“Disruptive Specialised Products Have Emerged
As Frontrunners In A Crowded Space”

 

Mr. Prashant Jha
Chief – Ready-Mix Concrete
Nuvoco Vistas Corp. Ltd.

Nuvoco Vistas Corp. Ltd. has been a part of the Indian construction landscape since 1999, through its cement business. The company has an established presence across all major cities and towns in India, with its close to sixty-five ready mix concrete plants in India. Mr. Prashant Jha, the head of the RMX Business, talks about Nuvoco’s excellence in the concrete sector.

 

Civil Engineering & Construction Review: How do you think the Union Budget for FY 2020-21, will impact the concrete industry?

Prashant Jha: To augment India’s infrastructure and create jobs, the government in the Union Budget launched Rs. 103 trillion worth of infra projects in addition to providing about Rs. 1.70 trillion for transport infrastructure and accelerating highways construction. The high allocation as proposed in the latest budget may meaningfully boost the demand for rural housing and infrastructure. The government’s budgetary push for infrastructure, logistics and warehousing will also be a shot in the arm for the industry. The emphasis on highways and roads development is well-placed; it captures the priorities of economic development and an aspirational India. The emphasis on infrastructure development, 100 new airports and a focus on roads will go a long way to revive concrete demand. The budget aims at making growth more inclusive while retaining focus on the immediate priorities. Preference given to household, roads, railways, economic corridors, solar power, and an accelerated development of highways should help boost development and wealth creation. The sops provided in the affordable housing segment will further boost the concrete industry. As per the Prime Minister’s ambitious vision of ‘Housing for All by 2022’ relaxations offered in affordable housing to home buyers and developers alike will offer a large impetus. India is not just the second largest manufacturer of cement in the world; but it is also its second largest consumer. This certainly makes the sector crucial for the India growth story; that is derived from the burgeoning of the housing sector, which also indirectly benefits from the government public spending on infrastructure.


CE&CR: Nuvoco offers a range of Artiste Craft Concrete. In this context, is India’s construction sector ready for high-end RMC products having niche applications?

Prashant Jha: We keenly believe that India’s construction sector is more than ready for higher end and more sophisticated ready-mix concrete products and solutions. This has been evident from the nature of projects that even Nuvoco has been working on over the years. Currently also, a significant number of our projects come with very specific requirements that call for customising. The end-consumer, having been exposed to global trends and developments, is more discerning and demanding.

 

Nuvoco was one of the first to identify this progression, and we have been addressing it through our Construction Development and Innovation Centre (CDIC) based in Mumbai, which has emerged as our distinguishing feature. It is here where we research, analyse, experiment and address the gaps that we have identified in the market. The CDIC is also NABL accredited, which gives us access to over 55 internationally approved testing and analysis systems.

 

To illustrate, when Lodha started working on World One, the world’s tallest residential towers, we were the only ones in the country who could offer them concrete with M95 strength (which is unheard of even today). Artiste has paved the entry walkway of the Khodaldham Temple in Rajkot, which saw over 300,000 footfalls on the inaugural day. In Eastern India, we have been associated with Nazrul Tirtha in Kolkata, where Agile (free-flowing concrete) was used to carry out the intricate stencil work, which wasn’t possible with any other form of concrete. InstaMix, our ready-to-use bagged concrete, was chosen for the restoration of Elephanta Caves, a world heritage site off the coast of Mumbai. InstaMix, in a customised formula, was transported by sea saving considerable time, money and accompanying resources. The dome of the Amritsar Entry Gate (second largest after the Taj Mahal) has used Nuvoco’s XLite with Polibre to lighten the structure’s weight and control cracks. The Metro projects of Delhi, Mumbai, Noida, and Jaipur have all benefitted from our expertise in offering customised products and solutions based on a need-gap analysis. For instance, the underground tunnel section of the Mumbai Metro is created using precast concrete segments that are guaranteed to be last for 125 years.

 

CE&CR: What factors affect the choice of concrete products? Please elaborate on the specific variants opted by different sectors.

Prashant Jha: Concrete is the second-most consumed product after water, which makes it an innate part of our lives. With the rapidly evolving construction methods; disruptive specialised products have emerged as frontrunners in a crowded space. Nuvoco is a preferred building materials partner in the country since it swears by the three parameters that play an important role in selecting the ideal product/solution, i.e. offering assured quality, right-on-time delivery and being innovative (as evinced from our repertoire of varied customised solutions).

