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The evolution of the construction market in Romania: challenges and prospects7 min. de citit

Ubitech Construcții is one of the most technologically advanced construction companies in Romania, which has managed so far to implement BIM methodology throughout the entire work process in the most important projects carried out at national level.

Established in 2015, a 100% Romanian owned company, Ubitech Construcții offers complete construction services such as general contracting, design and execution, project management and implementation and specializes in design & build projects with high complexity.

How the Romanian construction market has evolved and how it relates to all the processes of technology and automation we learn from Cătălin Podaru, CEO Ubitech Construcții and Leviatan Design.

In a previous discussion you told us that our country is facing a shortage of specialists in the design and execution sector, at a time when Romania needs large investments. What do you think could be a solution to this situation and how could the education sector contribute to solving this challenge?

From our perspective, the solution includes several directions that need to be addressed in a complementary way. First of all, it is essential to succeed in conveying to young people that Romania offers valuable opportunities for education and development in the construction sector.

Also, the local business environment can offer competitive working conditions at high standards.

Another key component is the digitisation and automation of companies and work processes, which, on the one hand, increase productivity, make work easier and harness the creative spirit of the younger generation, and, on the other, increase the value of generations with solid experience, especially in this period of radical technological transformation brought about by artificial intelligence.

At the same time, by constantly supporting the academic environment, our company has demonstrated that the involvement of the private sector in the process of educating and training future engineers in Romania is essential in overcoming the challenge of the shortage of specialists in the construction sector.

The results will be seen, even if not immediately, and the joint mobilization we have noticed among academics and private companies, coupled with a growing interest on the part of students to better adapt to the growing demands of the industry, confirms this reality.

Given your expertise in the market, where do you see the construction market heading and what trends do you foresee in the coming period?

The construction market currently has the greatest chances of sustainable development, thanks to European and NREP funds. Our company has firmly opted for the implementation of sustainable solutions in construction projects, which will certainly lead to a better future, where buildings will be safer, greener, more comfortable and more energy efficient, thanks to the advanced technologies used in their design and construction.

We also believe that in the coming period we will see major investments in the public sector and we anticipate that as the economy and prices stabilise we will see an increase in private investments, not only in the residential area, as before, but also in the area of production facilities and energy production projects.

You are constantly in touch with your customers and testing new solutions that offer real benefits to them, including in the smart operation of building spaces. How receptive are customers to these ideas and what have been the most common counter-arguments from them?

BIM and Digital Twin technologies are radically transforming the design, construction and operation of buildings. Our clients understand the benefits of these solutions, which offer increased transparency, direct control and extended possibilities for intelligent simulation and operation, and help reduce errors.

BIM is definitely among the preferred choices of clients, following the trends in the European Union where BIM is becoming an imperative. The use of BIM methodology in the design and execution phases provides clients with increased transparency and direct control in all aspects of the project, thus reducing waste and minimising the number of interventions to correct errors. Thus, BIM enables clients to understand the technical and design implications of the project from the design phase, even in the absence of sound technical knowledge.

The challenges are the natural resistance to change, the fear of additional costs and the need to explain complex technical concepts in an accessible way. However, customers are gradually accepting new technologies, following European trends.

Recent years have been marked by a series of events that have destabilised the global economy (e.g. pandemic, border war). In a desire to adapt to existing situations and to anticipate people’s needs, a number of social projects have emerged. Have you been involved in such projects? What do you consider the biggest challenge here?

Involvement in social and educational projects is a priority for us, and in this context we can mention the partnerships with technical universities in Romania and the support given to HOSPICE Casa Speranței Association in their efforts to provide free integrated palliative care and education services to people diagnosed with incurable diseases, as well as to other NGOs.

In terms of challenges, we believe it would help if each of us had more confidence in our own strengths to achieve better results in all areas

How did you feel about interacting with state institutions in the current economic situation? Did you feel support from institutional partners?

Relations with state institutions have improved in recent years, thanks to a greater openness to dialogue with the private sector. However, the current challenges come from the inertia of the digitisation of the public sector and the recent measures to eliminate tax breaks in the construction sector. Nevertheless, we hope that the Government will take decisions that will support the development of this sector.

What do you consider to be the most ambitious project you have been involved in over the last 12 months and what have been the biggest challenges you have encountered?

Among the most ambitious projects our specialists are working on are the infrastructure for the NATO Command in Sibiu and the airport in Campia Turzii, and we recently signed a major framework agreement with the Municipality of Sector 3 to modernise the education infrastructure.

As for the challenges we have encountered during the work on these projects, we can mention the shortage of specialists, but digitalisation and innovative solutions have enabled us to overcome these challenges.

What are your goals for the next 12 months and where do you see the construction market in our country heading?

In the next 12 months, we aim to engage in complex infrastructure projects and continue the process of digitisation so that we benefit from high productivity.

We believe that the local market has great potential for growth and that companies can thrive if they remain flexible and efficient in the current context of lack of predictability.

What do you consider the 3 most important public projects currently being worked on in Romania?

Without naming specific projects, we can confirm that there are multiple major projects underway in Romania in the following areas: transport, renewable energy production, medical, educational and military infrastructure, which are essential for Romania’s development.

When we talk about the top general contractors in construction, we inevitably also talk about large teams determined to achieve notable results. At a time when the dynamics of the workforce are quite high in this field, how do you combat this phenomenon?

At Ubitech and in the other companies in our group, the most important resource is people. We invest heavily in team development, and the investments we have made in technology have been focused on employee benefits and creating a stimulating work environment for continuous learning. In this way, we have succeeded in creating a strong organisational culture that can adapt to today’s labour market challenges.

What areas would you like to expand your portfolio of work to in the coming period and where do you think it would be worthwhile to focus our attention?

We will continue to develop security and defence projects, but we are also looking at developing infrastructure projects in the health and education sectors.

Interviu publicat în revista TOP 100 Antreprenori Generali în Construcții 2023, tipărită de agenția IBC Focus.