CONSTRUCTION WEEK INDIA AWARDS 2021: SETTING NEW RECORDS
Construction Week|December 2021
The 11th Construction Week India Awards saw much enthusiasm as it was the first on-ground event most attended post pandemic
JAYASHREE KINI MENDES

While our awards have always been a crowd puller, this year was a little different. The pandemic had kind of put a spanner in the works and we were bold enough to go ahead with the first on-ground event - something that no one had attended in the last two years since the lockdowns kicked in. So there was bound to be some enthusiasm.

For those who might not know, we also had the Metro Rail India Summit 2021 during the day.

THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS

We continued with our digital nominations. That was a bonus for the team, the companies participating and, of course, the Grand Jury.

With a process that started in August, we enlightened all participating companies to this format. With over 430 nominations in our stockpile, the Jury that met on November 16 had a tough time allotting points as they knew that the fate of participating companies hung on their decision.

It was now up to the team to showcase their work at the Awards that was held on November 26.

We had a full house at Sahara Star Mumbai, which is where the Awards was held, going by hotel protocol.

Prior to the Awards, we organised a Procurement Panel that had renowned and recognised names of the real estate and infrastructure sector.

Moderated by Haroon Siddiqui, VP, MEP, Rustomjee, the panellists comprised Shabbir Kanchwala, VP, Procurement, K Raheja Corp; Cyrus Pithawala, Director, Engineering, Hiranandani Group; Ganesh Mane, Director, Gama Developers; Ashish Kapoor, Sales Director, Schueco India; and Rajesh Sharma, Director, Marketing & Branding, GM Modular.

Gamification in Procurement was the topic for the panellists. Siddiqui began with asking panellists ways they could adopt new models of contracting. Dubai, for instance, due to shortage of labour, adopts piecemeal construction.

Pithawala said that as far as technology is concerned, the latest going on in the market is aluminium shuttering. The reason is one can avoid doing the external plaster. Masons in Mumbai are not so skilled. Procurement of RMC is a big problem in Mumbai today.

Kanchawala said that there are several ways of contracting. But in India we restrict to item rate or lumpsum or per sq ft contract. There is a GMP model and an open book model and there is no fixed rate.

Kapoor said that the Nalco price, which is the base price considered, has gone up by 70% which is huge. There is a base rate at which we pick up the project. Sometimes there are some jobs we have to do at loss. Mane spoke about the internal study on ways to cope up with the situation. They went digital and that helped them get work done fast.

Sharma said that their idea is to add value to the project they have undertaken. They have come up with products that are user-friendly and even with wiring products can provide automation. Their sensor-based products is a part of sustainability. Venkatesh of Aparna spoke about how they retained existing labour at the sites. They provided them the infrastructure and amenities required to help them stay back.

We move on to the Awards. In order to begin, we organised the lighting of the lamp at the hands of Kumar Keshav, MD, UPMRCL; Rajesh Sharma of GM Modular; Bibhor Srivastava, MD, and Indrajeet Saoji director, ITP Media (India).

Saoji welcomed the guests and asked them to enjoy the evening as most had come to their first on-ground event after the lockdowns.

Sharma of GM Modular pointed out that some of the best talents can be recognised at these awards. He added that the company is not going global and hopes to reach the US. The company also has retro fit kind of automation and that too at one-thid of the cost that people would usually pay for.

Shyam Raghunandan, MD, Schueco India was glad that the Mumbai skyline is gradually changing with projects back on track. He voiced his concern about climate change and how his company is committed to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2025 and become net zero by 2040.

Construction Week cannot just have the awards. We have to bunge in a panel as well. Bibhor Srivastava moderated the neatly cultivated panel discussion. His panel comprised Kamal Sagar, Chairman, Total Environment; T Chitty Babu, CEO & MD, Akshaya; Barun Pal Chowdhury, COO, Ashoka Buildcon; Rounak Desai, Director, Rupa Group; and Kashyap Patwa, Executive Director, Classic Touch.

Srivastava asked the panellists to speak on myriad topics of real estate investment, good design, and buying patterns.

Sagar said that they try to solve authentic problems and give customers a home they need. Customisation is understanding family’s needs and people need to take a long term view when investing in real estate.

Chitty Babu said that luxury is in the details. it is not important that it be highly-priced. One must complete the commitment given to the customer. When choosing a home, people are now looking at a larger size. The WFH has created this need.

Desai said that the hospitality industry has taken a beating in the past year. Now occupancy rates are going up. It’s a Rs 3 lakh crore market. Navi Mumbai is being touted as the data centre capital in India. And covid is just a short term restriction.

Chowdhury said that when he was a practising architect what was designed and what was constructed was totally different. That pushed him to move to construction. Now he is trying to bridge that gap. Apart from design, it is time, cost and quality that needs to be kept in constraint. He asks his clients to decide on the timeline of the project, technology and then do a reverse engineering.

Patwa said that there is sea change happening around them. More human values have come in. The market is opening up. Cidco sold their 11 properties in Kharghar for Rs 523 cr. Raw material prices are going up. Real estate will rise and one will see property prices escalating.

Srivastava ended the panel discussion by summing up the points of the discussion. he noted that while real estate sales is a harbinger of the economy, one must be careful before investing.

We now moved into the Awards.

Lifetime Achievement

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