Indian Building Sector lacks Regulatory Framework to bring Standardisation: Ravi Balakrishnan

Ravi Balakrishnan, Managing Director, aluplast India

India is rapidly emerging as a global manufacturing powerhouse, however, along with this tremendous growth comes significant challenges. Despite its vast manufacturing market, India is facing challenges of unsystematic practices, a lack of standardisation, and the absence of a robust regulatory framework in the construction industry. Ravi Balakrishnan, Managing Director of aluplast India believes these challenges results in creating hurdles in bringing manufacturing systems, automation, which eventually results in the overall loss of productivity for the country.

aluplast, a family-owned company, had its inception in Germany and operates with deep roots in innovation and family values. Established in 1982 by the visionary Manfred J Seitz in Karlsruhe, Germany, the company has evolved into a global powerhouse over nearly four decades and acclaimed the accolades of setting passionate bars as it ventured out of its previous tag of a ‘local German family-owned company’. With a widespread presence in 40 countries, aluplast stands tall as a reflection to its founder’s foresight and commitment to excellence.

In an insightful conversation with Hari Shanker, the Managing Editor of Machine Maker, Ravi Balakrishnan, the Managing Director of aluplast India, the manufacturer of uPVC windows, doors, roller shutters, and controlled domestic ventilation systems from Germany, sheds light on the potential consequences of the absence of a regulatory framework in the construction community. Balakrishnan discusses how this lack of standardization can evolve into a widespread challenge for the industry and in what ways the building-makers community can deal with this potential challenge.

Ravi Balakrishnan, passionately champions the cause of global standardization and unwavering quality. In the spirit of India’s Make in India initiative, Aluplast stands as a torchbearer, focused on tailoring standards to the unique demands of the Indian market. This commitment extends beyond business – it’s a transformative journey poised to curtail wastage, usher in optimization, and enlighten builders about the power of standardized excellence. With heartfelt dedication, Mr Balakrishnan envisions a future where aluplast’s goals would resonate in every corner of India’s architectural landscape, shaping a world where quality knows no compromise.

aluplast India: Beginning of Make in India

From its manufacturing plant in Vadodara, India, launched in 2016, aluplast has witnessed the immense manufacturing potential the country holds. As far as the product lines are concerned, aluplast began its journey with 2 uPVC extrusion lines which has now been uplifted into three. In addition to that aluplast also works in lamination by putting a foil on the lamination so that the uPVC can be given the required color. The vibrant spirit and industrious atmosphere have captured the company’s heart, prompting plans for substantial investments over the next three years to fuel growth and expansion in India. This commitment goes beyond business; it reflects a genuine belief in the potential and promise that India holds.

Babak Golriz, Head of Expanding Markets, Africa, Middle East, Asia & Australasia, and Ravi Balakrishnan with Prima Slide and Ideal 1000 samples at the Zak Expo 2023

aluplast India has added another feather in their crown as the participated in the Zak Doors & Windows Expo 2023, Mumbai to integrating cutting-edge technologies, grasping upcoming trends, engaging with current and prospective clients, holding productive business discussions, fostering connections, and discovering innovative strategies to maintain a competitive edge.

Challenges of Standardization in India

The building industry in India is predominantly unorganized, and despite the country’s significant economic progress, it still grapples with a notable lack of regulation. This absence of a comprehensive regulatory framework poses substantial challenges to the construction sector. One of the prominent issues stemming from this situation is the dearth of standardization in the Indian building community. In a sector characterized by its unstructured nature, the absence of stringent regulations allows for a high degree of creativity and flexibility in construction practices. While creativity is undoubtedly valuable, the downside emerges when it leads to a compromise in standardization elements. Standardization plays a crucial role in ensuring consistency, quality, and safety in construction processes and outcomes.

Without a robust regulatory framework, there is a tendency for builders, architects, and contractors to operate with varying practices, materials, and methodologies. The absence of standardized practices can lead to variations in the quality of construction across different projects. Quality control becomes challenging when there are no set guidelines and benchmarks for materials, techniques, and processes. Standardization is also fundamental in addressing safety concerns in construction. Without clear regulations, adherence to safety protocols may vary, potentially compromising the well-being of workers and occupants. Standardization ensures compatibility and interoperability between various components of a building. In the absence of uniform standards, integrating different building elements can become complex and may lead to functional issues. A regulatory framework establishes accountability in the construction industry. Without clear rules and guidelines, it becomes challenging to hold stakeholders accountable for deviations from accepted norms and practices.

