Technology is poised to disrupt the construction biz
The real estate market is showing early signs of buoyancy and this spells good news for the Indian construction industry. However, the rules of the games are somewhat changed now as construction companies need to have a fair bit of control on their costs and importantly, meet deadlines in order to sustain or grow their business. Discussing on this pertinent aspect, Shubhra Saini catches up with Harsh Pareek, Regional Sales Director, Trimble, India &Saarc region to know his perspective on the need and viability of technology adoption by the construction industry.
Trimble was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California (USA). The company’s technological capabilities span positioning and sensing, global connectivity, 3D design, modeling& measurement, machine and process automation, and powerful data analytics. Some of the best-known Trimble products include Tekla Structures, Tekla Structural Designer, Trimble SketchUp Pro and VicoOffice, amongst others.
Trimble has a significant presence in India and have played a role in construction of many landmark buildings and infrastructure projects in India, including the world’s highest railway bridge over Chenab river, Mumbai and Chennai airport expansion and several large real estate projects. Trimble supports with its technology some of the biggest construction companies in India, including Jindal Steel, Kirby BuildingSystems, Larsen &Toubro, ShapoorjiPallonji, and Afcons.
Factors giving impetus to construction sector in India:
India is gearing up for a big infrastructural and real estate boom in the coming years. With government initiatives like 100 Smart cities and ‘Housing for All’ or affordable housing, technology-enabled construction solutions like Precast Concrete and Pre-engineered Buildings will gain significant momentum.
Talking on the aspect, Pareek, said, “The government’s push to the Infrastructure development can be a major driving force for India’s construction industry to become an even more active part of the Indian growth story.”
Adding further he said, “Most of industry practices concrete construction and an important element in that construction methodology is Formwork, which is one of the most time-consuming element of cast-in-place (CIP) concrete construction, which makes good planning absolutely essential for that form of construction. With new software capabilities and enhanced visualisation, coordination and communication made possible by the constructible formwork models, contractors can speed up the formwork planning and save time, prevent mistakes and streamline the formwork operations on site. Tech can thus play a meaningful role in ensuring timely and quality project delivery, while ensuring a profitable business.”
“The Indian market has been slow to adapt to this global technologystandard; however, we are seeing a growing interest, particularly among the large and more progressive construction companies towards adopting such technologies in their organizations,” said, Pareek.
Challenges and remedial measures:
According to Pareek, the only challenge for Indian construction sector is the internal readiness of a large number of construction companies to capitalise on this massive opportunity; they cannot afford to continue with inefficient, analogue and old-school processes in the face of competition from the bigger industry players who are increasingly tech-driven. The construction industry is inherently wasteful as compared to all other businesses. Trimble’s solutions address this challenge with an aim to correct the amount of time and money lost in a construction process. Only Trimble serves the entire lifecycle, supporting customers at every phase of a buildings project with purpose built solutions; connecting hardware and software together, with people and projects.”
Talking on the technologies that can streamline the construction processes, Pareek, revealed, “We believe there shall be a greater adoption of cutting-edge technologies/processes like Constructible BIM, cloud-based collaboration tools like Trimble Connect and even augmented or mixed reality tools like Microsoft HoloLens. This trend of leveraging tech is expected to further accelerate in the coming months and years as a larger mass of Indian construction companies catch up with the industry’sbest practices in the developed countries.”
Real Estate coming of age:
Pareek, anticipates a growing market for construction technology solutions as the next generation real estate professionals are naturally tech-savvy and also aware of widespread global adoption of these solutions.
“The young guns of realty sector are not only open to embracing processes like Constructible BIM and other technologies, but also understand that it is imperative to do so in order to remain profitable in an increasingly competitive world. The younger lot learns a lot about tech through training, whether in college or authorised training centres, and we remain committed to equipping the next generation professionals with the technical knowledge they need to succeed in their roles,” opined, Pareek.
Recently, Trimble unveiled a Pan-India training program to train the next-generation professionals for the AEC industry. With strategic alignment with major engineering colleges across India and a vast network of authorised training centres (ATCs) in 17 cities, Trimble has so far trained and certified over 700 professionals through its ATCs, and aims to grow this number to 10,000 professionals by 2020.
Construction Technology: Need of the hour
India is witnessing high urban population growth but India’s per-capita urban infrastructure spending is very low, which has so far constrained growth in the real estate market. Opting for new age building construction technologies like pre-engineered or pre-fabricated buildings can help real estate developers achieve unprecedented savings throughout a project’s lifecycle; thus boosting their bottom line. Furthermore, other problems associated with building construction like poor quality control, delayed deliveries and costs overruns can be eliminated to a large extent by using these technologies.
Pareek chalked out that how construction technologies such as Constructible Bim, can translate into positive ROI for most users. He instated that smaller firms who believe such technologies are relevant only for larger players, can also immensely benefit from these technologies.
More effective marketing – Being able to present prospects with a visually stunning 3D model in lieu of the same-old mock-ups can be an impressive differentiator.
Closing more deals – 3D visualization not only impresses prospects, but it can more accurately and effectively convey ideas in a plan.
Level the playing field – By adopting BIM, smaller firms can more effectively compete with much larger firms for bigger clients and projects. Without BIM capabilities, many larger jobs and clients are not even an option.
Build client trust – Working with 3D models provides customers with the most accurate mental image of the finished product. This accuracy extends to materials purchasing, fabrication, scheduling, and more. This improves the client’s level of trust in estimates and recommendations, which, in turn, leads to more returning customers and positive referrals.
Work more efficiently –an industry study highlights that most project teams using BIM processes experience reduced project error (61 percent), reduced time required for communication (55 percent), greater project visibility and client input (52 percent), and higher quality projects (52 percent). 3D modelling shortens the feedback loop across the board and eliminates the potential for errors inherent in every copy of drawings made by a human detailer. All of this translates to faster, higher quality projects that cost less and are worth more.
Avoid outsourcing – Many smaller firms bridge the gap by outsourcing their BIM needs as they come up. This is certainly a better option than trying to ignore its need in today’s construction world, but outsourcing brings some negative aspects with it as well.
Disruptive Technologies to aid the real estate biz:
Talking about different solutions that Trimble brings for different stakeholders of realty sector, Pareek, said,, “ For architects, Trimble offers TeklaSketchUp Pro, a popular name in 3D conceptualization, visualization, communication, and planning. It is the most widely used tool for conceptual design amongst professionals and enthusiasts. Furthermore, Trimble Solutions India’s flagship product,Tekla Structures’ a Constructible BIM software, enables management of accurately detailed, highly constructable three-dimensional structural models, that span the entire building process from conceptual design to fabrication and construction management. It is the most loved software amongst the global and Indian fraternity of structural engineers and countless number of marque buildings in India and across the world have been designed and engineered using TeklaStructures.Furthermore, by bringing in Cloud-connected collaboration tools, Trimble has been changing the way the global construction industry works. Trimble Connect, the company’s solution-agnostic platform is remarkable for its ability to seamlessly work and integrate a comprehensive range of software products and solutions used by different stakeholders in the construction industry.”
On a concluding note, Pareek said, “Trimble Buildings sees itself as the industry’s partner and always aims to offer solutions that blend ground breaking innovations and practical features to solve today’s business problems – helping the industry achieve transformative results.”