After stupendous success of the initial three seasons, the fourth season of Zak World of Façades conference series in India kicked started in Mumbai on 22nd April 2016, with an all new emphasis on the National Building Code and every pressing issue of the fire safety and the return on investment for façades. The one-day conference held at ITC Maratha saw a never before gathering some of the most prominent and appreciated names from the construction industry in India and abroad, sharing their expertise and experience in order to achieve best façade execution practices.
As the city’s buildings face some peculiar challenges with respect to providing sustainable accommodation and working abodes, façades play an irrefutable role in their functionality. Needless to say, this edition exhibited some of the finest façade products and hosted some highly technical, but relevant to India context, façade talks. The event was intimate, with around 415 attendees who thronged the grand ballroom of ITC Maratha. The endeavour was to unite the ever expanding brigade of experts in the field of façades and building envelopes, to bring to fore the novice ideas and improvise the old and thereby enabling an adept and empowered façade industry. The conference doubled up as a unique platform for networking and enhancing business relationships.
In one of the many firsts that Zak World of Façades is known to bring to the industry, the 14th edition started well in time as per the schedule and this was possible due the cooperative audience who took their seats well before time. On a positive note, Tariq Kachwala, Director of FG Glass, who was the event convener initiated the conference proceedings immediately after. Relating the past journey of Zak World of Façades, Syed Ahad Ahmed, Director, Zak Group, welcomed the audience and hence begun the much awaited technical presentations.
The first session saw an informative presentation by Sourabh Kankar, Regional Manager – Architectural, Modiguard, who took the audience from rendering to reality and highlighted the principles of glass selection for façades. This was followed by a presentation by Dr. Prashanth Reddy, Managing Director & CEO, FunderMax India who elaborated on using high pressure laminates (HPL) as a façade material while explaining their benefits and highlighting aesthetic & functional superiority of of HPL as a sustainable material. Next to present was the dynamic Micha Pawelka, Managing Director, Priedemann Building Envelope Consultants of UAE, who asked the audience a petulant question if “façade guidance services is an add-on investment?” and fluidly answered the same while presenting a case study on consequence of not availing a competent service team and the session ended with a networking break.
The second session with the first keynote presenter of the day – Raj Patel, Managing Director & Design Principal, KEO International Consultants of United Arab Emirates who enthralled the audience with a unique outlay of explorations in forms, façades and patterns with some unique case studies of his iconic projects in the Middle East. As if taking the cue, explaining how design can be transformed to real façades, Matthijs Bruijnse, Senior Vice President, Schueco International – Germany shed the light on system façade solutions & new innovations where he explained the evolution of façade at macro level and drawing synergies for the Indian market. Continuing his presentation was Antony John, Engineering Director, Schueco India who launched and explained about the Schueco FWS 35 PD which is a panoramic façade system. This was followed by the second keynote of the day by Michael Chin, Associate Principal, Arup of Singapore where he spoke about designing sustainable façades for the tropics and how they bring cities alive.
The first panel discussion of the day was on guidance on façades & fire and the panel comprised of some of the most sought after names of their respective fields namely Karl Wadia, Senior Associate, Architect Hafeez Contractor; Daniel Jones, VP – Projects, DB Realty; Jawahar HH, Director, Glass Wall Systems; Pankaj Keswani, Managing Director, Alufit and moderator KR Suresh, Regional Director, Axis Facades, deftly steered the discussion that revolved around current problems and possible solutions related to fire & façade; various tests & standards pertaining to fire; perimeter fire stopping and aimed at clarifying the basics like ‘fire resistance’ vs ‘reaction to fire’ and fire rated terminology along with touching the sensitive nerve of fire reviews and audits.
Before the conference broke for the networking lunch break, Architect Hafeez Contractor was invited on stage and felicitated on the occasion of being conferred as Padma Bhushan by the Government of India and for his extraordinary contribution to the construction industry in India. The token of appreciation was presented by Chairman of Zak Group Syed Zakir Ahmed and all the partners of the event. Architect Hafeez Contractor in his speech spoke about the need of being appraised about new systems and technologies in façade design to keep abreast with the fast changing world.
