indian brand and equity foundation.

There are hurdles in every industry, and, so is in real estate for developers. There is delay in obtaining sanctions, advertising and marketing the project, encroachment of land, land rates, limitations placed by local authorities, speculations on real estate prices to name a few. But the Indian government has been working to resolve the issues, and, to make Indian real estate industry a smoother area with less hassles.

 

Can you highlight some steel or composite structures that Addor Realty has constructed or are going to construct in the near future?
We at Addor Realty have been creating structures that last for a century and it is the same with all our projects since inception. We have developed more than ten projects and every project is structured with the highest class of composites and will continue the practice in the future as well.

Our commercial and residential projects like Cloud 9, Aspire, 14 Crowns at Ahmedabad are some of our landmark projects with one of the finest and strongest structures. Our upcoming project by Savani Group ‘World Center 3’ which is the first high-rise commercial project at premium location of Sabarmati Riverfront CBD Zone in Ahmedabad with LEED certified green building, and, will be one of the best of its type in the steel structure with best architectural design.

What is your opinion on Smart Cities Mission?
Smart Cities mission is a foot forward which will prove to be a good step. It will help a lot to urban planning and infrastructure.

What makes Addor Realty / Savani Infra unique?
Addor Reality and Savani infra believes in being eco-friendly. So the new project of Savani Infra is the green building which is going to support environmental sustainability and awareness. With plans of expansion we are ensuring customer care and after sale services and mainly customer satisfaction.

How do you plan to make your stand even stronger in the market?
We plan to be stronger by being environment friendly, by creating strong customer satisfaction base and systematic work.

What would like to say to our reader?
We would first like to thank all the readers for believing us and keep that trust and support us and come and visit our sites to know more about us.

Creating Purpose with Eminence

One of the renowned Real Estate Leaders and have created a strong foothold in the industry, with its dynamic IT Projects, and, with the belief that steel will create a revolution in the near future.

To share in depth more of Rupa’s future and strategies we have with us the face of Rupa Renaissance who believes in the importance of steel and implementing the same to its fullest potential.
The Man of the Hour, ROUNAK DESAI, DIRECTOR, RUPA RENAISSANCE LTD. Read on to know more…

Being one of the leaders in the field, what is your take on the growth of the Real Estate Sector in the country
In my opinion, real estate is going to do very well in the long run and after the recent budget there are quite a few positives for the real estate sector. As much as the residential, commercial, IT/ITES sector is concerned they too will catch up space soon…though It is a bit dull now in some parts of the country, but I think it will take its own stride. The right quality is what finally matters and the project with such qualities and standards will not face any kind of hurdles eventually.

What strategic measures are taken by Rupa Group to be one step ahead of its competitors? How are you different from the rest?
Irrespective of the competition or competitors our company policies and values are very clear. Our mission statement and our vision statement is to achieve the standard of spaces, where people feel homely while working in an environment which provides them with all sorts of facilities & amenities.

The mission is to become the most customer centric real estate firm & maintain a no-compromise standard on quality & technology to achieve immersive success. So, the primary focus being customer centric there is a personalized touch to all our deals, to every client we deal with, and, that is what finally sustains in today’s world. To incorporate the right technology, and, looking forward to technologies that are going to be available in the future and applying them to their best potential in the present is what makes us stand out from the rest.

Having made a mark in commercial and IT/ITES sector with 100% customer satisfaction. What is your take on IT Parks/Office Spaces in steel in India?
I believe steel structures and steel construction as much as it could work for residential sector, has much more potential in IT Parks/Office Spaces. As it can be more evidently used to design a much efficient column to column grid which makes the space look grand and attains the comfort zone where an individual is working heavy hours

When, you talk about the commercial & IT sector there are a few high-rise structures, and, When we go higher, it becomes more feasible for steel structures as the number’s kind of fit in. It’s going to bring in a revolution of sorts 5-6 years down the line as developers would be looking to explore steel construction more aggressively.

Can you highlight some steel or composite structures that Rupa Group has constructed or are going to construct in the near future?
We have boarded into steel construction with our most ambitious project-Rupa Renaissance, Navi Mumbai. An IT Park with 1.8 million sq. ft. of development at Turbhe/Juinagar in Navi Mumbai consists of more than a 1.5 million sq. ft. of IT/ITES/Fin. space. One of the largest commercial projects in steel composite construction in Navi Mumbai, the project aims to set a benchmark in the industry who is considering steel technology. The project also aims to be sustainable with the aim to achieve platinum rating green building status.

