Futuristic Construction

V. Ramnath, an industry veteran who recently retired as Chairman, APRERA
With the launch of Digital Roof 4.0 (DR4.0), a new day has dawned in the Indian construction sector. Digital Roof 4.0 is a multi-faceted engineering and management company set up with the avowed intention of bringing about a radical change in the way the Indian construction industry thinks and acts. The company is the brainchild of V. Ramnath, an industry veteran who recently retired as Chairman, APRERA.

The name Digital Roof 4.0 is intended to signify a commitment towards the global standards of Industry 4.0 - a tectonic shift in the Indian context. While Roof points to built-up spaces, Digital signals a technological approach towards achieving 4.0 goals in the construction sector.

Says Ramnath, “With rising pressure to provide humane living spaces that are affordable, the Indian construction industry has to take a quantum jump in terms of technology, products, processes, and standards. We have severe limitations of natural resources, including land. We are far from being a medium economy country. The only thing in India’s favor is the ability to leverage technology and innovate ceaselessly. We aim to do our part by launching several novel initiatives, at par with what is normal in advanced economies, through the frugal, innovative and engineering skills of Indian professionals.

According to him, the $250 billion sector (equal to the GDP of Bangladesh), is fragmented and unorganized, ignoring the imperative to seek technological parity and create products rivaling those offered by smaller nations. The heaviest blow falls on the MSME sector, leaving them with little re-investible surplus, and a sense of caution that dampens the entrepreneurial spirit. If you look at Germany, South Korea and several smaller but developed countries, this very same SME sector is the backbone of their respective economies.

The result is a cost matrix influenced by erratic and non-standardized data driven by lack of proper information, leaving even mid-sized players ill-equipped to cope with too many variables.

In his opinion, the government should introduce a TLI (technology linked incentive) scheme in the lines of PLI (production linked incentive) for the industry to come out of the shackles of age-old practices and conventional methods, which are inefficient, leading to wastage of large amounts of precious natural reserves.

Factory built elements are the way to go to transform the sector to reach global standards. Pre-cast and steel framed structures are the hallmark of advanced construction methodologies. In addition, India lacks designated service standards for the services offered by the construction sector leading to poor workmanship and lifecycle of the building finishes. Even the sizes and specifications of doors and windows are not standardized. The government will be doing a great service to the industry by making the standards of sizes mandatory, which will make the products available at competitive prices due to economy of scale.

The solution?
The radically new approach, built on deploying materials that have been proven in advanced markets, blended with a series of technology-driven initiatives, while never walking away from first principles. Says Ramnath, “Take steel. It’s ecologically better for the environment in the long term. If you were to redo the Empire State building, you could recover 85-plus percent of the metal. Similarly, if we pivot towards precast, we would use significantly less cement or concrete in the elements, increase productivity and upskill the workforce by an order of magnitude. Imagine completing a structure six months earlier! The mindset has to change to mass manufacturing of the elements or components in a factory. If housing is to become affordable, or dormitories come within reach of the younger generation, who power certain segments of the economy, thinking scale and doing scale is the only way.”

The proof of the pudding
Presently, there is no designated destination for the entire infrastructure, construction and real estate sectors to experience the modern trends in construction technology, equipment, advanced building materials, software etc. Punjab is the first state in India to have recognized the need to educate, train and offer skill development for the industry at a single location. The state has plans to build a sector specific industrial park at Rajpura to promote the construction sector and elevate the knowledge and practices for the sector to reach the Industry 4.0 standards.

He signs off by saying, “Our dream is to serve a customer all along the value-chain: from a factory which sources materials, from our marketplace and provides manufactured/fabricated elements based on BIM-driven blueprints, to a builder who assembles a well-architected structure at the construction site, saving the end-customer valuable time and money.”

Ramnath Velamati, a veteran of the infrastructure, construction and real estate sectors has more than 40 years of experience in several engineering, manufacturing and service sectors. He has been actively involved in the private sector as a technocrat entrepreneur navigating through cement, steel, engineering, chemicals and graphic arts industries. He was invited as a lateral entrant into the government of Andhra Pradesh. He has the credentials of being the first Executive Advisor of APEDB, the first head of Urban housing programme under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, founder of Andhra Pradesh Economic Cities (Promotion & Development) Corporation, and had the privilege of being the first Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority (APRERA). He is also the Managing Trustee of Empower MSME Trust, a social enterprise. Empower has been authorized by the Government of Punjab to conduct a “National Demand Assessment Survey” to gauge the demand from the construction sector to set up an advanced industrial park to meet the comprehensive needs of the sector to reach global construction standards by moving towards Industry 4.0.

