Pune’s Skyline Future: CEMCON Conference Delves into Challenges and Prospects of Tall Buildings

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Tikam Shekhawat

Pune, 15th February 2024: The Indian Concrete Institute (ICI) organized a two-day conference, CEMCON, focusing on ‘Challenges and Opportunities in High-Rise Structures.’ The event comes at a crucial juncture as Pune experiences a surge in construction activities, driven by new regulations permitting greater Floor Space Index (FSI). Developers are keen on capitalizing on the heightened demand for housing and commercial spaces, fueled by urban migration and limited open land.

The conference aimed to address the multifaceted aspects of high-rise development, considering social, economic, physical, and emotional factors. With the theme ‘High-rise structures and buildings: Challenges & Opportunities,’ CEMCON brought together leading minds from across the country, covering policy-making, architecture, construction, and services. Avinash Patil, Director Town Planning, Govt. of Maharashtra, inaugurated the conference, emphasizing the need to balance construction aspirations with considerations for the environment, recreation, and sustainability.

On the first day, a panel discussion featured prominent figures such as builder Arvind Jain, architect Hrushikesh Kulkarni, structural consultant Umesh Joshi, and policy maker Alpa Sheth. The discussion delved into critical questions regarding infrastructure development, safety, long-term viability, and the emotional, social, and environmental impact of high-rise buildings.

Day two featured a compelling talk by Chief Fire Officer of PMC, Devendra Potphode, focusing on the crucial aspect of fire safety in tall buildings. Potphode highlighted instances of past incidents caused by negligence and stressed the need for an attitudinal shift. He emphasized the importance of fire safety provisions, visible smoke detectors, and proactive citizen involvement.

The conference addressed various topics, including safe vertical transportation, environmental considerations, what lies beneath high-rise buildings, and the economic and social implications for the city and country. With over 200 delegates from the architecture and construction sectors in attendance, CEMCON provided a comprehensive exploration of the challenges and opportunities associated with high-rise structures.