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Feature | September 2014

A support system

Against the backdrop of today´s infra and construction boom, the need for scaffolds and formwork is immense.
  At present, the demand for scaffolding and formwork is around Rs 1,500 crore per year.
 The market share of scaffolding and formwork in infrastructure projects is set to increase from the current 10 per cent to 20-25 per cent in the next five years. With the government´s thrust on the power and construction sector, more than 85 per cent of the project will require scaffolding and formwork to build dams, powerhouses, water carrying tunnels and channels, containment tanks, TG decks, cooling towers, etc.  


The total sale of scaffoldings all over India is approximately between Rs 80-90 crore. For scaffolding players, states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh are the new emerging markets. Maharashtra and Karnataka´s need for scaffolding has been steady. The potential market for these twin construction accessories is expected to be in the range of Rs 1,600-1,800 crore in coming years.


But, despite the fact that this industry has a positive growth, currently, the scaffolding and formwork industry is at a very nascent stage, hence has a long way to go. The reason for such a scenario is the current economic slowdown and also various infrastructure projects are being stalled in India. Also, most of the contractors and builders prefer using the traditional form of scaffolding and formwork, thus the lack of awareness in terms of the use of such technology keeps this industry in an uncertain mode.


But, in the future, this sector is expected to emerge with bigger and better organised segments along with innovative technologies in the market, since the need for scaffolding and formwork is very high in civil and construction industry. However, Indian manufacturers are catering to only 40 to 50 per cent of the requirements. Meanwhile, the foreign players have also made their foray into the market considering the opportunity that exists.


 With the Indian government placing special emphasis on the construction and infrastructure sector, there has been a rise in demand with regard to the scaffolding and formwork (S&F) industry. The demand is rising in various segments such as power, airports, roads and bridges, dams, irrigation, oil and gas, metro and monorail projects, high rise structures, etc.


There are a number of reasons that have led to the growth. The most important reason is due to the number of projects that are being awarded in a speedy fashion leading to a certain degree of uncertainty, wherein a contractor has no choice but to ensure quick completion of the project. Thus, this technology provides a qualitative consistency to construction apart from offering a good surface finish, thereby saving a lot of finishing time and plastering material. In fact, according to the views of the industry experts, all the major projects, which usually consume a time frame of around 2-3 years, are now being completed in 18 to 22 months.


Also, there are a large number of export opportunities for this industry. The export of accessories is about two to three times more than that of finished products. The Gulf countries, Australia and New Zealand are good markets for India. At the same time, Indian players face stiff competition from China and Taiwan.


Safety measures
 Formwork systems are present up to 50 per cent of the overall time of construction of a building while almost 60 per cent of the construction activity is carried on scaffolds. An accident at the construction site during or after installation of the system is a frequent incident. The developed countries have a strict adherence towards the safety of human resources.


Most of the industry players have started training programmes on the importance of safety at construction sites with the use of advanced technologies, since most of the contractors give less attention towards this section.


Also, the scaffolding, whether noticeable or not, must be erected, altered and dismantled by competent workers under proper supervision. Scaffolding must not be used unless the employer or employer´s representative of the work is satisfied that it is safe for use and complies with the regulations. Besides, it is also necessary to ensure that the lower working platforms are not used while the upper lifts are being worked on unless a fully decked platform, with screens if necessary, separates the part being erected or dismantled from the lower part in use.

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