Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure, one of the frontrunners in the realty sector in South India, is confident that the southern region will see numerous construction projects being launched during the next 10 years and even beyond.
Technology as a solution for big volume construction
Considering the volume of projects which Aurobindo Realty has to construct, the company decided that the traditional methods of construction would not meet their targeted completion timelines. It, therefore, decided to bank on the new solutions offered by offsite precast construction technology. The solutions have clear advantages: faster project execution at twice the speed of traditional construction, and over 50% reduction in labour requirements. So, the company is assured of fast speed of construction, control over the project timelines, and efficient use of manpower.
In addition, precast concrete also offers many environmental benefits compared to the cast-in-situ construction method. It can also help buildings to meet the increasingly important LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) criteria.
When evaluating potential precast technology suppliers, including Elematic, Aurobindo Realty management appreciated the fact that Elematic does not only offer reliable state-of-the-art plants with wide a range of references across India, but also provides additional support like feasibility study, plant planning and design, turnkey services for installation of plant, and after-sales support. “We shortlisted Elematic on techno-commercial grounds, and were very satisfied with their record of work,” says Kumar VJ.
For building Aurobindo’s world-class precast factory, which is situated on 21 acres of land, 40 kilometres from Hyderabad in the Sanga Reddy district, Elematic’s project team began by making the factory’s layout plan. It also lent its strong structural design engineering support, undertook supervision of casting of the foundations, machinery installation, gave training on production processes, in fact it did complete handholding of Aurobindo till the final handover of the plant.
The force of nature
When the project started, it was the monsoon season. Since the factory site was situated in a far-flung area, arranging for the smallest of things during installation seemed to be a Herculean task. However, Elematic’s extensive knowledge of building precast factories, its rich local experience, and knowing what havoc the weather could play on under-construction projects, its team could foresee the problems and was well prepared to handle them.
Since India faces high seismic activity, the structural design of buildings in seismic areas is more complex. In building Aurobindo’s precast factory, the foundation was the most critical and time-consuming activity. A member of Elematic’s team was allocated the job of supervising the civil foundation laying job, while an execution team was made responsible for the fabrication and installation of the structure.
“We know all the parameters of building a precast factory: the limitations, the tolerance levels, etc, so we install all the structures accordingly and also supervise the civil work. We were in a strong position to extend all the support to Aurobindo from the project’s start to finish,” adds Potdar.
Communication & Coordination are key to a project’s success
Building a precast factory is not an independent activity; a lot of things go on simultaneously. Coordination with the agencies involved and getting materials on the right time are critical to the project’s timely completion.
Aurobindo Realty might be new to the construction industry, but their management and staff have good knowledge about precast technology and ready to learn and apply their knowledge in the field. When the company teamed up with an expert like Elematic which has built dozens of precast factories in various locations across India, then a successful outcome of the project is well anticipated.
Aurobindo was keen to start its high priority project - the Galaxy office building – so it wanted to partially start the plant to produce the precast elements needed for it. Clear communication ensured a good understanding on what was required and in what order of priority. A start-up plan was made to ensure that all the activities would go hand in hand.
“There were many meetings during and before the project’s finalization to ensure clear communication between us. Aurobindo’s project team has been taking care of the challenges very well and provided us with great support,” comments Potdar.
The beam and column line was made operational first to produce the precast elements needed for the Galaxy project while the rest of the plant was still under construction. “The team was very supportive and able to make the necessary adjustments along the way, which in not easy,” comments Allwyn Ronald Fernandes, Head of Precast Plant, Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure. In March 2019, the factory was in full operation with automation in place. All installation, material delivery was as per the schedule. In mid-2020, the 105-meter Galaxy building made history as the tallest office building built with precast technology in India.
This year, Aurobindo is set to complete another iconic landmark in Hyderabad - a 25-floor IT building named Orbit.
“It was a wonderful partnership between the Elematic and Aurobindo Realty teams, which made it possible,” says Shridhar Rao, Sales Head, Elematic India.
What to look for when choosing prefab construction
Setting up a precast factory is not about the cost: having the right partner is crucial for ensuring the project’s success. The impact of this decision will remain for decades and will show in the cash flow that the company will enjoy; in fact, it will greatly surpass the initial capital outlay.
“We would suggest to prospective newcomers in this field to select their technology partner with care and only after having scrutinized their depth of knowledge and experience in this area of precast construction, their record of past works completed successfully, and their credibility in the marketplace,” advises Rao.
“I would advise anyone entering the business to keep in mind their current and future business plans and goals; in which segment they are going to be strong; and accordingly select the machinery of that segment. They should also be able to see the RoI that they would enjoy once their projects starts operating,” says Kumar VJ.