Monday, May 23, 2022

Table of Contents for PEB & ROOFING

Interaction - Kiran C Tenny, CEO & Founder Steelion Infra Solutions



Our inhouse and unique Hybrid Composite Prefab Technology (HCT) is India’s first and a game changer in the construction space.


STEELION is an Infratech company with an edge creating unique prefab products and construction systems to deliver faster, efficient and sustainable projects. In an exclusive interview to CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES, KIRAN C TENNY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER & FOUNDER, STEELION INFRA SOLUTIONS PVT. LTD, speaks about the latest trends, his company’s areas of expertise, new launches and a lot more.



Briefly give us an overview of the PEB & Roofing industry, latest trends, market dynamics and sector challenges.

Faster construction, safety and sustainability, and cost efficiency as compared to conventional construction methods – these are some of the most appealing factors that are making prefab construction one of the most favoured methods for companies and the users as well. Technology will become the mainstay in modern, high specification buildings. Finding the right mix of smart technology, automation and robotics across the most productive building footprint will grow its prominence alongside Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G. At Steelion, we are armed with new-age technology solutions to deliver to our customers an impeccable construction facility, which is far superior in quality and extremely sustainable. I believe that in a few years, if construction companies don’t opt for offsite, modular and prefab construction as a significant portion of their business model, they will find it increasingly difficult to survive. While challenges persist just like any other industry, the opportunities that this segment is poised to offer, far outweigh those bottlenecks. I am quite bullish about the future of prefab in the country.



Detail us about the areas of expertise of your company in the PEB & Roofing industry.

We have a strong legacy in trading & construction and have built a stellar reputation as a pioneering turnkey steel building contractor and PEB manufacturer. By familiarizing prefab technologies across segments in our operating markets, we have taken a leadership position in South India and want to extend this leadership across India by 2026. Our next-gen, cost-efficient, and high-performance buildings are best suited for Indian conditions. We are R&D focused to develop innovative solutions in the construction field. Our game changing Hybrid Composite Prefab Technology (HCT) which combines the four construction material systems including prefabricated steel, precast concrete, light gauge steel and RCC casting in site bears testimony to our dedication towards bringing innovative solutions by building standout projects for the benefit of the clients especially considering their long-term investment returns.

We believe our clients’ time is money and hence we do not waste time in superficial, laborious, time-consuming business decisions. We have been successful so far as we work in a startup mode with an ever-enthusiastic agile team who are passionate about providing the highest level of service to our clients. With our Design-Build and Construction Services business model, we offer our clients the following one-stop services which are unique in the construction industry.

  • Product development by constantly innovating and creating unique prefab products
  • EPC/ Design-Build Project Execution where we execute design-build and customized industrial and non-industrial real estate projects
  • Manufacture and supply model where we supply products and solutions to large EPC builders/ building contracting companies
  • Real Estate Solutions where we bridge the gap between landowners and corporate end users by providing joint development programs (JDP) and property management programs (PMP).

Our end-to-end service ensures efficient coordination, Zero Blame Game, and Zero Time & Cost Overruns. As a turnkey building solution provider, Steelion offers end-to-end solutions to its clients on the back of the specialized design, fabrication, erection, procurement, and project management teams.



What are the USPs of your products and services vis-à-vis competition? Highlight the Green virtues of your products.

We operate in the prefab category which consists of large players like L&T and others. These companies usually manage projects with a value of more than INR 100 crores, whereas our focus market is smaller ticket projects. There is a huge market potential for this segment. Currently, pre-engineered building methodology is restricted to larger projects and is beyond the reach of SMEs. To harness the full potential of Prefab Technology, it should be embraced in design-build construction and made equally accessible to this underserved segment of SMEs in addition to the larger projects. For the past few years, we have been nurturing the SME segment by offering turnkey services which is still a white space for them. We are also using technology to build efficiency which ensures a strong client following and increases stickiness to our services. Our inhouse and unique Hybrid Composite Prefab Technology (HCT) is India’s first and is a game changer in the construction space. HCT is geared towards delivering efficiency even after a project is completed and causes far less emissions than conventional systems.

