‘Prefabrication technology holds key to affordable infrastructure’

ACME is the leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art PUF Panels with in-house manufacturing plant, quality testing labs and strong past experience of executing large scale EPC projects. The key advantages of PUF (polyurethane) over conventional elastomers and plastics; it is stronger, tougher, more durable, and more versatile.

Samir Sharan, CEO – ACME Cleantech Solutions Limited told Sandeep Menezes that materials used in prefab are definitely more efficient, durable and lesser susceptible to climatic calamities.

Samir Sharan

Samir Sharan

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 this prefab technology. Going forward, do you feel prefab construction could be made more affordable.

Prefabrication technology holds the key to affordable infrastructure in the country, while it is green and cuts down the carbon footprint in a country that is plagued with the increased emission rates of greenhouse gases.

The prefab construction technology is very well accepted, rather replacing conventional construction methods, by manufacturing, logistics and commercial infrastructure sector. As the awareness about the benefits of this technology has grown i.e. the end user is realizing the that the overall project cycle cost and operational cost is much less than the conventional building, it has helped the scale of implementation and demand, in turn helping the prices to drop and this trend will continue in the coming years. This will eventually and definitely help the uptake of this technology with growing time.

The other factor that will help this technology to be competitive to the conventional means of construction is the factor of scalability and adaptability in areas where the latter cannot be adopted.
Lack of awareness vis-à-vis conventional building materials has led to prefab industry not growing to its optimum potential. Comment.

As mentioned earlier, the growth of this technology will be spurred by increased awareness and financial competitiveness with the conventional means.

However, we believe that the uptake of the Prefabricated products and solutions in the country has registered impressive response and that has brought a boost to companies like ACME to seriously look into this space.

There is immense potential for this technology as the economy is on the upward path. The growth of prefab can also be attributed to the infrastructure development and specifications-led demand from the customers in the fields of manufacturing, process industries, poultry, dairy, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, textile and many others.
With the new government taking over the nation’s reign and putting huge focus on infrastructure development, how much growth do you foresee across the prefab industry?

With the economy growing in the country, there is tremendous potential for the infrastructure growth and the industry is keenly looking towards the new government to pump-in further impetus of the industrial corridors, smart cities and such policy push shall drive the growth in the coming years.

The industry will see a huge rise in near future as various governments in Delhi and other states have proposed night shelters to be built using prefab technology.

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

Prefabricated technology for construction is best-suited to help the requirement of rural-housing for bringing in benefits to the sector facing challenges of time taken for construction, location of installation where conventional means of construction are not possible owing to lack of raw material, workforce, transport and means of construction.

These all challenges can be suitably addressed by prefab technology that will save time, use trained engineers, proven designs and scientifically planned architecture that can chart the best possible use of this technology to serve all requirements in the given landscape, ensure effective after-sales-service and mechanized installation with planning through informed-decisions at all platforms.

Further, as discussed earlier the acceptability of Prefab technologies by end user in residential sector is a major challenge in India. Though we are observing that few projects are coming up for housing sector also and the implementation will increase in due course.
In terms of safety and eco-friendly features, how does prefab compare with convention building materials?

Material used in prefab is definitely more efficient, durable and lesser susceptible to climatic calamities and this makes the case for increased implementation of prefab. The prefab buildings are designed strictly as per relevant national and international standards & can be customized for any specific requirements related to quality and safety.

The fact of the matter is that most of the conventional building material are being handled by unorganized sector and affecting the environment adversely. The mining activities involved with conventional building material are being controlled by respective state govt / authorities and does not have a national policy in this regard.

It is a known fact that the embodied energy of a pre-engineering building sytem is far better than that of conventional building.

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

At the outset, we thank the current government for its vision and seriousness shown towards infrastructure growth in the country.

Importantly, the scope of use of prefabricated structures in infrastructure projects can further be assessed by per capita consumption of steel in India as compared to countries like USA, China, and Canada etc. As per studies done in recent years, the per capita consumption of steel in India is appox 57 kgs PA whereas the same for China and USA is respectively 450 kgs PA and 310 kgs PA respectively.

We expect the government to cater to this demand and drive this growth through policy-push and clear roadmap for the developers and the customers to fully leverage the potential of this technology.
What is ACME Group’s long term business strategy in the prefab construction segment?

As a pioneer in the prefabricated technology space in the country, we are working towards further implementation of this technology in various sectors like infrastructure, residential & commercial constructions, defence, shelters for telecom equipment at telecom tower sites, cold rooms, schools, hostels, clean rooms for production & OTs, blood banks, rural health centers, floriculture, horticulture, roof-top structures, modular housing, warehouses, grain storage, high altitude accommodation, tourists huts, kiosks, and many other sectors that look forward to be benefited by the faster construction facilitated by high-technology engineering.

We look forward to participate in the growth of the country through infrastructure development and serve the country.

We as ACME have aligned ourselves to cater to market potential for pre engineering buildings within and outside India. With In-house design and development team backed by state-of-the art manufacturing facility, ACME is eyeing low rise insulated pre fabricated buildings for multiple applications.

ACME is directly participating in Pre Engineered building opportunities with Govt and Semi-Govt sectors and providing end-to-end solutions under various schemes and program. Our approach is to provide innovative solutions including power generation and its storage, water and HVAC to end users.

Tell us about some recent Prefab projects executed by ACME Group?

ACME Group is the pioneer in the segment through the telecom sector and helped the telecom industry save millions through its technologically-advanced prefabricated structures yielding the temperature-sensitive equipment, across the length and breadth of the country.

The company is at present serving the sectors of process industries, manufacturing, telecom, residential and commercial accommodation, defence, warehouses and many others with its products and solutions using prefab technology.

The model prefabricated infrastructure of the country – The National Games Village for 35th National Games to be held in Kerala has been constructed by ACME Group.

The company undertook construction of housing units in the Games Village using PUF based Prefab Technology in EPC mode, covering design, supply, transportation, and erection at the Site including interior services.

This facility will be spread over 28 acres of land belonging to Kerala SIDCO in Menamkulam and the facility will house approximately 5000 persons.

The use of this technology will not only help Games Authority towards making the National Games 2014 as the ‘Greenest’ & the most energy efficient but also cost effective and time-saving. Further to lower costs involved, the advantage of having a pre-fabricated Village would also ensure negligible operation costs. It can also be relocated to any other site with only 10-15 per cent cost for dismantling an existing structure and re-assembling it.

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