A Marquee of Many Trades

Rajiv Sonigara of Sonigara Homes Pvt Limited, a key leader of the Sonigara banner has been a name to reckon with in the real estate fraternity. He was kind enough to spend his precious time with us for an interview. His insights on various affairs related to the real estate industry are very informative.

Sonigara homes, established in 1991 has come a long way since its inception. With more than 14 lakh square feet to their credit and 5000 happy families living under the Sonigara umbrella, they continue to create beautiful homes for Pune. Rajiv points out that the construction industry almost remained stagnant for over a decade. It was in 2007-08 that the industry saw a landslide shift in property rates and since then has maintained an annual increase of 20% in the rates per square feet of buildings in Pune. He attributes this boon in the real estate industry to the flourishing IT industry coming up in Pune. Pune being an education hub also contributed to higher demand for office and residential spaces.  Its not just the rates of buildings that have risen,  with new and improved construction materials being available in the market, the cost of materials also has seen a steady increase of 10% annually.

While we were discussing the increasing demand for flats and people living in independent homes preferring to move to flats, Rajiv thinks that this could be credited to the fact that the current nuclear family design of the urban Indian demands security and a good share of amenities which are otherwise out of bounds for them. Sonigara Builders have been involved in building both residential and commercial spaces with equal zeal. Constructing a commercial building however needs double the time, effort and money to complete. They differ in design and material used. In most cases shortage or unavailability of natural materials led to newer products in the market. Though costs have increased, this has been a definite advantage to the industry.  Most commercial buildings require to use PT slabs (post tension) to avoid the number of columns and beams in the design. They also use higher grades for the structure than that of a residential complex. With newer and innovative products making an entry into the market every now and then, the time taken to complete a project also has substantially decreased which helps a builder to achieve their committed delivery schedules. Some recently launched or soon to be launched inclusions in the industry include BIMS and sewage treatment plants which are being made mandatory norms for clearance of projects.

RERA, Mr. Rajiv says is a definite enrichment for the real estate industry. It has equally benefited both the industry as well as customers. So, a customer choosing a RERA registered builder can be safe and rest assured. What makes Sonigara Builders a class apart is their proficient pre and post delivery service to their customers. They go all out to assist their customers with any issue that arises during this time. This has helped them get new customers through word of mouth.

Sonigara Builders has already established a strong foothold in other cities like Jaipur and Gurgaon. They are looking at a massive project to begin in Amboli. With an in-house interior design team, they are able to provide a comprehensive solution to their customers. They have also used services of architects from Singapore in some of their projects. In one of their on-going endeavours in the centre of the city of Pune, they have recreated antique Pune architecture theme for the apartment. Study tours organised by CREDAI to various celebrated structures and buildings across the world have created an impression on Mr. Rajiv and he does try to infuse them into his designs.

Speaking of bottlenecks that cause delay in a project, Mr. Rajiv says that sanctions from authorities cause the most delay. For larger projects with more than 2 lakh sq. ft area, there is an additional environment clearance which sometimes gets very delayed since approvals are to come from Mumbai. This is a very despairing fact since builders end up cutting a sorry figure with the customers without being able to give this as an excuse.

Coming from a finance background, Rajiv has carved a name for himself in the industry. He puts his 100% in whatever he does and does it all with a lot of passion. He is actively involved in their jewelry business as well. He draws support and strength from his joint family which is the backbone of their success.

Sonigara builders have a sequence of projects coming up in and around the city, both residential and commercial.  One project in the limelight is their “Blue Dice” project, which houses about 800 units of residential and 1.5 lakh sq. ft commercial spaces. Most of Sonigara’s projects are housed in about 10 acres of land.

Mr. Rajiv has given us an interesting understanding of the construction process and various aspects involved in it. We wish Rajiv and Sonigara builders years of success and goodwill in all their endeavors.