4th Edition of PM Industry Symposium for Engineering & Construction
By the Editorial Board, PM Essence
The 4th Edition of the PM Industry Engineering and Construction (E&C) Symposium, organized by the PMI Bangalore India Chapter, was held on 14-Dec-19. It was attended by over 100 delegates and speakers; the symposium was a resounding success.
Mr. Nagesh Ramamurthy, conference PMO and VP, Corporate Relations, PMI Bangalore Chapter, opened the proceedings. He welcomed the representatives from 34 different organizations in different fields of Project Management and spoke about the genesis of the E&C Symposium. Highlighting the values of Project Management specially for engineering and construction audience, he related the theme for this year – Project Management – A Growth Enabler – stresses on the importance of integration of services and technology; skilling, reskilling and upskilling needs and making Project Management systemic.
The Welcome Address was followed by the official inauguration to the proceedings by the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by – 4 – Chief Guest Mr. M V Satish, Mr. Subodh Dixit, Mr. Somasundar and Lt Col L Shri Harsha.
In his opening address, Lt Col L Shri Harsha (Retd), President, PMI Bangalore India Chapter, emphasized the importance of educating and advocating PM philosophies at places of work. Talking about the Best Chapter Award received by PMI Bangalore India Chapter in the Large Chapters Category, Lt Col Harsha said that the award is the result of our work and the support of thousands of members and non-members who come and support us for such event. The current President concluded saying that innovation and reinvention are very important and we need to invest in ourselves to reap benefits for personal and professional growth.
It was time for the Chief Guest, Mr. MV Satish, Director and Senior EVP, L&T Corporate, to give his address, titled “Latest Technologies in Construction – An Update”. Mr. Satish spoke about embracing technology and related cultural changes in organizations and gave examples of L&T, where they invest in skill development and such programs focus on gamified and actual experiential learning. Mr. Satish mentioned the increasing use of prefab and precast techniques and materials. His video on machine-based plastering showed the power of technology and robotic automation in the E&C world. He gave examples of FIFA Al Rayyan stadium in Qatar and construction in Singapore using these new methods. Mr. Satish showed a photo of how precast toilet pods are being manufactured in Mumbai for rapid deployment.
Mr. Subodh Dixit, Executive Director and President, Shapoorji Pallonji E&C was the next in line to deliver his keynote address on “Emerging Trends in Construction Project Management”, and how construction professionals can benefit from them.
Mr. Dixit started with how Project Management has changed over time. He gave example of Empire State Building, a hundred levels structure completed in less than 20 months. So, what has changed over the years? Now we have the pressures of time, cost and scope and meeting the expectations. The demand of expectation of doing that is so much that we falter in one of them. His example of traffic rush outs and its analogy with people and industry rushing to reach somewhere was very well taken. He mentioned, With IT, BIM and real-time data, you can monitor the construction sitting at your desktop. But improved processes cannot help until we change our mindset.
The next topic was a Case Study “Environment Management Challenges in Multi-Location
and Multi-Disciplinary Infra Projects” by Mr. M Srinivas, Ex-AGM, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bangalore.
Mr. Srinivas identified Ethical, Problem Solver and Negotiator as the main traits needed to handle the issues that a PM faces. He then proceeded to give the audience examples of past projects of BEL that were performed and implemented in challenging conditions i.e. The Giant Meter Wave
Radio Telescope (GMRT) and Coastal Surveillance Project – ICG. In the case of the last project, the BEL team divided the work into regional packages and then gave the work. The key takeaways were that PM is key and cognitive ability is needed to provide on ground solutions and handling project elaboration issues.
The next Case Study was “Management of Mega Infrastructure projects – Pitfalls and Challenges”, by Mr. Sundar Chandramouli, VP, Special Projects, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL). Mr. Chandramouli’s presentation focused on the challenges faced in the Kempegowda International Airport expansion project. “There are about 152 projects going on at any time,” Mr. Chandramouli said. A lot of interdependencies exist between various smaller projects – like some of the aprons cannot be developed without the terminal building coming up, both access roads to be added and increased in width, flyovers to be created, taxicab hold and employee parking increased, addition of landscaping, bus staging, metro connectivity, and so on. All the interdependent projects are being executed at the same time and have to end at the same time. All of this have to happen by March 2021, and then get the Airports Authority of India AAI to install the NAVAIDs (Navigational system).
Panel Discussion titled “Construction Project Management: With or Without Technology” chaired by Lt. Col. L Shri Harsha (Retd) started next. The participants were Mr. Abhay Itty Zachariah, Partner, Zachariah Consultants, Mr. Lalit Lahoty, CEO, Shobha Projects and Trades and Mr. Elmo Palakal, Associate Director, Knight Frank India. The discussion started with the interaction opportunities between technology and humans. Balancing sufficient technology and human interaction is the key to manage complex and large-scale projects and even in our personal lives. Technology has been silently making inroads to our lives – both personally and professionally. In E&C, BIM, sensors, RFID, design, all have become ubiquitous.
Lt Col Harsha pointed out the fact that even today most of our labor is semi-literate or illiterate. How big a challenge in this? The challenge was acknowledged by the experts and one of the suggestions was to move towards precast or similar techniques where the dependencies on unskilled labor will be less. Can India move from manpower oriented to technologically dependent construction market? The overall feedback from the experts was Yes, but it needed building competencies and capabilities.
The next in line was a Keynote Address titled “Digital Twin, platform to transform Building Operations,” by Balaji Saravanan, Program Manager, Invicara. Mr. Saravanan started his address by emphasizing that Digital Twin will stand tall. However, it’s a misinterpreted term and he explained the reasons behind that. The base of Digital Twin is BIM, and Mr. Saravanan’s example of Amazon websites and all catalogue items and mapping it with BIM was well appreciated by the audience.
His explanation of 1-2-3 approach to overcome these challenges was great to know. Mr. Saravanan used Google Maps as an example to create analogy with Digital Twin where this concept optimizes building performance as Google Maps optimizes city roads and navigation.
The last Keynote Address of the day, “How to Gear up for Cultural Change” by Mr. Nimish Gupta, Managing Director (South Asia), RICS, India, focused on why it’s time for culture to undergo a complete transformation across built environment. Mr. Gupta started with his reason of joined RICS, which was to change the current culture. Adoption of technology was something we needed to quickly change. There is a need to evaluate ourselves and our teams at par with international standards. He mentioned, our generation is getting ready for the future and is still studying textbooks from 1925; this way we can never catch up with the new trends of working. He gave the example of Indore, the cleanest city, which is a cultural change and driven home by a change in mindset from kids to adults starting from jingles and leading to proper segregation of waste at source.
The closing address was delivered by Mr. T V Seshasai, the Secretary of the PMI Bangalore India Chapter, thanking all participants, speakers, volunteers, partners and sponsors for the huge success of the Symposium, and ended with hope of an even larger gathering next year.