‘Indian PEB market is experiencing demand shift to new applications’

Interarch Building Products Pvt Ltd commenced its operations in 1984, and pioneered the high-end metal interior products market in India. Today, 30 years later, Interarch is a leading turnkey Pre-Engineered Steel Construction Solution provider in India with integrated facilities for design, manufacture, logistics, supply and project execution capabilities for pre- engineered steel buildings.

Gautam Suri, CTO & Founder, Interarch Building Products told Sandeep Menezes that the current market size of PEB industry should be close to Rs 4500-5000 crore put together organized and unorganized players.

Gautam Suri

Gautam Suri

Excerpts from the interview:

What is the current industry size for PEBs in India? Tell us about the recent trends in the industry?
The journey of PEB in India is remarkable in such a short span of time. Sectors such as automotive, power, logistics, pharma, FMCG, and retail provide huge growth opportunity for PEB in India. Though, it is said that the PEB industry is still in its infancy but, over the last six years there has been a growth in this sector due to increasing awareness amongst consultants and customers.
The current market size of PEB industry should be close to Rs 4500-5000 crore put together organized and unorganized players. It would certainly not be an exaggeration if we say the industry is catching-up very rapidly. In fact, pre-engineered building sector has started getting its due credit as a favorable alternative construction methodology in India today. There is undoubtedly, a very promising future for this sector in the coming years.
The Indian PEB market is experiencing a demand shift to new applications due to infrastructure development in the country like airports, multi-story buildings, stadiums, metro stations etc.

Going forward, how much growth do you foresee in the PEB industry? Tell us about the main growth drivers?
We are quite upbeat about the growth of construction sector in the coming year. Stemming from the Pre-engineered buildings industry, what is taking shape is the new heavy engineering and larger Infrastructure projects which is the next in line for the infrastructural development of the country. Projects like airports, international terminals, power plants, ports etc require steel structures and a different approach in comparison to pre-engineered buildings. We see a wave which is likely to become a trend soon, from here on, in the Infrastructure division. Going with our forecast, we, at Interarch, have even set up a separate business division called ‘Interarch Infrastructure’ which will only cater to these applications and requirements.

With FDI in retail and expected investments into improving warehousing infrastructure nationwide, do you feel that warehousing can emerge as a huge demand driver for PEB industry?

Currently the FDI in multi brand retail has been postponed but still we feel warehouse industry plays major role in our sector and demand for the same is always there.

PEB industry is highly dependant on taking-off of stalled infrastructure and construction projects. Do you have any suggestions for the new government to ensure quicker revival of PEB industry?
We are very positive and also hoping that the new government will push all projects which were put on hold and even provide momentum to the infrastructure sector in India in the next few upcoming years which will surely revive the PEB industry also.

There were recent reports about PEB supply being in excess of demand thereby hitting margins. Tell us about its impact on the industry?
Lot of regional players has set up PEB factories and several smaller players have now come in the industry due to which competition have become very challenging. These companies have created an environment which focusses in low price but to Interarch capabilities and international quality, we enjoy healthy margins. We ensure that customer is satisfied and repeat order is awarded to us which help us save client acquisition cost. Interarch has a product portfolio and service quality which is un-matched by competitors.

Residential sector continues to witness lower PEB demand vis-à-vis manufacturing and industrial segments. Going forward, do you foresee any change in this scenario?
It is interesting to note that residential construction spaces in India are slowly shifting to higher levels of pre-manufactured or pre-fabricated building systems that offer customized solutions. Everything from doors, windows to floors and fit out is preferred pre-manufactured. Pre-engineered light weight houses are synonymous with sustainable low-cost housing conforming to the demand for aesthetics, high quality, fast construction and cost effectiveness.
We as Interarch specialize in pre-engineered steel systems that range from the heavy to the light home segment. These pre-engineered systems of light weight wall frames allow architects and end users to design and build homes up to G+4 in light steel.

What is the future business strategy of Interarch in India?
The conventional method of construction has been majorly taken over by metal construction. Interarch Pre-engineered buildings have proven to be way safer, stable, fire resistant, energy efficient, less time consuming. So for such obvious benefits, it has made its position stronger in the industry and has gained the mind share as well.We are confident just how the past decade we have seen a significant shift of industrial construction to wards pre-engineered construction, the same shift will happen for Infra and commercial projects in future for projects like stadiums, multi storey buildings, airports and many more. We, at Interarch, have even set up a separate business division called ‘Interarch Infrastructure’ which will only cater to the heavy structural needs and requirements.

Tell us about the green, eco-friendly initiatives of Interarch?
“Green” and “Eco-friendly” has become the add-on for all kinds of activities surrounding us. Be it fuel used in auto –rickshaws and cars, the usage of bio-degradable paper carry bags or building construction, everything is adopting to “green”. The word ‘green’ does not only tangibly revolve around the environment but also around the intangible causes that affect it. A big influencer to the quality of environment ends up being infrastructure construction.

Green buildings are steadily increasing their footprint in India. A building is considered as Green if the design and construction material used significantly reduces or eliminates the negative impact of buildings on the environment and its occupants.

Pre-engineered construction is inherently green products and has comparatively smaller impact on the environment in comparison to conventional brick & motor construction. The energy efficient methods used in producing the steel used for these structures and the high recycled content help in substantially reducing greenhouse gas emission. Interestingly even after demolition, these buildings don’t accumulate wastage like asphalt, concrete, brink and dust. The only by product is metal scrap which is 90 per cent recyclable.

Our Buildings are engineered, designed and conceptualizing keeping in mind the local climate and available sources including sun, wind, rain etc. so that everything could be incorporated beneficially into the building of the design. Also we engineer in a such a way that the slope is steep( >1:6)- this minimizes the heat island effect and We use natural ventilation systems in our buildings help in proper air changes and temperature control thus providing healthy & comfortable indoor environment with minimal use of electricity.

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