In all our future development we are definitely going to explore steel construction to its best potential. We will explore steel in detail by doing comparison analysis, like we had done for Rupa renaissance. As, everything worked out well with steel construction, owing to the analysis done, irrespective of the slight risk involved as not many developers opt for steel construction, and we definitely do not regret the decision.

What are the key challenges faced by the developers in our country?
Lately, there has been an ease of doing business across different sectors in India. In Real estate after instating RERA there is a lot of clarity on the buyers as well as the builders’ side. So, everyone including the buyers, clients and the builders are now working together perpetually with no discrepancy and full clarity.

There are no major challenges as such, but we might face few challenges down the line because of scarcity of construction materials. So, scarcity of raw material is a challenge, but, i think that is pretty much addressable with the new technology and the kind of R&D that is happening.

What are the main advantages of steel structures when compared to the conventional structures?
When we carried out our analysis with Rupa Renaissance the major advantage was the time behind the project completion – The time R.C.C construction would take to complete and the time Steel Construction would take. If everything is planned well, without any major modifications or alterations in the due course of construction saves a lot of time and in turn is a luxury in today’s world. As for any developer time saved is money saved.

I think time is a major advantage and the other advantage is the kind of value, with the technology like steel construction which is two-fold. We have an excellent floor plate in steel construction with a very efficient column-to-column grid. It also enables a very clean construction practice as there is no scaffolding used for the support of slab. Steel hence offers clean construction, so, these are the few advantages though there are a lot more but these are the few highlights of steel structures.

How is technology changing the construction industry and the way we execute buildings?
It is definitely changing and the prime technology which is creating a buzz in the industry is composite steel construction. Lately, there have been many developments in high rise, residential and commercial buildings. The mindset is changing about steel construction that it is only limited to factories, warehouses and industrial centres. So that notion is now changing and the builders are exploring and executing buildings which are completely in steel or in composite steel. There is a high-rise residence building on Altamount Road in steel, and, we are doing a steel building in navi mumbai which is a relatively huge development.

People are going that road so that is something that has changed and apparently there is a lot of buzz in the IT and software industry because of artificial intelligence taking pace. A lot of marketing strategies are going to change in the near future which means wherever you are wearing a VR Gear you will able to walk around your entire project, entire office and entire residence and will be able to get a complete look and feel about how your end product will look like. So, such advancements are welcomed, and we have gracefully accepted the same. It is very interesing and engaging to the customers and clients.

Do you believe we have the right kind of structural steel supply to cater various demands of clients?
In India there are only very few major players who can execute large-scale steel construction around 3-4 good big players that can cater to huge steel demands. However, I feel you need to have right steel contractor, design team and structural consultant who would enable an efficient steel design, moreover to get the best value it is very necessary that the design is being developed the way it is envisioned. Also to have the right contractor is the key in steel construction.

In our case we believe in were in the right hands from the word go, Access Architects, the principal architect for the project had an immense role in making us believe in this technology and realizing the perks of the same, through Access Architects we were introduced to Eversendai our Structural Steel & Design Contractor, & LERA our design peer review consultant, & eventually after awarding the project to them its been a smooth journey until now! This team comprising of Access, Eversendai & LERA has put in immense efforts and worked to their best and prime potential to achieve the grandeur this project holds.

How does Rupa Group plan to contribute to bring in a change in the Real Estate Sector in the coming 5 years?
We at Rupa group are very customer centric and have been constantly working round the clock to fulfill our customer and client demands and by exploring new technologies we now want to showcase and encase what good technology and its right implementation can do to a project in terms of the value of space that is created for the end user. We want to set a standard which is difficult to replicate and at the same time very efficient and affordable. We are in pursuit of foraying into different real estate verticals and are geared bring in a revolution of sorts wherever we go.

What message do you have to give to our readers?
We as an industry must strive to get the best out of the technology and explore more and more into the steel construction industry.

Breaking the Monotony…

Being one of the proven players over the last six decades in the construction field, K Raheja has dug its roots deep successfully across all the segments of real estate. They only believe in moving ahead with times and they do so by adapting the new technologies. Elaborating more on the brand’s enormous success and future plans, MOHAN ABHICHANDANI, DIRECTOR-PROJECTS, K RAHEJA CORP spills the beans in this candid interview….

