Moving to Precast Concrete Technology in Partnership with Elematic
BE Billimoria & Company is one of India’s leading firms of civil engineering construction contractors. Ranging from commercial, residential spaces to some of the most iconic buildings in the country, like the 316-meter Namaste Tower, are among their project list. In addition, Billimoria has a precast project in Pune - a mass affordable housing for the Maharashtra police.
The company was established by Beji E Billimoria and Laxmidas K Kapadia in 1958. Jeet Kapadia, the Executive Director of Billimoria and the third generation of its founder, is continuing the family’s legacy in the construction business. “We cater to all sectors, and work with some of the biggest real estate developers, government organizations, and corporates. Our goal is to give the right quality, because today in India, quality is the most important aspect of any project,” says Jeet Kapadia.
While many factors have contributed to Billimoria’s success since its foundation, the company has always been the innovator and a pioneer in the construction industry of India - from deployment of sophisticated building systems to the adoption of new construction technology, including precast.
Growing demand for high-quality affordable housing
With the rapid economic growth and unprecedented pace of urbanization, there is a staggering demand for affordable housing in India. The government has already set an ambitious project to build 20 million affordable houses and 98 smart cities by 2022. Precast concrete building technology will be the key enabler for that mission, as it can not only ensure faster completion of a project but also bring down its overall cost.
The traditional construction methods used in India require a high amount of labor for extended periods of time. This results in high costs, long duration of construction, and quality variance due to human factors.
Precast concrete as a building method allows for more control over an entire building project. “As we increase the size of the projects and go to mega projects, the amount of labor required is a big variable. We wanted to avoid that variable, and bring everything into a factory so that we can have quality control, cost control, and timeline control. The only way was to precast,” says Jeet.
The best way to move forward
Even though there are some obstacles hindering the growth of precast concrete building technology in India, in Laxmidas Kapadia’s opinion, precast is one of the best ways to move ahead. “Quality is the best benefit, because your slabs, beams, columns and walls are produced in a controlled environment. As a result, you are sure of the quality which you are getting. Speed is another big factor, because in the end, your financials depend on how soon you can complete your project,” he explains.
Confidence rooted in a world-class partner
When evaluating suitable long-term partners among the many precast machinery companies, Elematic caught Billimoria’s attention. “We went through a lot of companies that are doing precast construction and finally decided that Elematic would be able to support us the best in terms of after-sales service and designing. We also felt that the machinery which we got from Elematic would last for a longer period of time, and not give us much trouble,” says Jeet Kapadia.
Billimoria’s precast factory is located within a 116-acre site in Pune. The 2-acre factory includes production and storage yard. It produces slabs, walls and staircases. The capacity is approximately 1.5 million square feet of construction area in a year. “We have three slab beds which are 120 meters long; for the walls, which are mainly load bearing walls, we have battery molds and mechanical tilting tables; and molds for staircase walls,” informs Jeet.
“I think the whole set up works well. The shuttle basically supplies the concrete bed, but the same shuttle can also go to the battery molds. The logistics has been worked out well by Elematic as well as our engineers. Also, the way the cranes were set up with the help of Elematic, in order to ensure the finished product was taken from the factory to the storage yard, the gantry cranes, the wagons, all of that has been excellent, and we are very happy with the result,” he adds.
With the service agreement, Elematic’s team has been on site to provide support for any quality or machine issues. For example, when the thickness of the wall elements needed to change from 170 mm to 160 mm, a swift solution was needed. Elematic’s experts helped to refabricate, ensuring the production continued with 160mm without much of a lag.
“I think the slab quality, which we are getting right now is beautiful and definitely helps us gain more confidence in precast,” affirms Jeet. “No doubt, there were a few hiccups, but I think, overall, Elematic and Billimoria did a great job coming together, getting the products on site and delivering on time.”
No quality compromised in the Maharashtra Police project
The Maharashtra Police housing project is aimed to build affordable houses for the retired police personnel. The total land is 180 acres, of which Billimoria has started to develop approximately 40 acres for 5200 apartments, all of which must be completed within four years.
