Raj Pillai, Managing Director - Starworth Infrastructure and Construction
Raj Pillai, Managing Director
Indian Construction Industry need to focus productivity at site. By doing so only cost and timeline can be optimized. The only way to enhance productivity would be to do maximum offline construction namely, precast and other technology driven approach.

Mechanization is the only way to ensure that cost, time, and quality are optimized.
I have been a strong advocate of offline or mechanized construction for quite some time, primarily because that is how the world does it, and it is the only way to ensure that cost, time and quality are optimized. However, this approach is still at a very nascent stage in the real estate industry of India. Post lockdown, getting the labour force back will be a mammoth challenge, and could drive the industry (out of compulsion and not choice) towards the mechanized form of construction (be it precast or other mechanized techniques).

Starworth Infrastructure and ConstructionBangalore metro

Starworth has invested heavily in design and build of precast buildings, and other forms of mechanized construction like fair finish or plaster-free concrete surface. The idea is to get maximum productivity at site, as productivity alone will be the main differentiator in the construction industry in times to come.

The paradox in Indian construction industry is that though it is massive (contributing to more than 5% of the GDP), is not organized or structured.
In my view, the long-term solution for us to have world class construction would be:
  • Introduction of Health, Safety and Environment in engineering courses.
  • Compulsory internship for engineering graduates.
  • Continuous assessment (continuous professional development) of practicing engineers as mandatory.
  • Bringing focus on industrial training institutes so as to get qualified carpenters, barbenders, tile masons, electricians etc.
  • Mandatory use (complete or to a large extent) of offline or mechanized construction at sites.
  • Establishing a competent authority BCA (like the Building Construction Authority of Singapore) which does dynamic ranking of players across the country.
  • Every project, especially Government, should be time bound with minimum inconvenience to the public (it is painful to see the mess around construction sites).
  • An integrated approach for infrastructure within cities should be given priority.
If we adopt these measures, we will be able to achieve world-class construction of housing, infrastructure, and other projects, earlier than at the current rate.

Starworth Infrastructure and ConstructionPurva Westend

Unless a progressive, medium- and long-term integrated approach is taken for infrastructure development, the real estate industry will continue to struggle between cost of the project and affordability of the customer.
Unlike the developed countries where the development of the city happens after the infrastructure happens, in our country, the infrastructure happens after the city develops. A classic example is the Kuala Lumpur Airport which was built 30 year back, almost 70 kms away from the city centre. The first thing that the Malaysian government did was to build the necessary infrastructure between the airport and the city centre, and it subsequently promoted various housing schemes in that zone. Because of this, it was easy for the real estate players to develop a piece of land which was cheaper but had all the essentials for the affordable segment of buyers.

So, unless a progressive, medium- and long term integrated approach of infrastructure (this includes roads, rails, water connectivity, electricity, sewage etc) is taken, the real estate industry will continue to struggle between the cost of the project and the affordability of the customer.

For successful project management, one should tie up with OEMs and use their vast knowledge and experience to our advantage.
Today, the construction industry is no more the domain of civil engineers. Rather, to complete a project successfully, a mix of civil engineering, mechanical engineering, instrumentation engineering, and computer science are required. Fortunately, we have many of the large construction equipment manufacturers of the world based in India. For a successful project management, it is important to tie up with these OEMs and use their vast knowledge and experience to our advantage. I have tied-up with companies like Vollert from Germany and found that a collaborative approach always helps.

Starworth Infrastructure and ConstructionTaj hotel

Like all other industries, the real estate industry has also adopted digital technology, be it for project designing, planning, monitoring, marketing etc. However, this industry has a limitation for being virtual. But if productivity is going to be the key measure of success, then it is only possible by digitalizing to maximum extent.

FY 2019-20 projects in hand & order book.
We are currently engaged with some of the landmark projects in Bangalore like precast construction of a 2.2 million sqft residential project - Provident Parksquare – which is designed and is being built by us. We are also engaged in construction of metro stations and expansion of the Taj Hotel at Bangalore Airport. Currently, we have orders that are close to `800 cr. Our focus is to provide health, safety, and the best environmental practices along with advanced global construction solutions.
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