 

With six decades of legacy as a leading real estate conglomerate, how has been the Journey so far?
Founded in 1956, K Raheja Corp is one of the most renowned names in the real estate industry and has successfully diversi­fied into commercial and residential real estate, hospitality and the retail sector.

The real estate industry in India has witnessed a significant transformation, owing to internal and external factors, especially over last two decades. Whether, it is related to policy interventions such as DC regulations, MOEF and other statutory approvals like RERA, GST, etc., K Raheja Corp is and will always be committed to ensure that best practices are followed in the interest of employees, vendors and customer while running the show.

In India, real estate is the second largest employer after agriculture and is slated to grow at 30 per cent over the next decade. The real estate sector comprises of four sub sectors – housing, retail, hospitality, and commercial. K Raheja Corp is proud to have Mindspace, Shoppers Stop, Vivarea, J W Marriott Brand Hotels and Inorbit Mall as their brands representing the entire gambit of real estate sector under its umbrella.

What strategic measures are taken by K Raheja to be one step ahead of its competitors? How are you different from the rest?
We have taken several measures over a period of time to keep us ahead of the curve, however, the focus was always to keep us vibrant, and, energetic as a united team, and being an efficient leader was just a result of that process.

On the environment front, we signed a MoU with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) & Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for the implementation of green building measures for all its projects in 2007, and have remained committed to it.

The company currently holds a total registered green building footprint of 4.07-cr sq. ft. On the HR front, K Raheja Corp endeavors to create and maintain a strong people-friendly culture that is inclusive and diverse. For the same, various initiatives were implemented to take care of the employees at all locations which has been a key measure for our success.

Keeping site offices hygienic, weekend offs for site personal, parental leave, abolition of prefix-suffix norms; the HR department is continuously involved in all aspects of making work-life balance, and, enhancing the skills of employees for making them more confident and energetic about their work.

The company also generates green power, which is the energy / electricity generated through renewable sources thus reducing carbon emission. We have set up one of the largest solar rooftop plants at Mindspace Madhapur, Hyderabad; with a capacity of 1.6 megawatt generating 25 lakh units annually. We have always endeavored to reduce carbon footprint and today, we are successfully able to save around 5000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

In a quest to give back to the society, K Raheja Corp actively takes up CSR Initiatives. The company in partnership with GHMC took up the challenging task to transform Hyderabad’s iconic Durgam Cheruvu from a marshy water hyacinth covered lake into a beautiful water-body.

Additionally, through Sadhana Education Society’s (SES), a charitable educational institution known for imparting quality and affordable education to marginalized students without any bias, and at affordable rates, has empowered over 50,000 students with the gift of knowledge in its five decades of existence.

Being developed and promoting eco-friendly building construction, what is your take on green building construction in India?
Green building is a popular concept in the commercial real estate segment in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities and is still gaining acceptance in the residential business.  However, with more awareness, introduction of new concepts such as wellness standard, and net zero concepts, the industry is taking adequate steps keeping in mind the commercial impact, and, financial viability. Going forward with government initiatives and developer’s intent, the measures can be brought well within the affordability index for people at large resulting in s greater adaption of green measures for all segments.

Can you highlight some steel or composite structures that K Raheja has constructed or are going to construct in the near future?
We have undertaken special projects such as extension of our head office, wherein, we have used steel structures that are light in weight and easy to install compared to concrete structures. The project was executed in Bandra Kurla Complex, and, hence the commercial feasibility allowed us to go for steel structures to complete the work at a faster pace.

Additionally, for one of our South Mumbai high-end residential projects, we opted for composite columns to reduce the column area thus increasing the net usable carpet area. Presently, we are in the process of evaluating the commercial impact and long-term benefits of using structural steel vis-a-vis concrete structures for our commercial projects.

What are the key challenges faced by developers in our country?
With steel structures, the execution timelines can be reduced with meticulous planning however, in India due to uncertainty of various approvals, the advantage of using steel structures get nullified, when, a project gets delayed and on the other side the budget receives positive commercial impact up to 30-40 per cent.

Other challenges faced by developers is with regards to the pool of good contractors, who, can execute quality job for steel structure fabrication and erection. Currently, efficient contractors are very expensive as compared to small scale contractors.

