Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Are you ready? The legal responsibility in time of pandemic.

Have you safeguarded your self and your business from the legal responsibility arising due to pandemic?

As an IOSH certified safety professional I can tell you that in most cases related to workers safety, the only thing which can protect you in case of an incident is your legal preparedness.

Goverment knows it well and the policies and guidelines which have been issued, transfer this responsibility to the employer.

1. Be careful in making any written correspondance to workers, which can be used later against you.
2. Prepare a safety plan for resuming operations.
3. Prepare checklist for compliances based on safety plan.
4. Keep a record of compliances signed by atleast two authorised persons.
5. Issue NCR if a compliance is deviated. Keep records of Action taken report and NCR closure. NCR means Non conformatory report.

Do the above seriously.
Safety First.
Precautions are necessary as well as proof of it.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Public Transport After Lockdown

There is no expertise avaiable at this moment to ascertain the safety in public transport after lockdown. What will be the operational mode of public transport after the lockdown? That's a question of importance.
Analysis of situation. A tiny unvisible virus is spreading all over the world. An organism with super multiplication power through contact. One thing is sure that this virus is going to exist for a long time as it is practically difficult to test each and every individual. Even if testing is done there is no guarantee that a negative tested person will not get the infection again. Which means we will be unsure till the time total eradication happens and it may take years.

No, I am not a pessimist but believe in solving the situation. As of now isolation is the best protection. But for a small period. The world needs to move, you need supplies, for supplies you need production, for production you need manpower and for that you need to move manpower.

So do we commute after lockdown? Not advisable. Days of work related travel are now going to see many changes and restrictions. But travel and transport for life's essentials is needed. Implementation of digital safety systems may solve this to an extent, but in a country like India it is a huge time consuming task.

So in such a scenario I see buses, vans and mini buses as mode of public transport under restricted operation. Businesses will have to ensure safety guidelines where safe people only travel. Special working zones will be needed and safe corridors planned for movement. Almost similar to movement inside a big airport after you pass the security checks.

For the virus this is a starting age and the whole world has started witnessing its growing damage. We are trying to flatten the curve, but this virus has sort of ripple effect. We will see wave after wave of this. Opening public transport of mass rapid systems is like converting these waves into tsunami of future. Therefore only restricted mode operation of small modes like buses and private cars to be allowed. Non essential sectors must be suspended for the time being or run from the safety of an isolated space. To build the nation more jobs on sanitation, disaster management to be created. Create jobs for these fields as these are needed for a long time now. Corona is a slow disaster unfolding. Fight it as paid professionals and not just as volunteers. This will keep the economy running even if metros are not running. 

I sincerely hope that a cure is found soon, but till that time we have to manage. 

As long as we are not infected we are safe. Must avoid absolutely anything which may get you infected.  It is a game of survival.

Check your resources and plan accordingly. After lockdown is over travel only when safe. Make customised systems to suit your working which may refuce commuting and exposure.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

The lost purpose and reverse migration

When India is emerging as a global giant on economic front, the reverse migration which happened during the lockdown has shown another face of the coin.

Indian workforce mainly unorganized sector labourers who migrate to cities have only one purpose. A better earning and a better life. Today everybody has a bank account, adhaar, mobile and govt support. Despite that they chose to flee the cities to their remote villages. Most of them had money with them but non availability of transport made things difficult for them. Why this happened?

I clearly give below three reasons for that lost purpose of them being in the city.

1. There has been no sense of security to them in cities. Private as well as govt companies employing their services on daily wages basis failed to provide them with any security and a purpose for them to stay. Nobody, I say again nobody thought of them. A 21days lockdown announcement was received as an alarm of loss by these companies and worst they passed this fear to labourers.

2. No proper respectful living quarters exist for these labourers on daily wages. Even a labourer has self respect, they live in these hutment conditions only to earn a living. Day to day basis survival. Their hutments could not provide them with a purpose to stay when the work was not available. Had their labour camps been with facilities and security, they would have stayed. At the same time politicians played dirty in Delhi, by spreading the rumours and inciting more fear. They did so to eat away the money meant for arrangements of labourers in time of emergency. 

3. With above two reasons, life of a migrant labourer was deliberately allowed to be made harder without any consideration. Naturally in such times being human, they seeked love and comparative safety of their hometowns and villages.

India has food security now, free education and healthcare to farmost parts. However, their condition in time of emergency has lead to loss of trust and purpose of coming to city. 

What has happened is bad. Hopefully, impacts of this will lead to making stringent rules for facilities for migrant labourers.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Confusion by Design - What next?

Confusion by Design - What next?
Ar. Satyakam Garg

All of a sudden the design community is worried about  sustainable design, pandemic hot topic, after the lockdown scenario etc. 

Another Smart City type situation I will say. We all know how many smart cities we have created since 2012 when discussions started.

To be realistic, failure of cities in current situation for effective containment and secured safety of remote villages without any positive cases brings out the future of design. You will understand this if you study the real world happenings as things are going around. 

Architectural design will not be actually contributing to future as such. So what will it be?

Understand it clearly that in future we will focus upon something which I call *PERIMETER CONTROL*.

Technology already exists for implementation. It will need to be upgraded to counter spread of infections. Mostly biotech based sensors with IT enabled systems will be used. Let us see what these technologies will be:

1. At State / district level RFID based entry exit points will be made smart with additional temperature sensors.

2. Your unique ID will become a smart card. May be like a wearable band in future. 

3. In high rise buildings you will see more secured turnstiles entry with cameras and biosensors. 

4. Attendance biometrics systems will be upgraded with biosensors to detect sick people. 

5. BMS will be modified with bio sensors and infection threat alarms. 

6. HVAC systems will start using magnetic charged HEPA filters to maintain hygienic conditions by capturing and killing infection agents. 

7. Security agencies and security systems will see a massive increase in business participation. That is where training will be in high demand.

8. Level of Service (Fruin) factors will be revised across mass assembly landuses like metros etc. As a result design requirements will change.

9. Companies will need to start providing better residential facilities for workers.

10. Hospitality industry will see changes as additional screening measures wil be needed. 

The above are only certain things which I can think of now. Being a member of NFPA and FM Global, I foresee these on cards. Apart from that BICS may change standards affecting food related industries world wide. 

This is where now designers need to focus. If Indian Architects and industry professionals do not learn from this, there will be again foreign expertise coming to India.

Focus on standards. It is not like getting a liasoning person taking care of submission with BMC.

People are busy right now in fighting the virus, but trust me work is already on upgrade of global standards.

Thank You.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Rebuilding the Pyramid

*Rebuilding the Pyramid*
#Ar. Satyakam Garg#

So we are in middle of a situation never dealt with before. Businesses all around the world are shaken. Video conferences and other communications are being held to assess the situation collectively by capitalist mindsets with a fear of impending losses.

Whatever happens hopefully this phase will pass too. If social sense prevails we may be out if it sooner than expected. We all will witness this as things unfold with time.

Most of the business are already thinking of job cuts, reduced wages to staff, responsibility transfer on legal grounds etc.  Most of the middle level business and firms are under fear of *_economic slowdown_* following the pandemic.

Now what is this *Fear of economic slowdown*
Basically the business owners are worried about loss of revenue and associated profitability due to loss of business and opportunities. So what's the actual way of coming out of this fear?

For this I propose the way out which I have named *Rebuilding the Pyramid*. The proposed method is based on two main understandings. 

1. Realising the actual effect of current situation.
2. Understanding your own potential.

1. A pyramid as we know is a stable structure. Let us assume our stable business as a pyramid.  What the current situation has done to pyramid is that it has shaken the things to verge of collapsing. The situation has affected the bottom most layer of the business. Eg. labourers on sites, workers in factories. Now this type of pandemic situation is unseen till now. We are not sure what will happen next. Bur real issue at hand is to sustain the lives. Now being live is more important than profit or business at this moment. So if business do not help their each layers of pyramid structure specially the lowest layer which I call foundation, the future will not be stable. This situation is to strengthen your foundation not to weaken it. Irony is once you are on top you fail to see below. That's what has happened and now you are feeling the shaking of business pyramid and fear it's collapse. Support each and every building block of your business pyramid and chance of survival are more.

