Akhtar Imam

Director, Genesis Planners Pvt. Ltd. (Interview PART-1)

“A true leader trusts the people on his team and should allow them to follow their own ideas.”, says Akhtar Imam, from Genesis Planners Pvt. Ltd.

Akhtar Imam, Director of Genesis Planners Pvt. Ltd. became an architect because of his father. Akhtar’s father was a civil engineer and di’t want him to become a civil engineer like himself; instead, he asked him to become an architect, and Akhtar followed his dad’s wishes and got into an architecture school. However, things got difficult for him, when his father, the sole breadwinner in his family, died during Akhtar’s second year in school. He was suddenly pushed out into the real world and had to work multiple shifts during his college days to pay for his college fees. But Mr. Imam recounts how those experiences benefited him, as he got to learn many practical skills, that later helped him ahead in his life.

After his graduation, Akhtar received a partnership offer from one of his seniors, Amit Kumar. They parted ways after working for 7 years in an Architectural firm, Artcon Design Consultants and following that — Akhtar got married. His wife was the reason that he started his life from scratch again in Bangalore, which turned out to be the right decision for his career. His wife is an electrical engineer, young and ambitious, and working at a private firm in Bangalore since 15 yrs.

He moved to Bangalore, after his wedding and applied for some jobs via. Naukri.com from a cyber cafe. He soon received an offer from a Singapore-based design firm, RSP. He worked at RSP for five years and later joined KGD Architects (Khan Global Engineering Consultants Private Limited – Now KDPL). After working for ten years with them, he left for Genesis Planners Pvt. Ltd (GPPL). Currently, he is leading the Bangalore branch of GPPL as the Director-Design & Projects.

Core Philosophies

Mr. Akhtar Imam believes in designing and constructing for the future, as buildings are not built every day. According to him, architects should focus on designing something that will stay robust for the unforeseeable future. The earth is dealing with numerous environmental issues, and a building that is not futuristic will risk the lives of people. One must focus on sustainable options and other things that will benefit the environment and the end user.

Conceptual Implementation that has Positively Impacted the Team

According to Mr. Imam, Architects need to talk to vendors and contractors, to properly understand industry requirements and boost their overall efficiency.

The world is dynamic and changes at a very fast pace. That is why, to keep some workload off the shoulders of the employees, executives in leadership positions should dedicate a day just for the employees where they can do things that they are passionate about. It will keep the employees loyal to the firm, and it will have a positive impact on their efficiency as well.

Besides this, aiding employees in taking care of their physical and mental well-being must be facilitated by an organization as well. This will help them feel connected and be loyal to the company.

Akhtar advises taking deadlines very seriously, and if a professional promises their client that they would deliver by a certain date, then they should take that as a duty. Word of mouth is very effective. Taking care of client commitments must be a priority on the list.

A lot of contractors and vendors and even, architects themselves, feel reluctant to use precast off-site, factory-made building elements, whereas it is normal in other countries. Mr. Imam believes that it is necessary to keep up with new technology to allow for both personal and professional growth. Without adapting to these changes, your business may bite the dust.

Challenges Faced in the Grind

Our esteemed speaker urges architects to ask as many questions related to the project as they can and build a questionnaire, tailored to the client’s expectations. The biggest challenge is to be clarify these expectations and align what you can do, to your client’s vision — this is because sometimes clients are not very vocal with their expectations and ideas. A building has a soul, it has a language to speak and by understanding the expectations of your client, you can expect to deliver the best results. A religious institute should not feel like an educational institution, so be sure to ask for the purpose, target audience, and design expectations.

Entire construction industry is a teamwork. An architect makes the design; however, the results are in the hands of the builder. Often, builders should not use inferior products or products other than the ones recommended by the architect, to save money. An architect needs to make things very clear about the design intent and the construction to the builder, or else it can ruin the whole design.

It is very challenging to keep all the materials in check, considering there are multiple stakeholders involved. If the materials are not available in the right amount and the right quality, it will not only ruin the design but can also augment the budget of the building. It is important to promote local building materials. To be continued.>>