Mr. Ewart Lazarus
Evolving from an infant company, CHOWGULE construction technologies has ventured into offering turnkey solutions in serving the construction chemicals sector in India. CHOWGULE construction technologies delivers assurance of quality, consistency and performance for customer. It has its manufacturing facility in Goa that produces waterproofing, concrete repair and floor coating products. Our manufacturing facility is currently being expanded to a 50,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art modern facility. . . A separate greenfield plant in Gujarat is also planned and will be under operations by 2013-14, says Mr Ewart Lazarus, Executive Director, CHOWGULE construction technologies Pvt. Ltd., in his interview with S. K. Khanna.

Please tell us about the evolution and progression of CHOWGULE construction technologies (CCT). As part of CHOWGULE group with different business areas, how does CHOWGULE construction technologies’ entry into the construction chemicals business compliment the group’s diverse businesses?
CHOWGULE construction technologies has evolved from being an infant company, undertaking waterproofing contracts in late 90s to taking up more complex and high volume jobs in waterproofing, structural repair and floor coatings, both in private and public sector. Now, it has also ventured into offering turnkey solutions involving supplies of products. A step has already been taken to develop a network of highly trained and qualified applicators, who can install our solutions in a specified manner. To further ensure successful implementation of these systems, our in-house contracting division provides support, especially for new applicators that are not well-versed with the ‘CHOWGULE Methods.’

CHOWGULE construction technologies Pvt. Ltd. is a part of the ninety-six year old CHOWGULE Group of Companies, which has its presence in shipping, iron ore mining and palletization, shipbuilding, industrial salts, gases, explosives and automotives, in addition to construction chemicals.

When it comes to complimenting our Group’s diverse business areas, CHOWGULE has always looked at getting into those that have long-term potential. As government’s 12th five-year plan fully endorses aggressive growth with huge investments in construction industry, this will provide a great opportunity for construction chemicals industry.

A word about CHOWGULE construction technologies’ manufacturing facilities, their locations in India, any manufacturing collaboration with overseas players, and CHOWGULE construction technologies extensive product range serving the construction sector.
CHOWGULE construction technologies
“CHOWGULE construction technologies not only manufactures products, but also delivers assurance of quality, consistency and performance for customer.” CHOWGULE construction technologies has its manufacturing facility in Goa that produces waterproofing, concrete repair and floor coatings products.

We have always aspired and insisted on delivering products of highest quality that can perform in tropical climates. For this, CHOWGULE construction technologies has collaborated with German partners. While working with Germans, CHOWGULE construction technologies has always found many synergies in their ethics and approach to business. We produce a wide range of products that are acceptable as per their quality standards, not only in domestic but also in the US and EU market space.

Our manufacturing facility is currently being expanded to a 50,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art modern facility, which would cater to the entire range of product mix. A separate Greenfield plant in Gujarat is also planned and will be under operations by 2013-14.

What is the size of construction chemicals market and CHOWGULE construction technologies’ market share through its product range available in the country?
Though a small player, CHOWGULE construction technologies has already established itself as a supplier of quality products, backed up by a professional contracting team in the markets that we are currently operating in. Plans are already afoot to geographically further expand in our areas of operations in Western and Southern region and now also in the North.

CHOWGULE’s unique advantage is our specialised contracting division that is fully equipped with semi-mechanized tools to carry out large projects on turnkey basis. With over a decade of success in India, CHOWGULE is trusted by leading architects, consultants and developers in Mumbai, Goa, and Bangalore for our unmatched expertise, quality assurance and technical support.

The Indian Construction Chemical market has touched Rs.3000 cr in 2011-12 and is growing at 18–20% CAGR.

What are the quality control and quality assurance systems placed in the company, R&D support back up, including details on CHOWGULE construction technologies’ Turnkey Consultancy Services? How do these activities stand to the test of complicated requirements of infrastructure, retail and housing development projects?
CHOWGULE construction technologies
“We follow philosophy of adhering to highest quality Standards, not only in products and services, but also in every action which can affect our customers and stakeholders.” CHOWGULE construction technologies possesses a modern R&D facility in Goa, which is well equipped and manned by skilled personnel. We work hand-in-hand with the R&D facility of our German partners for both technical and new-age product support, ensuring our customers receive systems of European standards, tailor-made to suit Indian conditions.

CHOWGULE’s approach to any project is firstly diagnostic. The diagnosis is carried out by experienced and trained professionals. It is then followed by the selection of an appropriate product range to provide a complete solution. Our engineers and supervisors run through a round of site inspection, checking the concrete condition, the area of application which may differ from a basement to an underground water body, wet rooms, podiums and so on. Each supervisor is provided with a checklist to control quality, pre, during and post work, to ensure systems are installed as per specifications.

CHOWGULE continuously thrives in adding valuable products and solutions on its platter, which positively impact the quality of structure as a whole.

