Pune Real Estate – The Smart Homes Revolution

Kishor PateKishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

 

Over the past two decades, Pune has seen rapid growth of the IT culture. In the beginning, this culture was limited to employees of the city’s many IT/ITES parks – today, it has touched almost everyone who lives in Pune.

The cyber revolution in this city is inescapable – those who do not own computers populate internet cafes. The current generation of young people below age 30 is defined by computer savviness, and these are the people who will usher the city into the future. Naturally, this revolution has had a very distinct impact on the kinds of homes that younger people choose to buy today.

Whether they are working in Pune’s innumerable software companies and IT-enables services firms or in some other sector, the young home buyers today have developed their own criteria for what constitutes an ideal home.

‘Smart’ homes are now in vogue not only with IT/ITES employees – most young home buyers today consider properties that support a cyber-driven lifestyle desirable.

The highest demand for smart homes in Pune stil still stems from people working in software parks and IT companies. This is largely because of their exposure to IT-driven concepts, their sizable pay packets and the fact that they have often been trained or stationed abroad and have been exposed to global residential concepts.

Smart homes are not just an interesting variant – they are by and large luxury offerings, and there is a premium attached to homes with ‘smart’ features which varies according to how many of these features have been included in the project.

In the past, smart homes were considered something of a niche concept, owing to the larger ticket sizes. The clientele that developers initially targeted with their smart homes projects was primarily the higher-paid professionals employed in the city’s IT hubs.

Today, the target audience has expanded a lot and includes a larger section of gadget-conscious younger generation of home buyers with a well-defined yen for automated homes.

Dining Area

Falling in the age group of 29-40, these buyers tend to hold hold senior roles within the IT/ITES, manufacturing or services sectors. Regardless of career orientation, they are upwardly mobile, highly aspirational and eminently qualified for home loans.

Over and above being a premium offering, smart homes are a means for those whose professions involve high levels of stress. For such professionals, the comforts, enablement and security that smart homes offer are a means to relax and generate more time to spend with their families.

Smart homes offer technological features wherein home owners can operate almost anything in their homes (including lights, air conditioners, security systems, curtains and blinds) from within and even outside at the touch or click of a button.

Today, smart home technology uses user-friendly software that allows simplified control of climate, lighting, entertainment and communication. The technology involved impacts three key areas – energy efficiency, security systems and telecom systems.

Smart homes have a definite status value attached to them and tend to have higher resale value because of their locations, which are either close to the city’s IT hubs or in upscale areas more or less defined by higher purchasing power and therefore higher lifestyle aspirations.

Appreciation of such properties is also influenced by the very nature of the features that make life simpler, safer, more comfortable and more exciting. The technology that drives smart homes can be readily upgraded, making them completely future-ready. This increases their potential resale value many times over.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury homes towers and premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterrenean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

 

Is Your Home Safe From Earthquakes?

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd.

The Indian subcontinent has always been prone to earthquakes. However, it is only the recent earthquakes in Nepal which have made home owners and prospective buyers wonder about the earthquake resistance factor in Indian real estate.

Two quakes, a week apart, ripped the beautiful mountainous country to debris and several Indian states and cities felt the impact, as well. In some places, there were even incidents of damage to old structures and ill-planned buildings.

According to geographical statistics, more than 54% of the Indian landmass is prone to earthquakes. The reason for this high amount of exposure is the increasing intensity at which the Indian pelagic plate is driving into mainland Asia. The United Nations and World Bank estimate that by 2050, more than 200 million Indian homes would have experiences earthquakes and storms.

The most vulnerable cities are Srinagar and Guwahati, which have been categorized under ‘very severe intensity’ zones. Apart from these two, 36 other Indian cities have been identified to be vulnerable to earthquakes.

These include Kolkata, Dhanbad, Patna, Dehradun, Jalandhar, Jamnagar, Surat, Pune, Mangalore, Kochi, Trivandrum, Chennai, Vijayawada, Jabalpur and Bhubaneswar, among others. Some of these are also among the most important and highly populated cities of the country.

Over the years, increasing concerns about earthquake resistance have led scientists and engineers to invest R&D resources and considerable funding into methods to make modern buildings earthquake proof.