What are the main advantages of steel structures when compared to the conventional structures?
Steel can accomplish extremely long spans in structures, and, open-bay footprints without intermediate columns. The material is flexible in different ways to address design requirements, which makes them very good at resisting dynamic forces such as wind or earthquake. It can bend without cracking, which acts as a warning in seismic zones.

RCC structures can take up a good amount of compression but is not good enough for tension, whereas, steel structures can take up both compression and tension. Due to the dead weight of RCC, the foundation design is heavy as compared to steel structure.

How is technology changing the construction industry and the way we execute buildings?
While we are trying to explore many more technologies, we have used large-span formworks, jump forms, cranes, passenger elevators and custom-made aluminum shuttering. Our use of technology is not specific only to the core, and shell of the building, but we use it to maximize other trades as well and try to leverage those technologies in completing the building. We try to capture anything that increases productivity.

With BIM, we can now reduce the amount of efforts put in by consultants for coordination and the rework happening at site due to the coordination done earlier in 2D drawings. With the use of ERP modules such as SAP, the complete project solution; from planning to monitoring, contracts, billing and budget control can be available as 1-point solution.

With costing softwares such as Cost X, extraction of quantity for large scale projects can be done at a fast pace. Aconex helps in design coordination with mapping of changes over earlier layout. We also have a 3D scanner which can bring any heritage building with special shape onto the drawing table for planning the upliftment.

The usage of Drone in surveying and mapping out the specified area has become quite popular. Their value lies in being able to go where humans and heavy machinery can’t, monitoring progress in real time and the ability to make changes to the plan according to the drone footage.

Drones can also play a role in monitoring and promoting safety practices, as the surveillance shows whether best practice regulations are being adhered to, regardless of whether a health and safety official is on site. Our philosophy is to use technology optimally to achieve efficiency and reduce time and not just use them as replacement of human efforts.

Do you believe we have right kind of structural steel supply to cater various demands of clients?
This depends on the supply-demand ratio. We know that there is a wide use of structural steel for industrial and factory buildings, however, for the large-scale commercial, residential and hospitality segment, the volume is still not comparable with conventional structures. Going forward, we need more good suppliers and contractors to provide economical solutions with good quality products. The real estate industry is still evolving in India.

How does K Raheja plan to contribute to bring in a change in the real estate sector in the coming 5 years?
As stated earlier, keeping ourselves on toes is the motto we work with. Other than continuous improvement measures, we are keen to learn new technologies, upgrade the skill of labours by skill development programmes under our CSR initiatives, work towards more eco-friendly solutions while carrying out the construction, improve living standards by adapting wellness and other international standards.

With REIT, the next revolution mechanism in the real estate segment, we are ensuring that all our products are being upgraded and maintained to enter the segment with all the requirements. With that said, we are confident that K Raheja Corp will also contribute significantly in setting the tone for future of the real estate industry in India.

What message do you have to give to our leaders?
I would like to emphasize on having a wide range of suppliers and contractors to provide more economical solutions for making adaption of steel structures for the real estate segment. Unless the financial barrier is broken, it is going to be very difficult to promote steel structure buildings for commercial projects.

More government initiatives are needed to promote steel structures. Also, awareness among people at large for accepting steel structure buildings for residential usage needs to be created. High end residential units can reap the benefit of speedier construction with steel structures as the affordability is not the issue with that segment.

Transformation is Cardinal for us

Having fledged with its own identity, today this construction giant is a front-runner in the Indian real estate sector. The group not only brings newness in every project they undertake, but, leave their identifiable legacy in every single job they do. With a touch of finesse being a hallmark of their works, Phoenix Group has added quite a few precious gems in their crown within the past few years.

In a candid interview, the nucleus of the group, SRIKANTH BADIGA – Group Director, shares his insights on the changing phases of construction industry; enlightens how the use of steel has actually been the game-changer for them; and how they are known for doing things differently when compared to its contemporaries.

Read more of his perspectives and analysis on steel…

 

Q Being one of the key players in the real estate sector. How does Phoenix stand out among the rest?
A Phoenix was established in the year 2002. From the day of inception, we have had our own identity. We are and were famous for swimming against the tide. We always believed in trend setting, and, were the first to launch premium residential apartments also the first to venture into IT SEZs.

