Five decades of experiences in construction business have add to the wide ranging expertise of this construction company.
--BY BIJAYA LAXMI DUWAL
Nepal Adarsha Nirman Company (NANC), one of the country’s oldest construction companies, has been contributing to national development since 1970. Over the almost past five years, NANC has been winning accolades for its expertise in and contribution to sustainable and technology-based civil construction projects, especially road construction, housing and urban development and structural retrofitting projects.
Today, NANC provides all kinds of construction services from design-built solutions to solid waste management. “We have been growing by handling alltypes of construction across the country” notes Birendra Raj Pandey, director of NANC.
NANC was established under the proprietorship of Hari Prasad Pandey, now the managing director of the company, in 1970. His son, Birendra Raj Pandey, shares that NANC was started by 8-9 partners with seed money of Rs 8,000. In the beginning, the company used to work with the state-owned (now dissolved) National Construction Company of Nepal (NCCN) as a material subcontractor for construction projects.“While working with NCCN, we used to work as a material supplier for construction of buildings. As NCCN was established and managed by an Israeli company, we got the chance to learn more about the technology and construction management standards,” says Pandey.
In the years that followed, the company took up road construction projects and other government projects especially drainage construction and water supply projects. Later, it diversified its work, taking up construction of buildings, bridges and roads. Similarly, it also started accepting solid waste management projects and structural retrofitting projects. “We had to diversify our business to sustain a company of more than 300 employees.”
Initially a partnership, NANC became a solely-owned company within two years of its establishment. “My father strived independently and solely to continue the business by handling the contracts of different projects when NANC was solely owned by us,” shares Pandey.
Around 1978, the company faced a financial crunch. “While working with NCCN as a sub-contractor for project in Narayanghat and Hetauda , my father had to stay there,” reminisces Pandey. According to him, the projects went into loss which led to the financial crunch for the company. “At that time, the company’s head office in Kathmandu could not manage the business properly due to the lack of enough human resource,” he recalls. Then senior Pandey took the bold decision to take the company into his sole ownership.
The family environment was like an informal business school for Pandey. While growing up, he learnt the operation and management aspects of construction projects from his father. He was determined to carve out a career for himself in the construction industry and support his father. So, when the time came, he went to India to study Civil Engineering. He further studied Construction Management in Thailand. He went to Australia and gathered experience in the relevant field for around six years there. His education, experience and - association with different business chambers and groups like the Federation of Contractors’ Associations of Nepal (FCAN),Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), Youth Community for Nepalese Contractors etc. greatly supported the growth of NANC.
In its nearly five-decade of journey, NANC has made several achievements in the country’s construction history. The company is credited to the renovation works of Naagpokhari in Kathmandu and Ghadiarwa Pokhari in Birgunj, turning the neglected ponds with cultural and historical significance into landmarks of the two cities. In collaboration with the NCCN, it constructed the road in front of the Naranyanhiti Royal Palace and also other structures inside the palace. It also renovated various ancient buildings, stone taps, lanes, cremation spot and temple of Unmatta Bhairav Yagyashala in the Pashupatinath Temple Area. “We have been engaged in the reconstruction and renovation in Pashupati area on a regular basis because of my father’s strong religious inclination,” says Pandey. Recently, the company had completed the construction of stone pavements in Bhandarkhal area and infrastructures of electric cremation site at Pashupati area.
“We also carry out challenging and unique construction projects. We completed retrofitting projects of UN Building, British Embassy, Danish Embassy etc before the devastating earthquake of 2015,” informs Pandey. According to him Pandey, NANC introduced retrofitting in construction along with underground stabilisation for the first time in Nepal. The building of Danish Embassy located at an earthquake-prone or liquefaction area, was retrofitted stabilising the whole landmass and underground structure through a German technology. Likewise, it also stabilised the whole landmass of the landslide-prone Narayanghat-Mugling highway, using rock anchoring technology.
Before the earthquake, a World Food Programme (WFP) project under the Ministry of Home Affairs had demanded the need to set up a Humanitarian Staging Areas (HSA) near the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) for communication during calamities and emergencies and to distribute humanitarian aids. So, NANC designed and built the HSA in 2013 near the cargo building at TIA that can be operational even in complete isolation, i.e. even when the satellite communication, power etc get disrupted. UNDP, WFP, Red Cross all have their own containers with sufficient tools, aid materials and in kits in this area. After a month of its handover to the WFP, Nepal was struck by the devastating earthquake in 2015. “This facility functioned well and avoided aids being clogged there so that they could be distributed to necessary places seamlessly.
“The construction of HSA is very satisfying to us. Recently, in the second phase of the project, we built more buildings and tents there.” According to Pandey, NANC is the pioneer construction company to build commercial multi-showrooms with basement like the Machhapuchchhre Tower at Lazimpat in Kathmandu.
NANC has completed more than 500 projects so far across the country. “We used to take up road projects frequently in the past while these days we get more contracts for building projects.”
Quality, Clients and Technology
To ensure quality in its projects, NANC follows all the processes like testing raw materials at labs. “We are committed to completing our projects as required by the contract.” NANC has some reputed clients from the private sector to foreign agencies like Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Department of Road, WFP, Radisson Hotel, Akama Hotel, Asian Development Bank, and World Bank, among others.
For NANC, the civil engineering projects including roads and irrigation are profitable ones due to high potential of enhancing productivity by mechanisation. “We can use big machines in such projects because of which, a number of works can be completed in a day resulting in a gradual increase in our turnover.”
Investment and Resources
“We have invested more than 500 million in land, buildings, plants and equipment. Our staffs, network, suppliers, manufactures, bankers and satisfied clients all are our assets which cannot be gained overnight only with capital,” mentions Pandey. Moreover, the mobilisation of advances and payment cycles support investment for different projects. According to Pandey, NANC has an annual turnover of around one billion rupees at present.
IT in Construction
NANC has a wide range of heavy equipment and excavators. It is adopting enterprise software and IT like remote-controlled log-in system for efficient operation. “Since 1993, we have been computerising our accounting, administration, technical management system through our own software for smooth operation of our projects.” The company claims to be in the forefront in applying IT in construction projects in Nepal.
The availability of human resources with skills required for the construction industry remains challenging for NANC. According to Pandey, there is a communication gap between the industry and academic institutions due to which there is an issue of competent workforce availability in the construction sector. Another challenge is that the construction companies do not get the required raw materials on time. “It is very challenging for construction companies to complete their projects within the deadline, owing to different issues such as land acquisition, forest clearances, communication with locals etc.”