Earthquake proof buildings have deep strong base and are lighter in loads than traditional constructions. Special beaming and bracing make them resistant to the kinds of sideways movements that are experienced in the event of an earthquake.

Kathmandu Nepal Earthquake Building Damaged

Some of the latest concepts being used to render buildings more earthquake-resistant in many global cities are:

• Base Isolation System

Here the foundation of the building is separated from the actual structure using rubber bearings that act as seismic isolators during a quake. During a shake, only the foundation will slide, but the actual construction will stay intact. The rubber bearings also act as shake absorbers and cut down the intensity of the impact

• Dampers

The concept is quite similar to the big shock absorbers used in vehicles. Their job is to dissipate the total energy across the base of the building to keep the top structure safe. Dampers are advisable for high rise buildings and for retrofitting older buildings.

• Levitation

Levitation engineering lifts up the house when an earthquake strikes. The building here is constructed upon a deflated air bag that pumps up during a quake and builds air space of a few centimeters between the house and the ground. This reduces the impact to a great extent.

In India, the Bureau of Indian Standards had a detailed and revised publication for ‘Recommendations for Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures, 1962. According to the standards, buildings that adhere to these recommendations will not encounter a ‘total collapse’ even in earthquakes of intensities as high as 8.0 on the Richter scale.

If you are an existing home owner or planning to buy a new home, you would doubtlessly be concerned about how safe the building really is – especially if it is a modern high rise.

The first thing to know here is that there is no such thing as a 100% earthquake-proof residential building – the best that can be achieved is a standardized level of earthquake resistance.

However, most residential projects that have been built in the last 5 to 6 years will be resistant to mild earthquakes registering at around 4.0 on the Richter scale. However, very few would be able to remain standing during a massive quake registering at, say, 9.0.

The good news is that in most Indian cities, reputed and established developers are following the accepted local building bye laws and standards for structural safety laid out by the National Building Council (NBC). These are the accepted standards of earthquake-resistance in high-rise buildings, meaning that their buildings will be able to withstand certain intensities of earthquakes.

Such developers follow the guidelines for construction of earthquake resistant buildings as a matter of course. This is not in just a cursory fashion – reputed developers appoint specially qualified engineers who oversee the construction process and make sure that the highest standards of earthquake-proofing are actually being incorporated.

Also, builders with a strong reputation for quality construction will at all times ensure that their buildings are built with high-grade steel and that there are sufficient emergency escape routes.

This is yet another reason why one should only by homes in projects built by established developers who have a standing reputation for high standards in their construction norms.

If one is still in doubt, one can consult a neutral architect or contractor while the building is still under construction, who will be able to give a fair estimate based on soil cohesiveness and quality of materials and processes being used.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury homes towers and premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterrenean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

Buying A Home: Six Attributes Of A Good Neighbourhood

Kishor Pate 2Kishor Pate, CMD – Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd

If you are looking to estimate the actual market value of your home, just look across the street. Neighborhood homes, stores, clinics, offices and other facilities play a crucial role in determining the value of your property.

‘Healthy’ neighbourhoods support a steady rise in the capital values of real estate, while ‘ailing’ or ‘weak’ locations tend to see little or no growth at all in the investment value of homes there.

Not to dwell too much on the negative side of this story, here are the 6 signs that indicate a good neighborhood to live in:

• Accessibility

As every broker will tell you, neighborhoods with better accessibility and proximity to means of public transportation are always in demand. In the modern world, the keyword is connectivity.

You are better placed if you can reach the train station, the airport, the hospital or the school in as little time as possible. Accessibility makes it much more convenient to deal with the regular necessities of living and raising a family.

• Bordering Neighborhoods

One cannot be a good fish in a pond full of bad fishes. The closer you are to an unhealthy neighborhood, the more likely it is that you going to be affected by it.

The best residential localities are built around prime areas, and not surrounded by underdeveloped areas with down-market profiles. New home buyers are looking for places that present the opportunity of a friendly environment, preferably close to one of the city’s business hubs.

• Ample Opportunities For Socializing

Good neighbourhoods offer their residents a lot of incentive to get out of their homes and meet up outside. Parks, branded coffee shops, theatres and art galleries are all places where people can engage in the very vital activity of socializing. A neighbourhood which has such facilities is simply a nicer place to live in.

