07 August 2020

Company Focus

Our mantra is to be among the top three construction companies in the country


Within a very short span of time, Mumbai headquartered Capacit’e Infraprojects Ltd. – whose tagline reads ‘innovation meets engineering excellence’ – has emerged as a leader in the construction of high-rise buildings, ultra-modern townships, hotels, malls, stadiums and allied infrastructure. With a new government catapulted at the Centre in New Delhi, SHRIKANT RAO met RAHUL KATYAL, MANAGING DIRECTOR, CAPACIT’E INFRAPROJECTS LTD to obtain a perspective of his company’s plans to contribute to the India Growth Story.    


Give us an understanding of the contours of the Capacit’e Group and the role it is playing in the infrastructure development space?

We are a young company under experi-enced hands. The entire group is divided into three companies: Capacite Infraprojects, wherein we take up all RCC jobs, civil jobs involving construction of buildings; Pratibha Pipes and Structures, which is our heavy engineering division wherein we do all heavy engineering fabrication works. We have our factory at Wada, 80 km from here, where we do fabrication of about 30,000 MT per annum. Capacite Engineering is another support for the company wherein we take on all MEP and finishes work separately. We basically follow a lock and key kind of concept.


Will you expand on the company’s lock and key approach?

What was happening for all these years is that civil engineering contractors or companies who exist for building construction, used to do RCC and then the client used to have separate contracting companies for MEP and finishes. That is now slowly getting faded out. Clients now expect lock and key solutions. Contracting companies now need to graduate, and build in expertise to offer lock-and-key services because you can’t just use sub-contractors and think you will be able to deliver. You need to have quality control systems; also a planning department which is experienced and able to look at multiple activities. I would say all this involves more complex planning and expertise than just concrete and steel that building construction companies normally get into. The basic purpose of Capacite Engineering is to eventually graduate to lock-and-key. We are based at Mumbai and in Delhi (which is Gurgaon) and Bengaluru we have our sites and zonal offices.


Tell us about some of your main projects, their features, and your current order book position?

To start with, we have an order book of Rs.3500 crore from the building works alone – we are mainly focussed on the high rise segment. We are doing Lodha Splendora which is a group of 13 buildings of G+31 for the Lodhas. This is all aluminium formwork we are using – MIVAN – and the project is divided into phases so it’s like 6 buildings and then the balance. And along with the buildings we have the MLCP or the Multiple Level Car Park. That we are doing separately. It is a full township. We are also doing India’s tallest residential tower at Altamount Road. It is a steel structure, 206 m tall with a crown on top. The central core is hydraulic climb form. We bought the entire technology from Doka.  Work at the site is in full swing and when it gets completed, we will be the only company in India which would have done a structural steel building of that height which is a residential tower. It is one of the most premium buildings in India. We won this job in an international competition. For Hiranandani we are doing The Walk in Thane. We are doing six buildings.  Then we are doing four buildings of G+36 at Worli and Oshiwara.  We are doing India’s tallest twin tower which is The Park. Tower 1 and Tower 2 has been done by Billimoria; Tower 3 and 4 we are doing. The fourth tower happens to be Mumbai’s first Trump Tower. Here the technology which we are doing – we have partnered with Doka – is a 100 per cent hydraulic platform.  We are going to finish this project in 42 months. This one project if we would have been constructing in Dubai or anywhere else in the world you could not have used any further technology.  That says it all. This is the top of the line technology that anyone anywhere could use. We’ve got Luffing cranes and placer booms on top; we’ve got high-speed passenger material hoists. We got hydraulic screens in the building which is covered so that you will feel safe while walking.
We are doing Serenity, a project of 2 buildings of 65 floors in Malad; Neelkanth is a big township we are doing in Thane, again system formwork and totally engineered.  We are doing Rise for Ramprastha in Gurgaon, Lotus Espacia for 3C Cloud 9 in Noida. We are doing Emaar MGF: Phase 1 is being by Shapoorji, Phase 2 by us and Phase 3 by JMC. In all these three projects the concept is lock-and-key. Paras is an iconic project in Gurgaon. We are doing a hospital in Patna for the government. In the South we are doing KMB through CBRE Consultants. Unishire is an iconic building in Bengaluru with the same designer who is doing the Altamount Washington House. Recently we have got about Rs.450 crore from Godrej now – about Rs.200 crore in Mumbai and Rs.250 crore in Delhi – so our order book should be around Rs.3500-3600 crore. This financial year we will be striking a turnover of around Rs.600 crore plus for sure.