2. Realise your hidden potential. Think of the time when you started making your business pyramid. You were the first foundation stone to setup your business. At that time there was no fear of loss. Future was not certain at that time but your focus was on making your pyramid, block by block. Then why do you fear now? You have same potential. *Just do away with the fear of loss.* Try to keep your building blocks together, increasing your capability for repairs and most importantly to hold on to your lowest layer of foundation.

Businesses are run to help humanity. Exploitation of humans is no good business. This time and opportunity in disguise of Corona is to make you realise that what is more important - human survival or profitability.

Be ready to rebuild the pyramid, keep your building blocks together.

Thank You.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Get involved absolutely

Get Involved in absolute manner

Dependent upon technology of today in era of google search most are loosing the power of involvement. Architectural design is one field where if you loose your power of involvement, no creativity  is going to happen.

What exactly is this power? How do you develop it? How you make it to do things for you?

In simple terms the power of involvement is observation. The more you become observant of things around you, more you increase your involvement. Always try to make mental pictures of what you see and observe. Try giving approx dimensions from a human perspective to your observations. Human eyes are the best camera and human brain the fastest hard disk. Use your senses to observe spaces and record these to your sub conscious mind. Thats like getting involved absolutely. And it works for a great design creativity.

Most Architects in metro jobs work on designs of others. The creative designers use their power of involvement to come out with new concepts. From where they get this energy? From their travels and observations. Their minds are ever ready to record things as case studies where ever they go. They make mental pictures of things which work well and things which do not work.

On an internet search with so much data not every thing is right. Recently I have witnessed cut paste presentations by DDCs with copied graphics from internet. Clients also search from internet to tell their preferences. But when it comes to make it workable, the DDC is unable to produce detail drawings. Because absolute involvement was missing.

To develop the skill, try remembering a place you have visited. For example, let us say your office which you visit everyday. Can you make a rough proportionate sketch of its plan? Can you visualise what is the best aspect of your office and what is the thing gone wrong. Next when you get to design a office, your mental pictures will help you create a new one better.

Try it. It works.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Taking short and simple Notes

The human recalling power is rapidly dropping because we are getting used to gadgets and IT. The mobile version of internet gives a small window to peep into information at an instant but recalling that information is difficult through memory.

As Architects our designs are based upon our ability to recall unless you are copying a design from softcopy. As designing is very personal and creative process, recalling ability helps you to validate with codes and required calculations. Taking simple notes while you study the requirements and refer codes help you in recalling the requisites when you sit for designing. Here are some tips in creating short notes.

1. Write a 4 or 5 words easy title of context.
2. Note down keywords of context.
3. Note down clauses references.
4. Put simple sketch in form of doodles.

All above you shall do in your handwriting and this will boost your recalling power. Try compiling your notes into custom reference document if you feel that in future it will be needed more often. (Remember metro design check list I shared  earlier?)

A perfect design is combination of imagination, vision, creativity and compliance. And notes will help you to recall things at right time. With practice these hand notes become mental notes and results pop up when you recall them.

Trust me your mind itself is much advanced than google. Use it more to process knowledge instead of more search !

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Recognising and Nurturing Talent

A good team is what it takes to deliver a good project. As a lead Architect on more than 200 projects in my career so far I recruited a lot of staff. Staff I got to work for me came out of three options.  1) Directly interviewed by me and selected  2) Refrences and pressures from friends and power circles 3) Not interviewed by me and provided by Employer directly through HR.

In option 1 where I got staff from my direct interaction and selection, I looked for that spark of talent based on my own reading of the candidate. All projects with such staff happened beautifully and today each of those persons are very well established in their fields due to sheer personal talent. My idea of nurturing that talent was simple. I gave them problems to tackle by themselves. And since they were originally talented with guidance became real experts.

The option 2 people who came by jack, 50% were fired soon as they were neither talented nor hardworking though by nature I am soft and give multiple chances before taking a decision to fire somebody out of job. Other 30% of them are staying in same jobs from a long time as these were just doing enough to sustain their jobs. Once they loose their jobs they start contacting me again. Only about 20% genuine staff responded to mentoring and did good in their careers.

Worst were the cases directly thrown to me without my screening. Here the fate of project depended upon luck. In times of cost cutting and higher rates for real talent you get staff with fuzzed CVs, no experience and shady background. This happened on 2 projects and both went mediocre or with troubles.

It is hard to digest with todays realities, where selection is not filtered, backgrounds are not checked and talent is not assessed, the projects suffer.

Some of you have lead roles to play and I will advise that use a talent selection filter while you recruit.

Talent has a potential, nurtured properly it is good for candidate and organisation both. At other hand the parasites like staff results only in degradation. Talent makes a career of fulfillment. So always recognise talent first, while recruiting.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Put your heart in it

Contemporary workplaces in form of corporate culture is inducing stresses in people lives. What seems good in the begining starts fading into a stressful scenario where plastic smiles, competition and office politics start taking your energies away, making you just a machinery part. Your life, family, health and freedom is the cost you start paying for your job. Work becomes a burden.

My father, who is an highly active person in his retired life gave a mantra for a balanced life based on his experiences of being  in country's highest stressful jobs as secretary to Prime ministers of India. The mantra is "Put your heart in it or forget it".

So at workplace you work with your heart. Tasks are better handled when you put your heart in it. And learn start saying NO to the things which your heart does not accept. Your body and mind needs your inner permission to perform in harmony. If you work against your inner voice conflicts start within yourself first and then stress happens.

So work with your heart and leave everything else which your inner voice does not want you to do. There is no point in living a life full of hidden emotions, jealousy and stress. Listen to your heart, follow your internal peace and enjoy doing what you want to do.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Missing Engineering

Designs without engineered details is a big malpractice going on in metro projects. With copy paste consultants situations which become unsafe due to non engineered designs are arising. Examples of some of these recently faced by me are given below:
1. Somebody copied railing design from Dubai metro but could not copy the engineering. Structural stability not achieved. No capable engineer tried to do the calculations for safety as per code.

2. Entrance SS steel structure - Somebody copying it on the basis of Delhi bus stops. No engineer again tried calculating the forces and wind loads for structural safety.

3. A glass entrance is designed. GFC shows no structural arrangement of fixing details. Writing detail as per vendor is Moksha for the DDC.

Above examples show how DDCs are cutting corners, not detailing with engineered precision and putting public safety at risk.

To whom these consultants trying to fool? Just not to pay for an engineered work, and push linework as GFC is not going to help the consultants. They often are penalised like in DMRC or shouted at by the client in other metros.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Making Mistakes

Making mistakes

I have always loved making mistakes. And there is a good reason for that - the word MISTAKE itself. Derived from the game of Archery where one takes an aim towards target and misses it, is the origin of the word. Mistake thus means missing the target.

Now why I love mistakes is because before you commit one, there is an element of effort in taking the aim. And mistakes are part of the practice. And practice makes a man perfect.

People I interact with, from their mistakes I come to know whether they have been practicing or not. More than often interaction with people also make me realise my mistakes. And thats the beauty of mistakes, because you will improve when you know your mistakes.

Mistakes are to be acknowledged. It is good for learning. Ofen our false ego does not let us see the mistakes and we get offended when somebody else tells us. But when you are really putting efforts in your practice, mistakes are like things which ask you to make adjustments and correct things.