Amit Astonia Royale Ambegaon

• Low ‘DOM’

DOM or ‘Days On Market’ is a metric that indicates how long has a property been on the market. If you are living in a rising neighborhood, the DOM for properties is low, as families will be eager to join the community. Look for comparable homes in the area that have been put up for sale.

If no one has bought them for a considerable while – say six months or longer – it is not a good sign. A good neighbourhood is one where properties which are put on the market sell quickly because a lot of people want to live there.

• Low Crime Rates

A good neighbourhood tends to have a lower crime rate, meaning that incidences of thefts, burglaries and other crimes are relatively few.

This can be because of various reasons – local law enforcement would be more proactive and efficient, the housing projects there have better security arrangements, the inhabitants of the area are of a higher class not given to petty crimes, etc.

It is always preferable to live in a neighborhood with the minimum crime rates. Safety will always be the prime concern when you are looking to raise a family.

• Presence Of Retailers

Business will only come to a place that has a considerable market, meaning that a lot of potential customers are living in the area. If there are enough retail stores around, it is a sign of a busy and thriving community. Further, convenience stores in the neighbourhood make life there more convenient and enjoyable.

About The Author

Kishor Pate, Chairman & Managing Director of Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. is the driving force behind one of the most successful real estate development firms in Pune and beyond. Apart from its signature luxury homes towers and premium gated townships, AEHL has also launched highly successful affordable housing projects like Astonia Classic and Colori in Undri and the Mediterrenean-style township Astonia Royale in Ambegaon.

Kishor Pate’s Interview In Construction Mirror

CM-KP

Share the successful journey of Amit Enterprises with our readers.

One of Pune’s most respected and reputed real estate development firms, Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. has redefined the city’s real estate landscape several times over. With more than 40 completed projects and several more on the anvil, AEHL has pioneered some of the most outstanding and award-winning residential concepts that have become industry benchmarks.

The roots of this firm took hold as early as 1963, when my father, a schoolteacher with vision beyond the conventional confines of a classroom first dreamed a dream that would be immortalized in steel and concrete by me and my family.

My father Shri Govindrao alias Appasaheb Pate (Wani) migrated to Pune from Chalisgaon, a town in Jalgaon District of Khandesh and, after an initial stint as school teacher, launched a real estate brokerage under the name of ‘Vijay Estate Agency’ in 1963. As his eldest son, I involved myself in this business from the age of 17 and quickly mastered the skills and intricacies of the real estate business.

After earning a Baccalaureate degree in Political Science, I turned my attention to breaking new frontiers for the family business. We incorporated Amit Enterprises Housing Limited as a construction firm in 1983 – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tell us about the practices you follow to reduce the impact of construction on environment.

Our residential projects are firmly oriented towards preservation and conservation of the environment and on site. This involves numerous variables and solutions. We follow a comprehensive design approach that incorporates critical environmental, economic and social dynamics. Creating a housing project that conforms to current international standards requires that the development:

  • Involves the lowest possible site impacts right from the design stage
  • Incorporates specific facilities for waste management, climactic control, heat and energy preservation and water treatment
  • Takes into account health impacts on occupants as well as the surrounding locality
  • Functions seamlessly to conform with these parameters from the pre-construction to the post-construction phase

Tell us about the green projects done by you.

Amit’s Eka in Nasik, Astonia Royale in Ambegaon, Pune and Astonia Classic in Undri, Pune. More projects with green certification are in the pipeline.

According to you, what is the current status of green projects in Indian real estate industry?

India is waking up to the need of sustainable real estate, but as a country we are nowehere near where we need to be as yet. Currently, supply is largely being driven by the demand from Information Technology employees and NRIs who look for more than just top-of-the-line construction quality and amenities in the homes they buy. Because of their exposure to the trend of sustainable homes in the developed countries, they are looking for similar solutions here and expect to find projects with genuine ‘green’ features in India.

There is no doubt now that the future of Indian residential real estate lies in eco-friendly, energy-efficient developments, but more developers need to get active in this segment. Global market analysts are increasingly commenting on the unregulated and ecologically wasteful developments that are choking the marketplace.

