ElecoSoft is a UK based European industry leader in a range of software and services that enable project management, site control, building design and 3D visualisation for the construction sector. Praveen Rao, CEO – ElecoSoft India told Sandeep Menezes that IT has empowered companies to explore newer concepts in design and construction to an ideal, which was difficult to do earlier.
How has IT made available a trustworthy, synchronized, and consistent digital representation of the building for design decision making?
When I say IT, I mean that it is a set of systems, processes and tools that come together to benefit a company or industry, in this case construction.
IT has empowered companies to explore newer concepts in design and construction to an ideal, which was difficult to do earlier. Due to the availability of information, ease of collaboration between stakeholders, standardized best practices, visual representations (all facilitated by IT), companies now create designs, make decisions and implement with much less effort, more accuracy and better ROI. This in turn results in faster delivery of projects, better buildings and better architecture.
The Indian building design and construction industry has shown an escalating interest in two topics – Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Building Information Modelling (BIM). Comment.
As technology begins to enter the Indian construction industry, IPD and BIM are on most project managers’ radars as two technological adoptions that directly affect ROI and cost savings. While IPD is a collaboration of people, systems, business structures and practices that harnesses talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste and maximize efficiency in all stages of the project. BIM is the process of modelling and communicating the structure of a building in detail to benefit the entire building lifecycle. BIM helps with the exchange and visualization of building information in 3D between all building disciplines to ensure IPD.
How do you see the acceptance of modern technology as far as Indian construction industry is concerned?
Awareness and the acceptance of modern technology in the Indian construction industry is changing as more and more new-generation stakeholders come into the industry. They bring with them an understanding of the latest technology and believe that IT adoption is a priority with any construction company or project.
What are the prime barriers in adopting the latest technologies?
Cost is a major factor behind IT adoption in the construction industry. Construction companies see it as a cost rather than an investment that would help them solve some of the issues that they encounter on an ongoing basis. As technologies such as BIM are new to the Indian market, they do not feature in most engineering schools’ curriculum leaving graduates without the necessary knowledge to effectively use BIM and such new technologies. Hence adoption suffers as new project managers are unaware of the benefits of BIM.
The key to any successful project is in the planning – but often project planning is ignored in favour of getting on with the work. Comment.
Planning in the construction industry is essential and crucial for better time and resource management. Using Asta Powerproject (APP) has been proven to save up to 40 per cent of project cost through improved efficiencies. The construction industry is constantly undergoing change – demanding schedules, cost of projects have risen by 20 to 30 percent, government regulation, etc., resulting in increased need for stricter planning for effective time and work management with regards to materials, manpower and timelines.
Cost estimation is a crucial element of project implementation. How can costs estimation be properly handled? Tell us about the important points to be remembered while chalking out project cost estimation?
Cost estimation is key to a successful project implementation. In a world of limited funds, as a project manager you are constantly deciding how to get the best ROI. The more accurate your estimate of project cost is, the better your ability to manage your project’s budget. The main point to proper cost estimation is realizing your direct and indirect costs wherein direct costs are salaries, materials and supplies, travel costs and subcontracts that work on your project. Your indirect costs could be overhead costs and general and administrative costs. Implementing software such as AstaPowerproject helps the project manager forecast and assign funds accurately for improved ROI, setting and keeping deadlines, time management helps avoid project management process discrepancies.
What are the main reasons for ElecoSoft foraying into India? Going forward, tell us about ElecoSoft’s future business strategy in India?
With the construction industry growing to contribute 11% of India’s GDP and is expected to be the world’s third largest construction market by 2025 we believe this is the right time to expand our European business into the Indian market. The sheer size of construction and infrastructure projects in India which are likely to witness ten-fold increase has compelled us to enter the Indian market now and leverage the fact that projects are being delayed and deadlines are missed thanks to lack of planning and IT adoption. This leads to time and cost overruns wherein the opportunity lies for construction based software companies like us to find our niche market.
How different is the Indian market vis-à-vis the other markets wherein ElecoSoft already has its presence?
The construction industry is growing at an exponential rate and the government recognizes the importance of the sector and its contribution to the overall GDP. In terms of IT adoption, markets such as Germany, United Kingdom and Dubai have been adopting BIM software at high rates compared to India. Asta Powerproject has been used extensively in projects such as The Shard (London), The Reichstag (Berlin), Schipol Airport (Amsterdam). However, the situation is changing with the new generation of stakeholders brining in the new thinking and looking at IT as an enabler rather than as a cost. Government regulations tend to hold back the industry due to bureaucracy and red tape; a feature that the West embraces at a quicker rate. In retrospect, ElecoSoft’s entry into the Indian market is an optimistic one that looks to capture the opportunities of an expanding construction industry.