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Guestspeak | August 2011

There is huge potential for multi-storied steel buildings in India

  PV Rao, Executive Director, Pennar Engineered Building Systems

The concept of pre-engineered steel buildings has entered India in late nineties and has over a period of time gained widespread acceptance among the end users, consultants and architects. It is making inroads in the construction and infrastructure projects across the country. This is primarily because the PEB type of construction is offering many benefits such as cost effectiveness and faster construction which is perhaps the requirement for the construction industry in order to meet the tight budgets and demanding deadlines.

Emerging economies – The growth drivers

For the past ten to twelve years, the focus of the world has shifted on India and China, the emerging super powers of the world. Any sector, whether it is manufacturing, logistics, energy, infrastructure, commercial, metro rail etc, is growing at a greater pace and all these sectors require high performance, economical and faster delivery buildings to run their operations.

Steel – The emerging prefab material

In this era of competition, it is increasingly important to build more economical structures, which provide good integrated system performance. Steel is basically better suited for bigger, taller, and longer span and geometrically complex structures, as a result, steel is likely to be predominantly used for many years into the future. Increased economy in civil engineering construction is achievable through higher strength steel, composite form of construction and improved materials therefore engineering community is more akin to use steel structural systems in the future and it is felt that this trend will continue. Engineers will need to develop suitable Codes and specifications for the purpose to meet the requirements of future generations. There is increased need for more for research and development for innovative material and construction methodologies.

What lies ahead?

With the GDP growth rate of around 8 per cent in India, India is offering a lot of benefits to companies by setting up SEZs all over India. This growth rate is expected to be consistent for the next 25 to 30 years and this type of growth will give reasons for multi-nationals to set up their units here in India. Though the concept of metal building construction for residential purpose is yet to catch up in India, since the potential is huge, it will soon catch up in view of several inherent benefits. Similarly, there is huge potential for multi-storied steel buildings in India in the time to come. In big cities, during construction of huge commercial complexes, it is very difficult to find space for storing of construction materials like sand, aggregate, cement etc as there are space constraints due to heavy traffic. Also, there is shortage of carpenters, masons and skilled manpower in the market now. In case of steel construction in multi-storied buildings, the entire structure will be fabricated in the PEB plant and the fabricated structures will be shipped to site in phases during erection stage as per sequence. The time savings could be to a tune of 35 per cent to 40 per cent compared to RCC construction which is significant benefit to customers. In Metro rail stations, Airport buildings and Power plants, PEB concept is being used now in India hence there is huge potential in that sector as well.

The level of awareness about the benefits of new eco-friendly material in the construction industry is growing and the industry is moving forward from traditional methods of construction to the environmentally friendly methods. Global warming and climate changes have today become major concern for mankind. In order to ensure that development and environment conservation go hand in hand, major corporations around the world are going for "Green Buildings" concept which will slow down depletion of natural resources. Indian Green Buildings Congress (IGBC) has audited our PEBS Pennar factory building at Hyderabad and we were awarded Gold Rating. Ours is the first pre-engineered steel building in India to get Gold rating from IGBC in factories category.  

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