All over the country, unscientifically designed buildings are compromising the environment. These buildings waste energy and produce locality-corroding contaminants. With the global real estate focus now firmly on sustainability, India needs to up the ante on ‘Green’ buildings, or environment-sustaining residential developments.

What are the technologies you adopt while doing green project?

At Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd, we are constantly finding and implementing new methods of cost-effective, eco-friendly, high-grade construction. The hallmarks of our genuine green living project are site sensitivity, water efficiency, energy efficiency and eco-friendliness:

Site Responsiveness:

This is a technical term that needs to be explained in plainer words. Site responsiveness means that the entire plot’s existing fertile soil has been preserved and re-used during construction process.

Another measure to ensure site responsiveness is to plant native trees around the project to ensure that the landscaping stays in perfect balance with its natural surroundings.

Often, developers of green residential projects also ensure that all exposed surfaces are designed with a reflective finish to minimize the ‘heat island’ effect. Also, to further reduce environmental impact by motor vehicle use, these projects are designed in such a manner that all basic amenities are within walking distance.

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular, and they are certainly the most sustainable option for shorter distances. In response to this, the perfect green residential project will feature parking facilities that are equipped with electric charging points.

Water Efficiency:

Water efficiency in a green project means that all roof surfaces need to be provided with modern rainwater harvesting equipment, and lawn areas must be optimized to reduce water consumption.

The residential units themselves must also be provided with water efficient flush and flow fittings. 100% of the generated waste water must be treated for reuse in toilet flushes, landscaping and project maintenance.

Energy Efficiency:

Air conditioning, plumbing and electric systems must stringently follow the national energy consumption code. Also, a bonafide green project will feature air conditioning units that do not require harmful chemicals like CFC and HCFC. To eliminate wasteful and energy leakage, the walls, roofs and glazed surfaces must be adequately insulated.

Photo voltaic cells need to be incorporated to handle a part of connected building load, and the entire project must be further enabled with a non-polluting and highly efficient electric backup system.

Eco-friendly Construction:

All construction materials need to be fully used on site, thereby reducing the landfill load on the city. Recycled material must be used wherever possible, and local/ regional materials need to be given preference during the construction process. During the process itself, organic and inorganic waste must be collected and treated separately.

We are now seeing increasing use of the modern Aluform construction process, which has the advantages of being recyclable, highly versatile and eminently durable. Normal construction uses wooden panels which can be used to a maximum of 25 times before being turned into scrap, while aluminium panels can be reused up to 200 times.

The Alu-form construction technique is a major leap forward for sustainable real estate development, and the final word in green construction. Our continuing commitment to the principles and practice of sustainable development has logically led to our adoption of this construction technology in our projects, which is now being used in many of our projects in Pune and also one project in Nasik.

The Alu-Form system is a revolutionary innovation in construction technology that allows for the speedy, accurate and highly consistent casting of all internal and external walls, columns, beams, floor slabs, stairs and other parts of a concrete building. It is an integrated system which merges the wall and slab panels into a seamless unit. With a drastic reduction of form-jointed sections, the end products have superior resilience to wear, tear and degradation.

Using the building’s architectural blueprint as a guideline, highly resilient aluminium panels are pre-designed for all concrete elements of the building’s superstructure. Alu-Form technology allows internal electrical fittings and plumbing to be incorporated with a high degree of design efficiency, and as part of the overall building plan. This factor reduces the probability of electrical and plumbing failures. On the rare occasions when they do occur, such problems can be quickly isolated and fixed.

This contributes to the overall cost-effectiveness of owning a home constructed with Alu-Form technology. Moreover, the use of this construction technology vastly reduces the chance of on-site mishaps, making it one of the safest systems for building construction currently available.

How do you provide complete satisfaction to your clients?

Over the several years that Amit Enterprises Housing Ltd. has been active in real estate development, our clients have learned to trust and depend on AEHL as a reliable and respectable name in the industry. Our brand is synonymous with quality construction, timely delivery, top-of-the line amenities, the best locations and complete value for money. In the highly competitive real estate market, these attributes are the hallmarks for success. Nothing works better than client satisfaction.