There is a constant need for the skilled in built environment sector

Written by Vikram Chaudhary | Updated: Aug 18 2014, 07:19am hrs
We aim at producing industry-ready professionals who are equipped to bring value to the organisation the day they start their career, says KT Ravindran, Dean Emeritus, RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University. In an interaction with FEs Vikram Chaudhary, he adds that the country today needs more such schools of built environment. Excerpts:

How is RICS different from other institutes, such as a school of architecture or a college of engineering specialising in civil engineering

Unlike other colleges, the RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University, has been set up to serve as a modern world-class institution to deliver quality education to students and aspiring professionals, and also to serve as a hub for R&D in built environment. We are supported by over 200 real estate, construction and infrastructure firms, as well as by the ministry of urban development. According to one of our studies, the real estate and construction sectors will need approximately 4-5 million core qualified professionals every year till 2020.

Globally, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) accredits Schools of Built Environment that are set up by different universities. But in India such specialised education for the sector never existed. We aim to provide specialised courses for careers in built environment sectors such as real estate, construction and infrastructure.

What was the chief aim behind setting up the School of Built Environment

As per RICS estimates, Indias urban population is likely to reach 600 million by 2030. So, there is a requirement of new cities and towns. The government, too, has announced its target of providing housing to all by 2022. And to execute the mammoth task of construction and development, there is a constant need for skilled professionals. And we aim to train professionals in that field.

What are some of the specialised courses you offer

The courses on offer are BBA in Real Estate and Urban Infrastructure; BBA in Construction Management; MBA in Real Estate and Infrastructure; MBA in Construction Project Management; and MBA in Construction Economics and Quantity Surveying. We also award PhD degrees in Construction Management and Project Management, Urban Management and Infrastructure Management, and in Real Estate Management.

You say your school is an industry-led initiative

We aim at producing industry-ready professionals who are equipped to bring value to the organisation the day they start their career. To implement it in reality, it is imperative that we impart practical knowledge to our students in addition to theoretical. The course curriculum, thus, includes working on live case studies, on-site visits, summer internships and more. Further, the companies supporting us have been helping us by providing our students and faculty opportunities to conduct on-site visits. We also have an exchange programme with the University of Salford.

How do you help your students get placed

We already have support letters from over 200 companies within the built environment space that are willing to hire students. Further, the strong backing of the industry led by the RICS South Asia Board ensures employability for our students.

How do you support students and faculty who want to pursue research activities

As I said, the RICS serves as a research hub too. First, the faculty members are constantly involved in research on industry trends across their domain and subject areas. This provides us with fresh and updated content to support our course curriculum. Second, a number of our students are also involved in research activities and they are enriched by the knowledge and expertise of the faculty. In fact, very recently we published a report called the State of BIM Adoption and Outlook in India that was widely acknowledged and endorsed by many construction and development firms.

What is your take on the 100 smart cities project announced by the government

The allocation of R7,060 crore for the creation of 100 smart cities across Indias growth corridors will boost the economy. The government has also proposed the reduction in built-up area of projects from 50,000 sq mt to 20,000 sq mt, and minimum capitalisation from 10 million to 5 million under the norms specified for FDI norms. The government has announced boost for urban and rural housing and the development of urban infrastructure. These are positive steps for our sector and we await the execution of these initiatives. When executed, they will generate millions of jobs for our youth. This would also create the need for more focused and specialised streams of education and training. The country will, therefore, require more such Schools of Built Environment.