How has the Bauer Group subsidiary BEIPL grown in IndiaGerman-origin Bauer Spezialtiefbau GmbH is a 200-year-old company involved in the execution of complex and challenging foundation projects across the world. The Bauer Group has been active in the South Asian region for the last 20 years. In India, our fully owned subsidiary, Bauer Engineering India (BEIPL), was set up 4 years ago. Within this short span, BEIPL began to provide all the services, including design, planning, and execution, supported by experts from our principal company in Germany. BEIPL has delivered many complex projects in the South Asian region as per the clients’ specifications and as per the targeted schedule and timelines.
Today, BEIPL has offices in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chennai, etc.
The Indian Government’s ambitious plans to develop infrastructure at a faster pace is escalating demand for the latest deep foundation equipment and expertise in designing, planning, and executing projects. How is BAUER meeting these expectations, what are the challenges, and how can project owners ensure that contractors adopt the best practices and equipmentThe Indian infrastructure sector is on an unprecedented exponential growth and therefore needs to urgently adopt innovative technologies for timely and safe completion of projects. What’s more, many new infrastructure projects, such as wind turbine foundations, hydroelectric dams, bullet trains, bridges, and a few high-rise projects, pose significant challenges due to their complex nature.
However, it has been observed that project owners, mostly government entities, often pay insufficient attention to the foundation. They allow contractors to employ basic techniques, which can compromise the long-term structural integrity of such projects.
To address this gap, Bauer has the experience and the expertise to bring to provide its globally accepted technologies. However, the current foundation specifications and codal provisions need to be aligned with research practices if we are to adopt the best global practices. This will help minimise project costs and timelines, ensure quality control, and improve work efficiencies.
We also need to adopt many sustainable solutions in line with the UN sustainability development goals (SDG’s) and aim at minimizing dependency on natural resources. Further sustainability could be achieved through stringent quality control measures, which need to be updated in our projects. Also, while making contracts with clients (project owners), we often have to ensure the authenticity of the subsoil profiles in order to reach the right conclusions on the project’s execution progress.
Technical organisations like DFI are making efforts to bring awareness in the foundation market and urging project owners to adopt innovative technologies and deploy the latest equipment. The concerned government agencies and regulatory bodies should encourage contractors to adopt new technologies rather than follow the lowest bid approach, which at times limits such initiatives. The focus should be on value engineering in conjunction with competitive pricing.
What could be the consequences if geotechnical investigation is not conducted before the design or construction phase of a project, especially in hilly and coastal regionsGeotechnical investigations are vital for infra projects, especially in hilly and coastal regions. Subsoils are erratic and it’s therefore critical to have comprehensive information about the region before planning or designing a structure. A detailed investigation report submitted at the planning stage will minimise any potential risks to the built structure in the future and will also add to the efficient construction of the project.
The recent catastrophes in the Himalayan and coastal regions are reasons enough for all the stakeholders to put a halt to unplanned, poorly investigated, and improper constructions since they will not be able to withstand natural calamities of any kind.
Government support is needed to expedite codal provisions for the adoption of new techniques and support their trials, and also relax import duties to encourage new technologies in the country. What is your perspective on thisTo ensure that India’s exceptional growth targets are met, all the stakeholders must adopt a flexible approach and create a conducive ecosystem for competitive imports of latest equipment and technologies. At Bauer, we believe that the complexities of current Infra projects, demand modern solutions which must also be competitively priced for price-conscious markets like India.
We are taking several initiatives to support trials of our innovative techniques and to showcase their efficiency. We support organizations like the DFI that are actively pursuing government regulatory bodies for approvals and are creating an enabling environment for the adoption of the latest high-tech solutions.
“At Bauer, we believe that the complexities of current Infra projects, demand modern solutions which must also be competitively priced for price-conscious markets like India.”
What is the response to the Helical Screw Piles Methodology for foundation construction and what are the opportunities and challenges in using HSP in IndiaHelical Screw Piles or Continuous Flight Auger Piles (CFA piles) are an effective technique for installation of piles of smaller diameters to depths up to 15-20m. Our principals have executed a variety of projects with CFA piles across Europe and America.