One more secret - it is not only knowing what is correct is important, more important is to know what can go wrong. That comes from experience - THE EXPERIENCE OF MAKING MISTAKES.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Sustainability of Neglected Hardship

What kind of sustainable existence we are looking for? Some questions which come to mind will shed light on the real issues. If you are reading this probably you are one of the blessed and lucky ones who are on top of pyramid.
1. Are we sure that the food we eat and waste, gets the growers a comfortable life full of basic needs?
2. Why the poor labourers building our metros and luxury homes have no roof of their own?
3. For every diamond and gold ornament worn by us, there is large scale exploitation of miners who toil hard in heat and dust just to make their ends meet.
4. Every glass of mineral water we consume comes at the cost of safe drinking water unavailable to poors, whose water bodies we are polluting with waste discharges.

We keep on making new roads, new metros and new cities. We keep on increasing our comforts, but somewhere some place somebody is affected for our increased consumerism. Our life has become so fast in pursuit of selfish comforts that it is now snatching basic resourses from others. And at the same pace piles and piles of waste is being generated.

The world will be sustainable by caring and sharing. The tribal existence of ethnic groups from thousands of years have not damaged environment at all, compared to what civilised world has done in short time. This puts a question on its meaning of our approach to sustainability itself.


Monday, 26 March 2018

The Engine & Speed breakers

Surprised at the title? No body has seen speed breakers on a rail track. Thank God there are none! But I am writing about corporate Engines and speed breakers today. Metro design offices included.

As we all know a train has an engine and boggies which it pulls. There is a track and there are signals. To climb harder slopes sometimes more than one engine is deployed. Now a team leader has a role to play that is of an engine. It pulls the boggies or staff who carry the work load. Track represents the guidelines and systems to keep things moving streamlined. Signals represent self checks for control and avoiding errors.

The team leader is required to be strong, motivating, able to keep the team moving towards target and to lead from from front. An engine has a limited capacity and cannot pull more than stipulated load. Similarly in corporate offices it is seen when workload increases boggies or staff are increased to share the workload but engines are not increased. In many cases the teamleaders start putting obstacles or speed breakers for deployment of new engines or teamleaders despite increased workload only to retain his/her power. The fears that another engine will take over him result in speedbreaker like situation where the workload is not handled in smooth manner and the teamleader suffers lack of energy to cope with pulling of load alone.

This is situation in most of corporate design offices. And once this happens the profits starts going downhill. A good and effective leader will always respect the talent without fearing it, allow it to take role as another teamleader and workload becomes easier to handle. Ineffective teamleaders are afraid, they keep on adding more junior staff instead of new teamleads. This only results in increasing their own workload.

At workplace motivation, appreciation and rewards  are necessary. If a teamleader wants his own growth, he or she needs to allow growth of the team members. Putting speed breaker in way of team ultimately makes the workplace stressfull and in the end non productive. Companies when realise this after setbacks and complaints from clients have already  lost credibility in market and soon their engines are parked. Talent and merit needs encouragement and empowering so that collective energy is harvested in interest of company.

मेट्रो डिज़ाइन में घुसा डर का भूत

मुझे हंसी आती है जब एक अच्छे खासे मेट्रो स्टेशन के डिज़ाइन को तोड़ मरोड़ दिया जाता है। इनमे से एक बड़ा कारण है - डर का भूत। अक्सर ये भूत उन लोगों पर सवार होता है जो ऐसी ऐसी दलीलें देकर डिज़ाइन खराब करवा देते हैं। कुछ रत्न ढूंढ कर लाया हूँ ऐसे महान वक्तव्यों का - गौर करें----
1. अरे भाई ये इंडिया है - हमारे कांट्रेक्टर ये सब नही बना सकते। (अबे फिर ऐसे कांट्रेक्टर क्यों रखते हो?)
2. पिछली बार स्टेशन में पानी भर गया था, इस बार एक बूंद भी पानी अंदर नही आना चाहिये। (लो कर लो बात, हवा कहां से आएगी )
3. कोर कटिंग कर लेंगे बाद में, पहले GFC इशू कर दो (पहले GFC का मतलब तो समझ ले)
4. वेंडर से शॉप ड्राइंग दिलवा दीजिये तो हम डिज़ाइन ड्राइंग दे देंगे (वेंडर को रात में सपना आएगा कि क्या बनाना है)
5. आर्किटेक्ट को कहो कि साइट पर as built कंडीशन देखकर ड्राइंग इशू कर दे (भाई अब तक का काम कैसे करा था)
6. कोई चीज़ राइटिंग में नही आनी चाहिए इशू बंनाने से फालतू फसेंगे (हो गयी क्वालिटी कंट्रोल की ऐसी की तैसी).
7. ये तो फाल्स सीलिंग से छुपा देंगे (लेकिन ठीक नही करेंगे)

सोच है या शौचालय?

Yes or No of Architecture

Architects are creative and emotional. They have ability to convert feelings into spaces and can design spaces to inspire feelings. People with original creativity are repulsed by rejection as it hurts them. This feeling grows stronger when the rejection comes from another professional. Some feel it is part of the job, some take it as personal attack.

I feel that saying "No" to an Architect is unproductive as it slows down or stops the creative process. A "Yes" on the other hand starts things, put motion into creative thinking and lets the process grow.

The virtues of positive appreciation  combined with suggestive betterments bring a positive energy into design process rather than saying a "No". No as such has negativity associated with it and needs to be used carefully. The word no generates fear and hate while yes is associated with gratitude and appreciation.

The choice is ours how to use No and Yes. We have to decide either we move forward or stop in stubbornness.

Atleast you can say Yes if you agree😌

The Purpose matters

Life is not that simple in this era of ultra fast existence. Metro projects and designers working on it are equally affected by the way things happen. Do you like or dislike what you are doing depends upon your mindset. Most often your heart tells you something and mind tells you to do opposite. A conflicting situation. Made worse by egos. I like this, I dislike that, I dont like doing it and I would have gladly done that are daily moods which we all go through. Does this make you at peace or you feel that happiness is lost in this daily grind.

Replace your likes with a *purpose*. Identify a goal for which you feel happy to work. Subordinate your likes or dislikes to your *sense of purpose*. And you will see the difference.

As an Architect when I work, I try to set a purpose or a goal to be achieved at the end of my assignment. To me it is delivery of a successful metro project. Along the way situations happen, clashes occur, tempers flare and what not. My likes and dislikes in form of situations and people try to push me out of my chosen path. But I am learning or trying to practice that I do not loose my sense of purpose. I try to relook at situations again from the  point of view of my own goals. And adjust my actions and reactions accordingly. Sometimes I fail and sometimes I move ahead. But I keep on sticking to my sense of purpose, my ultimate goal. I have found it is easier and happier to follow my own goals rather than working to goals set by others.

Success is still not guaranteed. If one plan A fails, I change to plan B, C.... but try not to change my purpose or my goal.

I have also learnt that the worst situations and worst people give me a chance to learn the best lessons.

And I just shared this one with you. Have a sense of purpose. This is what matters!!

False Projections and Offers

From Reliable sources.

Atleast 3 companies in field of metro consultancy are now involved in unethical head hunting. I will not name them here, but a cautionary note to Metro Architects. Please check with existing employees of a company before you make a switch. It is a fact that 2 companies are either not paying agreed salary after joining or delaying the payments by months altogether. They promise through their HR people and normally have on their targets candidates with good credentials. These companies are using the CVs to capture projects in times of high competition and once they secure the project then they indulge in lowly tactics.

My advise is that if you work for a company which has a name and good reputation, staff are treated well and the company has shown consistent growth, please dont leave it only for money sake. Workplace satisfaction is more important. Also avoid companies which hire new people at higher rate but do not promote or elevate older staff.

As metro consultancy is now project based, the hiring is done keeping in mind the fixed tenures of employees.

I get a lot if requests from young Architects, who are already working for some good firms but want to leave just because of money.

If a company has spent time and money in your trainings and case study visits, the company is serious about you. Your promotion will depend upon your performance.

It is better to stay with a consistent and growing company rather than falling prey to disreputed firms.

These 3 culprit companies are sadly of  Indian ownership.

