Offsite manufacturing: for swift, economical, pollution-free construction

KEF Infra One Industrial Park

Report by Maria R following a recent visit to KEF Infra's Krishnagiri facility

KEF Infra, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UAE-based KEF Holdings, has set up the world's largest fully-integrated offsite manufacturing unit, comprising of seven scalable independent units, in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu. Equipped with advanced automation, including robotics, the plant can manufacture and deliver complete ready-to-move-in projects quickly, efficiently, and to the highest quality standards. Entire homes, hospitals, offices, etc, can be designed and manufactured here, and assembled onsite with internal fittings, fenestration, furnishings et al.

Following the huge response to the revolutionary concept from companies, institutions, corporates, healthcare and residential sectors, and by the government, KEF has finalized plans to set up similar precast units in Hyderabad, Delhi, Lucknow, and Mumbai.

Capitalizing on demand

Located just across the Karnataka border, and surrounded by a picturesque mountain valley, the KEF Infra One Industrial Park is strategically located near major highways leading to Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Cochin. With easy access to these cities, the plant can easily meet the infrastructure needs of these growing metropolises, which are seeing a spate of infrastructure development.

Built on an area of one million square feet (42 acres) with an investment of ₹650 crores, the facility has 7 dedicated units for manufacturing concrete slabs, prefabricated bathrooms, modular MEPs, wood joinery, fit-outs and composite panels, doors and windows, aluminium glazed profiles, laminates & veneers, upholstered furniture, and stone processing.

The facility undertakes complete designing, engineering and manufacturing of every element of a building – from wall panels, hollow core slabs, flooring etc, using advanced manufacturing technologies that involve Robotics and Automation, BIM level 6, Internet of Things and Sensors, Automated Double Wall technology, Mobile Precast technology, etc.

Faizal E. Kottikollon, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings
Says Mr. Faizal E. Kottikollon, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings, "A global wave of technology-led innovation is changing the way we do business today. Integrating technology into infrastructure development is moving the construction industry towards an efficient, automated platform to deliver more value. KEF Infra has brought world-class proficiency in design, engineering, manufacturing, assembly, and project management, all under one roof. We are using the path-breaking precast technology to transform the way buildings are constructed. Prefabrication technology significantly reduces construction time and cost, as it increases efficiencies in building better and faster. For instance, we can build a two million sq.ft. structure in just 21 months, as opposed to five years taken by the conventional construction method."

Off man

KEF is supported by global technology and equipment partners such as Progress Group - EBAWE Anlagentechnik, Progress Maschinen & Automation and Tecnocom for carrousel systems, Manitowoc for tower cranes, Aquarius for concrete batching plants, JCB and ACE for Material handling, etc. The company also plans to set up its own logistic division for transporting the offsite elements to the project sites.

KEF Infra crosses ₹1000 crore mark

In a span of just three years, KEF Infra has achieved annual revenue of ₹1,000 crore, having witnessed robust growth in its order book. Projects delivered include a 4,00,000 sq.ft. Meitra Hospital in Kerala within a record time of 18 months; 175 public canteens and 20 kitchens, as part of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike's Indira Canteens project in Karnataka; a 1.7 million square feet commercial building of the Embassy Group in Bengaluru within 13.5 months; and a 5,00,000 sq.ft. Infosys Building (Phase 2) in Bengaluru within 15 months.

Currently, the company is executing a 1 million square feet college hospital for KMCH in Coimbatore. It is making 262 more Indira canteens across Karnataka; a 2 million square feet mall for the Lulu Group in Lucknow; and has on board GKNM hospitals in Coimbatore as a new client.

Off man

KEF's specialised units are delivering bath pods, doors and windows, and other products to clients Sands Infra, Malabar Gold, Brigade, Mahindra, Bhartiya City, Leela, and At One, amongst many more. Using world-class manufacturing technology, the units are noise and dust-free, and produce the highest quality products. KEF Infra is offering its high-end products and solutions to hotels, hospitals, schools, retail stores and other commercial units.

Comments Faizal, "The year 2017 was monumental for us as we gained the trust of numerous top companies. This has helped us cement our position as industry leaders in the off-site construction space, and fueled our drive towards sustainable and inclusive development."

Expansion Plans

Buoyed by an order book of ₹1,500 crore in hand, and serious enquiries from corporate, government bodies and private builders, the company has chalked out an aggressive growth plan, and is targeting revenues of $1 billion by 2020.

KEF Infra

KEF Infra has announced that it will be setting up similar end-to-end offsite manufacturing plants in Hyderabad, Delhi, and Mumbai with an estimated investment of ₹650 crore each, and ₹100 crore for a precast concrete facility in Lucknow. The Lucknow facility is slated for completion in a few months, and the Hyderabad facility by September-October 2018. It will be building the country's first prefabricated mall in Lucknow, besides hotels and schools. It will be entering the 'smart home' segment, and will build affordable homes at a starting price of ₹10 lakh.

Shabana Kottikollon, Co-Chairperson, KEF Holdings
Avers Ms. Shabana Kottikollon, Co-Chairperson, KEF Holdings, "We can deliver any kind of project at one-third the time taken by conventional construction methods since everything is pre-fabricated at our plant, transported and assembled at project site. We are using the 'catalogue method' for customers to view and choose their own designs. They can even hire their own architect/designer. We have tied up with several vendors for wood, cement, steel, cables and aluminium, etc. Given our increasing order book, we will collaborate with at least 50 other vendors who can supply high quality material to us at Krishnagiri."

Robotic Shuttering
Speaking on the sustainability aspect of offsite construction, she says, "KEF Infra's offsite infrastructure technology is 100% green. We believe progress doesn't need to come at a cost to the environment. Wastage in a conventional building is around 12% but our wastage is only 2%. Plus, there is no pollution at project site since only assembly takes place there."

Launching e-homes

Sophyiya Faizal
The company has launched a separate entity for supplying prefabricated high-end homes. Headed by daughter Sophyiya Faizal, the first such project – an e-Villa, will be launched in March this year.

Providing information about the project, Sophyiya said, "The e-Villa is a three bedroom apartment which will cost just ₹60 lakh and can be built in four weeks."
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