‘PEB sector has tremendous growth opportunities’

Richa Industries Limited is a leading Construction and Engineering company operational in Textile, Pre-engineered Building (PEB), Structural Steel & Turnkey solutions sectors. After achieving growth in textile sector, the company forayed into Pre Engineered Building sector in 2008 and has its fully operational PEB manufacturing plant at Kashipur, Uttarakhand.

Sushil Gupta, Chairman – Richa Industries Ltd tells Sandeep Menezes that PEB can prove to be a good option for speedy and affordable construction in urban as well as rural areas.

Sushil Gupta

Sushil Gupta

Excerpts from the interview:

India is a cost sensitive market and the initial higher cost barrier is one of the reasons for lower uptake of PEB, Prefab technology. Going forward, do you feel PEB, Prefab construction could be made more affordable?

It is a myth that higher cost is the barrier for PEB (Pre Engineered Buildings) uptake. Pre Engineered Buildings are today the most affordable compared to any other building systems. The most innovative, hi-tech, and faster methods have been used in construction of PEB which ensure efficient, cost effective and speedy ways to complete a project. PEB consumes the minimum amount of materials as compared to any other building systems. Compared to conventional steel buildings PEB consumes 40 per cent less steel because of use of High strength steel, optimal design & reduced scrap. PEB offers long life compared to conventional buildings as materials used are such which offer long life.

In multi-storey buildings steel is used along with concrete as composite structures. Composite structures are most affordable today along with all the advantages of PEB. AAC Blocks (Aerated autoclaved concrete) are widely available in Indian market which replaces clay bricks offering 1/3rd the weight. Use of AAC Blocks with steel structures is most affordable solution to all type of buildings including houses, commercial buildings, etc. For buildings up to 7-8 stories steel consumed are less than 5.5kg/sqft. It eliminates the need for shuttering all together.

Lack of awareness vis-à-vis conventional building materials has led to PEB, Prefab industry not growing to its optimum potential. Comment.

Yes, lack of awareness and late entry of PEB in Indian industry has been responsible for its low penetration. It was nineties when Pre-Engineered Buildings technology marked its presence in India. PEB technology was confined to few players for so many years and hence its penetration was low. Also PEB technology remained confined to industrial buildings, ware houses type of buildings in the country whereas world over PEB technology is used in all segments of building industry. PEB is now well recognized in India and it will grow much faster compared to previous years. Its inherent advantages will fuel its growth. Steel offers many advantages over other building materials and is abundantly available in India. Pre-Engineered technology will find its growth in commercial buildings & infrastructure projects.
image descriptionWith the new government taking over the nation’s reign and putting huge focus on infrastructure development, how much growth do you foresee across the PEB, Prefab industry?

PEB sector has tremendous growth opportunities and we expect a great extent of positive outcome form the government. The reasons are the sector is not industry specific and investments coming in any form arises the opportunity for our sector. Additionally, NAMO’s focus on infrastructure with the development of railways, airports and roads will create huge business opportunities. The Government is also appraising and clearing the long held projects that will create the need for the PEB as it can help in completing these projects in a short period of time.

India had a shortage of 18.8 million urban housing units with rural housing estimated to be much higher. Do you feel PEB, Prefab can emerge as a preferred mass market low cost housing option?

PEB, due to its distinctive characteristics, can prove to be a good option for the speedy and affordable construction in urban as well as rural areas. PEB buildings are environment friendly and offer design flexibility, low maintenance and ease of construction. Unlike the United States where PEB is found as a pre-dominant trend of construction in both commercial and residential sectors, the India market is yet to witness this massive constructional shift in the residential sector. Lack of awareness among customers about the multiple benefits of PEB; lack of reach by PEB companies; non-availability of specialized manpower and lack of good erection & construction resources in the country are some of the major reasons hampering PEB systems to become favorable choice in the residential sectors . PEB manufacturers need to respond suitably by improving not just their own capability, but that of their supplier and builder partners as well. Setting new benchmarks of excellence through innovations in PEB process and technology is the need of the hour.

In terms of safety and eco-friendly features, how does PEB, Prefab compare with convention building materials?

Pre-Engineered Buildings are safer than conventional buildings as these buildings are manufactured completely in the factory under controlled conditions hence the quality is assured. PEB offers high resistance to seismic forces because it has light weight flexible structure whereas conventional buildings have rigid heavy frames and are not viable in case of earthquakes. Also, these buildings are heat and fire resistant. Additionally, PEB buildings are environment-friendly and energy efficient and are created with a high proportion of recycled content i.e. 70-80 per cent.

Does the PEB, Prefab industry expect some kind of policy-push from the government and local bodies?

PEB is emerging as the most promising industry and it has immense potential. There is a need to classify PEB as one separate industry.

What is Richa’s long term business strategy in the PEB, Prefab construction segment?

The strict quality control measures, adoption of most modern and state-of-the art technology, innovative concepts and adhering to strict delivery schedules have made Richa today the most trusted name in the industry. Richa has established itself as one of the successful players in Northern India and now we are planning to strengthen our presence in pan India. Also, we are focusing now to recognize ourselves as construction & engineering company, in place of PEB, providing PEB, multistorey, structural steel and turnkey solutions to our customers.

Tell us about the recently bagged Rs 48 crore order from BHEL?

We have received this project from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. The project is worth Rs 480 million. The area of building will be around 11,600 sq meter with standing seam roof including liner panel and insulation. Richa will construct the building with a clear span of 70.5mtrs.The project involves the construction of HVDC building for Power Grid Corporation of India Limited. The complete scope of work entails Engineering Design, Material Supply, Fabrication, Shipment, Erection and Commissioning of the building. Richa will complete the project by around middle of next year. The project is yet another benchmark for Richa Industries as it will provide us a huge platform to reflect our capabilities and in-depth expertise in the domain of Pre Engineered Buildings.

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