Vikas Singh is building a two-storeyed house in Dhanbad, about 200 km from Kolkata, but the run-up to the construction doesn’t seem to worry him. From architectural and structural engineering drawings to securing approvals from the Mineral Area Development Authority, he has offloaded these tasks to Tata Steel, one of the world’s largest steelmakers.
Singh’s house happens to be part of Tata Steel’s pilot project, BuildWISE, an initiative of the company’s long products division, which caters to the construction sector. The initiative aims to shape the market, while connecting with individual house builders.
Bimlendra Jha, vice-president (long products), Tata Steel, insists the initiative is not about selling Tata Tiscon, the company’s rebar brand. “Somebody has to become an anchor. We are trying to take the lead. Once we change the practice and are confident of our brand, we will do better than others. There is a demand-supply gap in design services in the Indian housing market,” he said.
|THE DELIVERY MODEL
- Customer requirements
- Matching designs from the standard design library
- Virtual walkthrough
- Printing & approval of drawings
- Delivery of designs
It the first stage, Tata Steel has tied up with architects and structural engineers. In the next, it plans to enter into partnerships with construction material suppliers and look at project management services. Planning for the projects—architectural, structural, electrical and plumbing drawings—and securing approvals from different municipalities is taken care of by Tata Steel. The estimation of various construction materials, in terms of costs and quantity, is carried out by BuildWISE.
“At this moment, the initiative is front-ended with retailers, and 80 per cent of them already sell cement. Some of these relationships can be with us. We can’t rule out greater value proposition from the relationships,” Jha said.
A standard design library is also being created—the rate-determining step. Till the approval stage, Tata Steel charges house builders Rs 25,000 without any customisation.
“As soon as it reaches a tipping point of 2,000-3,000 standard designs, we will go for a reasonably large rollout,” Jha said, adding the target was to achieve a national level rollout from the third year of operations.
Currently, in the pilot phase, Tata Steel is not helping individual builders in construction activities. “While we don’t have the option at the moment, we are running a Mason Mitra programme, through which we advise masons on best practices. But in the future, we can provide project management services,” Jha said.