HIDDEN CHEMISTRY OF CONSTRUCTION

Construction chemicals make a major contribution in improving quality by giving strong and durable structures with enhanced technology

Infrastructure is of great importance to a country's progress. A new era has heralded in India with a promise of economic prosperity and a place among global stalwarts.

A strong infrastructure requires a firm foundation whose fate lies in the hands of the construction industry. The second largest economic activity in India, after agriculture, is the construction business. So large is the promises of this sector that 6-7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and 50 per cent of the Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) is dedicated to the construction area.

If one considers the extent of infrastructure that the construction industry contributes to, these figures are well deserving. Construction Chemical Industry has traditionally been focused, largely on projects and after Construction Problems involving high end engineering skills.

Changing times not only witnessed the emergence of a visible opulence in India but also saw our country emerging as a power house in information, space & satellite technology and academics. The eternal quest for knowledge is finally being satiated with plethora of information available to common man through internet. The construction technology too has gone through a sea change where more & more people have access to information and products.

These changes have brought about a shift in the focus of Construction Chemical industry also. Presently this industry is being viewed as a "sunrise industry" as efforts are on the anvil to take the products, systems and the services to the market place. The process of converting various specialty products into "over the trade counter"(OTC) products is bound to enable this industry to look beyond the horizons in term of sales and services. Imparting product knowledge, skills and services as an integral part of this business, shall continue to be the main strength of future business approach as well.

The Indian road network, the largest in the world aggregating 3.32 million km, the country's coastline of 7, 517 km (including the Andaman & Nicobar islands) with 12 major ports and 187 minor ports and the extensive air routes that have drawn attention to our airports.

These areas are the nerve center of our economic progress, hence requiring the utmost care to details. The spotlight has now come on the raw materials that are used in building these centers.

Industry studies and research have shown that only 5 % of India's concrete used in the construction industry-contains construction chemicals, compared with 80% in developed countries.

Construction chemicals ensure better durability and give strong base to the structure. For decades, the general construction, especially the housing sector in most of the third world countries, has been dependent on the traditional constituents of construction viz. cement, steel, bricks and aggregates. Specialty products, meant to improve the concrete/construction quality, have been in vogue only in large projects or organized construction segment. Some waterproofing agents, have however been only specialty products, used in normal housing sector, which asper a rough estimate, constitute a hovering 70-75% of the total construction activity.

So, one can visualized the growing need for introducing new technique, services and products which would help make the construction better, durable and also help people live in trouble free environs.

Now in India, the awareness about the importance of chemicals and processes such structural waterproofing during construction is growing. Durability is the mantra that would garner extensive support and create trust among people. keeping this in mind, some renowned companies like CICO TECHNOLOGIES LTD., SIKA, FOSROC, PIDILITE etc, are playing a major role in making extensive portfolios with their surveys & R&D's., they have achieved a remarking success in the fields of waterproofing, concrete admixtures, concrete aids, protective coatings and 'impregnations, grouts, industrial floorings, shortcrete products, epoxy-based repair compounds, sealants. adhesives and capsules for bolting and anchoring.

Understanding the importance of high - quality raw materials, companies such as CICO Technologies Limited (CTL) have chosen to deal mainly in this area. In order to gamer support from civil engineering firms and contractors for the use of construction chemicals and waterproofing, the company has extensively interacted with people from the industry through road shows and seminars.

Today the company has 120 distributors and more than 6000 dealers in India and has the largest channel network across the country. CTL is credited with having pioneered the retail management of construction chemicals in India.

The production takes place among five units that are situated in Gurgaon, Kolkata, Chennai, Dehradun and Haridwar where 300 workers labor to bring out the best product possible. CTL has been accredited with ISO 9001:2000 certification by BSI Management Systems and most of its products carry the Bureau of Indian Standard's certification marks. It also has been assigned a rating from CRISIL, which indicates "High Performance Capability and Financial Strength".

CTL enjoys a 30 % market share and is involved in different infrastructural development such as Golden Quadrilateral, ports expansions, roadways, atomic and hydel and thermal power projects, airports, dams, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Naptha Jhakri Power Project, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Unitech, DLF, the Parliament Library, NHAI and NHPC. CTL is associated with several prestigious initiatives that have been funded by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank In 2000, the company got equity support from Actis of the U.K., which is a leading private equity investor. CTL has also entered into the markets of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Maldives, and is presently setting up operations in Qatar. The company is planning to increase its turnover from current Rs. 45 crores to Rs. 150 crores in the next two years.

The company was awarded the International Star Quality Award in the gold category by the Business Initiative Directions (BID) of Spain in 2006. The award recognizes the implementation of an integral quality process through technologies and procedure of the quality control 100 Total Quality Management.

At the time, Amit Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, CICO Technologies Limited, said, 'The award is a proof of our achievements in the industry and we will continue to deliver the best in the times to come." Mr. Gupta has been behind the company's success be it in the unprecedented growth, international presence, product developments, retail thrusts, financial restructuring and c-commerce initiatives. His experience in the construction chemical industry spans over 25 years and it is this body of work that has given him an acute understanding of the industry.

With the thrust on sound quality and durability, the construction industry is making a significant contribution towards India's economic progress.





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