At Bauer, we have many techniques like Mix in Place (MIP), Cutter Mixed Soil (CMS), and Single Column Mixing (SCM), which can be installed using the same base machines, simply by changing the tools. CFA piles could be the best solution for installing piles of 15-20m depth of diameters varying from 0.6 to 1.2m diameter. We are involved in the implementation of the CFA technique in India and Bauer is happy to be a part of the technical committee of DFI.
Most contractors in India, not cognizant of the latest techniques and lacking skilled workers, are reluctant to adopt international standard construction practices. Is Bauer collaborating with project owners and contractors to bring about a change in their mindsetThe Indian infra development sector, no doubt, has the potential to incorporate global engineering expertise, which is readily available for executing challenging projects. Bauer operates as a single entity across all its subsidiaries in terms of manpower utilization and knowledge transfer. We are associating with project owners in the South Asian region to bring innovations to the local markets and are seeing a wide acceptance of our solutions. We are currently executing some unique solutions in these markets.
Though Bauer India is a young entrant in Bauer Spezialtiefbau GmbH’s list of subsidiaries, we have executed a wide range of challenging projects such as the Jet Grouting at Teesta VI; Deep Soil Mixing at Polavaram, making Diaphragm Walls in the Chennai Metro, and Monopiles of 2m diameter at Mecon Roundabout Flyover Project, Ranchi, Jharkhand. Many of these jobs have been implemented for the first time in India with respect to the techniques used, the work’s dimensions and quantity.
What types of foundation work does your company specialize in and what services and high-tech solutions does it provideWe are a specialised foundation contractor offering a wide variety of solutions including cut-off / diaphragm walls, bored cast in-situ piles up to a large diameter of 3.2m, including hard rock socketing, ground improvement techniques by vibro compaction, vibro displacement techniques, jet grouting, deep soil mixing, mix in place and CFA, installation of ground anchors for slope protection, and earth retaining structures.
We schedule and plan jobsite activities, source equipment and technical expertise for identifying the challenges prior to start of work. We use in-house developed tools to mitigate potential risks during operations. We have operated under extremely challenging sub-soil conditions and rock profiles of varying strengths up to 200 MPa. We can handle any unforeseen event that may delay project timelines and can provide solutions for any defects that may arise after project completion.
We use advanced tools like BIM modelling and our in-house tools like a Virtual Site Installer for planning and scheduling jobsite tasks. We follow a detailed review of the various activities on site for identifying potential challenges so that we can be prepared with counter or control measures.
We use digital techniques, and all the execution data is transferred onto Cloud. We use software like B-Project to monitor day-to-day progress, idling of equipment, material consumption, and health of equipment. All this information can be accessed and analysed from any part of the world and suggestions for improvement are subsequently inculcated.
What environmentally friendly practices does Bauer follow and how does it manage waste at its construction sitesBauer is a forerunner in developing and implementing sustainable solutions. As mentioned earlier we have developed many sustainable solutions like MIP, CSM, DSM, etc. We have patented the technique for harnessing Geothermal Energy, for which Bauer won the innovation award of the Bavarian Construction Industry Association in 2019. We believe in minimising the environmental impact of geotechnical works, optimising material, design, and execution, as per our sustainability goals.
Our article on Sustainability in Construction Industry published by DFI states: “The goal is to reduce the impact of specialist foundation engineering on humans and the environment, use raw materials more efficiently, and manage projects in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner”.
“We take pride in saying that many prestigious signature projects across the world stand on Bauer foundations. Bauer operates as a single entity across all its subsidiaries in terms of manpower utilization and knowledge transfer.”
What changes or new developments should be made in civil and geotechnical engineering colleges to provide practical knowledge and training to studentsClassroom study should be coupled with practical visits and learning at project sites to make young minds better understand subsoils and other aspects of foundation and construction. The analytical and numerical model study of new research needs to be studied practically on the field to understand the implications of the research. The specifications of work need to be updated. Undertaking research at regular intervals would encourage engineering companies and experts to make new technological breakthroughs.
At Bauer, we are encouraging a young and diverse talent to develop and become a major workforce. We also offer in-house training and hands-on experience at various jobsites for implementing new techniques.