We always believed in transformation, and, are famous for our construction of our IT buildings in steel structures and pre-fab.

We could deliver maximum space in minimum time. Likewise, believed in giving back to the society and our Chairman took up the re-development of crematoriums which is a nation-wide movement now. So, even though we are in the business of property development, we are known for doing things differently when compared to our contemporaries.

Q What is your take on the growth of steel in the Indian Building segment?
A The take is direct. We prefer practicing than preaching. We are developing all our buildings with steel structures. We are planning to develop around 20 million sq. ft in the next three years. The development of properties using steel structures saves time and resources. Moreover, it is safe in comparison with the conventional construction.

Q How would you analyze the advantages of steel over conventional materials for Commercial, SEZ & Residential?
A Steel is the most convenient and safe material. As mentioned above we prefer steel structures over the conventional methodology. It is most adaptable, and, our customers also prefer the same technology. The Implementation of design modification is also possible with ease when using steel structures.

Q What are the key challenges faced by the developers in our country?
A Delays in obtaining construction permits for project development, increasing cost of raw materials and limited availability of land in urban areas are some of the challenges that Developers in India face. Other issues, such as complexity of projects owing to increasing demands from customers, increasing land prices etc.

Q Steel structures are boon for the Developers. Can you explain this statement?
A Steel structures are economical for high-rise builders like us. They also weigh less compared to RCC and Composite structures of the same design, which is good and energy efficient. Steel enables lesser disruptions to the environment, improved aesthetics, increased inner (interior) flexibility are the other benefits that steel structures offer. The time-savings these steel structures offer is the most important benefit, not only for controlling project construction cost, but, also because delays in projects are being taken seriously by the government of late.

Q According to you what are the prime factors that prevent the developers from opting for steel buildings, provided the long-term benefits that steel offers?
A In India, our structural engineers are still not very favorable towards steel buildings because of complexity in design and unfamiliarity in analysis.

Q What is your take on the revised construction norms carried out by the government? Are there any policies that you anticipate, or you believe that the government should rollout?
A The policies rolled out are good and encouraging, as and when we keep practicing amendments can be done, since, government policies are always enabling.

Q Is there adequate structural steel supply to meet the client requirements?
A As of now, it is difficult to comment on this because, if Developers embrace steel as the major component of their structures, suppliers will see potential opportunities, and hence, the vertical supply chain will evolve eventually. It depends on how the value chain emerges.

Q Phoenix has mandated steel structures for most of its buildings? Can you take us through the journey which leads you in this decision?
A Well, we are in the business of construction since 2002, and, we have done some projects previously too. Most of them conventional, and, very cumbersome on mobilizing the resources. The steel prices were never constant and were fluctuating every three to four months, thereby, hampering the progress of the project. Availability of steel in those days was also a challenge.

When, we started developing larger IT parks the situation became more challenging. The mobilization of manpower to shuttering material to materials has become a major uphill task. Above all, the time consumed for completing the project was almost three to four years.

Since, most of the projects were large the modifications in the structure at the time of construction was not possible, and, we had to literally break down the major portion and re-build it.

We started using prefab from the year 2013 -2014, which, really eased the construction to large extent. The delivery of the buildings on time started improving gradually.

In the year 2013, we were introduced to steel structures by Kirby. In record time they were able to erect around one lakh sq. ft of incubation space. Later, we realized the speed with which we can construct our buildings in much lesser time.

The cost was on a higher side, but it was feasible because of the amount of time we were saving by using steel structures. Finally, we decided to construct all our buildings with steel structures only. In next four years, we are anticipating developing around 20 million sq. ft of space using steel structures.

Q What message do you have to give to our readers?
A Contractors, suppliers and customers need to understand that newer and innovative technologies are highly essential for building smarter and leaner constructions, which provide long term benefits. It is important to quickly adapt and adopt them, thus, becoming responsible citizens of the planet.

Novel Expertise Unfurls Efficient Construction

Q Being one of the pioneers in the field, what is your take on the growth of the Real Estate Sector in the country?
A There was a temporary disruption in the real estate sector in the recent past post demonetization. However radical the move, it proved to be progressive. Demonetization has helped in preventing investors in buying real estate just to evade tax, and, keep black money in the economy. With 2017, setting the tone for revival with affordable housing, RERA, GST, we can expect a great future for the realty industry. Moreover, the passing of GST and RERA is set to bring about fundamental changes and increased transparency along with timely completion of projects. Luxury housing has picked up the pace in the current year, and with the rise in the number of millionaires in the country, demand is expected to surge in this niche market. Infrastructure status grant to the affordable housing sector will significantly address the housing needs of millions.