 

There are three main sectors which drive concrete requirement in India, namely, housing, industrial/commercial, and infrastructure; and Nuvoco offers solutions in each of them.

 

Housing: Housing is one of the most burgeoning sectors in India today. With the government push towards ‘Housing for All by 2022’ there will be a surge in demand for concrete in housing sector. As far the choice of concrete is concerned it depends a lot on the demography meaning a city like Mumbai where there is more of vertical structure High Performance Concrete (HPC) has emerged as a frontrunner. Today, it not only offers huge compressive strengths, above 65 MPa (classified by Indian Standard Codes as High Strength Concrete), but also imbibes structures with higher tensile strength, enhanced durability, and increased resistance to wear-and-tear. HPC is also designed to facilitate the efficient utilisation of resources, owing to which, columns built using HPC are considerably smaller in size, but big on strength. Nuvoco’s HPC is a specialised, innovative product, which has widespread applicability in the construction of complex buildings and infrastructure projects.

 

 

Close behind is self-compacting, levelling and placing concrete that has helped simplify the construction process, besides reducing the time and labour required. Owing to its potential for enhancing the aesthetics of structures, and the construction of both vertical and horizontal parts of buildings and edifices, it is getting rapidly adopted. Nuvoco’s Agile is one of the leading self-compacting, free-flowing concrete products, which is widely regarded by builders, structural consultants, and architects.

 

In the housing segment, repair and retrofitting of existing structures forms an important part. The mixing of dry-mix micro-concrete at the construction site is a major challenge that plagues repair contractors as well as clients, as it needs skilled labour and close supervision during the mixing process. As a result, the execution of such projects is usually quite slow. Hence, a ready to pour, pre-mixed, non-shrink wet micro concrete provides the perfect solution. Nuvoco’s InstaMix Microne has filled the niche in the growing market of repair and retrofitting of structures. For filling up sunken portions in a building/house or terrace overlay XLite is yet another popular product offered by us, which boasts of low density and thermal efficiency. Because of its short turnaround time and consistency in quality, it has become an excellent alternative to Brickbat coba. With a density of 800-1800 kg/m3, it also helps reduce the structural weight of a building. Another innovative solution, which is fast catching up amongst IHB’s is Structural XLite. It offers high strength and a density of 1000-1800 kg/m3, while being much lighter. The main advantages of structural grade lightweight concrete structure are lower dead load; improved seismic structural response; improved fire endurance, thermal and acoustic resistance. As a result, structural grade lightweight concrete can be used extensively in top floors of high-rise construction and adding storey/floors to existing buildings.

 

 

Close behind is self-compacting, levelling and placing concrete that has helped simplify the construction process, besides reducing the time and labour required. Owing to its potential for enhancing the aesthetics of structures, and the construction of both vertical and horizontal parts of buildings and edifices, it is getting rapidly adopted. Nuvoco’s Agile is one of the leading self-compacting, free-flowing concrete products, which is widely regarded by builders, structural consultants, and architects.

 

In the housing segment, repair and retrofitting of existing structures forms an important part. The mixing of dry-mix micro-concrete at the construction site is a major challenge that plagues repair contractors as well as clients, as it needs skilled labour and close supervision during the mixing process. As a result, the execution of such projects is usually quite slow. Hence, a ready to pour, pre-mixed, non-shrink wet micro concrete provides the perfect solution. Nuvoco’s InstaMix Microne has filled the niche in the growing market of repair and retrofitting of structures. For filling up sunken portions in a building/house or terrace overlay XLite is yet another popular product offered by us, which boasts of low density and thermal efficiency. Because of its short turnaround time and consistency in quality, it has become an excellent alternative to Brickbat coba. With a density of 800-1800 kg/m3, it also helps reduce the structural weight of a building. Another innovative solution, which is fast catching up amongst IHB’s is Structural XLite. It offers high strength and a density of 1000-1800 kg/m3, while being much lighter. The main advantages of structural grade lightweight concrete structure are lower dead load; improved seismic structural response; improved fire endurance, thermal and acoustic resistance. As a result, structural grade lightweight concrete can be used extensively in top floors of high-rise construction and adding storey/floors to existing buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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