The uPVC window and door industry has contributed immensely in helping the construction sector become organised, states uPVC Window & Door Manufacturers Association (UWDMA) president Mario Schmidt. “There are 750-850 uPVC window fabricators across India.” Here he tells SH how the new age fenestration system is facing up to emerging and chronic challenges.
By Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee
How has the uPVC windows & doors industry impacted the construction sector in the country?
The construction sector stands to gain immensely from our uPVC industry. Before the emergence of the uPVC window industry, developers were overly dependent on on-site contractors, who used very basic equipment, and had absolutely no mechanisms for checking quality and accuracy. These were basically contract operations, procuring raw materials such as aluminium and wood and fabricating doors and windows on a daily basis. They could provide no assurance regarding the performance of the windows with respect to air, sound, water and heat insulation. In the past few years, our industry has become organised under the aegis of UWDMA and fabricators have set up operations across the country. The role of design, materials and technology in the making of windows has been emphatically highlighted to builders, architects and the end users. With the growing presence of our members, real estate players are now able to rely on uPVC products that are factory-made and can be stored safely on their sites.
The new age windows and doors come in fully-finished or semi-finished states, and can be installed within a short time. And since projects are considered complete only when the windows have been duly installed, it is safe to say that the uPVC window industry has helped the construction industry speed up its deliveries and control costs.
How has your industry performed following implementation of RERA and GST?
Our industry is facing the heat on the heels of the real estate sector, which is in a bad shape ever since 2006. RERA implementation has shaken the community of developers. GST has also impacted them. I think that projects which are newly launched are safe and secured, but old ones where developers are running behind schedule by a couple of years are in trouble. Barring the two southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, other states in India have shown a decline in the real estate sector. The moment the construction industry comes back on track, we will witness a huge boost for windows and doors fabrication, including uPVC. We are going to rock Although the uPVC segment has been growing at just 9% in the `2,000-crore Indian fenestration market, there are exponential growth opportunities before us. In Europe, uPVC has occupied 50% of the total fenestration sector; this indicates that we can go a long way in India.
What trends is the industry witnessing?
We are witnessing two major market trends. Firstly, consumers in the higher end are looking for something better — new innovations from Europe and other countries. And these are already being offered by many of our members – special sliding systems, systems with extreme heavy glasses, hinged doors, and windows with performance glasses. Secondly, the industry is trying to reach to the lower end of the housing market, which is going to emerge as a huge opportunity. UWDMA is trying to ensure that the industry does not compromise too much on the quality of materials in its bid to cater to this market.
In a Nutshell
Clear shift from contract to organised fabrication
Real estate yet to emerge from doldrums
Govt’s programmes opening up opportunities
Low cost housing a challenging market
Development of skilled cadre critical for success
What are the growth drivers for the windows and doors industry?
We are quite optimistic about the government’s 100 Smart Cities Mission and Housing for All by 2020 scheme, besides other city redevelopment projects. However, we are yet to see the smart cities project take off, and I believe it is going to be a long term wait for us. When developers are unable to sell their under construction projects in cities, selling properties in these smart cities will indeed be a challenge. The support, funding and other initiatives of the government will be vital for developing the smart cities. We are also witnessing the government’s proactiveness in the redevelopment of existing cities. This will offer greater market opportunities for us in the short term.
Availability of skilled manpower is essential for attaining sustainable market growth. How deeply is UWDMA engaged in skilling?
Skilling is important for the adoption and maintenance of technology products such as uPVC doors and windows. The absence of skilling and skilled manpower will make our customers suffer. So, skilling is our core objective. We organised symposiums on skill development at Bhiwadi in 2016, by joining hands with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Rajasthan government. This initiative from UWDMA tried to bridge the gap between demand and supply of skilled manpower, besides building new skills and inculcating innovative thinking for existing jobs as well as future jobs. We received complete support from the state government for starting the pilot training programme at ITI Bhiwadi in partnership with Glass Academy Foundation. This programme brought private and public sectors, ITI and the state government on one platform to fulfill demands of our industry for trained professionals. Later, we rolled out the Training of Trainers programme for teachers in Alwar, Rajasthan with the support of the state government, the German Embassy in India, and GIZ. We have recently signed an MoU with Government of Rajasthan to pilot skill development in Bhiwadi for manufacturing uPVC doors and windows. We have also created a curriculum for door and window fabricators, which has been approved by Government of India. Now, we will have to push it. Once the pilot is successful, we will replicate it in other parts of the country. UWDMA system provider companies jointly have over 400 fabricators, but the association aspires to focus on getting quality window producer in as a member.