The Silicon Valley construction tech start-up, Katerra plans to accelerate its services in India while laying eyes in the commercial office, hospitality, and retail sectors.
Katerra, backed by SoftBank, flourishes on its construction technologies that challenge the traditional methods and offers a turnkey approach that helps in the implementation of integrated offsite manufacturing technology and the concept of Design for Manufacturing & Assembly (DFMA) faster for projects.
Wikipedia refers to offsite manufacturing as:
“The planning, design, fabrication, and assembly of building elements at a location other than their final installed location to support the rapid and efficient construction of a permanent structure. Such building elements may be prefabricated in a different location and transported to the site or prefabricated on the construction site and then transported to their final location.”
SoftBank led an $865 million investment in Katerra, founded in 2015 by Micheal Marks, earlier this year. The firm is building around 700 projects in the US.
Katerra: Bringing the future of construction to India
Katerra entered the Indian market in 2018 after acquiring KEF Infrastructure, a Bangalore based firm. It has nearly invested $250 million in the country by far. The firm took over an offsite manufacturing plant of KEF located in Krishnagiri, Tamil Nadu and had a confined plant in Lucknow for the Lulu mall project.
The tech construction firm is in the process of building an offsite manufacturing plant in Hyderabad with an approximate investment of $100 million. Additionally, it’s making one factory in Maharashtra in the next six months and another in NCR in the coming 18 months. By the end of 2020, Katerra will have the potential to build 30 million sq ft a year in India. It currently has 40 projects in its holdings.
Ravi Bhat, Head of Operations, the Middle East and Asia, Katerra, said, “We will have four mega plants in India eventually, and 8-10 remote or mobile plants or factories. We will go into Tier II and Tier III cities as well to build malls, hotels, and offices. We will go into smaller cities with our remote plants which we can put together in 4-5 months and then we can move the mobile factory to another site.”
Commenting on the broader scope of the Indian Economy, Nejeeb Khan, Head-Design and Brand Strategy, Middle East & Asia, Katerra, said, “India is a growing economy with a huge urban population and has so much to build. How do you build this scale with traditional construction technologies? It is impossible. We can construct a 1.2 million sq. ft building in less than 50 days with the kind of capacity a factory has,”
Joining hands and uniting towards optimal growth
Real estate firm Vaishnavi Group on Tuesday announced its tie-up with Katerra for an enormous mid-income housing project in Yelahanka, Bengaluru. The collaboration will help to speed up the pace of construction and to maximize the efficiency of space.
“Katerra’s construction technology ensures 50 percent faster construction time. Even if the cost is 12-15 percent higher than traditional building method, the operational expense comes down. The project will have 90 percent factory-finished elements including all in-built mechanical, electrical, plumbing services.”, stated C.N. Govindaraju, Founder & Managing Director, Vaishnavi Group.
Katerra tied-up with the Embassy Group for it’s 1.6 million sq. ft commercial office building in the Embassy Tech Village. Both projects of Embassy Group and Vaishnavi Group will be factory-made at Katerra’s offsite manufacturing facility in Krishnagiri.