The Director General of JSC “PERI”, Kharys Chika, answers questions from the magazine Construction.ru.
— Mr. Chika, can you characterize the situation in the Russian market for shuttering and scaffolding? What is your mid-term outlook?
— You know, the catastrophe forecast by many didn’t happen, thank God: judging by the demand, the market is “alive”, and there has been no critical fall. The ruble has strengthened, the situation has stabilised, and the clients’ interest is growing. Our company has completed the year of 2014 with good results, and we achieved our desired goals. In the mid-term, we see that although the year is not going to be simple, on the whole the season will be a success.
In the framework of our strategy, we see the crisis as an opportunity to be used. It is a time for producers of quality equipment to feel confident. But the players who scrimp on materials and deliver low quality shuttering will have problems. The market is directed towards quality. And of course, we like it like that: it must be that way.
As far as scaffolding is concerned, the situation is rather steady. Our business in this area is connected not only with construction but with industries where scaffolding is used for mainly post-construction needs (repair, façade works, entrances and exits) which are to be done independently of anything else. That’s why we’re assessing the current year positively.
— What’s the difference between home-made and imported products in terms of price, quality and life cycle?
— Despite the existing difference between local and foreign equipment, some Russian companies are very serious about the quality of their products and the level of their service. Due to this, competition in the market is developing, and the producers are driven to invest in technology and innovation.
The ones who want to become leaders must offer not only high-tech equipment for the construction of any complex objects, but also efficient solutions which take into account the specifics of the project and the customers’ needs. For example, in Saint Petersburg, while constructing the modern public business complex “Lakhta Centre”, a special jack-up hydraulic system was devised for pouring concrete into the base of the building. In Yoshkar-Ola, during the construction of the bearings of the bridge across the river Malaya Kokshaga, veneer wood form-lining and wall shuttering elements were used. For the reconstruction of the Businovskaya transport junction in the North of Moscow, we delivered more than 3 thousand tons of equipment in only one month, which is a record.
— One of the main components of horizontal shuttering is foil-lined birch ply-wood. How serious is the threat of the displacement of Russian quality ply-wood by low quality Chinese products delivered into the country with a predatory pricing policy?
— I cannot agree that the prices are predatory. Chinese ply-wood is exported not only to Russia, but also to Europe and America. Chinese producers understand that the priority is the quality of the product and are trying to enhance this parameter.
Anyway, it is clear that there is a product for every need. The use of Chinese ply-wood is practical for simple constructions or when such kinds of shuttering as beam are needed. This ply-wood is used only a few times. Russian producers offer high quality and expensive products, such as birch ply-wood for walls and floorings providing for a smooth concrete surface and which are capable of being used for 30 pouring cycles. Also, there is Finnish ply-wood that lends itself to panel formwork and serves for more than 60 cycles.
The choice of ply-wood depends on its use – either the load is heavy or it’s not. Anyway, it is always the choice of the constructor. But the ply-wood supplier must not offer a product if its use may be not safe or one that decreases the quality of the construction.
— What approaches in shuttering delivery make it possible for the customers to save time and money and for suppliers to keep their client base?
— In this sense, an excellent variant is to rent the equipment. In the current economic situation it is the absolutely right choice. Rent offer (leasing) is one of the most important branches of our business. We are investing heavily in a rent park (leasing park) and now have the largest Russian store of equipment for rent (to lease). This material can be delivered to any region in the country and in the shortest of times. Each of our stores works as a leasing office. It is our strategy to be as close to the client as possible.
A good leasing agent offers a set of services together with the equipment: technical maintenance, logistics, etc. We calculate the shuttering set optimally, so that there need be no extra, unnecessary material on the construction site. A customer renting a shutter needn’t worry about its storage, maintenance, or service – our specialists will see to it.
In general, leasing is actively developing. You can rent anything now – it is profitable to use good ready-made equipment and give it back when the work is over.
— PERI is one of the largest producers and deliverers of shuttering and scaffolding in the world. Our readers would be interested in your expert assessment of the choice of a shuttering system. What should one pay attention to while choosing a shuttering system for a specific project – housing construction, bridge construction, etc.?
— First of all, all the expenses for shuttering, including the time input, construction terms etc., should be counted in the total. It’s not right to compare different types of shuttering – one should compare solutions and choose the shuttering delivery agent holistically.
Everything depends on the customer’s capabilities and needs, the terms of construction, the landscape conditions and the object’s location. Also, it is necessary to understand what elements of the construction will be built by means of shuttering – walls, mines or floorings. Either a crane will be used or the shuttering must be so light that a couple of men could mount and dismount it. If we consider reconstruction or strengthening of a building, existing elements must be taken into account and the equipment offered should be adapted accordingly. So, everything is very individual. The process of the choice of shuttering and the calculation sometimes takes time. But an efficient collaboration between the deliverer and the customer results in the optimal use of shuttering on the construction site, provides for security of work, saves money, and also leads to the creation of longterm partnerships.
— Our traditional question: what do you do with your leisure time, what are you fond of?
— I like to spend my leisure time in Latvia, my motherland. It’s a pity I cannot visit it as often as I’d like to. And I like travelling, of course, if I have time.