Kirby India: Driving the Sustainable and Eco-friendly PEB Construction Future

Kirby India
Kirby India

The future of the Indian construction industry is going green thanks to immense contributions from India’s most promising manufacturing companies like Kirby Building Systems & Structures India Pvt Ltd, aka Kirby India.

According to Raju D, the Managing Director and CEO of Kirby Building Systems, they are already revolutionizing the sector with their contributions:

  • Constructed India’s Largest Warehouse, Certified with a Green Building Platinum Rating by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for Flipkart in West Bengal, spread over 20 lakh square feet.
  • Constructed the World’s Largest tyre manufacturing facility for Apollo Tyres Ltd at AP, India
  • Constructed the World’s Largest PEB at a Single Location for the Renault-Nissan car manufacturing facility in Chennai, India.
  • Constructed the World’s largest gearbox manufacturing facility for wind turbines for Hansen Drives in Coimbatore, India.
  • Constructed the World’s largest yarn manufacturing facility for Trident Ltd in MP, India.
  • Constructed the World’s largest container glass manufacturing facility for Hindusthan National Glass & Industries Ltd at Naidupeta, AP.
  • Constructed the World’s largest facility for Suzlon Energy in India.
  • For the first time in the world, a 500 MT crane was installed on a Kirby structure built for Toshiba-JSW Power Systems in Chennai, India, and Alstom Bharat Forge in Sanand, Gujarat, India.
  • Partnering with all the top leading companies across all the industry segments to set up their industrial facilities in any part of India.
  • First PEB company in the world to enter highly complex Metro Rail, Shipyard, Power, High Rise and Data Center segments.

Raju spoke in an exclusive interview with the CIOLook India team, the highlights of which are given ahead.

As a trailblazer in the manufacturing industry, could you take us back to the beginning of your journey? What motivated you to step into this dynamic field?

Kirby India has been a pioneer and market leader for the last 24+ years in the Indian Pre-Engineered Steel Buildings (PEB) market. The company has over 24 sales offices and a network of more than 150 certified builders to cater to the erection procedures as per international standards, capable of handling any complexity under adverse site conditions. The company has served over 7,500 customers with over 40,000 buildings spread over 45 million square meters since its inception. Kirby India has the privilege of partnering with corporates both from the national and international fronts, operating across all industry segments by setting up their facilities in India and across the globe.

Kirby India has a capacity of 250,000 MT per annum, with Hyderabad and Haridwar each having an annual capacity of 100,000 MT, respectively, and Halol having 50,000 MT annual capacity with all three plants strategically located – South, North and West. Kirby’s facilities are certified as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001. Kirby’s buildings are designed per relevant IS codes and as required by international standards such as AISC, AISI, MBMA, etc., which align with the customer’s requirements. The company uses its proprietary software for the design and detailing of PEB structures, in addition to the standard packages, which include STAADPro, AutoCAD, ProSteel, Tekla, BOCAD, Etabs, etc., which allows all the buildings to be customized as per the unique demands of the customers.

Kirby India has emerged as one of India’s most promising manufacturing companies. Could you share the guiding philosophy that has propelled your organization’s success?

Over the years, Kirby India has evolved from a mere manufacturer of PEB to a total solution provider for customer needs. Like a true leader, it has constantly tried to set new standards in the PEB industry. The company has demonstrated its capability to design and manufacture complex and heavy structures by setting up mega projects in all the manufacturing segments and sub-segments. Kirby India has also successfully ventured into many unexplored territories like Shipyards, Power Plant Structures, Bridge Girders, Steel Plants, Multi-Level Process Buildings, Conveyor Structures, High Rise Office Buildings, Data Centers, etc., thereby making inroads into these areas for the PEB industry and laying the foundation for a similar type of projects.

The manufacturing landscape is continually evolving. How do you ensure Kirby India remains adaptable and ahead of industry trends, providing innovative solutions to your clients?

