Under Construction

 

In the last five years, the Ready-Mix Concrete industry has grown phenomenally. In view of the rapid growth in infrastructure projects and urbanisation, and in line with the increase inconstruction activity, Godrejís Construction Department has already set up two Plants in Mumbai,
and plans to extend its presence in the south as well.

The
 

ince the birth of civilization, man has been in search of material that can be effectively used to build a roof over his head and provide shelter for his family. For over 150 years, Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) structures have been developed, designed and used for a variety of constructions. Today, this material is used not only for high-rise residential buildings, but also for large residential complexes, temples, monuments, etc.

RCC is basically a combination of two materials ?steel and concrete. Steel is a factory-made item and comes with a test certificate. Historically, the Godrej name has been associated with steel. The second-most important ingredient in RCC ?concrete ?was found to be lacking in quality and strength because of the vagaries of nature. In 1997, a fully computerised batching plant was installed at Vikhroli, to cater to the in-house needs of the Construction Department and Security Equipment Division.

When we obtained the ISO-9001 certification for our Total Quality Management System in March 1997, and subsequently ISO-14001 certification for our Environment Management System, we embarked on a path of enhancing the quality of our construction activities. We installed our first Ready-Mix Concrete (RMC) Plant in 1997 to cater to our in-house needs. As we were not able to effectively utilise the capacity of the batching Plant, we thought of introducing the concept in the Mumbai market and, today, we are among the top players in the field.

Concrete undoubtedly has been the best, most popular and cost-effective building material in use since the last century, and will remain the most comprehensive and useful building material in the new millennium. As concrete is not always used in an organised manner in our country, it is often criticised for its shortfalls, especially when RCC structures are exposed to severe environmental conditions and deteriorate prematurely. Mixing of concrete done at site is prone to human error. Poor quality materials, lack of quality and quantity control and disproportionate combining of raw materials may result in poor quality construction. Adopting RMC in both large and small projects will help the growth of this industry and cater to the needs of the construction industry.

In the last five years, we have developed our in-house competency and commitment to improve the performance of concrete, and we have created a niche for ourselves in the Mumbai and Pune RMC market.

The concept of RMC, though widely popular abroad, is yet to gain full acceptance in India. The RMC industry consumes 76 per cent of the cement produced in the U.S., as compared to barely 5 per cent in India. The RMC industry in India is still lagging behind its Asian neighbours such as Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

    Composition of Ready-Mix Concrete.

Adding Value
Ready-Mix Concrete was patented in Germany in 1903. However, the present-day concept of the Transit Mixer was born in 1926. The first concrete mix offsite plant was put up in the U.S. in 1930, but the first set of specifications for setting up a plant was published in America in 1933. At that time, only 5 per cent of the total cement production in the U.S. was used as Ready-Mix Concrete. However, today in the U.S., the Ready-Mix Concrete Industry consumes 75 per cent of the cement produced.

When we introduced RMC in Mumbai, we had to concentrate on creating a positive image in the market, as this is a value-added product. The use of RMC relieves the Project Manager of the trouble of buying raw materials and juggling the handling and proportioning on site. RMC also eliminates multi-transportation of raw materials and thus reduces cost. Today when the construction industry is moving at a faster pace, RMC is picking up and effectively replacing concrete made on site. It also helps in speedy construction through programmed delivery at site with mechanised operation, which is more economical.
 

A Transit Mixer at the RMC Plant.

Our modern fully-automated computerised batching Plant controls the aggregates and the cement by weight; it also measures the moisture content of sand and, accordingly, adjusts the water:cement ratio. This is important in determining the porosity of the matrix, which determines the strength and the characteristics of concrete. Concrete has a highly heterogeneous, complex structure. The lifecycle of the concrete starts at the batching Plant where technologies of matching mixes to suit the design requirements have enabled producers of RMC to provide exactly what the building constructors and road and bridge contractors require for their project. This can be done by studying the clients?needs, specifications and standards, and by developing features and processes accordingly.

Our major customers are builders and contractors of repute in Mumbai such as the Rahejas, Hiranandani, Golani Brothers, Godrej Properties, B.E. Billimoria, Runewal Construction and contractors working on Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority projects. In Pune, the list includes Devi Constructions, Sumashilp Constructions and Godrej Properties. Last year our sales turnover was Rs. 30 crores, and this year it is expected to cross Rs. 45 crores. With the support of our top Management, we are confident of crossing the Rs. 100 crore mark in the next three years.

In the last five years the RMC industry has grown phenomenally. In view of the rapid growth in infrastructure projects and urbanisation, and in line with the increase in construction activity, we have already set up two Plants in Mumbai, and plan to extend our presence in the south in Bangalore city. This is not the end of the story. We have a constant desire to improve the performance of concrete; with research activities being carried out in the industry, we are optimistic that concrete has a great future. The product will be superior in strength and quality in the years to come. This can only be achieved if concrete manufacturing is carried out in an industrialised manner in RMC Plants suitably located in every urban agglomerate. Concrete has definite advantages over steel, being cost-effective, fire-resistant and ecologically stable. If this material is properly produced ?with excellence in the design and execution ?it will meet the demanding standards of performance. Concrete, therefore, has a bright future.

We have a dream, a dream to excel and exceed all expectations and be a major player in this value-added service industry and contribute handsomely to the growth and profitability of our Company.

Maneck H. Engineer
 

 

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