Interviews

T Chitty Babu /
Akshaya, Chairman and CEO

Mandating certifications and ratings can certainly ensure construction quality

July 2019
In 2000, Chennai-based Akshaya built a commercial building in Nungambakkam that demanded a raft foundation model. And in 2005, the real-estate major developed its first large project with 130 homes called Pacific City in Nolambur. “A pile foundation, good quality bricks and use of river sand have ensured that the Pacific City project has stood the test of time, with an extremely high degree of durability and strength,” says T Chitty Babu, Chairman and CEO, Akshaya.He elaborates more upon current standards and the need for quality construction in conversation with SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN.  

RERA has recently issued a circular making it mandatory for the engineers of a project to submit a quarterly review of the construction quality….
RERA’s circular is about submitting details of quarterly construction work progress, which will be hosted on the RERA website. This initiative will enable all stakeholders to have updated information on theconstruction stage of a project. It will also help RERA authorities trackwork progress with committed end dates and ensure that timelines for completion are met.

How can mandating certifications and ratings for projects help ensure quality construction of buildings in India? 
Mandating certifications and ratings, especially from third parties, can certainly ensure construction quality.Integrated management systems (IMS)— namely ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018—play a huge role in ensuring quality of construction. Akshaya is among the few real-estate developers in India to have upgraded itself to the latest version of IMS along with Social Accountability (SA8000:2008) Certification.With respect to green buildings, the Indian Green Building Council delivers certifications to real-estate projects based on their adherence to green standards. We have ensured that all our projects are green buildings.

What are the key contributing factors to building a strong foundation of a building?
The key contributing factors of a strong foundation include bearing the capacity of the soil through soil investigation and tests; type of foundation; and construction methodology adopted. There are predominantly three kinds of foundations: open, pile and raft. Depending on the bearing capacity of the soil, the appropriate foundation type must be chosen.

Is concrete mixing on site a cause of poor material input? What role do construction chemicals play if the material is not of required standards?
A concrete mix is a combination of five major elements in various proportions: cement, water, coarse aggregates, fine aggregates and air. The material used for concrete mix at site should be selected from the right resources. To maintain the required strength of concrete and waterproofing, the use of construction chemicals is encouraged. These play a role similar to a doctor by providing solutions to civil engineers to build healthy and long-lasting structures that can last for years without any risk or fear.

Please introduce us to the sustainable designs and methods adopted by the company. What role do construction technologies play? 
We provide our customers with the environmental impact of buildings by efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy and development space and the ecosystem at large.We use sustainable designs and methods in all our projects, like solar panels, organic waste convertors, environment-friendly methods of waste management and water recycling. Also, to ease the construction process, we implement the latest construction technology such as aluminium formwork, secant piling technology and PT system with flat slab. The software we use for monitoring construction are ERP (Quadra), MSP and Primavera. And commonly used building equipment includes material hoist, tower crane and road-roller.

While new building codes can apply to new buildings, there is also a need to retrofit existing buildings to make them safer….
We always evaluate the implications arising from revised codes for existing buildings. Buildings are evaluated for risk assessment and detailed procedures are prepared to retrofit new codes into existing buildings.

What are the changes required to ensure the safety of our buildings?
Proper maintenance of test reports, ready checklists and immediate corrective actions are important. Changes required may include third-party IMS audits, mandatory water tests and auditing of bulk materials.