Managing Director-Maple Engg-Design Services (India) Pvt Limited (Interview PART-1)
B.S. Aswathnarayan, fondly known as B.S.A. Narayan graduated in civil engineering in 1975. He comes from Bargur, a small village near Bengaluru. That is how he got the name Bargur Sundara Rao Aswathnarayan. He is from a big family of 12 siblings from his parents. Since he was from a big family and struggled hard during his college days. He graduated in Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.), Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as his core subject in the year 1969. He was inspired by his paternal uncle from childhood, who was an executive engineer those days and retired as a superintendent engineer. His uncle’s works impressed and inspired him, so he decided to study engineering. He joined engineering in National Institute of Engineering. (NIE) Mysore, and graduated in civil engineering (B.E) in the year 1975.
Immediately after the degree, Mr. Narayan started working in Bangalore with a company called Semac Private Limited, a consulting house. It was one of the very famous and prestigious company and he joined them as a trainee in structural design. He was called by his Managing Director to shift over to Delhi office. Narayan thought to change the specialization from Structural design to Plumbing Engineering. Those days, plumbing was not considered as engineering practice. He has faced lot of objections from his family for choosing the plumbing engineering.
Those days, the roadside unqualified plumbers used to do the job. Initially people used to laugh at me for selecting plumbing as my profession. But things started changing slowly. During my days in Delhi, I learnt a lot about plumbing and used to visit a lot of libraries. I started working with Mr. Deolalikar who is the only practicing plumbing engineer in the Indian plumbing industry. I got a chance to work with him and learned a lot of intricate designs, and I worked on universities, campuses, hospitals, hotels, and residential complex. During this period, I got an opportunity to work in a multinational company in Saudi Arabia. I shifted to Jeddah. It was a very big consulting house with architecture and all the engineering fraternities. There were more than 600 employees there. I started working as a plumbing engineer, and later on I became the head of the Department of Plumbing. I got very good exposure to work in various standards like German, Italian, British, and American and learnt a lot about international standards.
I also did a course in plumbing design and applied for membership in the Institute of Plumbing London. This was a very prestigious institute those days, and getting a membership was very difficult. I got membership in the year 1985 and was active in the institute. Later in the year 2004, I was awarded the “FELLOW” of the institute. Then subsequently, this institute’s name changed to the Royal Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, finally now it is called as Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering. (CIPHE)
Back home to Bangalore, two of my friends and I joined together and started a company. It was a consulting engineering company dealing with structure and MEP, (we call it plumbing, electrical air conditioning and fire protection services). We started in 1987 and the company has grown from three to 500 plus employees during the peak time. It was one of the big consulting engineering companies in South India.
In the year 1993, joined hands with Mr. Deolalikar along with many other plumbing professionals in India, and started the Indian Plumbing Association (IPA). it is grown and completed 28 years and it has spread all over India. The main aim is safe plumbing design and implementation. I was the founder and later became the chairman of the Bangalore chapter. In the year 2007, I was elected as National Vice President, and a part of the National Executive Board of the Indian Plumbing Association. The organization has grown from, mere 20 founders to 6,000 plus members and has 28 chapters all over India.”
Plumbing codes and standards were very limited in India. So, we thought there is a great need for good plumbing standards in India. IPA along with an American company called International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials, (IAPMO), pioneer in code writing and standards with 90 years of experience. IPA started writing codes and standards in collaboration with IAPMO. I was selected as the convener of the Technical Committee, (TC) and had around nine to ten people in Technical Committee. So, we started writing codes and standards. To our credit we have written, Uniform illustrated Plumbing Code and other codes and standards in IPA, referred by all along with The National Building Code. This is referred by engineers all over India, and also in the neighboring countries.
During the year 2013, there was a meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards in Bangalore and Mr. Narayan was also invited to attend the meeting. The chairman and vice chairman of the National Building Code Committee were looking for a Convener for part 9. There are 12 sections in National Building Court and each section is headed by a chairman cum convener, along with them there are around 18 to 20 people under each convener. Mr. Narayan was invited to take responsibility to revise chapter nine – water supply, drainage, domestic gas piping system and Solid Waste Management.
He recalled, “I headed chapter nine and we started working on the National Building code revision. We revised it into 2016 and the same is released in 2016. Initially the part nine was a small chapter & now it is in detail and almost like a big volume. I can say that it is on par with any other international standards. The revised volume includes lot of new subjects, new materials and new methodologies. IPA has become very active, and we started interacting with World Plumbing Council (WPC). WPC is like WHO, World Health Organization. IPA is a permanent member”
And the objectives of the world pumping council are to unite the world plumbing industry to safeguard and promote and protect, the environment and health of nations for the benefit of all. This is the basic motto of the World Plumbing Council. He added, “after working for years together I was elected as one of the directors of on executive board in 2017. And there are 10 directors from all over the world, and I represent India. WPC takes care of plumbing standards for developing, developed, and under-developing countries in the world. I am still serving as a director on the executive board of the World Plumbing Council.”
“47 years in this profession and continuously working to upkeep the standards of Indian plumbing. Now the codes and standards are available, which was not there earlier when I selected this profession. I say that the plumbing professional has made more progress in the past few decades. During the entire preceding half-century design of the plumbing system has become much less than an art and more of a science. This is what I want to conclude about my journey. after that, I started Maple Engg-Design Services (India) Pvt Limited and we specialized in MEP, the building services and completed 12 years. This is my 13th year in this company. I am heading this company and we have around 80 people working with us.” To be continued>>