The need of the hour is to move towards advanced techniques for constructing deep foundations and create an enabling environment for their quick adoption, opines Harvinder Manocha, MD Bauer Engineering India
How is India’s civil construction industry evolving with respect to adoption of cutting-edge technologies?
The Indian infrastructure sector has made a significant jump in terms of scale and expeditious implementation of projects and is thereby attracting the attention of key international stakeholders. To address the fast-growing requirements of infra development, innovations in construction are being adopted to expedite the construction activities. These include solutions like large diameter piles, deep soil mixing, etc for foundation works. Contractors are adopting proven engineering techniques to facilitate global standards at the jobsites.
Indian infrastructure development has high potential to bring in new technologies and global quality and engineering expertise to address the growing needs of the Indian market. However, we need timely support in terms of expediting Codal provisions for new techniques, support on the trials and relaxations on import duties, which will go a long way in the absorption of new technologies. This will help in enabling quicker and safer implementation of large Infra projects across all verticals in India.
What are the challenges in construction of deep foundations in India?
Soil conditions across the Indian Subcontinent are relatively good in comparison with other countries. The major challenges in the construction of deep foundations are adoption of new global technologies, which, however, should not be based on cost alone, but should also consider other key aspects like their efficiency, effectiveness, project construction schedule, and the O&M’s involvement.
There is no doubt that the need of the hour is to quickly move towards advanced techniques with proven credentials and create an enabling environment for their early adoption.
What demand do you foresee for foundation and piling equipment?
The requirements for deep foundation construction are exponential in view of the boost given to infrastructure development by the government. So, the quantum of piling and other foundation works in the next 8-10 quarters are likely to be huge considering the pipeline of ongoing and planned mega projects.
In such a scenario, construction equipment will be selected based on their quality and performance, while digitalisation will play a strong role during all the stages of project planning and implementation.
What equipment is being used by Bauer Engineering for carrying out challenging foundation works in India?
Bauer is currently using specialised equipment like MC128 and MC96 for trenching work in the construction of diaphragm walls and cut-off walls. For piling work, we have BG40, BG30 and BG28 (or equivalent rigs) which can install diameters up to 2.5m and drill depths up to 90m. These units are also useful for Jet Grouting, Deep Soil Mixing, and Secant Pile Walls.
In addition, we have smaller equipment like the Klemm which are applicable for anchoring, soil nailing, micro piles, and jet grouting. We are also exploring new segments like the Continuous Flight Augers (CFA), displacement piles, and other innovative solutions which offer more economical and sustainable solutions, including for complex offshore wind energy projects.
What are the high-tech solutions that are enhancing the performance of Bauer Construction even in hard strata?
Bauer Construction has proven experience in executing complex projects in different soil profiles with rocks of varying strength. In addition to the selection of the right tools, torque and speed, the right spares, and a skilled workforce are driving our construction activities across all kinds of strata.
Regular maintenance of tools, timely availability of spares, as well as digitalised mapping during execution helps in improving work efficiency and in minimizing machine breakdowns.
Real time performance of all the works across all the jobsites is being monitored by Bauer Internal Software ‘B-Project’ on a daily basis to capture any breakdowns, delays, idling equipment, and other issues at site. In fact, B-Project real time project management is enhancing productivity and performance at sites.
How is Bauer sourcing trained operators and service engineers for its equipment?
During the initial years of Bauer’s operations in India, the majority of skilled operators and supervisors were expats. Over the years, the proportion of expats to locals has been reducing consistently. During these years, most of our workers have been trained at Bauer’s international projects across the world.
Regular training and skill development of our workforce has helped us to maximise localisation of manpower and resources to ensure competitiveness in the Indian market. During the last 1- 2 years we have carried out comprehensive mapping of quality, availability of local equipment, materials, and spares, which has helped us to be competitive in this price-sensitive market.
What role does a program like DFII play in raising awareness of advancements in geotechnical engineering and foundation construction?
Over the years, DFII has played a pivotal role in promotion of the deep foundation engineering sector in India. DFII has created the ideal platform to showcase new geotechnical global engineering techniques for upcoming projects in India. With the quantum jump expected in infra development in India, DFII is likely to take on an even larger role in bringing key stakeholders on its platform for adopting globally advanced foundation engineering techniques, and in highlighting the key challenges and solutions for increasing the performance of India’s geotechnical engineering sector.
It is high time that the Geotechnical Engineering sector is recognised as a different field of competence when compared to the conventional civil engineering sector and given due credence.