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26th March 2018, Bangalore: Swiss and European leader in the field of sanitary technology and bathroom ceramics, Geberit along with the Swiss-Indian Chamber of Commerce (SICC) recently held an interactive seminar and panel discussion: “Innovative Swiss technologies for smart and sustainable buildings.” The panel comprised CXOs from various Swiss building and manufacturing companies in India.

Introduction to the seminar was delivered by Mr. Abubaker Koya, MD, Geberit India and President–SICCI South, Ms. Conny Camenzind, Deputy Consul General of Switzerland in Bengaluru delivered the Introductory speech, and Ms. Marylaure Crettaz Corredor, Head-Swiss Cooperation Office and Counsellor, Embassy of Switzerland did the honours of theme setting.

The panellists included Mr. Mayank Kalra, Director-Sales, HILTI India; Mr. Amol Adlakha, Executive Director, Regent Lighting; Mr. Hardeep Singh, Managing Director, Forbo Flooring; Mr. Vincent Pinto, Sr. Vice President-NIB, Schindler India; Mr. Sandeep Kaul, National Sales Manager, Mupro India; Mr. Soumendra Mishra, National Head-Specifications & Projects, Sika India; and Ms. Gorika Shyam, National Sales Manager, Geberit India.

Mr. Koya in his welcome speech, mentioned that “Given the fast-paced changes ushered in by the new real estate regulation act “RERA, builders are open to adopting new technologies and solutions which are sustainable, cost efficient and help in faster construction eg. Prefab solutions etc. They are also seriously looking at lifecycle costs instead of limiting themselves to the capital costs alone.

This set the direction for the panel discussion of the evening which was moderated by Mr. R.K. Gautam, Director-Sustainability, Cushman & Wakefield.

“Swiss companies have taken the leadership position in sustainability for many years and it is time for these companies to bring in their technological leadership to the emerging markets,” said Mr. Hardeep Singh.

On the question of how Swiss technology support environment sustainability in buildings, Mr. Vincent Pinto, said that in the context of elevators, product innovation has contributed to the sustainability cause at Schindler India. “For instance, shift from the rope to belt has helped in reducing the power consumption and bring in energy efficiency, further usage of recyclable material and space saving of the building shaft are the other important factors,” he said.

On the construction industry front, Mr. Mishra pointed out to Sika India’s solutions, products, and systems that envelope’s the structures and safeguards the inhabitants from air pollution, allows natural light, saves energy, and meets the low emission standards. While Mr. Kalra said that when it comes to products that address health, safety and environment concerns, it is necessary that we not only talk about the suitability of those products but also consider the stability of the entire system.

On the question of bringing down the lifecycle cost of products, Mr. Kaul made a valid point relating to decadent practices in the construction industry. According to him, when a project is envisaged at the designer level, much of the investment is earmarked for the superstructure and not much attention is given to the services that are running inside the shaft—for instance, rainwater, supply water, drainage, HVAC, and other such utilities are never envisaged at the design stage. “Having said that, today standards in India are evolving,” he quipped.

Ms. Gorika Shyam added that the lifecycle costs start right from the time a building is designed. “RERA has forced the builders to look at the lifecycle cost and not the upfront cost of the building,” she said. “It is important that we convince the designers, architects and developers and builders on the long-term sustainability of the product and not as a mere budgetary requirement.”

Given the high cost of environment-friendly measures, convincing customers continues to be a complex affair. However, according to Mr. Adlakha, knowledge dissemination is the key to convincing customers. “We spend a lot of time educating our own people about the value of the products,” he said. “Building awareness and imparting knowledge vide training will be a continuous process”.

Overall, the panel discussion ended on a positive note with regard to adopting of sustainable practices as a way forward and the concluding remarks were made by Geberit India, MD, Mr. Abubaker Koya and the evening ended over cocktails and dinner hosted by SICC.

About Geberit

The Geberit Group is the European market leader in sanitary technology with global presence. From the time of its establishment in 1874, the company has always been a pioneer in the sector, consistently setting new trends with its comprehensive system solutions.

Geberit Group is headquartered in Switzerland at Rapperswil-Jona and has been listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange since 1999. Geberit touched 2908 Million CHF in net sales in 2017, the company employs more than 12,000 people worldwide and has its own representatives in more than 41 countries.

Geberit in India is committed to meet the existing and prospective customers’ emerging needs in the field of Sanitary & Piping Technologies. Anticipating the needs of the Customers / Clients, the Geberit product range is designed for use in new buildings as well as in renovation and modernization projects.