Tales – P S Somasunder

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Talking About Life’s Engineering Saga (TALES)’ is a segment that exclusively focuses on the top Structural Consultants across the globe sharing their engineering journey in their own words. We have – P S Somasunder – sharing his deep knowledge with us…

A structural engineer whose journey as you read would highly surely inspire is here to share it with us….

P S Somasunder, Managing Director, Facilities & Building Solutions Pvt Ltd

INSPIRATION…

I come from a family where everyone is an engineer, and I was the youngest in the house and we already had mechanical engineers, electricity engineers and other engineers. Even I wanted to be a mechanical engineer, but initially I got seat outside Bangalore in Mechanical engineering ,and as in those days it was difficult to get seat in government colleges in Bangalore. I was very happy when I got transferred in Bangalore and for civil engineering course ,and since I managed getting ranks initially in few semesters and realized I can do better in civil engineering by concentrating more and putting more efforts etc and after which I got ranks in many of the semesters in the entire course and that is how this inspired me to take up civil engineering.


LEARNING CURVE FROM STUDENT TO PRO…

I was quite lucky because only few civil engineering students were selected by L&T in the campus interview, and I was one among them as a management trainee. Though I was initially resistant, but my family said since you are a civil Engineer, stick to civil Engineering only. Also, my mentor Mr. A.K Sahasrabudhe in the initial 2 years as a trainee with L&T ,and Mr Dheeraj Shah of Oberoi hotels ,who thought me how-to do-good shuttering and good quality civil work, thanks to people like these in my formative years , for what I am today. I have done many projects all over the country. In this entire journey have done a lot of projects both in India and abroad , from concrete to steel.

CHALLENGES…

I would talk about the structural challenges we face in our projects. Quality and safety in India are only available when it is demanded by the client or the project managers. It rarely comes on its own, very few companies do it as a matter of policy or philosophy otherwise these are the challenges even today.

The major challenge in those days was that some of consultants just give a number or budget without worrying about it and later the budgets usually go up. They should ensure they give what they promise, ensure that whatever dynamics are happening in the project are captured well and integrated and this way a project manager helps the structural consultants to do a better job. He can be trouble-shooter  telling them whenever the quantity goes higher , saying that they are offshoots and also gives the options to be utilised to mitigate this and without compromising any quality or safety aspects . I think mutual synergy between the project manager and structural consultant will go the long way in making the industry proud of its own projects

USAGE OF PARALLEL FLANGE BEAMS…

Parallel flange beams in not used in a large way and its matter of time it must be used much more.

 

CHANGE TO WITNESS…

I would like to state with an example when I was with L&T,WE have done an Indoor Stadium project which I wish would have been done in steel now.

I believe with steel; you can do wonders in limited time span making it an elegant structure. While the problem with concrete is when the span increases, the depth /weight ,increases which is a huge problem in handling and logistics etc and , we don’t have to worry about this much in steel. One can do wonders with steel just like we did ITC in Pune. With approx. 65 metre span column free space The flexibility that steels offers is unique as well as it saves a lot of time, and it is way forward.

AFFAIR WITH STEEL…

In the journey of 17 years as FABS , starting from 2205 we have done OVER 200 projects. I would say 70 per cent of the projects are industrial and all of them are with many big brands name eg BMW, Toyota, Volva Bosch, ITC etc. While all these ideally, it’s a steel structure and normally pre-engineered building. We are into this for a long long, time and Now it is much more lighter material and we are able to do longer spans without getting worried.

BEST STEEL WORK…

ITC Ranjangaon Pune is one of the best because it was very tough and challenging in terms of fabrication and erection since it was huge spans. So, we had to plan well and ensure we erected safely. ITC is a great team to work with and INTERARCH THE VENDOR they helped us in making the erection and complex work easy.


Other PROJECTS WE would say there is one Volvo factory Expansion where we had to build a new factory which is adjacent to the existing factory, and we ensured the not a single day of production was lost. So, the challenge we could overcome because of the fantastic support from Volvo and such practical challenge we could easily overcome.

ITC, Haridwar where we had to build seven factories at the same time, and it was not completely pre – engineered building. We had to erect RCC columns of almost five meters and then erect the pre-engineered building. No Indian Manufacturer was able to deliver the quantum of steel (14 Lacs square feet) which was during the formation of state of Uttaranchal. During those time in 2005 no PEB manufacturer was able to deliver this quantum while today we have many PEB Players. They wanted the project in 7 months, but we were able to deliver it in time as we got the PEB steel from Bluscope China .

UPGARDING WITH CHANGING TIMES…

One is by attending seminars, or by reading which is not my great passion, and interact with people from the industry.

Attending negotiation meetings where the suppliers come up with very good ideas, they come out with wonderful ideas and by just listening to people you get some very good ideas.

I also interact with senior core team members from my firm who are managing 5-6 clients at a time who share their knowledge and we do go to the various project sites to understand the challenges they face .By talking to them on various issues , and this helps me keep in mind for future projects and this is the way we continuously improve. This is how I keep myself updated.

QUICK FACTS

College Name & Place: University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE), Bangalore.

Total Years of Experience: 40 years

Mentor or Idol: Mr A.K.Sahasrabudhe of L&T,Mr. Dheeraj Shah of Oberoi Hotels & Mr. K.V.Rangaswamy OF l&T -ECC

Mantra for Success: Hard Work and never be complacent

Want to be remembered as : A good human being and then as an engineer

Projects currently working on : Bosch, Britannia Dairy plant pune, Plasmagen -Pharma plant, INDO SPACE Logistics, Manjushree plant ,Coca Cola plant in Andhra Pradesh ,Graviss foods, Griffiths, and many other industrial projects.

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