Our Manufacturing strategy involves usage of mobile factories to reduce transportation cost. Currently all these manufacturing units are near tier 1 cities. Mobile factories cater to tier 2 and 3 cities which builds cost-efficiency and reduces emission. For us, every single project is unique, which requires a distinctive approach based on our esteemed clients’ requirements. Unlike other prefab service providers, we use systems based on the project requirements, which has given us an edge over others in the industry. Our R&D team is continuously working towards building energy efficient projects. HCT also ensures that during the construction process there is minimal wastage and landfill. The very premise of Steelion is based on enhancing sustainable expanse in construction and every process we follow; we make sure that our projects are sustainable from the word go.  



Provide us details on the new products launched or being launched by your company.

We have developed the Hybrid Composite Flat Slab System, which is India’s first and we are the only construction company offering it as of date. Flat slab system improves flexibility in design and increases usable space.



Detail us on your emphasis on technology, research, design and innovation?

Our technical team is constantly working towards developing new products to meet specific requirements for each of our clients.  Our aim is to develop new systems to bring more efficiency in prefab. We are working on partnering with institutions in India, creating certifications for products and systems to build prefab systems more efficiently than existing ones. In India where very few companies in the construction industry are involved in R&D, we are trying to bridge this gap. 



Give us an understanding about the company’s approach towards adopting best construction practices and technologies that has contributed in strengthening its footprint in India?

The last 24+ months have taught us many lessons- ‘Disrupt the Disruptions’ and how could we do that? By making incremental changes in our business and introducing radical ideas in the construction space. This was the sole idea when we started Steelion – a new-age construction company with Prefab as its EDGE! Prefabrication simplifies the building process, breaking it into fewer building phases, which eventually minimizes the chances of error and gives our customer improved assurance by delivering at 2X speed. PEB and Modular construction are no longer about simply stacking precast concrete panels into monotonous structures. At Steelion,  HCT combines the four construction material systems including prefabricated steel, precast concrete, light gauge steel and RCC casting in site which allows our clients to have multiple advantages such as design customization for their projects, enhanced space management, very high flexibility for renovation, improved fire and seismic performance, easy MEP integration and many other benefits. We also ensure that all these advantages are delivered to our clients cost-efficiently. I firmly believe that the early adopters of PEB and innovations in construction will be the Construction Leaders of Tomorrow.



Tell us about your landmark and recent ongoing projects in India – location, size, investment, technologies used etc.

Let me highlight our latest project win- in Hyderabad, where we have recently signed LOI for constructing two manufacturing factories with a value of INR 50 Crores and total area of 3.5 lakhs sq ft.

Among the notable projects we have completed is Ramakrishna Hospital project in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, which is a first of its kind steel 7 storey building with 70,000 sq feet space. In Tiruppur, we are involved in the design, construction and finishing of eight Hybrid Composite warehouse buildings for Sulochana Group. In Kerala, we are leading the design and construction of the Hybrid Composite Commercial Building for Arjuna Naturals located in Aluva and in Smart City, and the IT building at Maratt Tech Park.

In Angamali (in Ernakulam district, Kerala), we are the construction partner to Unisis Group, and are readying a Smart Logistic Park spread approximately 6.2 acres. This Logistics Park enjoys the advantage of being easily accessible by road (NH544), and is in close proximity to the railway station (Angamali, Chalakudy and Aluva), airport (Cochin International Airport) and seaport (Vallarpadam), contributing significantly towards the most preferred logistics proposition. It holds the capability of being turned into a distribution hub for the whole of Kerala due to its central location and its accessibility via the different transportation channels. Both Steelion and Unisis are passionate about technological innovation and this is being reflected in the Smart Logistics Park project as well.



Give us a critical assessment on the technology trends driving the construction practices in India?

The lack of adoption of technology is a major factor affecting the construction industry in India today. Currently, construction companies invest less than 1% of revenue for technology which results in delivery delays, cost overruns, high wastages, poor quality projects, and higher operational costs.

In addition to the Construction Technology advancements mentioned above, we at Steelion are taking a leadership role in integrating Information Technology for seamless project delivery and transparency between all the stakeholders. We are strengthening our operations support system to improve efficiency in our processes by integrating our partners and internal teams to ensure easy transfer of information between them. By onboarding the MSME manufacturing companies on our platform, we are also empowering them by giving access to our state-of-the-art systems, procedures, regional and global best practices. Having the Regional Channel Partners in the same system will increase business development opportunities and provide administrative and after sales service to our clients. This ecosystem will be working with BIM to integrate 3D models to communicate, design, manufacture and complete the construction process. 