How has been the business performance of the company withstanding the present slowdown phase and how is the company dealing with the situation to maintain its business tempo and even taking it to its next level of performance?
Though the economy has seen a considerable slowdown in both small and medium business segments, this did not impact us badly, as we are consistently delivering quality, both in terms of products and services.

The construction industry is now well-advanced to take care of its repair and waterproofing problems before they come to the fore, but there is a laidback and ad hoc approach to the repairs and waterproofing problems, which still confront the industry so much so that these areas are still regarded as poor cousins. How does CHOWGULE construction technologies as a pioneering company in this business like to sensitise its clients and others about the manifold benefits of fixing these problems much before they emerge? Is there any awareness or promotional programme at company’s end to sensitise this aspect?
CHOWGULE construction technologies
It has been accepted that the expertise and product mix in the construction chemicals market is widely and vastly underutilized. CHOWGULE construction technologies’ prime role is to create awareness amongst the consultants and architects. What has contributed majorly to the underutilization is the lack of regulatory standards by authorities, which is the rule book for construction in any developed economy. This makes waterproofing and structural repair areas second cousins. Secondly, most developers would prefer to cut cost in areas like waterproofing, since they perceive them as cost-impacting. On the contrary, the importance of waterproofing is to provide protection to the building to ensure long-term durability.

Products are offered by many companies in the market, but the way they are installed holds great level of significance in authenticating a quality waterproofing system. When CHOWGULE construction technologies heads into a project, our diagnostic approach with tailor-made solutions sets us apart, and also ensures very high efficacies of all our systems.

What about training and skill development programme for the applicators?
CHOWGULE construction technologies spends quality time in educating its staff and applicators who indirectly become a face of CHOWGULE construction technologies in the market. CHOWGULE construction technologies has its applicator network established in the west and south zone of India. We have also started our network in North this year. These applicators run through theoretical and practical (site visits) experiences to skillfully provide these solutions at their end.

We have a separate team to cater to the needs of these applicators and provide technical support. A technically sound in-house contracts division comes very handy for providing onsite training to these applicators.

A brief about CHOWGULE construction technologies’ unique offerings and any new product launches.
CHOWGULE construction technologies
“We believe a unique solution without sustainability does not carry any importance.” That’s why all or solutions in field of waterproofing, repair and coating are unique and ensure endurance by performing in critical conditions. Our Crystalline System, recommended for underground structures both in positive and negative sides has been successfully installed in many basement projects. Many of these projects required a waterproofing system that would withstand a water head pressure as high as 18 to 20 metres.

Our current major successes are in the range of polyurethane injection foams, resins and gels that are produced from our facility in Goa. We are the only company in India that are producing this complete PU range, which comes as a major advantage. Currently PU products are imported from the US, Europe or South East Asia, leading to many hassles. Some include higher transit lead-time, additional duties and maintaining stocks. These in turn, lead to importing sizeable quantities, and hence sometimes, products are not available on site when you urgently require them. So, with us having our own production facility, these hassles can be curbed.

Our PU range includes rigid foams that arrest active leakages, flexible resins to seal the cracks, rigid resins to strengthen the structure, 2 in 1 products that arrest as well as seal the cracks and gels for curtains and expansion joints. We have also simultaneously started exporting this range to the EU.

Apart from this, CHOWGULE in collaboration with German-based AB-Polymerchemie offers high quality flooring solutions like the ESD (Electro-static discharge) floorings, moisture barrier and grease removal systems under the name of CHOWGULE ABP. The reference list - to name a few include Volkswagen AG in Germany, Daimler AG in Bremen, BenQ - Siemens in Kamp-Lintfort, Procter & Gamble, Gilette etc. - itself speaks of the acceptability of products from CHOWGULE ABP.

Our new product range includes exterior wall coatings under “AcryCoat” series of products. These are high performance coatings which are highly elastic, UV-resistant and durable enough to withstand harsh and fluctuating weather conditions. They are also available in different shades to enhance the aesthetics of the structure.

Do you think the current construction chemicals business and its market in the country is very much fragmented with so many players of different hues and tenor causing some distortions in it? How can this business be run in an organised way? Is there any need of an apex body to get this job done for the healthy growth of construction chemicals sector in the country?
CHOWGULE construction technologies
Yes, it is a fragmented market with more than 300 manufacturers, among which only 4 to 5 players account for more than 50% market share. Organised sector contributes about 75% of market share. Also, as mentioned earlier, in construction chemicals sector, there is no regulatory body to check on quality of construction.

Unlike developed countries, in India there are no codes of practice in line with ASTM/DIN standards as far as usage of chemicals is concerned. Focus is more on initial cost instead of lifecycle transaction cost. There is shortage of a trained work force. That is why there is constant need of an apex body to rule out these shortcomings.

Having regulatory practices would be the key factor in helping the industry grow. This would also help serious players to be able to perform, both in terms of expertise and products, and also in terms of creating awareness.
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