“The project was a challenge for Buildcraft. We had to erect a noise proof arena for the players and also provide them high quality chairs to sit and play for the world chess tournament that happened in Chennai. The whole area had to be put up in 36 hours and removed within 10 hours as it was erected at a banquet hall of a hotel,” said S Ravi, Managing Director, Buildcraft Interior Pvt Ltd.
Started off as a paint dealership in Chennai, Buildcraft today has positioned itself as a product contracting company for niche products like ceilings, dry walls, carpets, curtains, window blinds and centralised vacuum. A close knit family company, started by N Venkataraman, it began servicing the pick of architects in Chennai like Pinn Abbot and Davis, Pithavadian and Partners, and C R Narayana Rao Architects. In 1988 Buildcraft evolved to service the interior design market.
In line with changing trend...
The Indian interior design industry is constantly evolving. With new likes and changing demands, the industry is volatile. Buildcraft’s origin coincided with the use of gypsum false ceilings in India. Offering better temperature resistance, these replaced the plaster of paris ceilings. “We equipped to the dynamic market and updated to the emerging trends,” said Ravi.
Gypsum plaster board which was used for making false ceilings is today used for erecting dry walls as well. These walls are light in weight and yet durable and cost effective. Developed countries like US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand use dry walls for both exterior and interior purposes. In India, this trend is just picking up. Through the last five years, commercial establishments, hospitals and hotels have started using dry walls for interiors.
Nokia introduced dry walls to Chennai...
Dry walls also have the comfort of being upgraded to either fire retardant or noise free and acoustic enabled. They are the huge walls used in factories to separate various departments. “Chennai caught up with the trend after the Nokia factory came up in Sriperumbadur in 2006. The walls could be erected at minimum time when compared to brick walls and they offer the convenience of upgradation,” pointed Ravi.
Now several factories in sectors like automobiles, electronics, and warehousing use these walls. “In these 8 years, we have done more than 100 projects that use dry walls. Dry wall to fire wall upgrade will cost just 20 per cent more,” said Ravi.
Unique product profile
A MBA from XLRI and a Chartered Accountant, this second generation entrepreneur has led the company through times of change and developed it as a niche player. Though it is a product contracting company, 15-20 per cent of the revenue comes from turn -key interior projects. With a turn over of Rs 50 crore, the company employs 145. “We could have touched Rs 80-Rs 100 crore in these three years but for the economy slowing down.”
Buildcraft boasts of a unique product line with different mix of products: “we are contractors for some of the world’s best products,” pointed Ravi. The Herman Miller Chairs provided for the World Chess Tournament are the best chairs in the world. The particular Aeron model has been regarded as one among the top 20 brands of the century. “We have ventured into a new product for centralised vacuuming. The product is manufactured by Euroclean. Like we plug in for power and data, we can plug in for vacuum. It can be used for both dry and wet floors. It is two times better than regular ones,” said Ravi.
Ravi comes from a family with entreprenual tinge. More than 60 people from his extended family are entrepreneurs. He is married to Chitra, who is also an entrepreneur: she runs Ezvidya that looks into development of curriculum. “Our company has survived through time. Our ethos is, if you are to lose money it is ok; just ensure that the client is happy and that we live for the next project,” stated Ravi.