What are the best practices and systems you have introduced in your projects?

We have a very robust safety and quality departments which actually report to the management. We have standard operating procedures for site set up, whether it is for offices or labour colony, whether it is laboratories etc. are all covered under the standard operating procedure of the company. So whether you see this site, or you go to our any other site, this is standardised.  As company policy in terms of technology we are using only system formwork. We do not use anything conventional. So as a process in our company once we have our tender, then we first work out the construction pattern which is the construction method statement. We have an engineering team of about four people who only work on formwork systems in-house. We do not rely on system providers like Doka, R&D or Ulma. We have our own team that actually decides what we are going to use.  What are we trying to do in the process, for instance, is to eliminate carpentry work at site, so that we do not rely on the skill sets of carpenters. So when we talk about using technology, actually we are trying to bring quality through a system driven procedure. So when you go to our projects you will find quality which is system driven. It is not that if you have a good project manager on site, you will have a quality product and if the project manager changes the quality is gone. Then there is no purpose of an organisation. Quality, in my view, is all about process. 


Is that the case always?

That is normally the case when you rely on technology like we do here. Like for example the formwork you see in our presentation is all engineered by our team here. So when you fit it properly, or when you put clams and align it, you do not need to worry about the quality because it is an engineered product. Because of the kind of attrition you see in the Indian construction industry – that’s the biggest challenge here – how can you actually think you are going to deliver quality if you are going to make conventional shuttering at site and not use certain system formworks?  If you see the retaining wall quality you will see there is absolutely no bulge. It is actually a true form finish. You can actually do Birla putty and paint it so it will look like a POP finish. That is what we are achieving on concrete surface. We are not putting any additional effort, in fact actually reducing. The result is we have less quality crisis in the company.

We have a rollout of programmes within the company. We have rolled out a housekeeping and materials management programme for three months. We have appointed a consultant, Matthew Grand, who is at every site training our Indian workers in systems which are of international standards. So we are actually trying to change the mindset. Such is the safety levels at our construction sites that you can actually walk barefoot. We are also looking at how to reduce construction waste. Construction waste is not only dirt; it is waste of time, also in terms of possible damage to construction equipment and house-keeping and as a potential safety hazard. How do we attend all these issues? This is what the programme we have rolled out and this is what results we get.

We are doing aluminium formwork projects for Wadhwa and we are doing for RR. This is the first time in India we are doing rehab which is actually going to be one of the largest projects in India. It is actually 18 buildings of 23 floors where we are going to use tunnel form; tunnel formwork is a technology which we bought from Turkey but again it is engineered by us and Mahimtura is the structural consultant. So this will give you three-days a cycle, because what happens is with this you reduce your labour strength by at least 60 per cent and you increase productivity. So actually, it is a technology which was first started in UK by a company named Outinord and it is being used in the US and Turkey for mass housing. It is the cheapest way of building mass housing, is a composite construction. So you are not compromising on quality because the concrete and steel remain the same. It is actually an art of how to design a project where tunnel form can be used. It is nothing but a shutter. This is actually one of the best systems for mass housing there is huge time advantage, cost advantage, reduction in manpower.


What are advantages, agewise, of using such technology?

According to me, if you use tunnel form in mass housing projects, the construction cost of RCC will reduce by at least 10 per cent, and there would be 50 per cent minimum drop in manpower requirement. That is a huge benefit in the current scenario.


Tell us about your manufacturing facilities? 

