BIM can help in better planning and estimation of requirement for Formwork and Scaffolding says Subash Arunachalam, Associate General Manager, Ihita Engineering Services Pvt Ltd.

Considering more and more buildings in India are destined to be skyrises, how can automatic climbing formwork (ACF) aid in faster construction of the high-rises?
Automatic Climbing formwork system is one of the latest developments for the future in the formwork industry; however there are many aspects that need to be looked into before accepting and approving a completely automatic self climbing Formwork system. At the moment it is better to opt for a Semi-Automatic climbing formwork system wherein the safety aspects are completely looked after by people and materials management and any other practical floor to floor changes are manual.

In a country like India where the labour cost is minimal compared to the cost of such a system, it is better to opt for the Formwork erection by people to cut down costs. Also other limitations such as agility, safety, speed vs cost factors are still in favour of conventional human formed formwork systems. The Self climbing formwork system may be a system for the future in India, with a consideration of the kind of project it is implemented in.

Especially for big projects, how can BIM aid in drafting of better scaffolding and formwork structures?
BIM can now be implemented for any scale project and not only for big projects as every project and every structure needs the planning for 3Ms i.e. material, manpower and management. BIM is a very effective tool given its analysis in the 7-Dimensions now. It can help in the better planning and estimation of requirement for Formwork and Scaffolding but also for the drafting of the same till now we use the custom made rafting softwares. However, BIM implementation for drafting is only in the trial stages and if successful it can be a one stop solution for the formwork and scaffolding sectors.

What kind of assistance in assembly and operation do you offer to your clients?
After sales assistance of Ihita is best in the industry and that is a main reason for us to retain and increase our client base. We offer continuous support on site with our engineers and supervisors for a minimum of two settings till the client is comfortable in using the system and any site issues in erection of formwork are sorted out. In some cases where the client is new to Aluminium formwork, we have even given assistance with our engineer and supervisor on site till the completion of the entire project at a minimal charge.

What is the scope of rental model in the backdrop of the current economy?
In India, the rental model for the scaffolding and conventional shuttering is very profitable and in practice, however the main advantage of Aluminium formwork system over the conventional shuttering systems is the monolithic casting offered and that it is custom made to each project and avoids any additional work on site. Though the Aluminium Formwork system can be reused for other similar projects, the risk in making it as a rental model is quite high and also the rental charge if the cost needs to be recovered from each project also will be very high. However, if a universal system can be designed and fabricated then the rental model can be a viable model in the Aluminium formwork industry.


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