BACKGROUND: Imperatives for Construction Industry Improvements

The last two decades saw the Indian economy grow significantly. India's GDP crossed the 2 trillion USD mark in 2014. The construction industry is the 2nd largest employer and contributor to economic activity in India, after agriculture, and contributes about 10% of India's GDP and accounts for the second highest inflow of FDI after the services sector. According to recent estimates (by ‘Make in India’ in 2015), nearly 590 Million people will live in Indian cities by 2030. This will lead to enormous growth in housing, commercial, industrial and infrastructure sectors.

However, construction projects in India face many challenges such as time and cost overruns, low-productivity and quality, lack of skilled labor, health and safety issues and low levels of technology adoption. While construction industries in other countries continue to face and address their own challenges, we in India, while drawing on relevant worldwide experiences, should develop India-specific solutions to deal effectively and efficiently with our own issues and move forward faster, better and safer, while delivering better 'value for money' and more sustainable buildings, roads, railways and other built infrastructure

RATIONALE: Pathways to effective and sustainable Construction Industry Improvements.

Experience in India and other countries, shows that significant and sustainable industry improvements, along with the necessary culture change, must be championed by a core group of enlightened large clients with a long-term vision for value-driven project delivery. Supply chains will only respond when their paymasters’ selection and performance criteria require them to improve in desired directions. A critical mass of large clients must act together, in order to initiate new norms and standards, so that major supply chains realize they must change their mind-sets and ways of working (to stay in business). Moreover, end-users should appreciate that they are receiving better value from such progressive suppliers (rather than seeking apparently ‘cheaper’ products elsewhere). Major supply chain members including leading Consultants and Contractors should then join in the above initiative so it evolves into an integrated joint industry initiative. In addition, as in other countries, interested academics could catalyse such an initiative, as well as provide independent R&D- based inputs that will assist in balanced development.

OUR PLATFORM, CONTRIBUTIONS AND WAY FORWARD: through Construction Industry Institute India (Ci3)

To empower the envisaged industry transformation, the Construction Industry Improvement Initiative India - Ci3 India was launched by IIT Madras in October 2015 with some major construction industry clients and a few other academics from other institutions. The T.N. Subba Rao Brigade Group Adjunct Chair Professorship at IIT Madras from Feb. 2015 to Feb. 2017, was a major driver in conceiving and developing this initiative.

The ‘First Regional Ci3 India Clients’ Roundtable’ held soon after the above launch, helped identify a set of critical issues. These issues were revisited, expanded and verified at the ‘Ci3 India Developers’ Roundtable’ in Mumbai in Feb. 2016. Seven ‘Action Teams’ were mobilised in March 2016 to address these identified critical issues. These Action Teams developed Working Papers that were presented at a Ci3 India Consultants Roundtable and next, a Ci3 India Clients-Consultants Consolidation Roundtable, both held in October 2016. Following the strong support with the feedback received at and after these Oct. 2016 events, it was decided to set up the Construction Industry Institute India (Ci3) that would be the logical successor to move forward with the initiative launched via Ci3 India (Construction Industry Institute India). It is envisaged that Ci3 will develop and drive meaningful and sustainable construction industry improvements by for example, actively involving appropriate major stakeholders in producing and disseminating a White Paper for revitalising the industry, as well as launching ‘demonstration projects’ and ‘system improvement initiatives’ that will effectively address the identified critical industry issues, hence empowering meaningful and sustainable industry improvements.