Kirby Building Systems is the market leader in producing steel buildings and structures in India and provides top-class customer service through its integrated ERP system. The company is privileged to partner with leading corporations across all industries by setting up their facilities. To name a few, Kirby India has been associated with companies such as Amazon, Flipkart, Emerson, Midea, Whirlpool, Gati Realtors, Aarush Logistics, Future Retail, Berger Paints, Asian Paints, Grasim Industries, Cipla Ltd, BASF, Dixon, Oppo India, Salcomp, Nokia, Adani Wilmar, Schott Glass, Monte Carlo, Exide Industries, Kia Motors, Skoda, Tata Group, Reliance Industries, Bisleri, Bata India, Hindustan Unilever, Godrej & Boyce, Colgate Palmolive, UNICEF, BMW, Renault-Nissan, Royal Enfield, JCB India, Danfoss Industries, Meenakshi Energy, Trident Ltd, Cargill India, Danieli India, Dr. Reddy’s, Aurobindo Pharma, Mankind Pharma, Aleor Dermaceuticals, Sun Pharma, Laurus Labs, Suzlon Group, Yokohama, ATC Tires, Ralson Tyres, Apollo Tyres, MRF Ltd, JK Tyre, Bridgestone, Balkrishna Tyres, Pipavav Shipyard, L&T, Toshiba-JSW, Pepsico, Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Dabur India, ITC Ltd, Britannia, Delhi Metro, Bangalore Metro, Hyderabad Metro, Essar Steel, JSW Steel, JSPL, Jindal Saw, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Honda Motors, ISRO, Ministry of Defense, DRDO, MIDHANI, PGCIL, Ramakrishna Forgings, Supreme Industries, Sheela Foam, IMTMA, Flash Electronics, Cheyyer SEZ, SNS Infra, Suven Life Sciences, Schott Glass, Jindal Polyfilms, Voltas, Power Mech, Phoenix Group, CtrlS Data Center, Vellapally, Suntec, Gas Point, BL Kashyap, Writer Business Services, Iron Mountain, Future Supply Chain, and many more.

Your leadership style is often recognized as a driving force behind your company’s achievements. Could you shed light on your approach to leadership and team building within the organization?

Kirby India has always been at the forefront of innovation, investing in new production technologies and enhancing performance through continuous product development. Integrating the company’s strength, leadership, and expertise with innovation has helped the company lead the Indian PEB market.

Sustainability and environmental responsibility are crucial aspects of the manufacturing industry. How does Kirby India integrate these principles into its operations and contribute to a sustainable experience?

India is the world’s fastest-growing economy, and its rapidly growing younger population drives the domestic consumption story, leading to evolving ways of sustainable growth, including construction. PEB is one of the choices for sustainable and eco-friendly construction as steel is 100% recyclable and can be reused to make other products again and again compared to conventional buildings. PEBs use simple nut and bolt connections to the install sections, which are transported from the factory per the customer’s requirement and erected per the standard procedures with World Seaworld-class protocols. All the sections of PEB are lightweight, have quicker design and detailing, are factory-fabricated with quality control, have faster completion and future expansion, and are easily transportable compared to conventional buildings.

These buildings, also called green buildings, have caught the attention of many builders, developers, etc., across India and are making inroads across all types of construction. Kirby India is at the forefront of this innovation and is leading the country in green construction through its PEB technology, thereby contributing to the green building movement. These buildings are cost-effective and energy-efficient and provide a better quality environment as they are cooler in hot conditions due to the favourable roofing material, suitable insulation and natural ventilation. The use of skylights and solar panels mounted on rooftops of industrial buildings also meets daylight and captive power requirements, reducing dependence on power supply from other sources, reducing emissions, and increasing carbon credits under the clean development mechanism. Effective usage of insulation material, louvres, and other materials also helps control temperature and harvest rainwater. This will lead to a viable construction methodology as it has all the green benefits, dry construction, saving of natural resources, etc., using environmentally friendly material.

All these buildings are unique, with different steel sections used for customization per the customer’s requirements. PEB has various advantages such as ease of future expansion, environmentally friendly, earthquake resistant, faster to construct, dry construction leading to savings in natural resources, green in nature, factory controlled quality, recyclable, reusable, energy efficient, large clear spans, lighter foundations, flexibility with other materials, etc.

