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NCC Urban Infrastructure is an 80-per-cent subsidiary of NCC, which is listed on the stock exchange, and its activities are principally in real estate, which include residential, commercial, townships, SEZ, and serviced apartment complexes. It has a pan-India presence across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Vizag and Dubai.
In an exclusive video interview hosted by CONSTRUCTION WORLD, NR Alluri, Managing Director, NCC Urban Infrastructure, speaks on how the firm has been managing the COVID crisis, focus areas going forward, and more...
Managing the COVID crisis: There have not been much activities on our sites. In the last few days, some sites have started opening up in Karnataka. Some of our sites have opened up, but only partially. Labour availability and the issue of migrant labour is still a challenge. Some migrant labourers have already left for their villages. I think people will start coming back only after the end of this month, after the lockdown has been lifted.
We have about 700-800 people on each of our construction sites. We have sites in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ranchi, etc. Here too, we have started some parts of construction, running at different capacities of course. We have standard operating procedures and the sites are being taken care of. We are also following all the safety precautions required at sites, in lieu of the current pandemic. We are also providing the labourers with food, etc, on site.
There is also a problem of the supply of building materials on sites, especially around Delhi. Materials have not been coming in from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to Delhi – so we are facing struggles in terms of the materials. With cement as a material per se, we are not having issues; we just need to inform the manufacturers about our requirement. But logistics is an issue, and the government ought to do something about it. Even the labourers from these places are not being able to come to our sites in Delhi. But I think once the trains start, things will fall into place and most of the labourers will come back. Technologies to expedite construction: We are already using technologies and machineries in our projects. But at the end of the day, we need manpower. The only thing we can do is digitise our processes, so that we don’t need to do many things manually. For instance, most of the back-end works like surveys, planning, marketing, etc, are done digitally. Even our people do not need to personally go on sites, but can do things online through technology.
Sectors of focus: Typically, we have always been more focused on the residential side with a bit of commercial. We will continue our focus on residential with a bit of affordable housing because of the thrust on the segment. We are looking at some PPP mode projects in affordable housing. We are also looking at rental housing as an option. We have planned one or two commercial buildings, which we will be able to complete going forward. Speaking about international operations, we have exited our projects in Dubai and have recently closed all our international operations.
Timeframe to bounce back: I think it will take about a year or more for the sector to get back to normal with the ongoing COVID crisis. Keeping in view the statistics, residential sector is definitely more secure as compared to the stock markets. Buying a house from your savings is not a bad idea. It is better to own your house, and we see that people are thinking about this.
Performance for 2019-20: In March this year, our sales stood at around Rs 250 crore, more or less the same as last year.
Watch the full video on what NR Alluri has to say on the company’s performance, sectors of focus and more...
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