06 June 2020

Interview - Rahul Sharma (DOAS Consulting Engineers Pvt Ltd)

The biggest challenge in construction of Smart Cities would be skilled labour



DOAS Consulting Engineers provides creative structural engineering solutions to satisfy the needs of various clients in the global market. It helps clients by designing optimised and economical structural systems keeping in mind ease of constructability, labour difficulties, and time constraints. RAHUL SHARMA, DIRECTOR AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEER, DOAS CONSULTING ENGINEERS PRIVATE LIMITED offered SHRIKANT RAO his perspective on Smart City development from Ghaziabad, which is home to Wave City, touted by many as the equivalent of a Smart City.  




What are the challenges likely to be faced from the structural engineering point of view in the construction of new smart cities?


The biggest challenge India will face is lack of skilled labor. India needs skilled labor to maintain good quality of construction. Quality of construction work force in semi-urban areas is deplorable. Gap in required and existing skilled labor is huge. Secondly the quality of civil engineers coming out of engineers schools is not up to the mark. Current civil and structural engineers require proper training at school level so that industry spends less on their training. Bad quality of structural engineers is a serious problem as this slows down the whole construction process and overall construction suffers. Creativity is very important aspect of structural engineering and engineering schools should impart creativity to future structural engineers. Creative structural engineers bring down the cost of whole construction through creativity and good knowledge of structural engineering. A good structural engineer needs to be a good manager as well as mentor for young upcoming structural engineers. This is another area which requires training or mentorship to help the transition of structural engineers to become good managers and mentors.




How actionable is the government's proposal?


The government proposal of 70 smart cities is doable. The government needs to be proactive to create supply chain of skilled labour through opening more schools for labour, and improving the quality of engineering schools. It needs to take fast decisions to remove hurdles in the way of creating smart cities such as acquiring land, building infrastructure, management of water resources, providing water treatment facilities, inviting different type of industries to generate employment opportunities, easy and cheap transportation system, 24 hour broadband internet connectivity, and sustainable electricity supply for future growth of city. The key is advanced planning which involves people, industrialists, consultants, developers, and municipal bodies at government end to create smart cities.




Give us an understanding of your experience with the Wave City Project with which you have been associated? Tell us about the intelligent elements in the Wave city project?


I was associated from August 2011 to May 2012 as structural engineer for Wave City project as employee of AECOM India. I was involved in conceptual structural designing of Shopping Complex Offices and Studio Apartment Tower. Wave City encompasses commercial studios, premium serviced residency, shop condominiums, hotels, commercial offices, entertainment zones, and retail mall. A robust road system has been meticulously planned for easy connectivity to Delhi. Fast rapid bus transportation has been incorporated in the Wave City design for effortless travel from a passenger’s perspective. Noida Sector 32 metro station is a short walk away from Wave City. Green spaces are accommodated in space planning to give natural and tranquil environment to living and visiting masses.




Would you characterise it as a smart city in the sense we know of Smart Cities in the developed world? Would it be fair to say Wave City is a smart city template for other new urban development?


The Smart Cities of the developed world are designed to have waste disposal system, water treatment plant, robust public transportation system, sewer system, industries (employment generating areas), recreational areas, green parks, residential areas, hospitals, hotels, and educational institutions. Likewise Wave City too provides such facilities to its residents, working people and outside visitors. Yes, Wave City fits very well as a smart city template for other new urban developments.




What are the smart components/elements one can expect in relation to the structures that will be built in the new Smart Cities being planned by India? Who are the important players that will be required to play a role in the developments for India to get its Smart Cities ambitions right?


Energy efficient buildings will have smart components which can cater to different type of requirements such as schools, administrative, official, recreational, shopping, hotels, hospitals, and residential. Elevated mode and public transportation will help to reduce energy demands. Future highways shall not pass through future smart cities. Multiple entry and exit points will be required to access different part of cities. Implementation of rainwater harvesting will be another smart component.  I believe the government agencies such as National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Railways, Ministry of Urban Development, Central and State governments will be playing a very important role in bringing Smart Cities to existence. Companies like AECOM, Siemens, Mott MacDonald, L&T, Ircon, Jaypee, Wave Group, IREO, Shobha Developers, Hafeez Contractor, DLF, Unitech, HCC, Punj Lloyd and DMRC will play an important role in the development of Smart Cities in India.




Could you name some of the smart new technologies that will find utilisation in this space? What are the smart building materials that will require to be used?


Currently, most of the upcoming structures are in concrete. Construction industry needs to develop design and construction capability of steel structures. Steel structures are fast to construct and reduces risk of bad quality.

Prestressed technology is still not very common in India and restricted mostly to bridges due to availability of cheap labour. High strength rebar is another technology to reduce the cost and ease the construction. Smart Cities would also need pre-engineered buildings and structures.





  • Wave City Centre, Noida
  • Bathmat Building – Meerut
  • IT Park Panchkula – Panchkula
  • Indoor Stadium – Jamia Hamdard University
  • Ireo City, Gurgaon
  • General Mills Project Gemini, Iowa, USA
  • Washington Wastewater Treatment Plant, Iowa, USA
  • University of Iowa FEMA Tunnel Reconstruction Study, Iowa


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