Agrani Enterprises Waterproofing Infrastructure for Longevity & Safety

Agrani Enterprises
“Embracing technological advancements can ultimately lead to more efficient and cost-effective construction practices. This is because the integration of technology in construction companies, particularly in waterproofing, repair, and retrofitting, can streamline processes, enhance project monitoring capabilities, and contribute to more sustainable and resilient structures, including critical infra projects. In fact, at Agrani, we see the growing infrastructure sector as a natural progression for our company.”
Ramendra Bahadur Sinha, Founder & Chairman, Agrani Enterprises. Exclusive interview with Maria R., Executive Editor

What is your assessment of the current state of the construction chemicals, waterproofing, and repair industry in India amidst the significant infrastructure and real estate developments underway nationwide?

infrastructure and real estate development
India has been experiencing significant infrastructure and real estate development, driven by urbanization, population growth, and government initiatives. This development has led to increased demand for construction chemicals, waterproofing solutions, and repair materials to enhance the durability and longevity of the built structures.

The construction industry in India has been robust, with a focus on infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, airports, and metro rails. Rapid urbanization has led to a surge in real estate development, including residential, commercial, and industrial projects. All of this has fueled demand for construction chemicals to improve the performance of concrete, enhance adhesion, and provide protection against environmental degradation. Waterproofing solutions are essential to protect structures from water damage.

Government initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Smart Cities’ have further boosted construction activities, creating opportunities for companies in the construction chemicals and waterproofing sectors.

Many advancements have been made in the development of innovative and high-performance construction chemicals and waterproofing solutions, designed to improve efficiency, reduce construction time, and enhance the overall quality of structures.

Certain challenges persist in the waterproofing industry, such as delays in preparing Bill of Quantities (BOQ), payment delays, and a shortage of skilled applicators. How do you propose addressing these issues?

Amidst the growth opportunities, the waterproofing and chemical industry faces challenges such as fluctuating raw material prices, regulatory compliance issues, and the need for skilled labor.

Addressing these challenges requires coordinated efforts from all stakeholders involved in the construction and waterproofing industry. By fostering collaboration, investing in training programs, and embracing technological advancements, the industry can work towards overcoming these challenges and ensuring smoother project execution.

One of the major challenges is deployment of trained and technically sound Applicators or Waterproofers. In the waterproofing industry, clients often prioritize evaluating a company’s capabilities through bank guarantee submission and warranty on work to be performed, rather than solely relying on past performance assessments, technical expertise, and administrative capabilities. While the ability to handle multiple projects is important, clients place significant emphasis on financial security and assurance through bank guarantees, as well as the reliability and quality assurance provided by warranties for the work being undertaken. This demonstrates the importance of financial backing and the assurance of quality outcomes in the decision-making process for clients within the industry.

There is a scarcity of engineers in this sector. A project engineer’s knowledge of waterproofing and the products to be used at the site is very important as there can be no compromise on the specifications. Civil engineering is a vast field in which waterproofing as a subject is given scarce attention. But for a project to retain its strength, life, and value for the long-term, waterproofing is vital. This is the reason why, at Agrani, we have appointed engineers who have expertise in this field and have also worked with the best companies in this industry.

I have published a book on waterproofing titled “DRY WALLS HAPPY HOMES” to spread awareness on this topic.

Preparation of BOQ (Bill of Quantities) is another important area that requires expert waterproofers during the entire process of project construction. But some clients follow their own SOPs, irrespective of the actual site requirements, and we have found these to be absolutely incorrect. This becomes a matter of debate, which then affects the progress of the project.

Civil engineering is a vast field in which waterproofing

A major issue that most of the contractors face is delay in payments, due to which the coordination between manpower and the purchase department for materials gets disturbed, and compromises begin to be made. A client must understand that making timely payments will ultimately help complete the project smoothly and on time.

By partnering with renowned manufacturers and offering tripartite agreements, we demonstrate our commitment to delivering long-lasting, durable waterproofing solutions, and we continually strive to stay at the forefront of technological advancements and industry best practices to ensure that our clients receive the highest level of quality and service.

What distinguishes Agrani Enterprises from its competitors?