“All of the buildings are ground + 14 stories. And our aim is to ensure that after the ground floor, all the other floors are done with precast. The building design is pretty simple; there are only a few differences depending on the flat contributions,” informs Jeet. “We are very proud of the whole project, because we are doing it for the Maharashtra police. We aim to give them affordable prices and with the good quality that they deserve after serving the state.”
Direct savings from speedy construction
Onsite precast plant minimizes crane requirement. The Maharashtra police housing project uses 4 tower cranes, each of them handling three buildings at a time.
“The ingenious part is that we are using one tower crane on three different buildings, which are at different points in the lifecycle: if we are installing walls in one building, the other building is at the stage for steels, the second needs services for the structural topping, and on the third building, we are in the process of laying the screed,” says Sandeep Bedi.
The optimized way of working has enabled Sandeep Bedi and his team to get a floor cycle of 12 floors in 12 buildings in 12 days, basically, a floor a day. Speed of construction is the key because it also ends up saving costs. “The interest rates for real estate projects in many developing countries are very high. In India’s real estate, the interest rate is between 18-20% annually. So, If we can reduce the construction cycle by six months, it is a direct saving of almost 10%,” he states.
Not just an equipment vendor
“The journey thus far has been extremely interesting, and with a huge amount of learning. Elematic brings in a wealth of experience, which is global, but they also have pretty much the maximum amount of information on the Indian precast industry,” says Bedi.
“Elematic has held our hands to beat every challenge. So, we feel that Elematic is not a vendor from whom we’ve bought an equipment, but a partner through every challenge that we are facing, be it in production, any installation, and even in manpower training.”
“Due to the partnership that we have created with Elematic, with our team members, our clients, and the eventual end-users, we’ve created a very high-quality product, which will offer a lasting home cherished by families,” says Bedi.
The Potential of Precast in India
Technavio, a global technology research and advisory firm, has released a report claiming that the global prefabricated construction market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6-7% until 2020. However, in India, the uptake of modular technologies continues to remain slow and, so far, prefabricated buildings comprise only 1% of India’s $100 Billion Real Estate Market.
“I think that with demand increasing every year, a lot more people are willing to take a chance on precast. As more and more people get educated, the field will gain traction. So, the outlook is positive, especially with the government now trying to get a lot of projects offering precast solutions,” reckons Jeet Kapadia.
Project: Maharashtra Police Mega City, Pune
Contractor: BE Billimoria & Company
Precast Contractor: Ingenious Quality Buildings
- 4.5 M sq.ft.
- G+14 buildings, 60 towers
- 1RK, 1BHK, 2BHK, 3BHK, 3.5/4.5 BHK Apartments
- Structural system:
- Load bearing wall frame for gravity and lateral load resistance for wind and earthquake forces. System includes load bearing walls and prestressed solid slabs. Structural walls at the perimeter act also as facade for the buildings. Facades will be painted for finishing.
- Slab span around 6 meters designed for superimposed dead load for floor finish and internal partition walls, amounting to uniform loading of 3 kN/m2, and live load of 2 kN/m2
- Prestressed solid slab is used for providing flexibility in the architectural layout, speed of construction, and reduction of steel consumption.
- Following precast elements are used in the project:
- Load bearing walls
- Solid prestressed slab
Check out the project via this link: http://mpmcpune.com/index.html
- Mechanical tilting tables
- Three 120-meter slab beds with a slipformer
- Battery molds (original and cold shutter)
- Complete project design and engineering
- Plant installation
- Production and installation supervision
- Annual maintenance agreement
Elematic is a world-leading manufacturer of precast concrete plants, production lines, and related machinery. During the 60 years of operation, the company has supplied precast concrete production technology to over 100 countries and to every continent. Its turnover is approximately 65 million euros, of which exports generate 95%. The company employs roughly 300 people and it has subsidiaries and sales offices in the USA, Germany, China, Russia, India, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates, and agents in over 20 countries. The company headquarters is located in Akaa, Finland, with production units in Finland and India.