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Lots of stalled projects have started to move

Lots of stalled projects have started to move

– Manish Garg, President & CEO- Everest Steel Building Solutions, Everest Industries

Could you highlight the kind of projects undertaken and accomplished by Everest? Could you throw some light on the size of these projects and their execution time?
Everest Steel Building Solutions has already completed more than 1500 PEB projects, covering more than 5 crore sq ft of construction across 275 cities in 29 states in India. Three landmark projects which are either already completed or are near completion are:

India Expo Mart Greater Noida- A 4.5 lakh square feet project slated to be completed in flat six months, which is exemplary speed for an exhibition centre with big ceiling height, big clear spans, and no columns. It is worth 40 crore.

Goa Shipyard- A 52-crore project that is almost completed. Shiv Nadar School, Faridabad- An HCL promoter school, which was a 4600 square feet steel building project. It was to be created in record time of 4 months and a half.

Another project that deserves to be mentioned is a 45 crore project for Tata Power in Bangalore for the defence equipment division.

China is constructing PEBs with a turnaround time of 15-20 days. What is preventing India from meeting such standards?
There is a difference between PEB and steel construction. What is happening in China is steel construction. There is still some time for us to move from PEB to steel construction and that would require some change in the way we design our steel structures. It´s not the simplistic PEB structure. When you go above five stories, the design philosophy is completely different. Again, a residential building involves a different design philosophy.

It will take about four-five years for India to move into that sphere. And you require infrastructure to support it, especially in terms of transportation. Logistics needs to improve because steel buildings involve moving very big prefabricated blocks from one place to another. When dealing with a high- rise building, you can´t do anything at site; it is to be laid at site. Even precast concrete hasn´t taken off in India because of this lack.

Is PEB likely to find a firm ground in the residential sector with the Smart Cities Mission?
For the residential sector, there is opportunity in terms of low-rise buildings, not high-rise in immediate future. Launches of this kind should help pre-engineered buildings. We need to figure out what is required to push the sector- for instance, whether different manufacturing facility or different grade of steel would be required.

How will the ´Make in India´ campaign affect the sector?
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, sell anywhere, but make here. ´Make in India´ is predominantly manufacturing and that would need factories. When it comes to factories, PEB has a strong foothold- almost all industries prefer PEB, and that is going to give a big impetus to the PEB sector. A lot of additional supply that is there today is going to be consumed as Make in India gets moving and a lot of manufacturing units are set up. The industry is looking forward to it. We see things happening with announcements of setting up mobile phone assembly factories- Lava has just announced that it intends to move its manufacturing base from China to India; it is setting up a factory at Noida for assembly. This should have a positive effect.

Has the new government brought about any significant developments in the sector?
Lots of stalled projects have started to move. New projects are getting announced. There are more investment opportunities with improved investor sentiment. Lot of positivity has set in. The delta change has already happened last year. No other major change is expected. The government is very clear regarding its policies. GST might not have taken off for several reasons, but the government has expressed that its committed to it.

What is the implication of the launch of the first technical manual on PEBs by Everest? Will it bring about some sort of standardisation in the sector, which is otherwise not very organised?
That is more to do with category promotion. People have a lot of unanswered questions; lot of misconceptions. Something was required to refer to. This launch should move the industry to a positive direction. I feel all the main players should get together and do category promotion. For instance, the problems associated with the residential sector can be addressed. This technical manual, the first of its kind in India, would help engineers and architects to design and develop some remarkable PEB projects in the country, giving further impetus to the growth story of PEB sector, thereby fuelling the Indian manufacturing sector.

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