The roofing and cladding industry in India is considered among the fastest growing segments in the construction industry today. The evolution of the roofing and cladding industry in the country makes for interesting reading. It is rapidly evolving from an industry that was dominated by the unorganized sector a few years ago, to one that is witnessing dramatic changes, with respect to entry of new technology and innovative products, thanks to the entry of big brand names these days. The sustained growth in urban infrastructure in the form of airport terminals, IT parks, retail outlets, etc along with the continued thrust to manufacturing has meant that roofing and cladding is big business in India these days. While RCC has ruled the roost all these days, metal roofs and cladding products are now gradually holding their own in the market. The roof has evolved from being a component that merely provides shelter to something that can help in rainwater harvesting, has provision for generating solar power, helps in allowing daylight and allows for proper ventilation, playing a multiutility role nowadays. The increased emphasis on sustainability has added an altogether different angle to the choice of roofs, especially in the case of industries and commercial establishments. Metal roofing and cladding products with their numerous advantages have made a strong case for themselves in the Indian market. All this has meant good news for the suppliers of roofing and cladding products. The fact that the industry is still at a nascent stage has meant that the growth curve has just about started.
Slowdown- Blessing in Disguise?
One of the key factors that have been driving up demand for roofing and cladding products is the growth of the pre-engineered building (PEB) industry. While the value of the PEB industry is pegged at approximately ` 4000 crore in the country today, the metal roofing and cladding market is pegged at about ` 800 crore in India. With con-tractors almost always under pressure to stick to strict project deadlines without compromising on the quality front, these numbers are sure to increase. In a strange way, the recent economic slowdown is also likely to have a positive impact on the market for metal roofing and cladding products. The less labour intensive erection and installation process of metal roofing and cladding components has come as a boon to project developers who are hard pressed to cut down on project costs in these days of economic tight rope walking.
Going into the reasons behind the relatively slow pace of growth of the PEB industry till recently, Mr.Sanjay S. Loya, Director, LPCL, considered a market leader in the field said, “The slow pace of growth can be attributed mainly to lack of knowledge about the advantages offered by PEB among customers. There is still some apprehension among people regarding use of steel. However, we are seeing a change in attitude of people and increasing acceptance mainly through word of mouth. Customer satisfaction is high when it comes to PEB and this helps spread awareness among customers. With the PEB industry growing at a rate of about 15%- 20% in the recent past, there has been a spurt in demand for metal roofing and cladding products in the past few years. The growth of the PEB industry has also meant that another important factor, that of lack of skilled manpower and an established supply chain is now being addressed. The entry of big names in the field offering innovative roof and cladding products has led to consolidation of the industry, which was till a few years ago being dominated by the unorganized sector. The entry of big names with the R &D wherewithal and financial muscle to offer technical support services, so very crucial in this field, has meant that the customer is the proverbial king today.
Continued Manufacturing Thrust
The continued thrust given to the manufacturing sector spells good news for suppliers of roofing and cladding materials. The Union cabinet had earlier approved the draft National Manufacturing Policy, which seeks to increase the share of manufacturing sector in the GDP to 25% by 2025, which translates into huge opportunities for suppliers. The government on its part is also grappling with a struggling economy, which it aims to set right through continued emphasis on rapid industrialization and development of infrastructure, both of which again mean great times for roofing and cladding suppliers. Several initiatives towards achieving these objectives such as the announcement of various industrial corridors (the most prominent among them being the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project), IT parks, textile parks, spice parks, food processing parks, etc, has kept the roofing and cladding product manufacturers on their toes. With competition intensifying, manufacturers are now banking on technology and value added services to garner their share of the market.
The gradual evolution of the Indian market for roofing and cladding products mirrors that of the trends that were earlier witnessed in the developed world. The market is overall moving from one that was dominated by the unorganized sector to one that has now at least a sprinkling of world renowned names. The marketing war that was earlier being fought on the plank of price is now being fought on the plank of technology and value additions.