Pratibha Pipes is currently among the top three in India. We got two plants in Wada, one is on about 40 acres, the other is on 20 acres. We are basically manufacturing heavy steel structures for the purpose of power plants, ports, jetties, industrial uses etc. So currently we are doing about 10,000 tonnes for Reliance at Jamnagar. We are doing work for Doosan and for Mitsubishi. We are exporting to Saipem, France, and to a lot of other European companies. The equipment base of this company is at par with any other international company. The quality standards are international because we are exporting. So we are now actually in expansion mode of Pratibha Pipes. Eventually the name of Prathibha Pipes will be changed to Capacit’e Engineering. So it will be one Capacite Group because it creates confusion with Pratibha Industries. The plants are very well maintained and capable of handling very large, heavy consignments. They are equipped with blasting units, CNC cutting lines, forming lines, straightening lines, machining, CNC cutting, CNC grilling and so on.  One of the reasons why we are getting into steel structures is because we are the only company in India, which has civil strength and steel structure strength in-house. None of the civil engineering companies in India has that. And that is actually a very unique combination. It is not a planned combination, it is by default. Also we started the steel structure building years back. But now with steel technologies catching up we are one of the most experienced companies in India to be there.


You have the early mover advantage?

I would say the engineering team within the company understands how to manage such projects. Otherwise you are relying on somebody else. We actually started steel buildings way back when we constructed the Intercontinent al. We have done the Sahara stadium at Pune. If you look at competition there is JSW Severfield Structures Limited, Eversendai Construction Pvt. Ltd. and us. All three of us are competing, fighting very strongly for the Convention Centre at BKC. So with the past experience of the infra sector what we are trying to do is actually trying to specialise. If you see Indian companies we try to do everything but we don’t specialise in anything. For example, in building a flyover, or doing a gas pipeline, or doing water pipeline or doing tunnelling, or doing building construction, everything is civil engineering but everything is different. An engineer who does buildings can’t do pipes. But Indian companies use everything for everything. And that is why there is a tremendous loss in efficiency and productivity. So what we actually did was from experience of the last 21 years. I was handling all types of projects for Prathibha –  metro, pipeline, irrigation projects, all departments, starting with the marketing departments to execution to procurement, to the department which builds the method statement. You can’t have one team knowing everything. So actually speaking you are compromising. When you are into one sector, and housing is one of the largest sectors, then you are able to generate efficiencies month by month. For example, the purchase department does the same thing month by month, so it tries to improvise what it is doing.

The result is that you are able to create a lean organisation, which is one of the biggest challenges in India. If you go to Europe, you will find a tunnelling company does various kinds of tunnels, a deep tunnel company does only that, a company who does metro tunnelling does only metro tunnelling, and that is why they are really able to make money. And that is one of the main reasons why we don’t intend to diversify. We will primarily focused on building construction. We will definitely add on technologies for building construction. So we are covering by and large the entire horizon of technologies, except precast. Pre-casting is very nascent in India and will take some time to actually catch up. So basically we have got more of technology construction. By the end of the year we will be bidding for government tenders. There will be a lot of mass housing and institutional buildings so a lot of building projects, which include IITs, IIMs, hospitals and housing, are going to come. And we will be by then balancing our order book – we expect to add another Rs.600 crore – this year we will be maintaining at around Rs.4,000 crore for the share of private and government sector both. Ours is a fairly young company though the team is old, very experienced. The government needs past track record and qualifications, so now by the end of the year we will have all that.


What is the age breakup of the private sector and government projects you are looking to bid?

The private sector will still remain at somewhere around 80 per cent. The reason being private companies appreciate performance and deliver quality. The government sector does not appreciate that. If you are qualified, whoever bids, whether you do quality job or not, the job is awarded because the tending system is such. But in private it not the L1 concept, that somebody who is the lowest will get the job, if you are actually able to quality and able to deliver on time, you will find your profitability and revenues keep on moving up. Another thing which is quite evident is that we are already into the super high rise segment. You see we are doing 90 floors 2 towers, we are doing 65 floors, and we are doing 50 floors in structural steel. One more project that we have is the Four Seasons, a 57 storey residential tower which is just behind the Four Seasons Hotel in Worli. So with these high rises in the  next two years we will be one of the three–four companies who are into super high rises, and super high rises is a separate breed; you need very high level of engineering capability to be there. And that segment will give you much higher profitability because it is a demanding project.