In the realm of manufacturing, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency. How does your company leverage technology to optimize its services and stay ahead in a digital age?

Technological improvement has contributed immensely to enhancing quality of life through various new products and services. Over the last 47+ years, we have completed over 100,000 buildings globally in more than 70 countries. In India alone, Kirby has completed over 40,000 buildings spread over more than 45 million square meters of built-up area for 7,500+ clients in different industry segments and sub-segments.

Over 60% of our business is from Repeat Customers, indicating Kirby’s top-class customer service and world-class products with the highest quality, safety, erection, and after-sales services.

We executed the first G+12 Data Center building with a height of 72 meters for a CtrlS client coming up at Navi Mumbai. This building is unique in nature and has unique drafting, fabrication, and erection challenges. The building was completed in a record time of six months, which has opened a new market for the Structural Steel division. We also implemented a new methodology for the erection of deck sheeting from the bottom of the Data Center building for the first time in India (as far as we know).

We completed the first-of-its-kind airtight building for ABB India, successfully testing the pressure. This building is being developed for Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL) to transmit and convert electricity from one grid to another grid.

As a leader in India’s manufacturing sector, your company has likely faced its share of challenges. How are you encountering them?

The PEB industry has grown leaps and bounds over the last two decades, and the industry, consisting of top organized players, is maturing to take it to the next level of growth trajectory. The industry is overcoming many challenges by continuously sharing knowledge across seminars, conferences, industry forums, colleges, and education curricula, among other things, with the target audience, increasing its popularity.

Also, with the construction and infrastructure industries rapidly growing, these sectors are facing the serious challenge of the availability of manpower at various project locations across India. At this crucial juncture, many companies are adopting advanced construction technologies such as steel construction and considering prefabricated steel construction, which employs less labour at sites.

Some of the other challenges the industry faces are fluctuating steel prices, a low entry barrier leading to a number of PEB players looking only at fabrication, a lack of focus on quality and safety, payment terms, etc.

Today, manufacturing goes beyond the physical realm, touching on safety, security, and well-being. How does your company address these critical factors in its service offerings?

Safety is very important in all PEB projects, whether big or small. It has gained prominence over the last 12+ years because of exposure to global construction practices. The PEB industry has improved greatly in implementing world-class safety standards from its beginning in early 2000 to the current stage, as it involves working at heights varying between 10 meters and 70 meters in process buildings to more than 100 meters in high-rise structures.

Kirby India has implemented many innovative approaches to safe practices across all its job sites through certified builders and erection engineers. Over the last 23+ years of its operations, Kirby India has provided training to all the manpower on safe erection practices and continues to do so to have zero accidents at sites. This has enabled the company to bag the British Safety Council Award for over six years, which is well known for its stringent safety standards and practices.

The final look and feel of the building depend, to a great extent, on the quality of the installation at the site. Kirby has a panel of over 150 Certified Builders across India. As the erection process was highly technical and required a skilled and trained workforce to execute the works and handle heavy construction equipment effectively, the builder was selected after a rigorous evaluation. The company took complete ownership of constructing the facility with world-class safety standards, and regular training sessions are conducted at the site to educate the builder staff and workers on correct installation procedures and Environment Health & Safety (EHS) practices to be followed daily.

Looking to the future, what is your vision for your company? How do you aspire to continue making a significant impact on India’s manufacturing landscape?

The PEB industry will play a major role in the growth of the Indian economy in the coming decade. Renewable energy, solar industry, mobile, semiconductor, electronics, pharmaceuticals, textile, engineering, etc., will contribute to the growth of the PEB segment. The government launched the PLI scheme in 2020 and added newer segments in 2021 when more than US$27 billion in incentives will be announced for investments in the manufacturing sector over the next five years.

This is phenomenal, and it will drive the overall economy. India has a huge growth potential over the next few years, and the PEB industry will dominate the space and create its own space in this growing construction segment. We are well poised for the next five years to lead the PEB industry as a market leader and create new benchmarks.