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Building New India

Having created marvels & landmarks, Larsen & Toubro Construction stands out as the leading construction conglomerate in India that has built the largest, tallest, biggest & smartest infrastructures across India and the world. Their iconic constructions stand testimony to the unique and magnificent capabilities of Larsen & Toubro Construction.
To Speak about their experience with unique Steel Structures and their future, we have with us Mr. V. Balaji, Head of Tendering and Contracts, Public Spaces, Airports & Factories Strategic Business Group, Larsen & Toubro Construction…

What’s your take on working with Indian stakeholders when it comes to the steel industry?
The western countries have been far ahead with respect to steel whereas India is just in the developing phase. Vendors there give complete solutions including the design, methodology, and/ or execution part of it. Whereas in India we are still giving contracts to fabricators for just manufacturing the structure or parts of the structure. We have to move forward and as we adapt and erect more and more steel structures; the necessary change will come and we will catch up.

What are the major concerns of construction with steel, especially with PEB and how can India as a whole address the issue?
PEB is of course a very important part of steel structure construction but if you specifically call for PEB, then my holistic suggestion would be not to look into it from the perspective of just steel; it should be holistically considered as a building. Once the PEB structure is erected, there are still a lot of things that are to be constructed on top of it.

All the additional construction and installations have to be taken into account while erecting a PEB structure so that the fixtures and other parts can be integrated as a whole unit. This in turn will help us to enhance the construction speed.

Indian Construction is on steady growth and many sectors will turn the tables for India and what role can the steel construction industry play in India in the set growth in the coming years?
The Indian construction industry is rapidly growing and if we want speed of construction then steel is the best solution. There are a lot of requirements at the infrastructural end, one of which is logistics. For example, in bridges or steel-based buildings amongst others, there are different types of steel used. Logistics plays a vital role in procuring all those different kinds of steel and getting them together at one location for manufacturing and/ or construction.

Another important catalyst for growth is CAPEX. Investment is directly proportional to the increasing number of buildings and the speed at which the construction is finished and there is no better choice than steel for such structures.

What are your biggest challenges while working on steel construction in India? And what according to you is your best steel project in India?
As far as challenges are concerned, the entire spectrum starting from the designing to the commissioning part needs to be a little more mature. As we go along, we have to focus more on the detailing part of it. This has to start from the Conceptual stage. So one who invests whether the developer or the owner or the govt, they have to come forward to standardize the specification and cater this to needsome.

Next, to give importance to steel, more benefits need to be given to the steel industry that would enable the decision-makers to think of steel as the preferred alternative to concrete. Another important point is MSMEs, all these manufacturers, steel suppliers, fabricators, directors and likewise, they have to get more experienced and mature in all these things.

All our projects are very close to my heart, but the Statue of Unity located in Kevadia, Gujarat, is one of the unique and engineering marvels made of steel. At 182 meters, the SoU will be the tallest statue in the world. This Project assimilated 6,500 tonnes of structural steel.

What is your message for the new generation who are willing to step into the steel industry?
My message to the new generation would be to focus on the process and not on the result because you will come across lots of challenges and you need to address the issues accordingly. You should work on the quality, execution and on methodology, thus focusing on the process and success will follow.

What is your mantra for success?
Like I said, believe in the process and pursue excellence and keep doing the work for the satisfaction that gets derived from it.

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