Agrani Enterprises is one of the fastest growing companies in the waterproofing industry. It is known for its application techniques, use of the right products and technologies in waterproofing and structural rehabilitation jobs, with proven quality work and timely deliveries.

Agrani’s core members are experts with experience of 20+ years in our industry. With their assistance and collective knowledge and experience, Agrani has completed major construction projects across India. To ensure the highest standards of quality in work, we have collaborated with top-tier corporate clients like Tata Realty, Tata Projects, L&T, Shapoorji Pallonji, Mumbai Metro, DMRC, Adani Realty, NBCC, Gammon India, Patel Engineering, Godrej Properties, Reliance Industries, etc.

Agrani made a strategic decision to specialize in waterproofing services during the construction phase. This approach allowed us to showcase our expertise and deliver exceptional results. Notable projects in our portfolio include the waterproofing of Pragati Maidan admin block, IRCON Railway Tunnel under Gammon India, and Transrail, J&K. Around 400 villas in Godrej Golf Link, Greater Noida, Tata SEREIN in Thane, and many more. We constructed India’s biggest Reliance Trends in Lucknow in 2019 and have provided civil Interior services to corporates like Reliance, Godrej, etc, and retrofitting and renovation at IIT Bhubaneshwar, Adani, etc.

One of our significant achievements was securing a contract to provide premium waterproofing services for Asia’s biggest Automobile Plant, Maruti at Sonipat. This project, executed in collaboration with Fosroc (a UK-based manufacturer working under L&T and Shapoorji), stands as a testament to our capabilities and commitment to excellence.

Civil engineering is a vast field in which waterproofing

We collaborate with the world’s topmost manufacturing companies in the field of waterproofing & retrofitting chemicals, namely, Fosroc, Mapei, MYK, Pidilite, Asian Paints, etc. These collaborations enable us to leverage cutting-edge technology, develop innovative products, and provide industry-leading expertise to projects.

We believe that Agrani’s strength lies in its execution team, led by top management with 17 years of specialized experience in the field of civil engineering. We prioritize site supervision and execution over marketing, resulting in clients and manufacturers feeling at ease after awarding work to us, so much so, that the company has received repeat orders from clients.

In contrast, the prevailing trend in the market for most waterproofing or specialized companies is the inheritance of family businesses, allowing the next generation to easily secure work based on the established name. However, due to a lack of technical expertise, these companies have experienced failures.

To provide our clients with the utmost confidence in the quality and longevity of our work, we offer tripartite agreements that include a comprehensive warranty. These agreements involve our company, the manufacturing partner, and the client, ensuring that the waterproofing solutions we implement are backed by the expertise and reliability of both our team and the manufacturer. This warranty gives our clients peace of mind, knowing that their investment is protected and that our solutions meet the highest industry standards.

Our comprehensive range of services include:
  • Waterproofing in Residential & Infra Projects
  • Structural Rehabilitation, Retrofitting & Repairing
  • Civil & Interiors, Electricals, HVAC, Fire Fighting
  • Consultancy on weak structures
  • Dam & Tunnel Strengthening & Repairing
  • Metallic Expansion Joint System, Control Joints & Fire Barrier
  • Thermal Insulation & PUF
  • Controlled Dismantling & Demolition
  • Water Repellent & Anti Graffiti Treatment
  • MS & SS Railing

With the increasing emphasis on environmentally sustainable construction practices and adoption of modern repair methodologies in India, how does Agrani align with eco-friendly principles?

Agrani adopts various sustainable practices to minimize their environmental impact and promote eco-friendly construction. We opt for waterproofing materials that are eco-friendly, non-toxic, and have a minimal environmental impact. We only choose products that are certified by relevant environmental standards or organizations. In addition to using equipment and technologies that optimize energy usage, we apply energy-efficient application procedures to lower overall energy consumption throughout the waterproofing application.

By using accurate measurement and application methods, we place a strong emphasis on minimizing material waste during application. We dispose of waste materials properly as per local legislation, and we look for ways to recycle or reuse waste materials.

The scarcity of skilled labor can have significant implications for decision-making in terms of project timelines, costs, and use of innovative construction technologies. Companies must therefore invest in training to build and maintain a skilled workforce, ensuring their ability to adapt to evolving industry demands.

What initiatives is Agrani taking to decrease carbon emissions and material wastage while enhancing the lifespan of structures?

