10 July 2020

Table of Contents for Highrise Handlers

Highrise Handlers

Rising Tall



Increasing complexities in construction and growing awareness of safety at work sites have today expanded the growth potential of vertical lifting equipment market in India. The emerging trend here is constructing tall with speed and safety. Consequently, demand for high rise handlers will pile up high writes R KASHYAP.




Vertical habitation isn’t a new trend. It’s one that has been driven by urbanisation and bustling, in overpopulated cities for centuries. While the high-rise buildings that we know today became possible with the invention of elevators, newer building materials and structural engineering systems, multi-storey construction dates back to the Roman Empire and vertical cities have been around for centuries.



The locations of the tallest buildings in the world, as well as the function of the buildings and the materials used to construct these buildings, is rapidly changing. Only 20 years ago, 75% of the 100 tallest buildings in the world were located in North America and as of 2014, this figure is less than 25%, with the shift occurring predominantly to Asia and the Middle East.



Tall building construction methods are throwing up new challenges for in-situ placement of materials, which require specialized tall buildings’ construction equipment. Consequently, equipment manufacturers are keeping pace with design requirements and construction methodology for high-rise projects, by designing their products accordingly. Operational safety and tall building construction equipment regulations are driving the market for such equipment, whose demand is touching new highs.



Construction of tall buildings as always requires innovative approaches to construction methods and technologies, which will by and large determine the equipment for that project. However, the two constants are equipment for transporting materials and people to great heights, and equipment for placing or pouring the materials at tall heights. While traditional equipment worked for average size buildings, tall buildings call for a totally different kind of equipment, especially that which will construct accurately at heights, because tall building technology relies a lot on precision.



The Indian market for high rise handlers is majorly driven by safety imperatives of workers and the work site. The other demand driver is servicing and maintenance of tall buildings, which basically rely on AWPs. However, safety in tall buildings remains a major concern. The most critical is fire safety. Sadly, there are no prescribed standards for operational safety in tall building construction equipment, but ethically responsible builders follow International Safety standards while designing their products.




Fast Facts
  • In India, from 2012, any structure which has a height greater than 75 feet, comprising of seven to ten storey is regarded as a high-rise building.
  • Under the census definition, 31 per cent of the Indian population lived in urban areas in 2011.
  • Building machinery rentals are expected to grow in tier 2 and tier 3 cities for small building ventures.
  • The forecast for global construction equipment rental market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 7per cent during the period 2015-2019.






Changing times



With 50 per cent of India’s population expected to live in the urban areas by 2030 resulting in lack of space, constructing tall buildings is inevitable. However, there are several challenges concerning regulatory guidelines and Floor Space Index (FSI) norms that restrict the construction of high-rise structures in India. Due to the increasing relevance of such high-rise structures in India, major developers, designers and construction companies in the country feel the need to relax the FSI norms and clearance procedures.


Some construction technologies like Insulation in buildings make commercial sense in temperate countries like India but have not been widely used till date due to lack of experience or demand. With international investments in construction, the construction practices would also undergo a change and see an increase in demand for new products. Indian cities have seen a great surge in population increase and migration, this continued growth in population and need for housing and work, has pushed the developers to build vertically.



With regards to demand, almost 30 per cent of the demand for cranes comes from government-owned companies and the remaining 70 per cent from the private sector. Whereas, when looked upon the demand created on a region wise basis, Western India leads the market with about 50-55 per cent, Southern India with 20-25 per cent, Northern India 15-20 per cent, and Eastern India around 5-10 per cent.


The other noteworthy change being witnessed in the vertical lifting equipment industry is due to the growing popularity of new-age construction materials and practices like precast products, pre-engineering buildings and demand for on-site installation of structures. These opportunities have particularly raised the demand for advanced and safe equipment like aerial work platforms, tele-handlers and telescopic boom lifts, scissor lift etc – popularly known as ‘Access Equipment. Of these vibrant niche equipment, telescopic booms are the product most in demand in Indian construction space. Such niche lifting equipment has already established their supremacy in developed economies



like the USA, Europe, Singapore and Japan. As per industry analysts, one of the major causes hindering the growth of the operation of specific equipment is the wide disparity ratio between man-to-machine communications as against USA and European nations.



The function of tall buildings has also changed in a significant way over the past five years. In the past, the function of the 100 tallest buildings in the world moved away from the predominantly office buildings that have dominated the tallest lists for many decades to more residential and mixed-use functions. Growing populations and rapid urbanisation in developing countries explain why so many tall buildings are being developed for residential and mixed-use purposes instead of for commercial office use. Cost efficiency along with technological innovations will be the key factors influencing the Brand Choice for end users. In such a scenario product positioning, post sales service and products which offer additional value can help secure business advantage. It would be instructive to know what some of the major players in the business are doing.




Rental space


Another prominent area of growth that has emerged in vertical lifting equipment is the rental business. Though the market’s cost sensitive nature is often considered as a growth hurdle, the behaviour is encouraging for the rental business for vertical transportation equipment. The economic downturn left many an equipment idle which led to loss of revenue. Thus renting an equipment is rising in popularity. However, equipment rental in India is very unorganized with very few players with fleet size greater than 1000. Geographies pose a different challenge as it is difficult to hire equipment which is available locally in the same region. But renting options are limited in terms of getting right machines in good condition at the right time for the required location.



With better financing schemes available and increased use of rentals, the rental market is a dynamic alternative for users planning to moderate their large capital expenditures. Building machinery rentals are expected to grow in tier 2 and tier 3 cities for small building ventures.



It is a suitable option for many businesses to reduce heavy investments by saving on the high costs of equipment. Paradoxically, equipment finance is a challenge for rental companies if customers do not assure payment. Payment delays / non-payments are a norm which scare away equipment finance companies from lending freely to the rental players. Moreover, the breakeven period is relatively long at 4-5 years which could be an impediment for financers.







The forecast for global construction equipment rental market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 7% during the period 2015-2019. The world average is close to 50% (examples: Japan ~80%, Brazil ~30%, US ~ 65%, China ~ 35%). There is a huge scope for improving the rental penetration in India.


The distinct range of products available in the rental market are the Special Purpose Machines, Mobile Aluminium Scaffolds, Steel Scaffolds, Knuckle Boom Truck Mounted Cranes, Skid Steer Loader, Tele Handlers, Truck Mounted Lifts, Passenger Hoists, Rope Suspended Platforms, Mast lifts, Spider lifts, Scissor lifts, Boom lifts and Self-propelled Diesel and Electric Boom Lifts.


With construction activities becoming more complex and specific in terms of design and safety features, the high-rise handler industry is looking ambitiously to widen its market share and reach tall heights safely.








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