Manipal: India is growing and the platform for nation-building is a university, and, for the universities to move forward, the backbone is research, said Faizal E. Kottikollon, Founder and Chairman, KEF Holdings, UAE after inaugurating the MIT-KEF R&D Centre at Manipal Institute of Technology here on December 15, 2018. The Centre is the brainchild of Faizal an alumnus of MIT.
It was in 2012 that when he came to attend an alumni reunion he shared the idea of starting a research centre for pre-fabricated building material with Manipal Academy of Higher Education. That idea took birth today with the inauguration of the first phase.
The centre is a joint venture between MAHE and KEF Holdings, UAE, a multinational company that specializes in innovative offsite construction technology. The total investment for the Centre is worth Rs.16 crores with equal contributions from both partners. The R&D Centre has been established under the aegis of Faizal and Shabana Foundation.
Later, at the valedictory of the two-day 3rd Global Alumni Meet of Manipal Academy of Higher Education at KMC Greens, Faizal and his wife, Shabana were felicitated. The concept of ‘manufacturing buildings’ was brought to India by KEF in 2014. They established the office in Bangalore and have since designed several buildings. All Indira Canteens in Karnataka have been designed and built by KEF.
“The idea is to design and then manufacture the components in a factory environment. We introduce robotics into this industry, and in the last three years, we have grown by million dollars. For me, it is a great opportunity to involve my team and your professors here and bring this concept to reality. If we can manufacture aircraft and cars, why not buildings,” Faizal reasoned. It takes years to make building, but this concept is much faster.
For example, he said, “This building is of 50,000 square feet and after designing and manufacturing, it can be built in about two months,” he said. The Centre aims at providing a cutting-edge research and development facility to upcoming Civil Engineering and Architecture students. It will be equipped with state-of-the-art prestressing lab along with material testing lab.
Director MIT, Dr Srikanth Rao after welcoming the gathering, said, “We look forward to the research work to start and for the results of research to benefit students and faculty. Present on the occasion were Mrs. Vasanti R Pai, Trustee MAHE Trust and wife of Chancellor, Dr. Ramdas M Pai, Dr. Ranjan Pai, Chairman, MEMG, Bengaluru, Pro-Chancellor, Dr. H.S. Ballal, Vice-Chancellor, Dr. H Vinod Bhat and other officials of the MAHE and KEF Holdings including the CEO of KEF, Mr. Richard Pattle.