What are the special abilities you bring to the construction sector market place particularly in high rise segments?

In the case of high rises you need to first work on a detailed plan of its constructability, on logistics, on the vertical transport mechanism; decide on the position and number of tower cranes to install. And to decide the numbers you need to do a time cycle study, a hook crane time analysis on how much reinforcement you are going to pick up, how many shutters you are going to pick up, whether the numbers are sufficient or more is required. You also need details such as how many hours the crane is going to be occupied. There is a detailed engineering for everything you try to do, how many concrete pumps you use, what is the kind of capacity of equipments you are going to establish on the structure. It is not a very typical 10, or 20 floor building, which anyone can build by putting a shuttering and keep on going. If you go wrong in placing your equipment, and the method statement, you have had it. It is very difficult to retrieve. It’s a challenge to dismantle the tower crane on the 90th floor.

There is a procedure behind it. It is not something someone will pick up and remove it. So there is a method statement for everything that you do. There is a very exhaustive engineering study which you have to do before you start the job. Like, if you have heavy raft concrete, it will be a temperature controlled concrete. So you need to have a method on how you are even going to pour the concrete; otherwise it will crack because you are using very high grade concrete. We are talking of M60 and M70, where there are casting rafts of 2m-3m at a time. Like at the Park where we have poured raft of 5,000 cu. m. There we had 60 transit mixers on the job at a stroke and 4 pumps and one placer boom. When we are doing that kind of mass concreting, we have to careful on our sequencing. There is a lot of heat in the concrete, so we have to control the temperature. It is called temperature controlled concrete, so it is a detailed method statement. It is a totally different animal. It is for those reasons that we have very cautiously entered the market into this segment. The people supporting us have believed in us Capacite, as a company which is slightly less than 2 years.


The govt has a huge agenda to build new cities that are smart? What are you looking to do in the area of mass housing?

India faces a huge scarcity of skilled labour. To add-ress the requirements of mass housing it is better if we opt for pre-engineered and use new technologies. Structural consultants and architects have to design projects in such a way that the best of technologies in the world can be used so as to minimise dependence on labour. They can’t start designing and then decide what are they going to use to construct this. Actually in India there is a reverse engineering, we are actually going to first decide how are we going to build this and the architects and consultants have to work behind this. The government must look at technology in a big way. If they don’t look at technology and continue to throw up projects and tenders in a conventional format they will land up not completing the projects on time.
Of course we would be looking at the opportunities. There is a lot of design and build projects that will start. We are already talking to some international consultants for projects where we are going to tie up with them. We will restrict ourselves to geographies like Mumbai, Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru where we are already active. The business volumes, even if we want to touch
Rs.5000-6000 crore can come from this area, and too much of tier-2 and tier-3 cities will be a problem because the real estate prices are not very strong. There is always a possibility that with the smallest of jerk in the economy these projects could stall. It is for that reason that we generally pick up projects in the high rise segment in the cities where the construction cost is not dominant but where the land cost is dominant. The revenues are then secured.


What is the potential of application of technologies in the smallest cities?

For all mass housing, G+2 steel structures pre-engineered is a good option because they will not be expensive. When the govt speaks of housing for all by 2022, I don’t think it will be done the conventional way.  We have to use technologies like tunnel formwork there – they are the best for mass housing. But all of that is incumbent on the government to decide whether it wants to design projects which suit that technology as in the US and in Turkey.


So what is your outlook for the building construction business in the coming years?

In the coming years, close to 50 per cent of the population of India will be urbanised. With that happening, no building in Mumbai will be less than 50-60 floors. That means if we are efficient, we should not bother about business availability. As far as ambitions are concerned our mantra is to be among the top three in the country.      


15 September 2014

Jignasu Mehta

Dear Mr Rahul, you hit the nail and said tunnel formwork is technology for mass and fast housing needs. Great achivements! all the best for future. we wish you all success and we are with you.

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