B. Ramagopal is the principal consultant of Navale Consulting Group. He graduated civil engineering from RVCE, Bengaluru, in 1972. He joined K.N. Srinivasan & Associates and worked on multi-theatre complexes in Bengaluru and Chennai. In 1976, he joined ITC Hotels for their Hotel Maurya project, New Delhi, and Hotel Banjara, Hyderabad. He also joined the erstwhile Nagarjuna Constructions (as part of NSL) and had the unique experience of working on three sides of the table—for architects, owners and contractors.
Ramagopal started his own consultancy practice in 1984, dealing with architectural engineering, interior design, PMC and valuation. He was also involved in Hotel Banjara expansion, village inns and ITC Hotel Kakatiya etc. The practice was rechristened in year 2001-02 as Navale Consulting Group. Some important clients are Voith Turbo, Engine Valves, APSIDC, Hotel Manohar, Sherwood Public School, ITC, Andavan Ashramam, Secunderabad Club, Everonn, GE, Nehru Zoological Park etc.
Ramagopal was active in professional bodies like IEI, IOV, IIID, CEAI, IIT Arb, BYST (CII) etc. and served as office bearer in many of them. He has been actively involved in social work through Rotary. He was a visiting faculty at School of Planning & Architecture, JNAFAU, Hyderabad, and also served as council member of Council of Architecture, representing IEI. The recently designed Golden Jubilee Pylon for Hyderabad Zoo has become a new land mark of Ramagopal.
“Regarding the (engineering) profession, I feel many students and fresh engineers and architects lack fundamentals and are not committed. They are in a hurry to climb the ladder without checking if the ladder is on firm ground!” he said.
According to Ramagopal, world-class technology is available with plenty of choice for materials. Engineers can utilise them to serve society in the way it wants. But for that one has to be honest, ethical, sincere and bold, whether in government/public or in private sector. It is true for consultancy practice as well. Consultants are selected based on the lowest fee rather than capability, he noted. Obviously, this leads to undesirable practices.
“For architectural engineers, there is a threat from architects. Presently, the Architect’s Bill protects only the title of ‘Architect’ but now architects want to amend the Act to include the profession as well and want works like PMC to come under them.”
On the present crisis in the field, Ramagopal added, “They want architects to head all projects irrespective of the architect’s capability and experience. If allowed to succeed it will be death blow to architectural engineers.”