Construction industry needs more industrialisation
The panel was one of three which had gathered at the Victoria Building on Lisbon’s Avenida da Liberdade to discuss the future of real estate development and marketing.
António Carlos Rodrigues, CEO of Casais stated, “We have to convince ourselves that we are an industry and we have run away for this idea in recent years.
“If we really want to create an industry then we really have to include (manufacturing) the components. This is the only way that we’ll be productive in the project construction phase”. Furthermore, he believes it is essential to “work with partners.”
Casais is one Portuguese company that produces “all the components and fixtures that a building requires”
Another example of a construction company in Portugal that manufactures all its materials and components ‘in-house’ and which has a dedicated team for production to optimise processes.
“We have to be in complete control of the system from the top to the bottom of the process” says João Sousa CEO of the group.
On the other hand, Pedro Gonçalves, Head of Real Estate at EIFAGE gave his experience of recently buying three companies in the sustainable construction and construction areas. One of them pre-fabricated bathroom and kitchen components, for example.
Luís Gamboa, COO of VIC Properties said that companies were already all working with Building Information Modelling – i.e., a process supported by various tools, technologies and contracts involving the generation and management of the physical and functional characteristics of places.
“We now have a level of standardisation that enables us to manufacture things so the entire process can be as industrialised as possible but there is still this notion that somehow pre-fabricated components somehow aren’t as good” he said.
Paulo Barradas, CEO of Norfin said that; “we need more of a spirit of association in Portugal and be more associated with the value chain in order to deliver a (time/cost/quality) efficient solution, even if it doesn’t end up being the cheapest which will up the probability of not having to put things right later.”
Scale seems to be one of the main challenges as well as the cost of materials and a lack of manpower and in Portugal the conventional way of building is still competitive against industrial building.
“We don’t have the scale in term of competitive pricing in specific areas to make it worthwhile. It falls to us to come up with solutions that can make construction more like an assembly line” said João Sousa.