• Busy days for Highway Research Institute as high-rises shoot up

    INCREASE in the number of high-rises in Thiruvananthapuram has benefited Kerala Highway Research Institute, which makes most of its revenue as a consultant in construction quality. Set up in 1972 at Kariavattom, the oldest research institute of Public Works Department is now the sought after lab for providing quality checking for various builders, road contracts and other government agencies. Buildings alone require 30-odd tests, ranging from soil, steel and concrete.

    The city has more than 250 high-rises and new constructions suggest that it is going upwards when it comes to living. “Many builders come to us because of specific demand from home buyers,” said Thrivikraman B S, Joint Director of the Institute. Besides builders, the Institute provides consultation for Power Grid, BSNL, VSSC, Airport, Army etc. With most tests costing less than Rs 1,000, the Institute has managed to generate a revenue of Rs 20 lakh a year.

    According to Thrivikraman, all PWD contracts will be passed only after a quality certificate from the Institute or from its regional labs in Ernakulam and Kozhikode.

    For such projects, cement properties, steel, sand, bricks, tiles, bitumen, aggregates of roads soil etc. are tested. The Institute also provides technical assistance for the Vigilance wing of PWD.

    It is also engaged in research work.

    “We are working on a readymade pothole patching mix using copper slag. The project has already been approved in Indian Roads Congress,” said an official of the Institute. According to her, the Institute has a staff of 40 against the sanctioned strength of 71 and has still a long way to go to get NABL accreditation for its laboratory. Cortez Kennedy Authentic Jersey

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