BIG INTERVIEW, Special Stories

PIONEERING INNOVATIVE COMMERCIAL SPACES

Sattva Group being a real estate king over the last three decades, what is your take on the journey of our Indian Construction Industry?
To a large extent the real estate market is influenced by changing trends. The price and value of a property majorly fluctuates due to multiple influencing factors. In the residential sector the growth is coming from the middle-class/middle-income space. The construction of an excess of luxury homes led to an overkill in the segment. However, we saw three or four years ago that real estate was facing massive consolidation. The customer turned more discerning than ever and this brought a slew of developers of greater scale and higher quality. The economy is now doing well, and the overwhelming young population needs a place to call home. So, we can expect a great turnaround.

While 2018 was a year of reforms, 2019 looks stable with a strong government in the centre, and the real estate industry is poised for growth. It looks like the industry is bent on coming back with a bang. Underperformance is a thing of the past. Prices are rising in commercial and residential real estate. Demand by the way of inward investment is on the rise from blue-chip US corporates. The next big step will be listed onshore real estate investment trusts, which will come into force in 2019. There’s been a huge leap in Indian companies leasing space. The share of domestic firms leasing out space in 2015, has met the numbers of US companies. The IT-ITES sector has continued to remain on the top in terms of share of office occupancy across major Indian cities. This indicates that with a good government the sky is the limit for our industry.

What has been the role of steel in changing the construction dynamics? How?
Steel has brought about a paradigm shift in the way buildings are being planned and executed. Steel structures call for finalization of a whole lot of details well in advance, stake holders get to sit across the table and go through a lot of details, making the entire project more well planned, helping the team to understand the scheme in totality. The various benefits of meticulous pre-planning result in efficiency and ease of execution, planning and procurement of allied material well in advance, and give builders better control on the project execution. Steel buildings are now being made in factories and only assembled at site. Hence, steel is ushering the Industry towards mechanization and making it less labour intensive and reducing uncertainties in project execution and completion.

Sattva Group the Real Estate Giant. What has been the secret of Sattva being at the top of the game?
Salarpuria Sattva stands for complete transparency and financial discipline. We are committed to on-time delivery of our projects and don’t miss deadlines. Our focus is on futuristic, energy efficient designs to reduce operational cost for our clients.

Above all, we are the ‘one stop solution’ for all our client’s needs. These are some of the factors that have helped us gain a leadership position and provide cutting-edge commercial spaces that are on par with the best in the world.

According to you what are the key challenges faced by the Developers?
The main challenges faced by the developers is disproportionate development. There is too much development in IT-Tech Parks and over-supply coming in from the unorganised sector. The confidence of customers has slipped due to the unscrupulous methods deployed by many developers. Unfortunately, customers tend to measure all developers by the same yardstick. Another roadblock is the prolonged time periods that sanctioning authorities take, which further stalls constructions. This is mostly due to lack of training techniques.

It is time that we as developers move away from a low-cost labour mind set and embrace technology. The need of the hour is to raise skill levels, provide better welfare measures to our workforce and ensuring greater safety on sites, so that they are motivated to take up our projects.

With technology being an important aid in major projects, how has it helped the real estate sector?
Technology increases precision in work execution, reduces dependency on labour, reduces uncertainties in projects and facilitates faster execution of works. Steel frame buildings are factory fabricated with the best of technology available and under strict quality control at the steel fabricator’s facility.

This not only reduces a lot of on-site labour-oriented work, but it also comes with a very high degree of precision that enables fast track construction at site. A major take away is that the number of labourers on site can be drastically reduced.

Where do we lack in terms of real estate sector as compared to the other developed countries?
As a country we don’t lag behind in any way. The best of technology available anywhere in the world in the construction industry, is available in India. It is just a matter of how much, of it we use and how we use it. Yes, at times, we may be resistant to change, but it’s more a mind-set. Once the industry understands the life cycle cost of a project and its dependencies, the change to adapt to better systems will invariably get accepted.

In our Knowledge Park project comprising 5 million sq ft in Hyderabad, we have made a major shift and adopted steel frame structures. We undertook the rigorous exercise of getting all our stake holders together and meticulously planned the design and execution of the project. We can proudly say that this project will turn out to be as good or better than any others.

Do you believe we have the right kind of structural steel supply to cater various demands of clients?
Yes, in terms of steel built up sections, we have the right kind of steel supply, however we have limitation in terms of range of availability of rolled sections. As of now this can be addressed by opting for built up sections, but I believe that soon, we shall conquer this challenge also.

India has steel manufactures like JSW Steel, Tata Steel etc. who manufacture the required grades and thickness to cater to the demand. We also have a few world class structural steel fabricators in India.

What outstanding newness does Sattva Group plan in the next 5 years?
Salarpuria Sattva is strengthening its core expertise in IT Tech Parks and residences and extending its presence in hospitality as well, by entering the Resorts arena. We are all set to put up 8 million sq ft of cutting-edge IT Tech Parks across the IT capital – Bengaluru, in various locations. We also set up the Oracle Tech Hub Phase 1 in record time. Beginning 2019, we entered into affordable housing with around 6 new projects underway across Bengaluru.

In Hyderabad, we have delivered 6.5 million Sq. Ft. of cutting-edge space that is occupied by the cream of corporates. Another 16 million Sq.Ft. is in the pipeline, coming up in the growth corridor of the city. These include Knowledge Capital of 2.4 million Sq.Ft. and Knowledge Park comprising 3.2 million Sq.Ft. Our flagship IT Tech Park Knowledge City – an IGBC Platinum rated green Building of 7 million Sq.Ft. is touted to be the best in Asia. The Group also tied up with the Telangana government to build Image Towers, a world class animation, gaming and visual effects centre of more than 2 million Sq.Ft.

What message would you like to give our readers?
Work with integrity and transparency. Financial discipline is what pays in the long term and developers who can understand the pulse of the market, keep abreast of changing trends and meet deadlines can win customer confidence in the long term. Integrity is everything in this business.