The “Global Construction 2020” report, sponsored by PwC, predicts that, between 2010 and 2020, nearly $100 trillion will be spent on construction globally. India would overtake Japan and become the third-largest construction market by 2018, after China and the US. But while many of India’s high-growth sectors, including pharma, are set to nurture such local construction projects, safety standards are still less respected than in many Western countries. Many of the MNCs therefore approach international players, renowned for their construction management skills.
“Roughly 50% of our clients, including non-pharma, have an interest in the fact that Australia-head-quarterd Cock-ram Construction has established itself in India,” explains Robert Sirgiovanni, the company’s director of Asia and Inter-national operations. Having successfully completed his first project with Pfizer in India, Sirgiovanni still needs to use local contractors to do the physical work on the site. “To do so, we go through a very rigorous qualification process. We rely on ourselves to educate and train the people, and have a very comprehensive induction process at the start of the project.
Apart from initiatives such as videos in local languages and dialects, we have our people on the ground, who make sure that these workers follow the safety practices,” he says. “There are a lot of traps in India, which makes it key to be there early and find people that have experience on the ground. There are a lot of success stories, showing how the day-to-day challenges are outweighed by the many benefits.” With two million man hours and no loss through injury, Cockram’s efforts to raise safety standards in India have indeed prevailed. “We are looking at the long term, and see no reason why India cannot become the next China for Cockram Construction”, Sirgiovanni says. For now, he hopes to turn India into his third-largest market, after Australia and China.