Moreover, with tax and other monetary incentives granted to affordable housing, we can expect a rise in affordable housing projects and achieve the government’s housing for all vision. Furthermore, India is also well placed in the top 100 nations clubs for ease of doing business. The policy reforms and developments will have a cumulative positive impact on the overall sector and help build long and trusting relationships between the developer and buyer. There is tremendous scope for growth, which is also helping up in putting up satellite towns closer to major cities and the focus is on improving Infrastructure to accelerate it further.

Q Having created one of the Landmark projects of the Country – ‘The Capital’. How was your experience working on this project?
A ‘The Capital’ is indeed a Landmark project. What makes The Capital an innovative space, is the attention to detail in creating a unique corporate environment, but, also acknowledges the requirements of every stakeholder, visitors and employees alike. The conveniences are built with the intent to provide an experience that matches the jet-setting lifestyle of its corporate honchos. Work-life balance at this complex cannot get any better. Its architecture is its beauty.

Every day in the construction business is a new challenge. Tremendous work by big players and standing out as the best brand is in itself a challenge. Competition has reached a peak now, and, to serve the best of quality and build smart is a challenge. The projects today have fast track deliverables promises to match with customer requirement and competitive market demand, to foster this technology amalgamating operations are to be used and we make sure we deliver it.

There were many structural changes in the economy and due to a few policy amendments too, one of the major challenges while executing this project was the timely availability of machinery for the smooth execution. However, the efforts which our labors had put in for completion of this project and the support they extended towards constructing this landmark project was tremendous, the result of which was beyond satisfaction.

Q What have you to say about Steel vis-à-vis Concrete Buildings?
A India has been traditionally building concrete buildings, and, use of steel (structural) for the residential and commercial building has been on the far lesser side in terms of steel consumption compared to western countries. But, now more and more projects are being taken up, for its sheer speed of construction and as more and more high rises with going over 150 mts high are coming up, the concrete section especially columns are becoming thicker and wider, eating up into floor space, with steel sections these can be restricted, and leaner sections can be designed. Also, new codal requirements are helpful towards this. So, my view is the use of structural steel in residential and commercial buildings may be composite design, it will come into play more and more apart from its use in Infrastructure works.

Q According to you what are the key challenges faced by the Developers?
A The steel industry is known for being recurring, and, reflective of overall market conditions. The demand keeps fluctuating, as per the recession or inflation. The major challenge with regards to usage of steel for the construction industry is the non-availability of the required sections, and grades of structural steel. The over-production of steel in the last decade has led to a depletion of high-grade raw materials. Using low-quality raw materials can lead to GHG emissions which can cause disturbance, and, will also result in major energy consumption. This steel when imported leads to the escalated tariff.

Q How is technology changing the Construction Industry?
A The construction industry has witnessed much significant advancement in the technology over the period and helping the industry to improve the productivity and save in costs and time. We have seen heavy investments in developing, and, acquiring new technologies by construction industries that will benefit them. Technology could do wonders in terms of speed if selected appropriately and save a lot of time in the construction phase – which invariably lands up being a saving for the project in the big picture as your delivery is expedited. Initially, any technology would cost higher than the conventional method, however, post factoring the time value of money and taking into account the faster delivery it facilitates, it’s a sure shot winner in the whole project cycle.

Today, we cannot think of any high-rise building without technology. Also, we are surrounded by technology 24 x7 which is a must in the future apartment you would want to stay. Today, newer developments especially the luxurious projects are equipped, with well-integrated systems of data / telecom / security and CCTV surveillance and the elevator management system in place for the comfort of the residents.

Some of the latest technologies that are responsible for the transformation of the construction industry are:
3D BIM that helps the workers to imagine and deliver the same way they thought of, 4D and 5D are responsible for better cost-effective model designing with comparative lesser time than the usual model would take. 3D laser scanning is one that helps in understanding the exact dimensions of a project using this form of construction technology means there is no reliance on human measurements, and so reducing human error.