The third session opened with an interesting presentation by Harish Gupta, Senior VP – Architecture, Glass Wall Systems on changing face of residential high rise façades where he elaborated on design evolution while exploring the possibilities of automation and BMS integration in windows for high rises. Presenting next was Ray Nakada, Manager Asia-Pacific Market Development, Kuraray Interlayer Solutions of Singapore who explained how one can achieve limitless design options and still get performance and safety by using high performance interlayers. Continuing the excitement, the next presenter, Tanuj Sharma, National Head – Commercial, Kinlong Hardware India spoke on choice of façade hardware and explained how hardware is customized for each application and also casted the need and importance of using cast-in anchor channels in the minds of façade industry professionals. Key highlight of his presentation was the case study on the tension rod façade structure at Godrej One in Mumbai. Next to present was Mustafa Abbasoglu, Area Manager Turkey, Near & Middle East, Eternit (Swisspearl®), who delved on Designing Lasting Values with Cement Composite Façade Systems and introduced the fantastic new product Swisspearl® while presenting a case study on the Denver Botanic Gardens, USA.
Another high point of the conference was when Prabhat Rahandale, Chief Fire Officer, Mumbai Fire Brigade, who kindly took out time from his extremely busy schedule to make a presentation highlighted some of the key pain areas of the contemporary Indian buildings where they lack the basics of fire safety. He in a very candid talk took the audience through an enlightening journey on how the buildings can be made safe and all it takes is nothing more than a few small but significant steps that we all need to take on individual levels. He also spoke about the challenges faced by the Mumbai Fire Brigade in addressing the fires and classified the different types of fires with case studies of some recently occurred fire accidents.
The power packed session was concluded with an equally powerful panel discussion on execution of façades and the new National Building Code. The moderator was Tariq Kachwala, Director, FG Glass who moderated the panel comprising Soyuz Talib, Director, Soyuz Talib Architects, GS Balaji, Senior Vice President, K Raheja Corp, Arun Kumar Singh, Joint COO, Steiner India, Praveen Chaubey, Project Manager, Priedemann, Niraj Borikar, Head Project Sales, FunderMax India and Sharanjit Singh, Chairman, GSC Glass. The panel deliberated on the new guidelines on fenestration in the latest version of NBC. The interesting discussion also touched up on the topics how can façade play a role in a code compliant building and challenges posed to the façade execution in light of the new codes. The session ended with another networking break.
The last session commenced with the presentation on advanced building envelope solutions by Lorenzo Lilli, Director, Lilli Systems as he explained the innovative concept of point fixing façades with spherical joint without drilled glass and aluminium framed and frameless balustrades complemented with a case studies. Final presentation was by Chris Hall, Commercial Development Officer, Siderise Group who spoke on perimeter barrier fire stop systems for curtain walls. The presentation entailed guidance on compliant specification, current testing methodology for façade, and different methods of installation of fire stops and associated risks. The high octane day was concluded with the panel discussion on Façade Engineering for Higher ROI, where the panelists touched upon the key subjects of role of building envelope in pitching for a new project, on timelines and how it affects the final ROI and on form and performance of building in terms of ROI. Nitin Bhatia, Managing Director, FACET Façade Engineering moderated this exceptional and interesting panel. Panelists included Abhay Kulkarni, President – Architectural Services, Makers Development, Kamlesh Choudhari, Director, Glass Wall Systems, Rajeev Antony, Managing Director, Schueco India, Vivekanand Kundle, Associate Vice President, Kalpataru and Prasad Mullerpatan, Senior Associate, Architect Hafeez Contractor.
The conference was complemented by a unique display where some of the most fascinating facade products were showcased. Schueco displayed their Panoramic Facade System – Schueco FWS 35 PD while Glass Wall Systems showcased their exceptional façade building services. Modiguard was present with their high performance Sunguard range of glass and complementing that was the high strength and high performance interlayer systems by Kuraray. The display included high precision hardware from the houses of Cotswold, Kinlong, Lavaal and a full range of point fixed hardware & railing system from Lilli Systems.
Fiber cement cladding from Swisspearl, ceramic cladding from Qutone and high pressure laminates from FunderMax along with unique PVDF coating system by Akzonobel shone bright as the architects and users sought for high end façade alternatives and rich look. Aluminium cladding & roofing was displayed by Aluform represented by Technocrat and various façade fixing & connection techniques were on display by Wuerth. McCoy Soudal displayed their silicone and adhesives and Siderise exhibited their unique range of perimeter barrier systems for fire and acoustic isolation.