Construction Technology 2014 summit organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) recently at Vadodara in Gujarat was a brainstorming event as delegates, and participants discussed, debated and deliberated the modern and emerging trends in construction technologies. They also tried to find out how to put the technologies into best practices based on the emerging and complex Indian construction site requirements in the face of diminishing return on investments. The event was attended by construction equipment manufacturers, contractors, architects, town planners, real estate developers, project and equipment financiers, among others.
Delivering the key note address, Mr. Premraj Kashyap, Chairman- CII, Central Gujarat Zone Council & Managing Director, KYB Conmat says, “Adaption of advanced construction technologies is becoming increasingly imperative owing to rapid pace of infrastructure development, tighter project completion schedules and acute paucity of skilled workers.” Expressing similar views, Mr. Ashwin Gandhi, Chairman CII’s Construction Technology Summit and Director, Express Equipments and Rental Logistics says, “Adaption of advanced technologies is becoming essential to bypass human casualties at the sites across the construction value chain. Moreover, it has become well pronounced that even a crane is required for lifting jobs for five tons or below.”
Addressing the audience, Mr. Mihir Parikh, Registered Architect & Appointed valuer, Indian Institute of Architects says, “Though it is quite significant to take over newer construction technologies for the projects, however, it should be ensured that the technologies taken over for the projects are competitive and deliver quality and sustainable projects. Despite the government creating single window clearance facilities for projects approvals, there still exist multiple tiers of approvals which have to be approached. This extends the schedule of project executions which in turn contributes to project cost overruns.”
“Newer inputs have to be harnessed for construction as sand limestone, aggregates, cement and other raw materials for construction are gradually becoming scarce. Sand is one of the most vital materials which is getting deficient with many states imposing ban on extracting sand from rivers and other natural resources. Hence, it will be essential to develop alternate materials with scientific intervention in accordance with Indian construction requirements, so as to ensure sustainability to the Indian construction industry,” said Mr. NV, Patel, Chairman Vadodara Urban Development Authority. He mentioned, “With steep escalation of land prices owing to its growing scarcity, there is no option but to adopt vertical construction through induction of newer construction practices supported by requisite technologies.
Mr. Balkrishna Shulka, MP, Vadodara said, “With adaption of newer construction practices, it has to be fully ensured that regulations are in place that will ensure safe construction of projects.”
Benefits of Modern TechnologiesDelegates highlighted the importance of newer construction technologies as the construction projects become larger in India and bring newer execution complexities coupled with shrinking return on investments and compressed work schedules. They expressed their concerns on rising project costs, and shortage of raw materials.
Informing participants on newer construction technologies that have contributed towards shortage of labour, rising construction costs, yet deliver quality projects, Mr. S. Gladston, Vice President-Sales Support, KYB Conmat said, “Being manufacturers of concrete equipment solutions, our sustained emphasis is to produce such products and solution that deliver quality output. Our new advanced KYB-Conmat transit mixers, ensure better homogeneity of the concrete mix, faster discharge, lower power consumption, better stability of the truck during operation and above all, handling of zero slump concrete.” He informed about KYB Conmat’s range of other concrete solutions comprising, mobile and stationery batching plants and trailer mounted concrete pumps, concrete pavers for canal paving.
Advancements in road construction techniques that contribute towards sustainable projects, was informed by Mr. Sanjay Bajaj, Senior Manager, Business Development, Wirtgen India. He said, “Our asphalt road milling solutions directly contribute towards greatly minimizing construction costs as it helps in recycling of the aggregates for its further usage by cutting down requirements of new material, estimated to be around 18,000 tons per km. Not to mention, the saving on aggregate material transportation costs from the source of origin to the construction sites. Mr. Bajaj also informed about Wirtgen’s range of paving, compaction and soil stabilizing solutions.
Mr. Urav Patel, Director, Post Tension Services India made the audience aware of the benefits of usage of post tension steel as that can contribute towards reduction of span heights.
Mr. Ashwin Gandhi, highlighted numerous taxation issues countered by crawler crane rental service providers. He said, “Mobile as well as crawler crane service providers have to face interstate taxation while transporting their equipment across various state boundaries. Recently, the state RTO imposed taxes on crawler cranes arguing that these are mobile equipment and are liable for taxation similar to that of commercial vehicles. However, we successfully fought the issue and managed to get refund from the state authorities.”
Stress on Concerted Planning InitiativesMr. Vipul Thakkar, Chairman, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India said, “Setting up of quality residential and commercial construction projects has become challenging because of paucity of space at urban locations. Hence, it will be essential to enhance the FSI. With land prices remaining high it will be vital to use construction practices wisely for optimum utilization of the FSI.”
Mr. N.V. Patel informed about the newer construction projects being planned by Vadodara Urban Development Authority. He says, “Under our town planning schemes, we have lined up setting up of an exhibition ground with facilities for seminars, which will be bigger than that of Pragati Maidan in Delhi. Plots are being allocated to set up information technology parks. Further, there are plans to set up logistics parks close to the upcoming western dedicated freight corridor which will make Vadodara a smart city. However, there has to be coordination among the project implementing authorities for timely completion of the planned projects.”
Delegates at the summit emphasized and warned that though, it is absolutely necessary to adapt advanced construction practices and technologies, considering emerging construction complexities at Indian job sites. However, there should not be blatant imitation of planning and strategies, construction practices and technologies from abroad by the project developers and contractors as that can be resulted as counter productive.