Q What are the prime factors that prevent the developers from opting for steel buildings, provided the long-term benefits that steel offers?
A The major factor is price escalation. With the recent hike in import duty on steel, the real estate sector is faced with the proximity of further hikes in the domestic prices. This, in turn, is resulting in costly homes for the end customers’ making affordable homes not so affordable. The undue hike in prices is a huge deterrent for investment in real estate and its growth, as it burdens the sector with an additional cost.

Q Where do we lack in terms of Real Estate Sector as compared to the other developed countries?
A India is lagging in terms of quality and quantity of steel. In India, the Steel Industry is passing through a challenging phase. While the use of structural steel is growing, tall building technology is still in its infancy in the country and India lags in adopting structural steel due to high cost. Limited supply is another area where we lack in terms of steel usage in real estate. At present, the construction of steel buildings is also being limited by the paucity of skills. There is no dearth of appropriate software tools to develop and visualize complex designs. These factors eventually are resulting in Indian Real estate’s shift from steel to concrete.

Not only this, Indian steel industry itself is lagging in terms of technological advancements. India, however, lags in terms of innovating new technologies for steel production, largely due to a lack of investment in R&D by major steel players. Imported technology is available, but there is a need to develop domestic technologies that are compatible with the domestic raw material. Local coal is high in ash content and iron ore is of low grade, and therefore, India needs to invest in developing technologies that are able to upgrade various raw materials for high-quality steel production.

A plan has been mooted to set up a national steel research institution for furthering the above objectives. Enhancing R&D and innovation in the steel sector will not only reduce capital costs but also reduce the dependency on the imported raw material, which will enhance the competitive position of the Indian steel industry.

Q With lineups like the “Smart Cities Mission”. How do you see this changing the Indian Infrastructure Segment?
A In India, the Steel Industry is passing through a challenging phase. The demand for steel is at its lowest. Domestic consumption is severely affected due to lack of activity in infrastructure, as well as in the manufacturing space. The biggest challenge facing the domestic steel industry, is to have the per capita steel consumption in India at par with the average global standards. The new Government at the center has, however, rekindled hope in the industry. The ambitious infrastructure projects, and, the thrust in manufacturing through the “Make in India” campaign are steps in the right direction. The plan for smart cities, improved roads, and rails connectivity by building highways, bridges and dedicated freight and superfast rail corridors have huge potential to spur domestic steel demand.

Smart Cities coupled with Tag of affordable housing has changed the scenario of housing Industry, which is actually resultant of the huge focus on Infrastructure. The Government is now focusing on putting up required infrastructure like railway, roads bridges airports first and then looking up to developers to exploit such locations which will help housing industry to come up with newer developments, like satellite towns.

Q What outstanding newness does The Wadhwa Group plan in the next 5 years?
A The Wadhwa Group has launched an Integrated Township in Pavel, known as Wadhwa Wise City. ‘Wadhwa Wise City’ will offer a unique proposition of efficient Studio, 1 & 2 BHK apartments that will be constructed in various phases. Out of the total land holding of 450 acres, The Wadhwa Group is planning to develop 138 acres in phase 1. The project has got all the approvals for the first phase in place – location clearance under ITP, Letter of intent (LOI) under ITP, Environmental Clearance for the Township, as well as, the buildings under Phase 1along with the building CC for Phase 1 building. The mandatory Maha RERA registration for relevant buildings has been obtained.

The project is strategically located with excellent rail-road connectivity to both, the central and western lines making it easy for commuter travel. The location Panvel is close to Mumbai-Pune expressway, and the Sion-Panvel, providing easy access to both Mumbai and Pune. This affordable housing project will be the mixed development of residential and commercial. All these comprises of about 6 to 7 million square feet of development catering to affordable, mid-segment and luxury segments which will be different for different micro markets. Apart from the usual requirements of such a township, what we Intend to give is a very high HAPPINESS QUOTIENT and HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT utilizing all the natural resources available at our disposal, such as the lakes, ponds and huge green cover. Our other upcoming projects this year are in these locations – Chembur, Kandivali, Matunga, Mulund.

Q What message would you like to give our readers?
A Futuristic constructions should have expert involvement. With introduction of new technologies, it would be wise to opt for designers, structural consultants to construct efficient and ultramodern buildings that would bring delight to the ultimate user.

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