Billa First safety next

National safety week almost gone. Over the organisations people adorn "billa" or badges with safety first slogan. Over the years safety implementation on sites have become more of posters and badges, that too limited to some few people. What has been actually going down rapudly is real truthful implementation.

No jokes, on any normal day just have a walk on site and notice. As myself an IOSH  trained safety professional my concerns which need urgent attention on metros are:
1. Proper safety induction of all site staff down to the daily wage labourer.
2. Proper PPE to all workers. A lot of manual labourers on site are denied proper PPE and with wornout and torn safety shoes they are at higher risk.
3. Proper drinking water, toilets and shaded resting places for site workers.
4. Hygenic conditions and proper sanitation with mess, entertainment and washing facilities at labour camps with Baalwadi (Childcare).
5. Adequate first aid and medical facilities.
6. Legal insurances in place.

We all talk proudly about nation building but are indifferent towards the unkown worker who despite working on a mega project like metro lives a life exploited by others.

Contractors pass on the risk to subcons and further to small labour gangs. We wear the badges and they bear the hardship.

Why dont you see for yourself sometimes. Talk to a labourer, visit their labour camp once to see conditions, check arrangements on site and come back to read the conditions for safety provisions to be done. The contrast will not allow your conscience to touch that badge again.

Kadwa hai magar sach hai.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

My way or Highway Situation

Got this query from a DDC Architect which is self exlpanatory.

"There are many times when things are out of our control. And Client wants to work in particular way and want everything his/her way. He shows The attitude of my way or the highway every time. And you are forced to accept that let's do his/her way and finish it. Then in this situation how to keep yourself motivated to work daily?"

My response to the same:
1. Well, I face this everyday myself and open to suggestions by others.

2. Possible reasons why clients do it in metro sector:-
2.a. Client side is smarter than you, more competent and knows that things can be made better by revising. Client needs faster execution at site and expects constructible designs.
2.b. Client side is biased against you due to professional rivalary and wants you to give up.
2.c. Client side is incompetent, got his/her job without merit but misuses power. Will not take responsibility of his/her actions.
2.d. Client side is trying to delay the project to ensure their jobs for a longer duration tenure.

Now if the case is as per 2.a above, you need to understand clients requirements once again in details, take notes and discuss with your seniors how best to deliver. Try to get an agreement with client on things to be revised before you carry out the works. A good professional client may also give you variation for preferential changes.

However if the case falls in 2.b to 2.d, stop dancing to clients' tunes. Make a record of things which you feel are not alright and put across to client in writing that you disagree with professional reasons. Put responsibility on the person with time and costs impacts and ask his/her reconfirmation to continue. If problem remains unanswered with verbal instructions only, keep sending 2 reminders and finally a delays claim to higher authority with backup correspondence. You may need support of your higher management.

This problem is becoming more and more on many metro projects and we all know the reasons. At times problem creaters needs to be exposed by naming and shaming them. There shall be no fear in a true professional to remove obstacles in path of nation's progress. Do your best, make records and do not accept unnecessary attitude.

Here since metro projects are govt. based and client side actually means responsible persons / private bodies appointed by govt. for project.

Also in worst case it is better to be on highway as it leads to many more ways rather than getting stuck with a dumb head client. Whoever wants myway need to take the responsibility.

Free Offer

Free Offer

We read the news. Govt. has been made to believe  that free things are good and they roll out invitations for free concept planning. Who is responsible?

Hafeez Contractor who offered to design for free? No I do not think he is responsible for this. Then who?

First we try to understand the possible reasons behind Hafeez's (HC) offer.
1. When other Architects were busy churning box like residential buildings in Mumbai in 80s, HC came out with out of the box architectural treatment to his buildings and was a great success.  Others hated him for that and still do. I myself worked on his NRI housing project as freelance job once. HC was a tycoon for Architecture and even featured on National Geographic.

2. When metros started in Delhi, due to technology transfer Japanese MNCs came in and established norms for metros for India. Nobody in Mumbai had an idea how to do metros and metros remained exclusive to select MNCs even for phase 2 and 3. Other cities followed DMRC and same MNCs could be seen there as well. Once again due to qualifying criteria HC could not enter.

3. MNCs started cutting fee and lowered standards as competition grew among themselves. Copy paste increased and no innovation was done. Almost after 20 years of DMRC works quality has become degraded due design and quality management faults. MNCs are hiring untrained staff, no standard procedure and basics are wrong in designs.

4. In the meantime age old Indian railways looks at metros and prepare DDC qualification criteria hard for Indian firms to enter. Indian firms start looking for foreign JVs.

5. From past 3 years, real estate is doomed and Architects like HC sense that without infrastructure projects they cannot sustain.

6. HC starts looking at already built stations, gets hold of design records and knows instantly what is going to sell. There is enough manpower in Indian market to bring with them technical expertise for which he will pay. But his visionary mind has seen that how things have degraded over the years and he will try his luck by putting in innovative aesthetical treatments for which he is undisputed master. Where as the current DDCs are still churning out typical govt. like buildings.

7. Hafeez ensured some work in metros already, now has insight into what can be done to make it more sellable. He is eyeing a larger picture taking advantage of his fame and contacts.

8. Hafeez knows that consultancy in both railways and metro sectors in India are driven by vested interests, already high competition and unproductive Architectural fee as a result of MNCs lowering costs and standards.

9. Hafeez free designs will be with an edge above the current copy paste designs for which he has adequate manpower, whereas other MNCs will have to spend for good concept generation. HC knows it well, done his homework and ready to strike.

10. As a rule he is gambling in this game and will never count his money when sitting on the table. He will count it when the deal comes through. Others will have hard time arranging the gamble money.

Hafeez Uncle (he is very senior to us) at this age has nothing to loose and even his failure to secure railway or metro jobs will have an impact on MNCs but will open doors for some talented guys ready to work in such scenarios.

My advise to people working for MNCs including me - love your opportunities not your company. I am sure when the times are low you are bound to be kicked out first.

Rlys and metros will call for PPP mode of development and contractors will prefer hard working professionals and thats the hope HC has to offer to the country.

Last thing - Successful people are hated for their success by competition. And now arena is open to all.

The Two Elements

Once you are ready with your mission statement to achieve a vision, you need to practice two essential elements during the course of the project.

Josiah Charles Stamp, an English economist once said "It's easier to dodge our responsibilities but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities".

One essential element to achieve the success is *Responsibility*. You need to work towards the goal with total responsibility. I will call it Response - ability. The ability to chose our responses as we work to challenging and difficult situations. Remember you are responsible for your actions and your own success. Never run away from your responsibilities.

Another essential element is *Descipline*. Descpline is simply setting up rules and follow these for time, productivity and quality purposes. A non descplined approach will never result in desired outcome of efforts put. Descipline is not only a personal trait to be developed but it is your life's tool to help you in your pursuits.

As I finish, I sincerely hope that the series of writeups will help people setup things better and with own personal improvisations goals can be achieved as desired.

Working to a vision

We talked about Vision last. How to exactly achieve that vision? Remember that the vision statement provided could be by others and you have with you your imagination and creativity.

You need to prepare yourself for that. Most important is that you understand the vision fully as I told in my last writeup. Next thing is that you concentrate on something before actually working on your design. If you want to be successful, prepare a step by step implementation plan. Defence forces do it, mountaineers do it and sports person do it. And this something is called as *Mission Statement*.

A mission statement shall focus on various steps needed for delivering the works to achieve the vision. A mission statement will get you clarity on the processes you need to do for achieving your goals. Note down whatever associated with the targets comes to your mind. Sequence the steps in a logical manner. Build checks and flexibility in the steps to startover again should you find things not going perfect. Make room for improvements as you move towards writing final steps. Bring elements of joy and pride associated with milestones of your mission statement ensuring that you like what you do. Keep failure as an option and write steps for plan B in case things fail. Review your mission statement twice after you think it is final. Make final adjustments and keep a printout of it in front of your work place. And if you put some time and resources against step, you will have a great mission statement at your hands.

