Emerging solutions in the architect-tech space
Startups are emerging in the $180 billion industry. Indian construction and building industry is in the midst of rapid market expansion, strong government policies with positive interventions, and innovation by entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are redefining this space with online designer solutions, ecosystem builders and other architect technology verticals.Nischala Agnihotri
Factors for any industry to get a facelift and transform towards prosperity are rapid market expansion, strong government policies with positive interventions, and innovation stirred by the entrepreneurial community. Today, India’s house construction and building industry is driven by all three factors.
IBEF has reported that the Indian real estate industry will grow into a $180 billion industry by 2020, with a CAGR of 11.2%. Also, that the housing construction sector would contribute 5-6% of the country’s GDP. The HNI’s Indian Citizenry is expected to triple this year, making the luxury housing segment the fastest growing in the Indian real estate industry. Beyond all this, India is very likely to be the world’s third-largest construction market by 2018 after USA and China.
Initiatives by the Indian government like ‘Housing for All’ by 2022 aims at building 30 million households for the economically weaker sections. For retail home buyers, the government has eased housing finance by increasing the exemption limit and encouraged first-time home buyers with an additional deduction on interest for loan up to Rs 35 lakhs.
With such rapid momentum, only innovation and entrepreneurship can stir the industry in the right direction to meet the growing opportunities and challenges. Startups like Urban Ladder, Pepperfry, Fabfurnish, Makaan.com, 99 acres and so on have already stepped in by organizing and digitizing this space for consumers. However, the industry has witnessed rapid expansion coined with different challenges which are yet to be addressed. Some startups that have taken up the baton of addressing those challenges are showcased below.
Solutions by Startups in the Architect - Tech space
Online Designers and Architects
While consulting with interior designers and architects, a home buyer receives a solution outline with more than one perspective. This adds to the confusion of the consumer in his decision making process. Further, resulting in project delays and stifled information for the consumer. Startups that address these problems thrive on a designer community spread across high-demand metropolitan cities.
Homelane offers interior designers and consultation through their online platform. They offer solutions that involve designing or revamping internal rooms by bringing together products/ modular units and designers on a single platform. Their solution eliminates the wait period with a promise of 45-day cycle period and 5-year warranty.
Capricoast is another player offering similar solutions backed by an interior designer community. However, they currently specialize in offering kitchen-savvy and wardrobe solutions. They also offer a 3-D catalog of products, minimizing the physical visits to supplier shops.
Livspace involves the consumer with interior designers from the time of consultation to the final physical installation. The platform also provides products and guided resources for consumers to take quick decisions.
Foyr is an old player that had catered to the B2B market of interior designers. Now, they have redefined their business model to suit the B2C market, with home design consultation and solutions.
The platform supports its consumers with a proprietary technology that helps them play around with their floor plan and share ideas with the interior designers selected on Foyr’s community. This is an online solution that eliminates delays and adds value to the iterative process.
The Indian ecosystem around the building & construction industry is highly fragmented. It consists of many international, national and local manufacturers, suppliers and service providers. It is an ecosystem with information scarcity and friction in the material buying and service provider selection process. Ecosystem players are emerging to solve this process, to bring transparency and remove friction from the buying process.
Wishkarma.com is a research platform for the building and construction industry in India. It is designed for home builders, interior designers and architects to discover products, suppliers and manufacturers, architects, ideas and resources. They currently catalog over 50,000 products from over 1000 brands and are building a collaborative platform to enrich this community.
While this is the B2C offering, they also build SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions as a B2B solution to help bring down interaction cycle times. This saves cost of repeated meetings and iterations for architects with builder, home owners, local vendors and service providers.
Prismma is a content based solution that offers an architect community for consumers. This is backed by a resource centre of articles, brands and projects ideas that would facilitate in expediting the home design and building process for the end consumer.
Other emerging opportunities in India
Indian construction and building industry is witnessing a rise in opportunities with increasing demand for housing, power and sustainable & green building, expansion of roads and highways and projects like affordable housing for all and smart cities.
Pre-fab or Modular construction - On-time delivery by the builders is a challenge that homeowners face. To eliminate delays in large projects, prefabricated (prefab) or modular construction is opted. Prefabricated homes are constructed off-site in some standard portions and then later shipped to the required location and assembled to form the desired structure. This solution has also brought in more efficient and skilled workers on-ground who specialize in executing prefab assembly.
Building Information Management (BIM) - Manual planning and tardy iterative versions are completed avoided with the process of BIM. Hence, leading to very little error over the iterative process and multiple version management. Few architects have adopted this system on the cloud enabling collaborative work in the design and construction process.
Energy Modelling - This was an expensive solution until companies like Autodesk and Sefaira created software solutions to track flow of energy all through the 3-D blueprint. More and more cloud based startups are exploring this area.
This market needs to gear up for talent crunch among both, white and blue collar resources. Entrepreneurs need to set the stage ready by 2020 for global opportunities which are of a combined value of $6.7 trillion, across energy, infrastructure and sustainable living.