Inventaa Precast

Satyanarayana, MD, Inventaa Precast
Satyanarayana, MD, Inventaa Precast, discusses with Maria R the benefits of precast construction over the traditional methodology and also the technical, design and software skills required.

What are the manufacturing capabilities of Inventaa Precast?
Inventaa Industries was set up in the year 1979 for the manufacture of bulk drugs and later venture into mushroom production. In both fields Inventaa continues to be the largest producer of high-quality products.

Inventaa diversified into building products and set up four precast plants in India: two in Andhra Pradesh and one each in Telangana and Odisha. Our largest integrated production facility is located in Keesara, Andhra Pradesh, which produces Precast Concrete Elements, AAC Blocks and Interlocking Pavers. Inventaa has set up these plants with the expertise of industry leaders such as Elematic (Precast), Reckers (Pavers) and Dutch system (AAC).

Inventaa building products

We have an installed capacity of approximately 1500 m2/day for Prestressed Hollow Core Slabs and 3000 m2/day for Precast Normal Reinforced Walls among other precast elements like columns, beams, staircases and special elements. We can produce daily 2,000 m3 of AAC Blocks and 5500 m2 of Pavers (double coloured top or uniform grey) from our Keesara (AP) factory.

What are the benefits of using precast over conventional construction system and how does it support the green movement and cost effectiveness?
Precast Concrete Technology is superior compared to conventional construction methodology due to the following aspects:

Reduced Construction Time: Precast Concrete construction saves time and indirect costs involved with project delays. Precast concrete element production is normally carried out simultaneously with other works on site such as earthwork, CIS foundation etc. and thus saves time. Precast element production is carried out using moulds and machinery on ground level. With mechanised production on ground level, the speed of element production is much faster compared to conventional concrete construction on different floors of the building. On site, precast can be installed immediately, there is no additional waiting as precast elements are transported to site as it attains the desired strength. Further, modularity of precast products makes installation at site more flexible and quicker.

Quality: Precast elements are made in a controlled factory environment where key factors which regulate the quality of construction such as raw material, concrete mix design, temperature controls, moulds and machinery, curing, etc. are strictly monitored. This ensures good quality of cast elements and adhere to the defined installation tolerances of precast construction. Further, ease of working for technicians at ground level for production of all precast elements, helps in better quality.

Prestressed Elements: By using pre-tensioned bonded prestressed technology for flexural precast elements and structural materials of high strength, better load bearing capacity can be achieved, which can result in larger clear spans, reduced size of the cross-section of structural members, reduced number of structural elements etc. Precast Prestressed Hollow Core Slabs is one such product, which provides an excellent solution for areas requiring large open floors such as in commercial buildings, car parks etc. or higher architectural flexibility for internal planning like residential buildings. Using Precast concrete technology for constructing buildings can result in up to 30% reduction in resource utilisation.

Inventaa building products
Green Building Method: Since there is substantially reduced amount of CIS work at the construction site, there is very little pollution owing to dust and noise. Additionally, since precast elements are cured in the factory using closed-loop accelerated curing methods, there is very little water required for curing of concrete in the factory and no curing is required for precast elements at the construction site.

The implementation of specific precast elements like three layer sandwich insulated facade panels, the energy consumption to maintain the living temperature throughout the year in hot or cold climatic conditions can be substantially reduced.

Better technology and design, reduced sizing of structural elements, lesser structural element requirements in building, controlled environment factory production and virtually zero wastage of material - all contribute towards making Precast Concrete Technology a “Greener” construction method.

What is the market opportunity for precast technology in building affordable and low-cost housing projects in India?
Precast concrete technology can be adapted for high-end residential buildings as well for the affordable housing projects. Cost effective precast elements such as long span prestressed HCS solution, with defined envelope of grey concrete reinforced precast structural walls, would make excellent structural framing for affordable housing. Modularised, mechanised, controlled environment factory produced precast repetitive elements would cater to large scale affordable housing project very efficiently. With better speed of construction using precast technology, quicker delivery of high demand affordable housing projects can be catered with better efficiency of output from labour.

