- A Bimal Hegde, CEO, Chartered Housing
The Bengaluru real estate market has always been the cause of envy for developers across India. Speaking about the reasons for the city´s steady growth and how the quality of projects has been instrumental, A Bimal Hegde, CEO, Chartered Housing, elaborates upon the importance of branding and shares with CW his expansion plans and the need for quality data in understanding buyer preference.
Chartered Housing recently won the Brand Academy
Real Estate Award. How important is brand creation in the sector and what strategies do you employ to set your projects apart from the competition? The brand is very important in any sector as it reflects the qualities of the company. Chartered Housing stands for customer service, high-quality construction, transparency and the goodwill of a company that has completed over 30 projects in the past 25 years. In our projects, the focus is a lot on design and execution. We ensure clients are comfortable working with us even after the completion of the project. We take care of the customer well after registration of the project.
The Bengaluru market has shown steady demand in the residential segment despite slowdown in many cities across the country. What are the factors behind the sustained demand?
One of the main factors is pricing, as Bengaluru is a very price-conscious market and real estate developers in the region are aware of the same along with an eye for quality projects. So, there are good quality products available at the correct price. There is a steady growth of 12-15 per cent in the city, which covers the incremental costs of construction. The projects in Bengaluru are affordable, as even today, good projects are available for around Rs 5,000, leading to continuous demand and sales.
How do you study buyer preference to determine the ideal location for projects from apartments to luxury vilas?
A lot of research is undertaken to get data on the number of potential buyers for a particular project in a particular area - the presence of big companies, the inflow of people, the salary bracket of the people and the increments given out. These are some of the parameters studied while starting a project. Also, land price is also taken into account.
You also develop interiors and offer premium construction services in Bengaluru. How do such value-added services help?
The interiors services are predominantly provided to residential projects as an add-on facility for customers. It thus provides a single point of contact for coordination of all the interior needs of the customer, acting as an advantage. We also do interiors on a contractual basis. It is an additional selling point contributing to the bottom line, but it has more to do with the increase in efficiency of using the available infrastructure for allied purposes.
How important are green and sustainable practices to the company? Give examples of your projects.
Green and sustainable practices are very important to the company. The trend has taken off in the past two to three years but Chartered Housing has been conscious about green practices since almost 12 years. In our project Chartered Coronet, we undertook tree plantation, a practice followed in all our subsequent projects. Design elements and orientation of a structure play a vital role in making a structure green. In the past four to five years, we have provided STPs, solar power and rainwater harvesting in our projects.
How much do you invest in construction equipment annually? What is your requirement?
Our investment on equipment is low as lot of our projects are contracted. We focus on quality in our contractors and assess the quality of projects they have executed. We aim for premium quality for all our projects, which does not mean that they have to be expensive. Quality can be found in affordable housing as well. It means providing the best products in the most efficient manner.
Highlight the challenges faced in project execution along with suitable examples and solutions.
The availability of both skilled and unskilled labour is an issue the sector is grappling with. CREDAI is trying to ease the problem by setting up training centres that can improve the labour pool. It is important to use technology to subset the labour problem. Precast technology could be used; as it is manufactured elsewhere, it only requires assembly on site, thus reducing the need for labour. It is quicker and more efficient. It is something that is finding traction in the country where large-scale projects are concerned as it won´t be economically feasible for small projects.
How do you raise funds for your projects? How has the prevailing liquidity crunch affected your business?
At Chartered Housing, we believe in being very careful while launching projects, and being sensitive and reactive to the market. By monitoring our projects, we ensure that we do not over-launch projects or be below potential. So, the liquidity crunch is not something that is a cause of concern for us. We generate funds through internal and external means through funding institutions.
How do you view the growing demand for speciality contractors?
The technology available in India is not really up to the mark or it is expensive and not tailored for Indian needs. Technology, for example waterproofing, should be customised for a specific region. In terms of innovative technologies, contractors need to have executed projects so they have in-depth understanding on applications of the technology and help in growing acceptance of it. Speciality contractors are vital in providing quality services, especially in terms of large-scale projects.
What is your vision for Chartered Housing? Are there any plans for expansion in other segments or cities?
In the coming year, we aim to grow by 30 to 40 per cent as in the past year we have being planning projects; we do not believe in aggressively launching projects. We launched two projects last year with three more on the anvil this year, hence the upward projected growth. We will launch sensible and good projects that will sell faster. For the next three to four years, we are looking to expand in Tier-2 cities in Karnataka. Our vision for Chartered Housing for the next few years is to maintain steady growth and build a stronger brand. We are known for the quality of our projects and in the next few years, we would like to be known as one of the bigger players in the market and expand into other cities, leveraging our brand built in Bengaluru. At present, our focus is on the residential segment but we are open to expanding to other segments as well.
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Year of Establishment: 1989
Top Management (Promoters): Balakrishna Hegde, Bimal Hegde, Bhakti Hegde
No of Employees: 80+
Centre of Operation: Bengaluru
Ongoing projects: Humming Bird (luxury apartments), Grass Hopper (row villas)
Upcoming Projects: Three cycle layout developments
Completed Projects: 30+
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