Standardization is integral to the adoption of sustainable and environmentally friendly construction practices. Without clear guidelines, the integration of eco-friendly technologies and materials may not be consistently applied. The lack of standardization can affect the overall reputation of the Indian construction industry in the global market. International investors and partners often seek standardized practices for reliability and consistency. Hence, Mr Balakrishnan asserts during the in-depth conversation with Hari Shanker, that they won’t compromise on being in the premium segment since they want to adhere to the vision of one quality worldwide. In a world where compromise looms large, aluplast stands firm, determined to uphold the vision of a globally consistent standard of excellence. For Mr. Balakrishnan, quality isn’t just a stack of certificates; it’s the tangible deliverance to end customers that fuels the soul of aluplast’s mission. “While we (Indian Manufacturing Industry) are good in CAD and AutoCAD, site measurement plays a major role in ensuring the quality. Quality is not a bunch of certificates, quality it what is delivered to the end customers”, says Mr Balakrishnan.

The Way Ahead for Indian Building Sector

To ensure that they are serving their goal of one unified standard of production globally, Mr Balakrishnan says ” We at aluplast only work with limited by trained fabricators to have a proper installation.” Addressing the challenges posed by the lack of standardization in the building community of India requires a multi-faceted approach that involves regulatory reforms, industry collaboration, and awareness campaigns. Mr Balakrishnan focuses on the importance of introducing and enforce comprehensive building codes that specify standards for construction materials, methods, and safety protocols. These codes should be regularly updated to align with technological advancements and global best practices.

aludec: Inspired by style. The new generation of aluminium surface on windows (Image Courtesy: aluplast India)

Ravi Balakrishnan also sheds light on fostering collaboration between government bodies, construction industry associations, architects, builders, and material suppliers and establish platforms for regular discussions, knowledge sharing, and consensus-building on standardization issues, “Whenever there is a fairly large project, we work closely with our partners, produce profile lengths, optimize to minimize waste.” Hence, addressing the standardization issues, might equally help in addressing the potential wastage crisis. Promoting transparency in the construction sector by encouraging builders to display adherence to standards prominently turns out to be equally important in addressing the crisis of standardization in the Indian building-construction community. Developing platforms or certifications that showcase a builder’s commitment to quality and safety might also add to the cause.

Allocating resources for research and development in the construction sector would also encourage the development of innovative materials and construction techniques that not only meet standards but also contribute to sustainability and resilience. Building-makers can also collaborate with international organizations and to adopt unified globally recognized standards for construction. Benchmarking with global standards can elevate the overall quality of construction in India and enhance the country’s reputation in the global market.

In addition to that, Balakrishnan also mentions that conducting regular audits and evaluations of construction projects has helped Aluplast to ensure ongoing compliance with standards. Therefore, implementing a system of checks and balances to identify and rectify deviations promptly might contribute in addressing the issue of lack of standardization in the Indian markets. Strengthening existing regulatory bodies or creating new ones responsible for overseeing and enforcing building standards can potentially help authorities to conduct inspections, issue certifications, and penalize non-compliance in the context of implementing the regulatory framework in the building community of India.

The success story of aluplast is not just about windows, doors, or ventilation systems; it’s about bridging cultures, fostering innovation, and embracing the warmth of collaboration. As aluplast invests in India’s future, it does so with a heart full of enthusiasm, a mind brimming with possibilities, and a genuine passion for contributing to the vibrant tapestry of India’s growth story. Furthermore, delving into the Indian market brings with it an opportunity to address the prevalent quality challenges head-on.

In essence, aluplast’s visions in considering India as a strong market with extraordinary potentials, is not a mere business expansion; it’s a heartfelt embrace of a nation’s potential, a celebration of shared values, and a promise to contribute to a future where every window opens to a world of endless opportunities. The journey that began in Karlsruhe 41 years ego has found a new home in the hearts of India, and aluplast is set to script a chapter that resonates with the spirit and warmth of this incredible land.


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