- D Raju, Managing Director & CEO, Kirby Building Systems India Pvt Ltd
PEB as a sector has not made major inroads into the residential sector. Your comments. Are there any other sectors that PEB is yet to enter?
The PEB industry has evolved from catering to applications such as warehouses, fuel stations, factories, workshops, etc., constructed in the initial phases of the industry to include highly complex buildings such as shipyards, metro stations, power plants, steel plants, oil & gas structures, industrial buildings with high capacity cranes up to 500 MT, heavy loadings, multi level floors, and also high rise structures which require very specialised design, manufacturing, and installation skills.
Though, in initial stages, the PEB industry has started addressing niche commercial and residential segments like high rise structures. In fact, Kirby Building Systems has already executed several projects in both commercial and residential segments. The company has built five G+7 buildings for slum rehabilitation in Mumbai and G+13 residential building in Jammu. All these buildings were completed right from design to construction in a span of six-eight months with quality material manufactured in factory controlled atmosphere, which is not possible with traditional methods of construction. Apart from these, Kirby has also constructed many high-rise buildings across various other regions outside India for different applications such as hospitals, commercials, car parks, etc. As a pioneer in this industry, Kirby India shall continue to strive to promote steel as a preferred material for all high rise buildings- both residential and commercial.
Are there any reservations against pre-engineered buildings in the Indian market?
Like many other precision industries in India, PEB industry is also facing many challenges. One of the main challenges faced by the PEB industry in India is acceptance among the Indian corporates, which is still moderate when compared to developed economies. But in the last decade, there has been increased acceptance of PEB due to rapidly expanding industrialisation in the country. The changing market environment has led to an increase in shift towards more advanced technologies, with one of them being PEB, due to increasing demand from customers for faster project completion which in turn will give faster return on their investments.
Are the major players taking any initiatives to bring about standardi-¡sation in the sector and fill the existing loopholes?
All the buildings executed by Kirby and other PEB players are customised as per the customer´s requirement, with each and every building being unique in nature when viewed from different angles-technicality, fabrication, construction, etc. Therefore, standardisation in the sector is not possible, except in some areas such as simple warehouses, shelters, cold form buildings, etc.
How will the growth in the warehousing sector, the government´s announcement of the 100 smart cities, and the swift progress in the metro rail projects affect the sector?
Warehousing sector is one of the major demand drivers for PEB as more than 80 per cent of warehouses are being built with PEBs. The warehousing sector is fast catching the growth path mainly because of government´s support of creating dedicated food parks across India; setting up of warehouses in rural and semi-urban areas for storage of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc.; recent e-commerce boom leading to dedicated warehouses for storage of products across India to be delivered within fraction of time by all these companies; dedicated logistics parks by private logistic players; warehouses by all other companies from various industry segments for their own purposes and many other reasons.
Kirby became the pioneer in metro rail system way back in 2005 by installing all the stations for Delhi Metro in its first phase and the workshop and stabling yard buildings. This also laid the foundation for other PEB players to enter this segment. Kirby has also executed projects for Bangalore Metro and Hyderabad Metro and is in pursuit of various other metro rail projects across India.
Another plan of the government is implementation of 100 smart cities, and this can also be efficiently achieved by using high-rise steel structures, as done in developed countries, and thereby providing an affordable and sustainable material for construction.