Working to a clear vision with a mission does not guarantee success always but thats the best route to be successful. There are two other elements which you will need to be sure shot successful. 🏆

We will discuss that later...... next time. Or somebody from our group can guess those two things. Try it...



We talked about imagination last. We talked how creativity is driven by imagination. There is something above both which is called VISION.

Often we hear of the word and context of Great Visionaries. Often leaders are associated with visionary word. Whether a visionary needs to be imaginative and creative?

No, not necessarily. But a visionary is able to look into the future and takes steps to make his vision a reality. What ordinary people's eyes cannot see, a visionary is able to make that happen.

Having capability as a visionary is a personal trait. Cannot be taught but needs to be developed through self introspection.

For Architects the clients gives requirements and gets a design in return. We write - Issued for clients approval.  Architects seek approval on their creativity and imagination sometimes from a client who is not an expert in both. But still we seek the approval and keep changing things till the time client approves.

Client only approves once he thinks that the designs are in line with his vision. And thats the truth we must accept.

A fine Architect is able to read client's mind and becomes part of client's vision. He is able to channelise the things to suit clients ideas and able to produce a synopsis in form of Vision statement. So understand the vision first and then work to it.

How thats done I will tell in my next write up.

Monday, 12 February 2018


You have a super power in yourself, the ability to imagine! Imagination is a magical gift of God to mankind. And the designers who have mastered this imagination are blessed with creativity. It is due to imagination that great works of design, engineering and artwork happen.

How to master imagination for use in your line of design? While 1st year class of basic design is still relevant, I am going to tell you 3 secrets of enhancing imagination..

1. Observe things - Your eyes are far superior to a digital camera and your brain has much more storage capacity than a super computer. Practice seeing existing things in details, vivid colour and have a mental appreciation or analysis of the things you see. Taking notes is not necessarily an option but observe things of your interests in a keen manner. Your mind is able to retain your observations for a life time. What you observe, see and experience forms the basic database your imagination. And thats also sets the limit to your imagination. You mind will only process what it has absorbed. Observe even when you read a book and make mental graphics of what you read.

2. Cut yourself away from noise and distraction - Even if you are in a crowded noisy place train your mind to concentrate on what you want to do without getting disturbed by surroundings. When you practice this a time comes when you and your mind s focussed on the task at hand and you cannot even get affected by noise. This makes your mind recall things and weave the information in a creative way. Dont let your mind be filled with clutter and noise, train it to be free from distractions so that ideas can find a right place to stay.

3. Be child like and play with your thoughts - Let your creative instincts at play. Imagination is minds way of throwing up images based on your observations, experiences and a creative play of collage like combinations of information. Let your mind throw various permutations and combinations of the creative weaves of imagination. Record these and do optioneering of this mental pictures created.

They never taught you this in college but you have this power within you waiting to be harnessed to its full potential.

Try it.... for example think you have to design a new entry structure to a station. Close your eyes and see what mental pictures your mind sends you. These will start coming one by one what you have seen, read and observed. Rest is to be developed through creativity as you refine the imagination process.

Satyakam Garg

Imperfections of Perfect Design

Another delayed flight at Lucknow airport and while we wait my attention goes to a toddler playing. She is unaffected by the delay of the flight, while some started cursing the airline, Indian time system etc. etc. Food stalls see a frenzy crowd around them. There are less seats in lounge than waiting passengers. Most of us are busy on our mobiles like I am now. The kid keeps playing, making joyful noises and tugging at other waiting passengers. Nobody minds that and smile back to kid who reciprocates with more laughter. No pains of past and no worries for future, just busy with present.

God sent us to this world as a living being with design so perfect, its code embedded in our DNA comprising of the minutest atomic structure. Ability to replicate, reproduce and sustain ourselves is the highest order of design code through which life happens. Looking at that kid at her start of life, I felt that God or whatever you call that almighty designer of life, did a fantastic job. Mere emergence of life as a new born brings happiness, which comes from that design. Harmony and love with others of same design is what he meant to do.

As we grow and mature with gained knowledge the ever present happiness starts diminishing. The pefectly designed creation of God starts getting dented with impact of greed, jealousy and ambitions. We start imperfecting ourselves with pressures, worries and fears.

A child has no fear. He will put his hand in fire. Once he feels pains he knows not to play with fire anymore. Thats how knowledge is built up. But to keep on thinking that fire will burn him becomes a worry and develops fear. And fear is not good. The fear becomes an enemy of our own making, only because we over thought on the knowledge.

Thats how our brain changes our emotions and behaviour. Knowledge if used in positive manner will provide happiness and if it results in a worry it gives fear.

Dont know whether my thinking is right or wrong, but penning down the thoughts may seek some answers.

Over the years I have been so abusing to myself, and never realised that my perfect design as a creation of God has been impacted so much by my own ego and reactions I make.

Sometimes, waiting and slowing down shows you the things which we ignore to observe in our fast life.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Metro Condition today

Todays Metro Contracts

DDC side:

1. DDC at PD stage - Promises out of world finishes and presents collage of international references
2. DDC at CRD stage - Forgets presentation, starts compromising as things are to be detailed. Result extra items.
3. DDC at GFC stage - Still struggling to get things correct.
4. GC - comments, comments and still comments.

Contractor Side:
1. At Kick off meeting - Sir we will provide you the moon.
2. At Shop drawing stage - Sir we are waiting for GFCs and moon is very far away to get in time.
3. At construction site - Sir actually the problem is this has to be made constructible... we cannot import in time... moon is no longer available...blah blah.
4. Before opening - Sorry Sir, we are still trying our best to rectify the snags.
5. After opening - Snags still there, Contractor gone
6. GC and client are busy in dealing with variations.

Client Side:
1. At start of project - I want this.
2. In middle of project - Actually I cant pay for this, can you give me this?
3. Before completion of project - I never wanted this, who has done it. Remove it, give me that.
4. After the project - See we finally did it our way.
5. Architects are not invited to opening ceremony.

Metro trains start running. Public has no time to see things, they are busy in reading "Please mind the gap".

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Staying true to profession

In todays metro scenario we are seeing some low points where now things have gone pretty sub standard. And so much so that if things are to be audited today 90% of these will fail. There are reasons for it and one is not being true to the profession.

What it means? How one becomes untrue to the profession?

When an Architect does not perform his duties assigned and defaults from his professional responsibility he or she becomes untrue to profession.  Now some defaulting actions highlighted here...

An Architect is hired as part of the project to make the project happen.   Stopping or slowing the project due to following reasons makes the Architect defaulter.
1. By way of vested interest and irresponsible review by Reviewing Architect of GC or implementing agency. Pan India projects suffer because of this. Project will progress fast if reviewing Architect tries to push the things towards completion by improvising instead of repeated rejection. Most GC Architects shoves off the responsibility on DDC.

2. By way of poor design, unsupervised design and non coordinated design. In DDC original design when coordination is missing things go hay wire. Mistakes go either unchecked and delay the project or correcting designs comments after comments delays the project.

3. The attitude problem. Multiple Architects on same metro projects develop an attitude problem and stop looking into merits. Instead they work against each other forgetting that things are not moving.

4. Business model by DDC. Costs are cut on essentials quality checks and manpower often resulting in DDC making submissions half cooked and late. DDC keeps on changing design delivery schedules and project suffers.

5. Poor change management. We talked about it earlier and a simple thing is handled so badly that everybody suffers instead of making money.

6. DDC thinks it is ok if drawings, specifications and BOQs does not match. So much have been cut pasted from DMRC contracts that no design innovation can be done only because Architect never read specs or BOQ prepared by others.

7. Worst part is DDC Architect showing images downloaded from internet in presentations to clients. And their drawings are not no where near to what was shown. Detailing is another problem for which no metro DDC has time.