We continuously take inspiration from global companies where smart technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), are fast gaining prominence in the construction space. Architects are using big data and complex algorithms to create standardized designs at pace, which can then be tested on a virtual platform to gauge the viability of the project and the associated costs, and can also ensure that the developer’s specific ideas and requirements are met with – resulting in faster decision making. The standardized components can then be produced in factories. By integrating digital, precise, and collaborative technologies with innovative, lightweight, and high-performance materials, designers can achieve breakthrough results. To contribute to a more sustainable and creative world, it is prudent to explore diverse and innovative offsite solutions.



What is your strategy in a price sensitive market like India?

Our technical team with their R&D process is always looking to make prefab more affordable and flexible. Also, there is a perception that prefab technology is expensive and beyond the reach of many companies. That is why we see pre-engineered building methodology being more often adopted for larger projects. Due to this perception, the SME segment is largely neglected, and they follow the conventional construction model. With our better understanding of the SME segment and our legacy in tier 2 and 3 markets, we see a huge opportunity here to build awareness to this segment about Prefab and HCT including how they could benefit on cost.  

The SME sector makes up for 33.4% of India’s output in manufacturing, giving employment to around 120 million Indians, according to CII. There are 63.4m SME units and they form 30% of India’s GDP. By catering to this market segment and focusing on projects that are worth up to 100 crores we are seeing a huge opportunity to increase our market share. To harness the full potential of Prefab Technology, it should be embraced in design-build construction and made equally accessible to small and medium sized projects in addition to the larger projects. HCT methodology helps make design-build construction using prefab technology available to all business segments and categories, including those that are currently underserved, in a very cost-efficient way.



Which are the areas which drive your business and what are the growth drivers and opportunity zones?

With growth in ecommerce and its demand during the pandemic, we have seen an increase in demand for the warehouse space. The warehousing market in India is expected to grow by ~15% between 2021 and 2025 and leasing of warehousing space is expected to reach 100m sqft. by 2023 from 32m sqft. in 2019. 3PL players are capitalizing on this opportunity by building logistics and distribution centres to stock inventory for e-tailers. This has given rise to the demand for warehouses and logistics parks in India.

There is a dearth of grade A warehouses and logistics parks in India with 64% skew towards grade B warehouses. It is more pronounced in South India with not a single grade A logistics park in Kerala. This is one area that we are currently focusing on.

Also, the government has taken several initiatives like the Make in India drive, as a result of which Indian conglomerates and global giants are in the process of setting up manufacturing plants in India. The Indian budget 2022 has also given a boost to the manufacturing and construction sector.  In 2021, Cushman and Wakefield’s 2021 Global Manufacturing Risk Index showed India emerging as the second most sought after manufacturing destination across the world indicating the growing interest shown by manufacturers in India as a preferred manufacturing hub over other countries.

Post pandemic, there is also an increase in demand for  co-working spaces, elderly homes and commercial office spaces. Floor extensions for hospitals and educational institutions are also in demand. At Steelion, our resources, technology and expertise are geared towards meeting the increasing demand for commercial offices, hospitals, factories, luxury apartments, logistics parks, educational institutions, or any other critical construction project. 

As a customer-first prefab construction company, Steelion always ascertains that clients’ requirements are met with perfection and are in strict adherence to the due diligence. Our promise is to deliver sustainable buildings with maximum usable space, better design efficiency, compressed project timelines and lifetime cost benefit.



Future outlook for the industry and from a company perspective

It’s heartening to see the Central Government’s continued thrust on bringing new-age construction practices, more so infusing a vigour into prefab housing with a vision to achieve projects like ‘Housing For All’ by 2022. Such timely measures will only strengthen the scope and expanse of prefab companies in the country.  The Prefab industry currently forms less than 1% of the overall Indian building construction market. It is expected to grow to 5% or $25B in volume by 2027. We are gearing up for this growth and our vision is to be the number 1 prefab company in India.

Now is the time for construction companies to make bold decisions on how and where to play in this exciting era and change the way we think of prefabrication to drive sustainable growth of construction in the country.

Steelion is positioned as a futuristic construction company. By introducing and adapting to newer technologies and
innovation in prefab, it is just a matter of time before Steelion becomes synonymous with the concept of “Manufactured Building” in India.

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