Sanjay Bahadhur_Construction Chemicals_ProjectsMonitorSanjay Bahadhur,
Chief Executive Officer – Global Construction Chemicals Division,
Pidilite Industries Ltd

The growth of construction chemicals is driven by growth in the construction industry. Increasing investments in both new construction and improvement and repair projects will drive the demand for construction chemicals. With the new government focusing on more investment in infrastructure and affordable housing, the construction chemicals business is hoping for positive change, Sanjay Bahadur tells Renu Rajaram in this interview.

What are the positive changes in the construction chemicals sector after the elections and its outcome?
The construction chemicals industry has evolved significantly in past decades. Construction chemicals business is very much dependent on infrastructure and real estate sectors. With the new government focusing on more investment in infrastructure and affordable housing, the sector hopes for positive changes. It has been growing at 17 to 18 per cent per annum. With increasing demand and promising end use market growth, the construction chemicals industry is expected to grow much faster in the coming years.

What would be the triggers for the growth of construction chemicals in general and your company in particular?
The growth of construction chemicals is mainly driven by growth in the end use industry i.e. construction industry. Increasing investments in both new construction and improvement and repair projects will drive the demand for construction chemicals.

The Indian construction chemicals market size is Rs.4,000 core which is pegged at about 10 per cent of the Chinese market.

What will drive demand in the construction chemicals business in future?
Sustainable construction is the future and hence we launched Dr. Fixit LEC i.e. a Low Energy Consumption System which helps to waterproof and at the same time insulate the building and reduce energy consumption in an effective manner. We believe a systems approach is what will drive the market demand.

If you see 99 per cent of the time a product doesn’t fail but applications fail because of the lack of detailing. Hence, there is a definite need for training. Also, knowledge about right accessories is essential. The waterproofing industry can only succeed if we use right material with right application.

Untrained applicators are another concern which we are slowly addressing through our Dr. Fixit Service which involves site trials, site demos and training applicators.

Development AlternativesWhat are the recent trends and developments in this sector?
Green construction is the current trend in construction chemicals and waterproofing solutions market in the country. LEC is a comprehensive waterproofing-cum-insulation system from Dr. Fixit.

The waterproofing market in India is at a very premature state, since the bulk of the construction sites use traditional methods like brickbat coba and mud puska which have their own limitations. Hence, we see this as an area where huge opportunities exist. There is an urgency to inculcate the right material usage, right dosage and the correct application to ensure that we create healthy structures.

As far as development in the construction chemicals industry goes, there has been a strong growth rate of 17 per cent per annum.

The construction chemicals market has a huge growth potential due to the construction and manufacturing boom in India. Many newly developed products give better performance and results and hence there will be a shift in demand towards products offering better performance (source: FCCI report on construction chemicals industry).

What are the challenges faced by the sector? Do you think that skilled manpower is a major constraint in India?
Yes, lack of skilled manpower is one of the biggest challenges and a major constraint faced by the sector. It has been our primary challenge. Dr. Fixit also provides training and supervision at site for right application practices.

The industry’s biggest challenges are low awareness regarding the benefits of construction chemicals, inadequate knowledge on proper usage of these chemicals and lack of enforcement of quality standards on construction activities. About 85 per cent of contractors and builders are not aware of the key advantages of using construction chemicals and have limited knowledge on their proper applications (source: FCCI report on construction chemicals industry).

Can you throw light on the R&D efforts of your company? How ‘green’ are the solutions that you offer?
Our consistent efforts are to generate green solutions for various areas of application catering to the needs of complex high-rise structures. We have launched LEC (low energy consumption) which is a waterproofing-cum-insulation system. Extensa, the high performance spray applied seamless waterproofing membrane, won the Silver Award at Actetech 2013-2014.

Can you briefly talk about your recently launched waterproofing products like Leakfree Homes Solutions, Dr. Fixit Roofseal and roof accessories, and Dr. Fixit New Coat Ezee? What are the advantages of these solutions over those already available in the market?
Dr. Fixit is one of the most trusted brands in the Indian construction industry, known for its innovation and pioneering solutions for waterproofing. It is an effort to give customers end-to-end solutions for waterproofing their entire home at the time of construction.

Right from the foundation to the terrace roofing, Leakfree Homes will make sure that customers are free from problems due to water leakage and seepage and protect their house.

Dr. Fixit Roofseal is a revolutionary product for new terrace waterproofing that provides the end consumer with a comprehensive solution to their issues related with roofs and terraces. For proper and correct application of the product, Pidlite has trained waterproofing applicators on the usage of these products.

Dr. Fixit New Coat Ezee, a two coat waterproof coating for bungalow terraces, without breaking the old waterproofing system of brickbat coba and mud fuska and making it a hassle-free, economical and reliable waterproofing system. The best practice used internationally is to coat the terrace with elastomeric coatings and we at Pidilite have worked towards the same

How do you view the future scope of construction chemicals in the country?
We as an industry are in nascent stage and are growing, there is enormous potential and there is enough scope for growth for all players.

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