8. Last but very important. The clients in metro want world class works, go with low specification and costs, play with tenders with vested interest and do poor implementation of works even if design was right.

My messages may be boring, long and irrelevant to most. But almost 30 years into profession has given me an asset of speaking on issues without fear or favour. In todays world, being true to the profession is not easy. But for a better future, being true to one's own being is important. We as Architects are better off financially than most of our Indian population. While we work, we need to think where we are taking India. The road is long and slippery and you need steady conscience as true professional.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Change Management

Handling Changes

Change is the only constant in life.. they say!

Well for Architects the changes could be more dreadful. There is a way to handle the same. This is called change management.

First let us understand what causes changes. Some main reasons:
1. Deficient design
2. Incorrect design
3. Non coordinated design
4. Design not done as per site context.
5. Unfeasable design not as per tender or clients requirements.
6. Site issues during construction.
7. Preferential changes needed by client at later stage.
8. Unforeseen influences by Authorities on construction.
9. Mistakes made by contractor
10. Modifications by other stakeholders.

If the change falls in 1 to 5 above it is due to consultants neglect.

Changes falling in 6 to 10  are beyond control of consultant.

What we just established above is the reason or triggers for changes. Thats the first thing to record for change management.

Then comes who and why? Fixing responsibility of triggering the change and necessity to carry out the same.

Impact assessment comes next which include costs, time and abortive works analysis to carry out the change.

Lastly the focus shall be on action taken plan and mitigation measures to reduce impacts.

Changes handled in right way with proper planning and approach means more money to consultants unless the original design was deficient.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

रोज़ का सफरनामा

जैसे जैसे मेट्रो रोज़ाना की ज़िंदगी में हमारा हिस्सा बन रही है, वहीं ज़िन्दगी के इस सफरनुमा दौर में कुछ ऐसा भी है, जो प्लान नही किया गया था। समझाता हूँ --

मुम्बई में जब लोकल ट्रेन स्टेशन से बाहर कदम पड़ते हैं तो आदमी अपनी रोज़ की जरूरत का हर सामान पटरी विक्रेताओं खरीद सकता है। वड़ा पाव, पर्स, बेल्ट, जूते जाने क्या क्या नही बिकता।

कनॉट प्लेस या राजीव चौक के स्टेशन पर उतरो तो टी शर्ट, चश्मे, जैकेट, मोबाइल एक्सेसरीज आपको अपनी और खिंचती हैं।

पटेल चौक स्टेशन के पास रोज़मर्रा की छोटी छोटी चीज़े जैसे जुराब, रुमाल, स्क्रू ड्राइवर सेट वगैरह बिकते मिलते हैं।

जनता की ज़िंदगी का हिस्सा हैं ये सब। और एक अनकहा सा जुड़ाव होता है आम आदमी का इनसे रोज़ाना के सफर के दौरान।

सिगरेट की टपरी, पानी की मशीन, चाय की दुकान, पान वाला, नीम्बू पानी शिकंजवी एक सुख का अहसास कराते हैं इस सफर में।

दुनिया का हर शहर जहां पर्यटक जाते है, इस एक बुनियादी ज़रूरत का सबूत मिलता है।

लेकिन हम इसे प्लान नही करते। हमारे बनाये नक्शों में नही होता ये सब। प्रॉपर्टी डेवलपमेंट तो करेंगे लेकिन अपने वास्ते, लोगो के वास्ते नही। हमसे अच्छा एक पुलिस वाला है, लोगो की ज़रूरत समझता है। हफ्ता लेकर बैठा देता है पटरी पर इन लोगों को। ज़रूरी तो है, पर क्यों नही प्लान किया इसे कोई नही जानना चाहता। साइट कॉन्टेस्ट, अर्बन फैब्रिक, लैंडस्केप जोन जैसे बड़े बड़े शब्द तो हैं लेकिन ये छोटी छोटी ज़रूरत की जगह नही है।

कभी कोई गांव से अपने बच्चे को मेट्रो दिखाने लाये और बच्चे को छोटा सा चाबी से चलने वाला खिलौना दिला सके एक नियोजित वेंडिंग जोन से तो शायद वो प्लानिंग सार्थक होगी।

गौर कीजियेगा ।।

Monday, 4 December 2017

Success and Integrity

Recognising the right people in your path of success.

At work front we meet many people, work with some and deal with others. For a successful venture integrity of team members, coworkers etc. is of utmost importance. Over the years working on many projects internationally I have found some trade trends how people behave and what you can learn from that. Some observations.

1. People who are honest and tell on your face what they think of a given situation are the ones whom you should have long term association. They are actually helping you to know the right things.

2. Never ever believe a person who keeps you nagging with that he worked hard overtime despite his other committments. Such people want you to feel responsible for their actions and seek favours in return. In this world everybody works for himself not for you.

3. People who change their words as the authority changes and act differently what they agreed with you, such people are opportunist liers and should be on your out list. These people will use you for their own benefit.

4. This is world of fast communication. People who do not answer calls or return calls related to work (repeated behaviour) shall be on your firing list. That tendency is with people who are hiding something, do not want to work or fear their failed committments. Even banks never give loans to such people as they find them untrustworthy.  When you find people failing to keep committments and then becoming non communicative such people shall lead you to failure. One more trait of such people is over rating themselves to seek opportunity and then hide like a ostrich once they are unable to deliver.

5. In todays fast world, the people who give you time, invest hours of sincere working (not pretending) and able to deliver as per instructions and agreement are the ones who should be given priority. The people who give you the real time are the ones who bring you success. Such people shall be promoted and taken care of as giving time is the best committment.

6. Never trust a person who talks wrong about a person in his absence. Such a person will talk wrong about you also behind your back. Such persons are to be ignored for good.

7. Be honest in your dealings with others. Be transparent and tell straight what you think truely. Make right committments and promises which you can keep. Remain truely conmunicative. The other person's reaction will tell you whether to trust him or not. Remember that your own integrity is the first step to success.

Satyakam Garg

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The creative spark

The creative spark

Architecture is a creative field as they say. Right? But is creativity something which can be taught, imparted or copied?  Why in Architectural field things become comparative? Why some designed stations on same principles of design tend to be beautiful or bland?

The difference lies in the creative handling of design. Through creativity you can bring aesthetics in your designs. Through your creative inputs you can introduce a wow factor in your completed works. Through creativity you can make your stations stand apart from others, while the function served remains the same.

So how does this creativity happens? If this cannot be taught there must be some way to master it. In colleges and at work you are trained to handle techniques, understand principles, learn design basics and practice assignments. But from where comes the creativity? I try to answer this but I may not be perfect....

First of all creativity is personal trait.

Secondly you need to nurture and develop it on your own.

For creativity you need to take risks, do experiment and trials.

For creativity you must be able to appreciate the uniqueness of ideas.

For creativity your observation power and retention of experience as sub conscious mental database is needed.

For creativity you have to think from within, from your heart and listen to your hunches.

For creativity your vision needs to categorise your sights into aesthetical grading.

Lastly and more important is that you must have a creative spark within you. This creative spark comes from your introspection and mental thought process igniting the creative process within. For this practice is needed in sort of meditative way. This creative spark happens when your mind is free and your body is at ease. Give youself sometime to find that required creative spark to start the process, to ignite a fire of new ideas and to create a mental picture of your designs.

Trust me, you do not require AutoCAD or photoshop for creativity but first you need this creative spark within you, more often with your eyes closed, away from external influences and deep inside your thoughts.

Satyakam Garg

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Predictive Analytics

Predictive Analytics

Most experienced and successful managers, be it in design or any other field tend to foresee the outcomes of their decisions in future. Today's breakthrus in science has now proven that the brain which is capable of  storing huge database of information if used in right way can yield some amazing futuristic predictions. This process is now called as Predictive Analytics

How it works? In terms of Architecture, the experience in dealing with number of situations and using your brain to store as a database of memories can be developed with practice. This requires dealing with things deeply, understanding reasons, outcomes and finally corelating the result with actions taken.  An experienced Architect will be able to recall his past experiences if memory is good and regular passion of doing the things on his own, and then apply his knowledge from the past to predict the future of things while he makes current decisions.