Manufacturers are banking on introducing product innovations and offering of value added services to garner their share of an increasingly competitive market. Suppliers are focusing on versatility when it comes to roof and walling systems. Kirby India, a leading name in the field for example offers a wide range of roofing and cladding products such as, Kirby Rib roof or wall panel, KRP wall panel, KTM standing seam metal roof panel, KTS standing seam metal roof panel, Roof-Lok plus vertical standing seam metal roof panel and Roof-Lok vertical standing seam roof panel. Zamil Steel is another name that offers a variety of profiles, base metals, metal substrates and coatings for its roof and wall panels. Loya PEB is another industry leader which offers a wide range of roofing and cladding products. Pointing out what makes their roofing and cladding systems different from others, Mr. Sanjay S. Loya observed, “We continuously strive to provide cutting-edge roofing and cladding options to our customers. Customers can choose from multiple profiles as well as different shapes for the roofs. We have recently introduced a standing seam roof profile that enables the building to be completely leak-proof as it eliminated the need for holes to be drilled in the roof sheet.”
Pebs Pennar is a frontrunner that offers an innovative range of roof and wall components including, rigid steel main frames, eave struts, grits purlins, panels and insulation panels. The company with its LEED Gold Rated manufacturing unit near Hyderabad has been making rapid strides in the field in recent times, through its focus on building long term relationships with leading players in the infrastructure domain. Spelling out the reasons behind the rapid growth of Pebs Pennar, Mr.P.V.Rao, Executive Director of the company was heard saying, “As a result of continuous execution of projects in a timely and cost efficient manner, we have built a strong relationship with big infrastructure players.”Its LEED compliant solutions are focused towards a market where sustainability is the buzzword these days. Similarly, Tata Bluescope is one more leading brand that offers the LYSAGHT® range of products that includes products that includes premium roof & wall cladding, structural support and accessories like purlins, louvers, flashings, etc. The products are broadly used for applications in the industrial, infrastructure, residential, commercial segments. Going into details on the process behind the company’s range of roofing and cladding products, Mr.Ajay Rattan, General Manager – Sales and Market Development remarked, “Our strategically located world-class manufacturing facilities with advanced, high-end roll-forming equipments are backed-up by strong engineering support with advanced design software and R&D support from BlueScope Steel, Australia. Our profiles cater to varied segments that provide cost efficiency due to optimized steel solutions, shorter lead time, high strength with design flexibility and superior quality paint & coating system with long lasting aesthetics. “
The economic uncertainties else-where in the world have meant that several global players are eyeing an entry into the Indian market in the near future. With the government planning to increase outlay on manufacturing sector during the 12th Five Year Plan it won’t come as a surprise if several overseas players set up shop in the country in the next few years. Stretching the Green Roof Idea The increased emphasis on sustainable construction practices has been another driving force behind the rise in demand for metal roofing and cladding products. The changes in the market are being driven by a consumer who wants something apart from conventional products for various different applications. With steel being the major component in roofing and cladding products these days, it automatically lends a sustainable edge to them. The idea of what constitutes a ‘green roof’ has undergone a paradigm shift in today’s market scenario, where the customer has a wider range to choose from. Gone are the days when only vegetation on top of a building was considered the broad parameter for declaring it a green roof. These days there are several other factors taken into consideration for defining what actually constitutes a green roof. Some of these key factors include, superior thermal insulation, ability to allow daylight, provision for allowing fitment of rainwater harvesting components, reusability, etc., all areas in which metal roofs score high. Adding to the already high sustainability quotient of metal roofs are recent product innovations. One such innovation offered by manufacturers include roofing systems where solar panels can be easily fitted in, adding to their green factor. Needless to say, with India being a country with a predominantly sunny climate, such roofing systems have got a huge market potential here. Market Enters Key Phase
India has well and truly emerged as the key market for roofing and cladding products over the last decade. One of the crucial factors that make India such an important market is the continued thrust on the manufacturing and retailing sector. Several industrial corridor projects are either already under construction or on the anvil, presenting a huge opportunity to roofing and cladding suppliers. Another sector that should give impetus to the suppliers is that of food and beverages. The sector is growing by leaps and bounds pushing demand for modern warehouses. With the economy predicted to gradually turnaround by the end of this year, the surge in demand for roofing and cladding products is expected to run throughout the 12th Five Year Plan period. Adding to the good tidings is the fact that the market is gradually evolving from one that was dominated by the unorganized sector to one that is now being dominated by players who are focused towards introducing newer technologies and latest products keeping in sync with global trends. The next five years could turn out to be the most decisive for the roofing and cladding manufacturers in the country.