The Indian construction sector is working hard to lower its carbon footprint by concentrating on a number of factors, such as waste management, energy efficiency, construction methods, and materials utilized. Likewise, Agrani too looks for ways to reduce its carbon footprints. We guarantee that the manufacturer or supplier of the material is environmentally conscious. We select waterproofing materials that don’t contain any dangerous chemicals and have a minimal carbon footprint. We use low-energy application tools and methodologies that reduce energy usage, and techniques like precise material estimation and recycling. We reuse surplus materials to minimize waste throughout the waterproofing process.

We concentrate on methods that increase the longevity of waterproofing materials, lower the frequency of replacements and the ensuing environmental effects. We believe that to reduce carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices, collaboration amongst stakeholders, industry associations, and regulatory bodies is essential.

What efficiencies and benefits are modern construction technologies bringing to the construction industry?

infrastructure and real estate development
Advanced construction machinery can significantly increase the speed of construction. This efficiency can lead to faster project completion, saving time and resources. Modern technologies, including Building Information Modelling (BIM) and computer-aided design (CAD) allow for precise planning and execution. This can result in more accurate construction, reducing errors and rework. Automation in hazardous or repetitive tasks is reducing the risk of accidents and improving overall construction site safety.

While the initial investment in modern instruments may be high, the long-term cost savings in terms of labour, time, and materials can make these methods more cost-effective over the life of a project. Innovative instruments often come with features that promote sustainability, such as energy-efficient machinery, reduced material waste, and the use of eco-friendly construction materials.

Modern construction practices offer numerous benefits like increased efficiency, greater safety, and sustainability. However, it’s essential for the industry to address challenges related to cost, skills, and integration to fully realize the potential advantages of the new technologies. Often, a balanced approach that combines the strengths of both modern and traditional methods may be the most effective strategy for successful construction projects.

Since skilled workers are necessary for efficient project completion, how can their current shortage influence decisions regarding the usage of new products and construction techniques?

Skilled workers are more efficient in achieving efficiencies in project construction as they can complete tasks in a shorter amount of time with higher accuracy. They are also better equipped to use the latest tools and technologies, leading to increased productivity.

Well-trained individuals tend to produce higher quality work. They have a deeper understanding of the processes involved in a project, leading to fewer errors and better outcomes. As industries evolve, new technologies and methodologies emerge. Skilled workers can quickly adapt to these changes, ensuring that projects stay up-to-date with the latest advancements. Skilled labor can contribute to cost savings by minimizing errors, reducing rework, and optimizing processes. This, in turn, can lead to more cost-effective project completion.

A shortage of skilled labor can lead to project delays as finding and training new personnel may take time. This can result in missed deadlines and increased project costs. The law of supply and demand applies to skilled labor as well. When there’s a scarcity of skilled workers, their wages tend to rise, leading to higher labor costs for projects. In the absence of skilled workers, projects may be completed by less experienced individuals, increasing the risk of errors and lower quality output.

We are indeed considering a strategic shift to expand our waterproofing and repair services to cater to the infrastructure segment, including roads, bridges, tunnels, metros, railways, and dams, since with our proven expertise in waterproofing and structural rehabilitation, we can contribute significantly to the success of such critical projects by meeting their unique waterproofing and repair requirements.

Given the government’s heightened focus on infrastructure projects (such as roads, bridges, tunnels, metros, railways, and dams), are you considering a strategic shift towards providing waterproofing and repair services to the infra segment as well?

Thank you for your insightful question regarding our business strategy in light of the government’s emphasis on infrastructure projects. At Agrani Infra, we constantly evaluate market trends and opportunities to align our services with the evolving needs of the industry. As a result, we are indeed considering a strategic shift to expand our waterproofing and repair services to cater to the infrastructure segment, including roads, bridges, tunnels, metros, railways, and dams.

We have already made significant contributions to several tunnel and metro projects in the past. With our proven expertise in waterproofing and structural rehabilitation, specialized knowledge, experienced team, and commitment to quality, we are well positioned to address the unique waterproofing and repair requirements of these critical projects.

In fact, we are actively exploring opportunities to apply our skills and capabilities to support the development and maintenance of essential infrastructure assets across the region, even while we remain dedicated to serving our residential and commercial clients.

