Tuesday, May 15, 2012: 08:49:43 PM



The construction industry in India has a heavy dependence on steel. Here’s taking a look at the future prospects of the steel industry in India, as seen by Anshul Singhal

Indian economy is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and steel industry is reaping the benefits of this boom like any other sector of the economy. However, steel consumption in India is abysmally low when compared to other countries (both developed as well as developing) of the world. Lack of knowledge, logistics problems and dependence on alternative materials are some of the major reasons for low consumption of steel in construction in the country. Steel buildings constitute less than 1 percent of the Indian market as compared to 50–60 percent in the developed world. A little more than half of all buildings built in the United States in recent times utilise structural-steel frame. But now, the mindset is changing with pioneers like JSSL, the first company in India offering complete structural steel building solutions.

Steel—Safe and Environment Friendly
Industry surveys consistently demonstrate that steel is the safest construction material. Steel can be recycled endlessly with no detriment to its properties. In the UK, 94 percent of steel construction components are reused or recycled in this way. Globally, recycled content accounts for 50 percent of the steel in use.

The environmental impact of steel-based construction is minimised by the relatively short building programme, minimal site deliveries and the dry, dust-free and comparatively quiet construction process. Underpinning every environmental benefit of steel is a social benefit, as the examples below demonstrate:

1. Steel facilitates rapid construction, resulting in less disruption to the local community around the building site. There are fewer vehicle movements to site, very little on-site noise and zero waste.

2. Steel construction enables structures to be demounted and rebuilt without noisy and dusty demolition. That’s beneficial to the local community and leaves behind no environmental legacy.

3. The steel industry requires skilled, settled workers. There is little need or desire for an itinerant workforce, and as such it provides more stable employment than in some other sectors.

4. The high strength of steel enables it to achieve long spans, creating bright, airy buildings that are a pleasure to live and work in. Steel structures do not degrade with age either, so they never look tired and outdated.

Anshul Singhal - CEO, JSSL

Components are fabricated offsite in a safe, controlled factory environment. From here,they are delivered to site and erected by a small number of skilled personnel. There is minimal requirement for on-site cutting or adjustment, and no need for the time-consuming and potentially hazardous shuttering and handling operations associated with other construction materials.

When you specify steel for a building, you can be rest assured that it is unlikely ever to become waste. Steel always has a value and is only ever sent to landfill as a last resort. Waste generation is one of the least sustainable aspects of construction. Choosing a steel-framed building is the simplest and most effective way to reduce waste. Even during steel manufacture and fabrication, any off cuts are recovered and recycled in the steelmaking process. Because steel frames are essentially a kit of parts, they can easily be dismantled and reused. Bolted connections allow components to be removed in prime condition and easily reused, either individually or en masse as entire structures. It means that steel components are perpetually reused in a continuous loop, and never sent to landfill.

Future Trade Prospects
Today, and for the years to come, the steel construction sector is committed to:

1. Working with Government to meet the objectives of its sustainable construction strategy

2. Providing design guidance and information that allows designers to create buildings which reduce the whole-life costs and environmental burdens associated with buildings

3. Developing patterns of sustainable procurement consistent with the requirements of emerging standards in this area

4. Continuing to invest in research and development to reduce the carbon footprint of its processes and products

5. Providing industrial companies in the sector with the means of improving the performance of their businesses through sustainable business practices

JSSL has set itself a trend-setting role for promoting greater usage of structural steelwork in India with the commencement of commercial production at its plant in Bellary, Karnataka.

Despite all the rapid development that has been enabled by steel, its uses have not been sufficiently acknowledged. The sector’s growth has hitch hiked on the back of major infrastructure projects and schemes. The steel demand in the country is expected to grow at around 10 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the next ten years; at the same time the years, growth in steel production capacity in India is also slated to increase at an identical rate. According to Press Information Bureau (PIB) of India, projections suggest that steel production capacity in India would double to 120 mn tonnes by the year 2020 from the present capacity of 78 mn tonnes. This would further increase if the demand for steel in rural India increases. For this to happen, there is a requirement of large scale capacity additions both by private and public sector undertakings. Due to the timely and strategic efforts of the steel ministry, the stone has been set rolling. The focus is now on capacity growth in steel production in the country, so that the nation becomes self reliant to meet domestic steel demand. Apart from major private companies that are on the expansion mode, PSUs like the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) have also taken up expansion projects to meet the future steel demand.

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