Monthly Archives: March 2016

Holcim Lanka, Maga Engineering, CSR Sri Lanka hold Deciders’ Forum on Sustainable Cities

DSC_6843_webHolcim (Lanka) Ltd., a member of the Lafarge Holcim Group who is a global leader in the
building material industry, Maga Engineering Ltd., Sri Lanka’s leading construction and engineering company together with CSR Sri Lanka (Guarantee) Ltd., held their first Deciders’ Forum at Hilton Colombo on 9 March under the theme ‘Sustainable Cities – Vision for the Sri Lankan Urban Transformation’.

The forum comprised of top-level decision-makers and stakeholders from both private and public sectors, in an effort to share knowledge, expertise and industry best practices and shed light on future plans. The introduction and objective setting was carried out by the moderator World Bank Senior Urban Economist Zhiyu Jerry Chan. This was followed by Urban Development Authority (UDA) Director General Nayana Mawilmada, who presented the key concepts behind sustainable urban development in Sri Lanka and the Government’s plans for same.

The keynote speech was delivered by Surbana Jurong Consultants Ltd. Singapore Managing Director (South Asia and Middle East) Dr. Uma Maheswaran, on the planning of sustainable cities, key principles and a case study on Singapore. Concluding remarks was presented by Western Region Megapolis Planning Project Director Lakshman Jayasekera, on the model for the Megapolis project.

Dr. Uma Maheswaran in his keynote speech commented, “All across Asia, sustainability in construction is the most pertinent problem today. Within the last decade, sustainability as a constant has evolved, and has come to some kind of global understanding, but there are still different shades of sustainability. However, the big question today is, do we begin projects correctly? It is imperative that the leaders in construction and its partners get it right from inception, which means setting key performance indicators succinctly and correctly for every individual involved.”

Nayana Mawilmada pointed out some common challenges of urban development in all Sri Lankan cities including handling congestion, solid waste and urban sprawl and noted, “The principles of sustainable cities have been embedded in the Government’s Megapolis plan and the project proposals are being developed with sustainability at its core. The vision of sustainable cities is also integral to the plans being initiated for several other major cities of Sri Lanka such as Galle, Kandy, Jaffna and Trincomalee.” He stressed that this long-term vision can be achieved through a coordinated effort across agencies and a combination of both government and private financing.

In his concluding remarks, Lakshman Jayasekera pointed out that steps are being taken to fast-track and facilitate environmental approvals via a Strategic Environmental Assessment Programme (SEA), an integrated in-house process to wade through and combine a glut of applications and corresponding approvals.

These forums will be followed by three programs later in the year on several aspects of sustainability in the construction industry including challenges faced, social responsibility, finance and regulations and architecture and techniques. These forums aim to provide the construction industry stakeholders with a platform to exchange, develop and share their knowledge whilst addressing key concerns. This initiative is a result of the memorandum of understanding between Maga Engineering Ltd. and Holcim Lanka on charting a sustainable path for the construction industry in Sri Lanka.

Holcim Lanka and Maga to work towards sustainability of construction industry

HDSC_4186-webolcim (Lanka) Ltd., a member of the LafargeHolcim Group and a leading company in building materials, together with Maga Engineering Ltd., Sri Lanka’s leading construction and engineering company, officially signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 1 March, on working towards a path of sustainability for the Sri Lankan construction industry.

The MoU focuses on the two industry titans pledging to continue supporting the construction industry in its engagement in sustainable construction practices and to provide a platform of exchange for construction industry stakeholders’ to develop and share their particular knowledge, experience and professional skills within the industry.

Research shows that the Sri Lankan construction industry has continued to grow by approximately 20% since 2014. With the rapid urbanisation in Asia, it is important that green building practices with the use of fewer and more energy-efficient raw materials and resources are adopted in the construction industry. The partnership focuses on educating and changing the attitudes of the construction industry to become more sustainable and build green, led collaboratively by Holcim Lanka and Maga.

Commenting on the project, Holcim Lanka CEO Philippe Richart stated: “LafargeHolcim aims to drive the sustainable construction agenda and is committed to leading the initiative in every country we operate in. Through invaluable partnerships with corporate entities such as Maga, who share the same ambition, we are creating a platform to enhance awareness on the need to move forward towards sustainable construction within the industry. It is initiatives such as this that will positively contribute to Sri Lanka, as a nation looking to a greener future,”

Maga Engineering Ltd. Chairman and Managing Director M.G. Kularatne commented: “This great opportunity has enabled us to collaborate with Holcim towards creating a more sustainable and successful construction sector in Sri Lanka. With our experience in successfully delivering large-scale projects as well as sustainable buildings, we look forward to the positive impact of this collaboration which ultimately will benefit all industry stakeholders.”

The MoU’s objectives will be accomplished through the development and execution of four seminars to be held within the year, comprising top-level decision-makers and stakeholders from both private and public sectors, followed by the sharing of knowledge and expertise of best practices via Green building site-visits.

The first of the four breakfast sessions will be held on 9 March, centered on the timely topic ‘Sustainable Cities – Vision for the Sri Lankan Urban Transformation’. This will be followed by three programs later in the year on various aspects of sustainability in the construction industry as including present and future challenges, social responsibility, finance and regulations and architecture and techniques.

Guest speakers for the first session will include sough-after industry experts such as Dr. Uma Maheswaran – Managing Director of Surbana Jurong International Consultants Singapore, Nayana Mawilmada – Director General of Urban Development Authority, Lakshman Jayasekara – Project Director of Western Megapolis Planning Project and Jerry Chen – Senior Urban Economist of the World Bank.