The predictive analytics process is based upon brain's sorting and storing power for multiple threads of information in a way, that it can be recalled whenever a current situation has slightest reference to the information stored.

The process is now used by Artificial intelligence programmers to write softwares which can learn to predict outcomes based on data fed to softwares. One of the usage is being done in insurance industry and other in advertising line. Similarly an Architect based upon his experiences, observations can predict how a completed project will come out.

Observe, understand, memorise your experiences with an aim to remember and recall details for better future outcomes. The skill needs to be developed and your concentration with retaining power is the key.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Elephinston Road Tragedy - Core issues

Coming to Elephinston Road tragedy and having faced one such instance in Andheri in 2010, my own personal observations are listed below.

1. A footbridge was much lesser in width than required by egress calculations.

2. Though Railways shall be revalidating the egress facilities every 5 years based on traffic demand as per code, I dont think anybody ever bothered to check these from age old times.

3. Country's financial capital does not find it necessary to have trained evacuation personnel or proper PA system coverage to guide commuters.

4. There is no proof that somebody has tried to check station sizing ever for increased load. All we see more longer trains and more crowd, but space increase.

5. Lastly I blame the public. Somedays ago same public was sending messages on social media for spirit of Mumbaikar in rains. Today same public ran on the bodies of their own kind. Such public can create havoc in any place. Crowd management is poor in country. Stampedes like these show the animal behaviour of the public which is due to lack of right social education even in our best of schools.

Public blames govt. Govt. is by public. Public governs. Same public is in railways, same public is in govt and same public does the construction and management of public facilities.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Life's Lessons from Flooring

Life's Lesson from Flooring

Looking at some flooring drawings, a thought flashed thru my mind. Technically speaking floorings in large areas like metros need to be treated with care. This is required in view of long life of flooring and making it damage proof. And I found a life's lesson hidden in this technicality.

If you want the flooring to last long given below are some qualities for selection of flooring material.
1. Good abrasive resistant
2. High impermeability
3. Good strength
4. Good visual appearance

A flooring material in public place like metro shall have good abrasive resistance i.e. ability to withstand high traffic without getting scratched. This property imparts a long lasting sheen on flooring without dust generation. _In life also you have to be resistant to when people try to trample you. You shall not let circumstances or others wrong treatment affect you._

High impermeability means resistant to stains, almost nil absorption of staining materials. This property does not allow flooring to appear poor with bad stains and makes it easily cleanable. _In life also one should be careful not to let the bad company or dishonesty malign your image with stains of sinful acts_

Good strength of flooring is needed to take the heavy loads and impacts. A brittle flooring which can break easily is of no use. Only a strong flooring material can withstand heavy traffic load and remain intact. _In life also one shall have strong moral character so that one does not give away under pressure_

Good visual appearance requires the flooring material to welcome the public by its aesthetical appeal. The flooring shall be charming and blend with overall harmony. _In life also one has to keep smiling while dealing with others. An open and charming outlook is more receptive and increases social acceptance_

The fifth quality which I have not listed above is very important and I am sad to tell you that Architects are ignoring it. Most of them being unaware of its importance. This is called as Flexibility provision. Large flooring finishes applications require margins of flexibility which is provided in form of movement joints.*In metros due to train vibrations or temperature based expansion / contraction movement joints shall be provided normally at 8m distances. This allows flooring to adjust without breaking the panels. These are different from expansion joints in structure. You can see these in MC1A metro and T3 Airport at Delhi.

_And my friend in life also you need to flexible as well, even if you are very strong and charming. Unnecessary rude attitude without any margin of adjustment with others is only going to break your own self._

*Try looking at things differently - there is always something out there to learn*
🙏🏽Satyakam Garg

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Unforeseen Element

The Unforeseen Elements

Some years ago I was designing Dubai Outlet Mall, 20 Lac sq.ft. development in middle of the desert some 15kms away from Dubai. In Dubai, the Architect has to work to guidelines of Dubai Municipality and Dubai Electric & water authority. I was worried a lot that how in this desert my project will get these utility connections. So I took an appointment and met department officials. And my worries were gone.

I saw that they had planned and provided along the main road underground utility corridors below footpath and at regular intervals they had provided hume pipes crossings across the road. Based on my proposal, the official marked the nearest crossing and provided me locations of utility connection chambers. My job was done.

And this is what I call designing for unforeseen.

On the contrast we see our roads and pavements regularly digged for cables and pipes laying. This not only becomes hazardous, it makes our cities unsuitable for disabled wheelchair users besides being an eyesore everywhere. Similarly in metro stations you will find wires and pipes being installed in unplanned manner defacing aesthetics and uneven floors.

This could have been avoided by just making a suitable provision by embedding routing provisions for future.

For example, we do it for AFC gates provision but we forget about Xray scanners. Nobody designs or leave extra pipes or conduits for future provision so that no disruption happens.

Technological changes may require retrofitting or refurbishing in future. A 5℅ extra provision for such future services will not affect the project financially, but will be economical in long term. Architects shall ask their MEP designers to ensure that they take a margin for the unforeseen. Afterall we have to design for India's future.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Climate change and its impact on metro design

If you have followed today's news of Chandigarh getting flooded with floating cars only within 3 hours of rains, you will realise that we are seeing a change in weather pattern and metros are also affected by it.

Normally, metros are designed for highest flood level recorded and average rain fall of a particular place.

Architects in most cases leave all this to plumbing designer. But this year itself reports from various metros in country established that all is not right. Across the country many stations were flooded and leakages damaged critical installations in many cases.

I did a study of plumbing design of some cases. Infact I asked one of trainees with me to help me carry out the design from scratch for an elevated station and when we compared it to actual provisions done on some stations in country, results were shocking.

As a strategy, in line with IGBC requirements, we modelled the design from rainwater collection to rainwater harvesting. And a summary of the same is given below for all of you to check and consider in designs.
1. Inadequate provision of stormwater drainage on stations.
2. Violation of National Building Code - part 2, clause 4.5.11. There is detailed requirements given here for storm water drainage.

3. Violation of code of practice for  fixing rainwater gutters and downpipe for roof drainage IS: 2527.

My advise to Architects is to atleast once read through these above references. Trust me you will realise that things can be made better if you knew about these.

For example as per code every 90 degree bend makes efficiency of a rainwater pipe lesser by 25%, which means that if you provide 2 bends in a RWP you are going to need double the number of downtake pipes.

Hope you find this advise useful and utilise the knowledge for better coordination and checks with plumbing design.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Original Architect

Not so long ago, an Architect was overall controller of design.

With megastructure projects like metros came so many Architects on same project. DDC Architect, Clients Architect, GC Architect and Contractors Architect. Not only each stakeholder has an Architect but a team of Architects.

It is an irony that the original Architect gets to spend lesser time in churning out the designs, while all others so called reviewer Architects spend more time in finding faults. Which defeats the purpose actually.

I trust with my heart, that the original creator Architect of designs is at disadvantage over here. In my practice I have seen many people falsely claiming that they have designed the metro. They write it in their CVs.

It is to be remembered that the Architect who has conceptualised, prepared the design basis and visualised the first space allocation remains the Original Architect. And in my view he or she is the only one entitled to be called as Architect of the project. Rest all are mere design facilitators, suggestors, reviewers or in worst cases problem makers. Even a fancy designation like that of mine i.e. Chief Architectural Expert of GC, does not undermines the importance of original Architect.

In todays metro design scenario it is important that others respect the original Architect and try to facilitate the designs as fast as possible. To err is human and even a reviewer is not free of making mistakes.

