The growth of urbanization and the need for conservation of the ecological environment, has led to a huge demand for sustainable architectural products. These sustainable products look to protect our natural environment and ecological health while driving architectural innovation and not compromising our way of life. One such company is Fundermax India. The company has completed a milestone- 15000 plus projects across residential, corporate, hospitality & retail, including some very prestigious buildings like Infosys & Dell among others, providing character to buildings since 2007.
Constrofacilitator has one to one discussion with Dr. Prashanth Reddy, Managing Director Fundermax India recently. He has over 29 years of experience, having spent the last 13 years in the building materials/real estate sector. During our conversation, he discussed the affordable housing sector, architectural range product of the company, facade designs, market potential and many more.
Here are the excerpts of the interview.
What are the potential and opportunities for the Affordable Housing Sector in India?
In our estimate, India needs twenty-five to thirty million houses in the affordable sector. This is the actual demand and whatever measures have been taken so far we are very much short on the supply side. The demand remains quite high. There are good initiatives from the Government concerning interest subsidies & affordable housing loans, which are encouraging the promoters to get into this segment. But land price and accommodation location are the main challenges of the affordable housing sector, these gaps need to be addressed.
Discuss the range of architectural products provided by Fundermax?
We are one of the market leaders in architectural products for exterior and interior applications. With over 32000 SKUs offering high design freedom. Our company’s panels can be customized via CNC cutting into motifs as per the need. The panels provide a high degree of design freedom and improve the sustainability of the building by adhering to green building standards. We have executed over 15000 projects since 2007 with a wide array of products. We have developed standardized installation systems which are made for India and designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. We have also designed shading systems such as Max Lato heeding to the market demand and launched a rivet-less soffit system called FS01.The company has recently introduced Max Cabina, a durable partition system for restrooms. Fundermax operates through 45 well-trained business partners across India & Nepal. Fundermax has achieved numerous awards internationally for the quality system process and adherence to the green building norms and regulations.
Enlighten on the factors that need to be considered while deciding upon facade selection?
The facade has two purposes. The first one is the functional aspect which acts as an envelope of the building whose main purpose is energy conservation. The second is aesthetics which impacts the overall look of a building. The selection of materials is based on functional requirements and life cycle cost in terms of sustainability. Several important factors come into play, such as location, wind load, acoustics and the sun path.
What is the range of decorative digital facades offered by the company?
Digital facades can be seen from the perspective of several applications point of view, it can be divided into dynamic and static. In large buildings, it can be used as a signage, like that in Burj Khalifa, which lightens up on occasions. We offer a digital print version, which is static. If any client wants customization based on their need, it is possible to provide that.
What is the USP of Fundermax facades?
One of the key highlights of Fundermax is that we just do not offer panels, we offer a complete solution including installation. For any project that we undertake, we understand the requirements of the project and the challenges. We take into consideration aesthetic, Wind load, structural analysis, optimization and sustainability factors that a project might require. Based on this survey we provide the installation solution.
Initially, when we started the journey we had 18 business partners, we realized that they were sourcing sections and accessories from 18 different sources. We had to centralize many things and optimize designs based on the defined SOPs. We offered the total design solution service and passed on the benefits to our partners.
Are Fundermax partners aware of the technical specifications of the products sold?
We have 45 partners across the country, their part is to do sales as well as services. All the panels areinstalled by our partners. Fundermax sales and marketing team work on the specifications. We work closely with all the influencers of the segment, such as architects, PMC’s, facade consultants to generate specifications.
In your journey of more than a decade, what is your take on the price- sensitivity of the Indian market and challenges faced initially?
The Indian market is certainly price-sensitive as our per-capita income varies quite a lot in comparison to western countries. Meeting this large market we focus on commercial and residential buildings. In such a large market, we can still focus on a niche who is looking for quality, sustainable, premium and functional products. Price remains an issue. We identify projects that use quality projects.
When we began the journey it was very challenging, we were compared with aluminum composite panels. It has been fascinating to engage with the architects and make them aware of our product and systems. The breakthrough has been challenging. We started with smaller projects and created enough references. Soon the architects took notice. They started giving us opportunities and today there is no looking back.
How does material selection in construction contribute to India’s Energy Consumption Reform?
This is a key aspect of today’s facade business. In general, we are an energy-deficient country, some parts might be energy conservative but in a larger picture we lack energy conservation. In large commercial spaces, lots of glass is being used, this results in heating, which further adds to cost. With the right products such as ours, you can eliminate these cost-sensitive factors. If you clad at least three sides of a building especially south-west you can cut off heat aggression which in turns reduces the load on HVAC.
We are very sensitive about environmental factors and the products we source are energy efficient. Moreover, there has been steady progress regarding the green building rating system in India. IGBC statistics notify that thousands of projects are being registered for green buildings. However, the green products come under the premier price range.
What are the different areas of application, wherein the company is providing Max Cabina partition systems?
For partition systems, we are focusing mainly on commercial office spaces and infrastructure projects such as private airports, wherein a client needs high-end and durable products
. There are three different types of fixing systems in Max Cabina.
About 15000 plus projects have been done by the company, which one has been the closest to heart or challenging?
Due to the non-disclosure agreement, we cannot specify individual projects. However, we take huge pride in executing the tallest residential project in Mumbai. In the project, we meet the challenge of a high wind load of 4 kph. It has been a challenge in working for a 150 m tall residential building. We have also forayed into IT spaces and have worked with companies such as Infosys, TCS, Reliance. We have also worked on multiple hospital projects and institutions. These all have been great experiences for us But the closest to our heart is the CSR projects where we have been able to contribute back to society. The one I can recall is the Nirguna Mandir in South Bangalore. We are proud of it.