There is a huge opportunity in the affordable housing projects. The Government of India through various State Development authorities is constructing affordable housing in many parts of the country. Inventaa is executing two such projects: in Hyderabad, we are constructing approx. 6.5 lac sqft of EWS Housing for Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. In Bhubaneswar, we are constructing approx. 5.5 lac sqft of Affordable Housing for Bhubaneswar Development Authority through our subsidiary Precasters India Private Limited.

Quality control is a big challenge here in India as the quality of raw material supplied is not consistent; what quality control system have you put in place?
Good quality raw material is one of the critical aspects in precast technology, similar to that for conventional concrete construction. All other quality checks for raw material, including cement, sand, aggregate, admixture and water are carried out to ensure requisite properties.

All our factories have Quality Control Labs equipped with all machines and equipment required for testing various raw materials and cured concrete. All checks are carried out as per codal provisions. We ensure that QA/QC checks are conducted thoroughly at our factories and at the construction sites, and documents for the same are prepared and maintained rigorously.

What equipment do you have and what are the safety measures taken by your company?
In addition to the core equipment for production of Precast Elements, AAC Blocks and Pavers, Inventaa has made substantial investments in ancillary machinery such as concrete batching and mixing plants, overhead cranes, gantry cranes, tower cranes, crawler cranes, pick and carry cranes, trailers, transit mixers, boom placers and various other ancillary survey, mechanical and electrical equipment. This reduces our dependencies on external agencies and ensures that we are able to complete projects as per schedule.

In addition to the regular maintenance and calibration of our machinery, we also conduct periodical training of operators who are handing construction equipment. Safety officers at our factories and construction sites ensure that the health and safety of workers and persons at the sites is not compromised. Additionally, we strictly adhere to and ensure that all persons wear the required Personnel Protection Equipment (PPEs).

What is the design software and code of practice adopted for precast construction?
Sound knowledge of building design using precast concrete structure based on type of precast element, production, handling and finally connection performance, is essential to design the precast structure the right way. There are various software available in the market, which aid in the engineering knowledge of people designing the precast building. Inventaa has implemented various design software for efficient solutions such as Tekla, ETABS, SAFE, Concise Beam, MathCAD, and AutoCAD.

For efficient design solutions, we work on 3D modules for all our design works on Tekla platform. This gives all stakeholders real-time information related to project using cloud services. The project is virtually constructed using BIM prior to on-ground commencement, giving leverage for adapting apt solutions for the project. To achieve most out of BIM, we have extended the working up to 5D model by plugging in time and cost parameters to the BIM model.

Precast concrete technology is successfully implemented over more than six decades. Based on such extensive implementation of technology various countries and renowned institutions have developed standards and codes of practice related to precast design. There are various International Standards of Design related to precast viz. ACI 318, PCI design handbook, Eurocode 2, fib publications, NPCAA Precast Concrete Handbook, CPCI handbook etc.

Since setting up a precast plant is capital intensive, what are the challenges in making it commercially viable right at the start?
Being technically sound, we have indigenously sourced a majority of the equipment for our precast plants. The critical equipment such as Concrete Extrusion Machines, Hydraulic Presses etc. are imported from reputed international companies who are experts in their particular domains.

It is key to determine what kind of projects your factory will be servicing and what production capacity is required to begin with and a provision for future expansion. Precast plant design based on production capacity requirement is flexible and should be designed based on current immediate needs to future expansions. One can determine capital investment in setting up plant and phase-wise expansion for better capital planning.

Which precast projects in India are you currently involved with?
Inventaa has constructed various types of precast building including residential, commercial and industrial structures. Some of important projects that Inventaa is currently executing are:
  • Commercial Building at Jakkampudi, AP, of 6.5 lakh sqft
  • Industrial Building (Pharma - R&D), Hyderabad, of 85,000 sqft
  • Residential Buildings (Affordable Housing), Hyderabad, of 6.5 lakh sqft
  • Residential Buildings (Affordable Housing), Bhubaneswar, of 5.5 lakh sqft
  • Commercial Building at Vijayawada, of 2 lakh sqft
Inventaa is currently focused on taking up new projects that can be serviced from factories, however, as a company we are always looking forward to taking up challenging projects where we can add value through our engineering services and efficient solutions, and are open to expanding our reach to other cities.

NBM&CW November 2019

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