The Future of Architecture and Engineering: A Q&A with ICT Group Chairman Kiran Kapila
In an industry centered around innovation, the question always remains – what’s next?
To help answer this, we’ve launched a series of blog posts exploring the past, present, and future trends in architecture, engineering, and construction consultancies. Over the next few months, follow along with us as industry leaders share their thoughts.
In this post we spoke to Kiran Kapila, Chairman and Managing Director of Intercontinental Consultants and Technocrats Pvt Ltd (ICT Group) headquartered in New Delhi, India. Mr. Kapila is a chartered civil engineer, Chairman of the International Road Federation, Co-Chair of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and Member of the FIDIC Executive Committee. Mr. Kapila has strived to advance civil engineering and serve the ‘public good’ throughout his long and successful career.
Q: What do you think is the most significant trend that will impact the future of the AEC industry in your region over the next 5 years?
A: The future of the AEC industry in India will be governed by the consulting opportunities available, the procedure for the selection of consultants, the capacity building of personnel, a commitment to quality and competitiveness for all selections, and the streamlining of payment procedures.
Q: How do you see the current role of AEC firms shifting, what do you think is causing that shift, and how must AEC firms react to survive?
A: AEC firms must work to get policy issues adopted for all jobs with preference to Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) or at least Quality and Cost-Based Selection (QCBS) for the selection of consultants. This will ensure due weightage to quality in selection and appropriate compensation for the services rendered. Whichever institution plays a dominant role in this regard will attract good experienced firms to work for them and deliver projects of high quality.
Q: Knowing what you know today, are there things you would or could have done differently to prepare for or react to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008? Are there things that you are doing differently now because of the GFC? How have you evolved your processes or policies post-GFC?
A: Post GFC, the overall opportunities available globally are reducing. To adjust, firms are reducing their staff strength, but at the same time trying to retain their capabilities through multitasking or collaborating with other firms through joint ventures or mutually beneficial collaboration in order to retain their market share.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you are currently tackling within your firm or association?
A: The biggest challenges facing our firm are:
The burden of service tax, wherein a firm has to pay service tax, even if payments have not been received from clients.
The retention of skilled manpower with limited opportunities available.
The task of enlarging the scope of rendering services through partnership, etc.
Q: How has your office environment changed, and how is your firm continuing to evolve your workplace environment, procedures, and technologies, to accommodate the evolving demands of the incoming millennial workforce? What considerations and changes are you making regarding collaboration, efficiencies, work/life balance, technologies, etc.?
A: The office environment is moving towards automation, with the prevalence of IT, internet, software applications, etc. This ensures our work force is fully up-to-date with the available technological solutions, in particular, with regard to the environmental sustainability. In addition, we are chartering new partnerships for enhancing skills in areas where in-house capabilities are not adequate.
This post is part of a question and answer series with global industry leaders on the future of the architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting industries.