Recently as this trend of multiple Architects has picked up, clients have noticed the delays happening due to such clashes in name of review and comments, whereas actually Architects other than the original one have been kept to expedite error free design deliveries. On some projects such trouble makers have been removed also.

My own personal thinking is that the originator of designs and reviewers are required to work hand in hand for a timely project completion.

Luckily for me my projects have finished on time or before time and in most cases I was not the Original Architect.

I have seen in my life wierd ideas developing into master landmarks and I never underestimate the power of original designer.

The Empty Boat

This I read a long time ago in a book by Osho. The story tells about a general behaviour of humans. I got inspired to share it with seeing beautiful message sent by Anjali.

So the story goes..  Imagine you are at a beautiful lake and decide to take a boat ride. You rent a boat, pick up the oars and setout to explore the nature around and enjoy the blue waters of the lake. While you are enjoying the boating, a stray boat without anyone sitting in it, is drifted by water currents and hits you. What do you do? You smile and gently shove the other empty boat to a side and continue with your ride. You are at total peace.

Now imagine the second scenario instead of first one. This time you see another boat with a man rowing it, coming towards your boat.  You become alarmed and start shouting -- "Abe saale marega kya... iye takkar ho jaaegi.. andha ho gaya kya...."  Even if the other boat hasn't still hit yours. In case it made a hit, a quarell follows you and other blaming each other.

So the story is now over. But what have we learnt?

The beautiful lake and scenery is your life god has given you. The boat ride indicates your experience and existence in this beautiful life. The boats represent your physical being the body. The drifting boat represents events not under our control. And the boatmen are the individual EGOS.

It is the ego when present creates the conflict. It is the ego which gives birth to your own fears. It is your own ego which makes you behave in a particular way. It is your own ego which affects your vision and intellect. And it is your own behaviour and own ego which is responsible for your condition.

For being a better human the ego has to be done away with, like an EMPTY BOAT. You are then ready to enjoy life as it is.

The great Architecture

While so called intellectuals see things differently, people and public see the things as they appear to naked eye. Thats what makes some buildings getting timeless fame for being Architectirally great.

Architectural journals and books talk about concepts, aesthetics and structural systems, while buildings which are listed as great Architecturally have been mainly functional ones which have stood against time. These are seven wonders of the world. Tajmahal, Mysore Palace and likes come in this category.

Can you think of one aspect what made them great?

I can think of 3...

1. These buildings have been massive impacting the public admiration by their sheer size. All great Architecture well known to normal public is massive. Big size meant domination. These building have dominated the comparative admiration by their size.

2. Artistically impressive. History provides us evidence that Art has been always man's way of impressing others. Art was promoted on massive buildings mainly as part of building structure itself. Art on buildings also manifested social structure of those times in a grand way, again to hold the viewer mesmerised by the beauty. Konark temple, Khajuraho, West Minister abbey and like are still most photographed buildings.

3. Permanency
This is one of the main reasons for buildings which have stood against time are in list of great Architecture. Without computers or technical colleges, builders of these great buildings knew what specifications to use to build such structures.

Whether Qutub minar or Pyramids, not so much of functional building for their purpose, but get worldwide tourists to visit them. They have all 3 aspects of being great.

We do metros, while aspect 1 is not so important in contemporary world, Architects and Engineers are overlooking other 2 aspects. Even  very few Architects are aware of or able to generate performance based specifications. Art part is pasted upon not engineered.

Think of it. Are we even capable of what our historical counterpart could do.

Above thoughts occured to me some 28000 feet above in the sky on flight to Delhi, inspired by a tourism advert in flight magazine.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Planning tools for excellence

I was one of the first person to setup the Lucknow Metro GC office. We started when first part consisting of 8 stations was 45℅ complete and things were disorganised. The new GC had limited resources and no office space to start with. Project was moving with fast pace to break all records of the metro history. I had the challenge of setting up a management system and I did it on my personal laptop and my own webspace. The system is currently fully functional and backbone of GC's operations. We call it PMIS system and it was featured in Ace Update magazine last year.

*But what made me develop it?*
Coming from a trained and desciplined background with international experience on projects, I knew instantly that it will be difficult to handle a project like Lucknow Metro without a proper system. I applied my educational trainings from MBA in construction management and my six sigma certification to develop the PMIS system. Made it simple enough for office core team secretaries to use this with least training and made it secure enough so that quality is not  compromised.

To users these seem to be simple set of excel sheets. But the idea behind them had a deep methodology of subsystem called as DMAIC.

DMAIC means Define, Measure, analyse, improve and Control. I defined all the processes, made them measurable, created them in a format which could be analysed, results are used to improve productivity and control.

And I used zero cost to build it (except my working cost to company and net usage). The system is better than Aconex (Commercial software service costing upwards of Rs. 5 lacs per month) as far as analysis and control is concerned.

Remember when we talk of quality it is comparative. For comparison you need to analyse things. For analysis you need to measure it. To measure it you need to define parameters. By now I have developed and made money out of similar setups on many projects of Architectural and Non Architectural fields. And a new term for the same has been coined as well.

Welcome to *Construcinformation*

visit www.agakgc.com

Satyakam Garg

Friday, 28 July 2017

India's first Mobile ticketing on metro


5 Tips to manage Stress

Extreme work pressure is felt when your body starts manifestating it in form of disease. This is called stress !

Knowingly or often unknowingly we get into stressful situations... like:
1. Overcommittment and unable to keep the committment.
2. Overconfidence of moving the world, but in reality moving yourself you find difficult.
3. Overloaded with work makes your output faulty.
4. Overemphasis on small unimportant issues makes you miss the bigger picture
5. Oversmartness makes you take those wrong unethical steps.

The above is my analysis of how people get into work pressure situation.

Keeping things simple, working step by step in methodological way and practical foresight can keep you stress free.

Enjoy while working  and work while learning. Always leave office on time and dont bring office in your personal time.

Sharpen your Saw

Sharpen your saw!

Working on many metros internationally, I have learnt that it is important to sharpen your saw. Let us understand it.

A saw is a tool for cutting wood used by carpenters. Have you ever handled one? When you try using it first time, even with a brand new saw it is difficult to cut the wood first time. You need to know the technique and then practice doing that. And you are able to cut the wood smoothly after that.

Well you can expect the similar on your first job as an Architect. You had already spent 5 to 7 years doing B.Arch and masters. You need to know techniques at job front and practice the same.

You understood the above, I am sure. Practice makes a man perfect.. the saying goes.

And you become experienced as the time passes. You are doing things at regular basis now. You have cut a lot of wood. You are now seeked for your experience.

But hold on... Are you sure you learnt the right technique? This is very important to know. May be you have been doing things in a wrong way without even knowing it. And you thought that you are experienced. The practice of doing things wrong has now become your mindset.  Sometimes you fail to see others doing it right, since your mind is conditioned by long time of wrong practice.

And that's where you need to sharpen your saw. A long misuse has made the saw blunt... a mindset which is now blocked. You have not realised but you do not cut wood faster even after practice since the saw is blunt. A blocked mindset stalls your skillset aquisition affecting your real progress.

A good carpenter will always sharpen his saw on regular basis so that he can cut wood faster and smoother. Same is with your mindset. One has to see where the saw teeth are blunt... that is finding your own shortcomings. Then you need to start sharpening the saw. Acquire new knowledge to improve your way of working. Honing your skillset to increase your productivity. Learn new ways to enhance your scope of works.

Remember that in life, only you can sharpen your own saw. Every moment is there to learn... to make the saw sharper.

Give time to yourself for self appraisal. Check yourself whether you can really do things better. Accept where you have been wrong... find that blunt teeth of the saw.

Trust me with a sharper and ready mindset your own life will be smoother. So dont let your saw go blunt. Sharpen it on regular basis.

by Satyakam Garg.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Codal Compliance Check list for Metro Stations Design

Here you can download the station design codal compliance checklist as per NBC - 2016 https://app.box.com/s/p2znabfc18vixi352kbqii9rnh516938