We appreciate your interest in our business and are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead as we adapt to meet the evolving demands of the industry.

Civil engineering is a vast field in which waterproofing

How does Agrani educate or persuade customers to choose eco-friendly products and proper application methods, given the cost-consciousness of the Indian market and its limited knowledge of construction chemicals and repair techniques, and also considering that many people cannot distinguish between contractors and specialized waterproofing agencies?

Educating or persuading customers in the Indian market to choose eco-friendly waterproofing products and proper application methods is both crucial and challenging. At Agrani, we share case studies and success stories of projects where eco-friendly waterproofing solutions were successfully implemented. We highlight the positive impact on the environment, durability, and cost-effectiveness over the project’s lifecycle. We offer live demonstrations of eco-friendly products and their application methods.

Providing samples or small-scale demon- strations on-site can help customers visualize the benefits and understand the application process. We offer personalized solutions based on the specific needs and constraints of the customer. Even in this industry, customers prefer to give all the work to one contractor who then uses traditional waterproofing methods to solve the issues, which are often temporary solutions. We advise/guide clients on choosing specialized agencies for waterproofing and the potential risks associated with less specialized contractors.

The repair and retrofitting industry is vital for ensuring the longevity, safety, and functionality of global infrastructure. The scale of ongoing and planned projects, spanning dams, bridges, heritage structures, and more, highlights the industry’s significance in addressing the challenges posed by aging infrastructure, environmental changes, and evolving safety standards.

Do you think a subject on waterproofing, structural rehabilitation, retrofitting, etc. should be made mandatory in civil engineering colleges?

I am strongly in favour of this. As already mentioned, my book on waterproofing aims to create general awareness on this important subject. In the book I have also requested educationists to include topics on waterproofing and structural rehabilitation since our future civil engineers should have the knowledge on the basics of waterproofing, structural rehabilitation, and retrofitting, as they are directly applicable to real-world construction scenarios.

As existing infrastructure ages, there is a rising need for professionals who can assess, repair, and retrofit structures to ensure their safety and longevity. Including these topics equips students with practical knowledge of cutting-edge technologies and methods, keeping them abreast of industry advancements.

Waterproofing, structural rehabilitation, and retrofitting are challenges faced by construction industries worldwide. Preparing students to address these challenges contributes to a global perspective and makes graduates versatile in various contexts.

Civil engineering is a vast field in which waterproofing

What progress has Agrani made in its plans to establish a manufacturing plant in India in collaboration with a US-based company and to form other global partnerships?

Agrani is currently engaged in tie-ups and collaborations with world leaders in the field of construction chemicals, not only in the US, but also in the UK, Europe, and India and has made significant progress in this field.

However, entering the manufacturing sector will require some more time, as our primary goal is to provide clients with the best materials and applications from high-quality manufacturing companies. Moreover, there is a high demand for qualified applicators in the market. We are currently working in this direction, and after securing repeat orders from all of India’s top corporates, we plan to expand to overseas projects.

Civil engineering is a vast field in which waterproofing

What are the company’s future business strategies and plans to capitalize on the emerging opportunities within India’s infrastructure development landscape?

Agrani is strategically positioned to capitalize on emerging opportunities within India’s infrastructure development landscape. Our strategies and plans revolve around several key initiatives:

Diversification and expansion: Agrani aims to diversify its product offerings and expand its portfolio, explore new technologies and innovative solutions to address emerging challenges in construction and infrastructure projects.

Partnership and collaboration: We plan to forge strategic partnerships and collaborations with both domestic and international players to leverage their expertise, resources, and market presence. By joining forces with industry leaders, we aim to enhance our capabilities, access new markets, and drive mutual growth.

Focus on sustainability and resilience: We are committed to developing and promoting eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and resilient construction solutions that align with India’s sustainable development goals and address the challenges posed by climate change.

Customer-centric approach: Our future strategies aim to understand and address the specific needs and requirements of infrastructure developers, construction companies, and other stakeholders, so that by offering tailored solutions, we can foster long-term relationships and become their partner of choice.

By implementing these strategies and plans, Agrani is poised to drive sustainable growth and make significant contributions to the country’s construction industry.
ICCT, January- February 2024
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