Rising inclination towards sustainable construction methods along with increasing dependency on modern construction techniques is likely to make significant contributions towards precast construction. Growing population primarily has led to rapid pace of industrialization and urbanization which is likely to boost the precast construction market size. There are enormous opportunities presented in the construction industry in India. In recent years, the Southern Cities in India have become the focal point for future real estate developments because of its robust infrastructure, strong growth in IT and start-ups and retail sector. Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure is one of the frontrunners.
Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure facing challenges with the skilled manpower
Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure, the daughter company of Aurobindo pharmaceutical corporation founded four years ago, had envisaged construction projects for the next 10 years and beyond. With the up-beat prospects in the market, the company faced daunting challenges.
“In Indian construction, there are a couple of big challenges. One is the availability of the skill set of manpower and the second is attrition of the skilled manpower. So, any project which is more than say a year of construction duration, you need to intake five to six times of the actual manpower requirement,” says Aurobindo’s CEO Mr. Ravindra Kumar VJ.
Precast construction technology Technology; solution for big volume construction
Considering the volume of projects which Aurobindo Realty had to construct, traditional methods of construction is clearly not the way to go. New technology and solutions are needed.
Among different options, offsite precast construction technology has clear advantages. It can enable faster project execution twice the speed of traditional construction, and over 50 percent reduction in labour requirements. Thus, to assure them speed and control over the project timeline and efficient use of labour.
In addition, precast concrete also offers many environmental benefits when compared with cast-in-situ construction methods. It can help buildings to meet the increasingly important LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) criteria.
When evaluating potential precast technology suppliers, Aurobindo Realty management appreciated the fact that Elematic does not only offer reliable state-of-the-art plants with wide range of references across India, but also has a comprehensive support from feasibility study, to plant planning and design, to the final turnkey installation of the plant and after sales services.
“I should say that on the techno-commercial grounds we shortlisted Elematic, and we went ahead with them,” says Kumar VJ.
Aurobindo’s precast factory is situated on a land area of 21 Acres, 40 kilometres from Hyderabad city in Sanga Reddy district, in Southern India.
Elematic providing turnkey installation of the precast factory
In building this world-class precast factory, Aurobindo Realty opted for a turnkey installation of the plant, where Elematic’s project team started with factory layout plan, structural design engineering support, to the supervision of casting of the foundations, the machinery installation, to the final handover of all machinery and production training.
Aurobindo Plant Hollow Core Production Overview
Addressing The force of nature
When the project started, it was India’s monsoon season.
The rain seemed endless and the factory site was situated in a far-flung area, which made even arranging small things during installation seem to be a herculean task.
Extensive knowledge in building precast factories and rich local experience about the conditions in India, are the fundamentals for the project team to foresee possible future problems and know when to be patient and how to handle those situations successfully.
“So once the rain starts, we plan all the activities, we layout the schedule, discuss with the Aurobindo’s project team, and different agencies that after the monsoon what should be done first, what should be the priority, and we worked out a workflow chart, and followed accordingly,” says Shriniwas Potdar, Project Head, Elematic India.
India is known to be a country faced with high seismic activity, and the structural design in seismic areas is more complex and demanding than for ordinary buildings.
In building Aurobindo’s precast factory, the foundation was the most critical and time taking activity. One dedicated person from Elematic’s team was supervising the civil foundation, and an execution team for the fabrication and installation of the structure to ensure the success of the project completion.
“We know all the parameters in building the required precast factory, we know all the limits and conditions in India, what is the tolerance level, so we install all the structures accordingly, then we also supervise all the civil work. All these kinds of support were given to the client right from the start till the completion of the project,” explains Potdar.
Newcomer can feel at ease when accompanied with an expert
Building a precast factory is not an independent activity, a lot of things are going on simultaneously. Coordination with all the agencies and getting materials on the right time is very critical.
Aurobindo Realty might be new to the construction industry, but their management and staff team have good knowledge about the precast technology and are willing to learn and apply their learning in the field. When teamed up with experts, who have built dozens of precast factories from scratch in various locations in India, and know precast factories and technology inside out, a successful outcome of the project is not in question.
With a high priority project, the Galaxy office building, to deliver, Aurobindo wanted to partially start the plant to produce precast elements needed for it.
Galaxy Office Building Under Construction
Clear communication ensured a good understanding of the requirements and what would be needed first. A start-up plan was then made accordingly to ensure all the activities 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.
According to Aurobindo’s requirement, 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 needed adjustments along the way. It’s not that easy!,” comments Allwyn Ronald Fernandes, Head of Precast Plant, Aurobindo Realty & Infrastructure Pvt Ltd.
In March 2019, the factory was in full operation with automation in place. All installation, material delivery was delivered according to schedule. By the middle of 2020, the 105-meter Galaxy building made history to be 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 by the name Orbit.
Aurobindo is extremely happy with cooperation with Elematic and the precast products produced in the factory. They even presented Elematic with a written letter of appreciation, stating “We are very happy to work with Elematic, and only with the support of Elematic we were able to complete this factory within our schedule time.”
“It was a wonderful partnership between the Elematic team and Aurobindo Realty team, which made it possible,” says Shridhar Rao, Sales Head, Elematic India.
What to look for when choosing a prefabrication
“I would advise anyone entering the business to see the current and future plan, in which segment they are going to be strong and then accordingly select the machinery of that particular segment. Then, they should be able to see the return from the investment they have made,” says Kumar VJ.
Establishing a precast factory is not about the cost: having a right partner is crucial in ensuring the project success. The impact of this decision will remain for many decades and it shows in cash flow that far surpasses the initial capital outlay that they paid for the equipment.
“We would suggest to the prospective newcomers to the precast industry to select their technology partner with much care and scrutiny. The team should understand the precast technology and understand the situation in India,” says Rao.