Excellence is not a stagnant standard. It is an ever-growing and evolving tree rooted in the stone-strong earth and branching out to encompass the entire barren land with its cool shade. Generation of birds nestling in it with their lifetime of convenience and comfort rely on that tree’s devotion to preserving life in its natural essence. This dedication could be seen in that tree’s many layers of lifetimes; it has weathered the changing seasons and shifting times yet lived to tell the tale.
Standing tall for the last not ten, twenty, or thirty, but for forty years, the tree of Meridian Housing is the marvellous benchmark of Indian real estate’s nestling excellence. Reflecting on this four-decade-old journey, the second-generation tree-guardian, or the Managing Director of Meridian Housing, Faraz Bagban, the Civil Engineer, says, “Our brand is rooted in the unwavering commitment to precision and exceptional attention to detail.”
The Shining Splendour
Founded in 1974 by Iqbal Bagban, the journey of Meridian Housing began with contracts for various residential, industrial, and infrastructural projects. The firm then expanded into residential and commercial development. “Our 40 years of technical know-how has sharpened and refined our skills in providing the optimum quality in the real estate industry,” informs Faraz.
Today, being an established construction company based in Pune, Meridian Housing represents sheer brilliance in real estate development across the city. The valour shines through Faraz’s words, “We aim to provide high-quality housing delivered in a timely and transparent manner. Our integrated designs ensure maximum space utilisation and utmost comfort.”
Revealing Brand Meridian Housing’s USPs and aspects that make it stand out in the cutthroat competition, Faraz says that its main USP is customer satisfaction. Keeping in mind the client’s needs, they are dedicated to offering premium valued housing to their clients. “Our goal is the maximum utilization of space while providing utmost comfort and offering intricate designs based on the customer’s need,” mentions Faraz.
Elaborating on his own journey, Faraz says that since childhood, he had observed and accompanied his father to various projects, trying to understand the science behind the construction, behind-the-scenes process, and minute details from the initial stages to the final result that is involved before one can actually see the final results.
He says, “That is when I knew I wanted to be part of this field, and I pursued to become a civil engineer.”
After graduation, Faraz thought he would intern for his Father’s company, but his father, Iqbal, had bigger plans and greater ambitions for Faraz. Iqbal believed a person needs to learn from the ground up and not be dependent on anyone, as real estate is a rewarding but tough business as well. Iqbal did not want Faraz to be perceived as COO (Child of Owner) and “Wanted me to stand on my own merits, therefore after a brief discussion, he told me there were no positions available, and I needed to look for jobs outside of the company,” recollects Faraz.
Faraz had to step out of what Iqbal thought would have been Faraz’s comfort zone, and Faraz started working with a salary of ₹2500/month at a contracting firm. His father already knew Faraz’s ambitious streak, “So as he expected, after a year, I realized I need to start something on my own. I took a loan of ₹80,000 from my father and started a contracting firm,” conveys Faraz. Initially, as a beginner would, Faraz was a little apprehensive, but soon he received good feedback and an excellent response. “Within six years, I was bidding and won contracts for major builders on my own,” says Faraz.
Expanding the Vision
Unfortunately, in 2009, they suddenly lost their company’s founder, his father, Mr Iqbal Bagban, after which Faraz decided to take over the family legacy and became the CEO of Meridian Housing.
Faraz shares, “Our company already had a couple of ongoing projects. I completed those. Simultaneously I started expanding my portfolio by taking on a couple more projects that were either ongoing or successfully completed.” And Faraz kept working alongside his father’s vision and expanding on his father’s foresight for Meridian Housing.
Digital Real Estate Transformation
Being an experienced leader, Faraz shares his opinion on how adopting modern technologies like AI and ML impacts the real estate space and how Meridian Housing is adapting to the change.
He believes AI and ML are critical components of modern engineering and construction approaches. Artificial Intelligence in the construction industry is undergoing a digital transformation. Focusing on technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning at every stage of engineering and construction, from design to preconstruction, post-construction to operations and asset management uplifts the construction industry’s potential to new levels.
Artificial intelligence in construction helps the industry solve its greatest challenges like cost, schedule overruns and safety issues. AI can be exploited throughout the construction project from inception and design, bidding, financing, transportation management, operation and asset management and understanding customer preferences and clicks from various portals and surveys.
With all these new technologies, the construction industry will have robots working alongside human workers. Such an arrangement will help speed up construction, reduce costs, injuries, and better decision-making.
AI in construction will not only overcome the labour shortage issue but also lead to alterations in business models, reducing expensive errors and making building operations more efficient. Thus, it is advised that business leaders at construction companies should focus on investment based on areas where AI can have the maximum impact based on needs.
Early adopters of this digital transformation will surely gain the business lead. Getting an edge will make them leaders in setting the direction and reaping short-term and long-term benefits.
A Prophetic Wisdom
Faraz’s advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the real estate space is adept. He says that, like any business venture, the real estate industry requires a strong foundation; financial, mental, and physical strength and the right human resources.
This also entails dedication, determination, the ability for in-depth research, understanding your weakness and strengths, how best to utilize/use your human resources and three very important factors–providing quality end results/product; knowing your customers; understanding your finances before taking any step ahead as good financial backing is a key factor for this business.
“Of course, one must have heard from many management Gurus about how taking risks in business is necessary to succeed, but I believe your risks must be calculated and thoroughly thought through,” believes Faraz.
In today’s age, networking is crucial; finding a good mentor is equally important. The mentor will be important in helping you shape your company and move towards your vision. Someone who can guide you through the journey, educate you through the process, ground you from time to time and in turn, you should be open to frank feedback as well.
Competition is cutthroat nowadays; in your journey, there will be people who will appreciate and support you, but there will also be people who will try to bring you down and not appreciate your hard work. Don’t be disheartened, be open to criticism and learn from your mistakes.
There may be a phase when the projects are at a standstill; with legal issues, paperwork and one can get burnt out. But these are part and parcel and common in the life of an entrepreneur, so always remember to take a deep breath.
Faraz concludes, “Be Patient and consistent! Believe in your work, in yourself, have faith, be passionate about what you do, and always keep the fire in the belly alive.”