Ramnath founded Digital Roof 4.0 to introduce digitally driven technologies to enhance the capability and offering of the construction industry and meet the global standards of manufacturing and services 4.0. Through DR 4.0, Ramnath envisages that modern technologies, materials, products, equipment, systems, procedures, processes and standards can be brought to the industry, especially the MSME sector, at affordable and competitive costs.
Launched in October 2021, the GIS- based Gati Shakti platform captures all utilities and network linkages in making it possible for various infrastructure focused ministries and departments to come together and take a coordinated approach towards faster

Read more ...

According to the latest Infrastructure report by Motilal Oswal Financial Services, 1H FY23 has been muted with only 810 kms of projects awarded till date. Owing to the weak 1H, NHAI would have to accelerate project awarding in 2H FY23 in order to meet its

Read more ...

Development of Gabion Wall (700m length, max height of 34m, and average height 25m Length) on east side of East Cell Red Mud Pond (RMP), including Design, Vetting, and SPCB Approval for Vedanta, Odisha. Due to space constraint, client wanted to construct soil

Read more ...

The National Logistics Policy (NLP) aimed at developing a technologically enabled, integrated, cost-efficient, resilient, sustainable, and trusted ecosystem for accelerated and inclusive growth, is giving a push to real estate and infrastructure

Read more ...

CBRE South Asia released its ‘Indian Realty – charting the growth roadmap for 2022’ report at CII Realty 2022 - 18th Edition of Conference Real Estate. The CBRE-CII joint report highlights key trends and projections for the Indian Real Estate sector for 2022

Read more ...

ICRA has conducted a study of 1201 Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) road projects which have defaulted during the period FY2011 – FY2022. Out of the 120 projects, 86 have defaulted during the operational phase while 34 projects defaulted during

Read more ...

At a time when most traditional investment fields are yielding low returns, InvITs are emerging as a brilliant investment option for people looking for a diverse portfolio and who wish to stay invested for the long term. Nitan Chhatwal, MD, Shrem InvIT

Read more ...

The post-covid residential sales momentum is set to get a further boost in this festive season, notwithstanding headwinds in the form of rising interest rates and increase in home prices. Here are the Top 10 trends that will help drive festive home demand

Read more ...

Over the last 75 years of India’s Independence, the real estate sector has come a long way from an unorganised, unregulated family business to a corporatized, well-regulated, reformed, transparent, responsible, and future-ready industry. Vinod Behl

Read more ...

Real estate investments register strong capital inflows, reach USD 3.4 billion in H1 2022. Foreign investors accounted for over 67% of total investment volume in Q2 2022. Office sector dominated investment activity with a share of about 57%

Read more ...

A mega land monetisation plan through sale of surplus government and PSUs’ land is a part of Modi government’s ambitious National Monetisation Programme (NMP) to generate Rs 6 lakh crore of revenue over FY 2022-25. The success of this programme will depend

Read more ...

Buildings offer a huge opportunity to minimize energy consumption by merely changing the manner in which they are planned, constructed and operated. Jit Kumar Gupta, Retired Urban Planner, Advisor Town Planning, Punjab Urban Development Authority

Read more ...

The recent headwinds in the form of higher cost of construction and interest rates may only have some short-term impact on the recovery of the real estate sector, post-covid. The mid to long-term growth prospects, however, remain intact due to strong fundamentals

Read more ...

India’s infrastructure outlook over the next decade presents a bright picture. It is lined with attractive government schemes and a pipeline of major projects - supported by significant funding and financing. For construction equipment manufacturers

Read more ...

Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO - India, South-East Asia, Middle East & Africa, CBRE, elaborates on what is re-igniting the growth of India’s real estate industry, which is being driven by demand in the residential, commercial, and warehousing space

Read more ...

In FY 23, strong and favourable developments are anticipated to continue in the Indian real estate market, supported by a strong structural base, increased demand, and decreased house loan rates, says Harsh Vardhan Patodia, National President, CREDAI

Read more ...

Increasing demand across residential, commercial, warehouse and office spaces, is driving sales, even as developers contend with the upsurge in construction costs due to the hike in raw material costs. Developers are also going digital - from project conceptualisation and designing

Read more ...

The real estate sector, especially the residential segment, which showed great resilience against the Covid pandemic to register a smart recovery, is now facing a double whammy. The long-drawn Ukraine-Russia war has led to a sharp increase in

Read more ...

Cities are a product of interactive life forms; they have multi-pronged dimensions involving people and other life forms, with dynamic interactions. Due to such dynamics and the complexity of ever-changing interactions, smart cities cannot be

Read more ...

Er. Vivek Abhyankar writes on the amazing architecture and planning, structural design, and performance, of many forts in India, along with their brief history, type, components, functioning, planning, and construction methodology

Read more ...

×
Sign-up for Free Subscription
'India Construction Week'
Weekly e-Newsletter on Construction Industry
Get the latest news, product launches, projects announced / awarded, government policies, investments, and expert views.
Click here to subscribe.