Priedemann Facade Experts have adopted a unique approach to the building facade industry, specialising its services in the pursuit of vertical growth
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Tom Cullum
There is a uniqueness to Priedemann Facade Experts that sets it apart from its competition, stemming from a long history of innovation and attention to detail that has built long-lasting client relationships.
The Company has a focused approach to its full service work on facades, with operations specifically dedicated to its field of expertise.
“We learnt early on that it is wrong to insist on your own service scope and descriptions,” explains Lars Anders, CEO at Priedemann Facade Experts. “What our clients need to be successful is a company that will listen to their needs and find the perfect solution to meet them; that is what we are able to offer.
“We know that the requirements of a facade consultancy in the UK will differ tremendously from one in Nairobi for example, therefore we have founded local set-ups to ensure that we understand local needs and combine these with global expertise in order to customise our service as per the market requirements.”
Central to the success of the Company since it was founded in 1993, is its focused core competence. Priedemann was created in order to meet with the construction demand in Berlin after the wall came down, placing itself right at the centre of the drastic changes being witnessed at that time.
Anders continues: “There was a lot of space to fill in the new heart of Berlin and Mr Priedemann, the founder of the Company, built up a business that was able to work successfully on these projects to accomplish the perfect facade for each of it.”
The core business established by Mr Priedemann, was set up to provide facade consultancy services, in which the Company would support designing architects and project owners with the provision of technical solutions, costing and quality management.
Through the years, the whole character of the consultancy has changed with the final outcome of a more collaborative approach to each contract, holding consulting-rounds and taking on more responsibility for guiding clients through the entire process.
“Generally, I would say that one of the most important aspects of our business is ensuring that clients are receiving best value for money,” affirms Anders. “They want to execute the construction of a perfect energy efficient building envelope in time, budget and best designs, while using a person that they can trust to make this happen.”
In order to perfectly stay state-of-the-art with its services while still providing value for money, the Company founded the Priedemann Facade-Lab a headquarters specifically for work on its research & development (R&D) services.
Anders adds: “Through incorporating new technologies into its remit, we have been able to increase innovation within our Company while also filling a gap in the market to suit our vertical strategy for growth.”
At present Priedemann’s competition is growing more horizontally, adding more consulting services to its portfolio instead of increasing the detailed knowledge to create a speciality within the market.
“This is not our strategy, and over the years we have tried to remain focused on facades,” explains Anders. “This is why we chose to rename our practice to facade experts, moving our work away from simple facade consultancies and facade engineering.
“It is our aim to become an expert in the development of the building envelope products, which will subsequently enable us to deliver the best possible service for our clients.”
Over the years, the Company has been stringent on its mission of being focused on its vertical growth, which occasionally has called for stepping back from projects or certain opportunities.
Anders continues: “I was recently met with a proposal from an office in an international hot spot and despite the fact it was very appealing, it would have involved a 50/50 split between consultancy and structural work. We didn’t believe that adding a structural company to our portfolio would be the right fit. We do one thing – beyond standard.”
As previously mentioned, Priedemann was formed out of a need to aid the rebuilding of Berlin’s new centre and for the Company; this began with a consultancy contract for a tower building in a more classical “New York style design”.
This signature style has been developed and innovated over the years and has since led to exciting projects all over the world. For example, the team took part in an engineering contract for a tower project 10 years back in Kuwait, tasked with creating a facade for a twisted-building, which it achieved through work with a local firm instead of expensive imports.
“Perhaps one of our smaller but iconic projects was the Porsche Pavilion,” states Anders. “It was a relatively small, recently designed building that was built to look like the engine cowling of a Porsche 911 and something that was of course difficult to achieve, but now it is such an iconic piece as the Porsche showroom for the newest car presentations. It’s fully welded out of steel as one monocoque – unique in the world.”
From the smallest to the largest development, the creation of the glass facade on the Festo building in Esslingen was a high point for the Company, where Priedemann was hired to achieve something that hadn’t been done before.
“The Company that hired us is a market leader in its sector and required a headquarters that would represent its innovative strength; with the main question being could we do something that hasn’t been done before,” explains Anders. “For Festo, we created a new kind of fully glazed exhaust air facade, including a new air cavity double-skin with thanks to the use of blinds which proved to be incredibly cost and energy-effective.”
The idea of integrating blinds into the overall energy design affect of the facade began in the Middle East, where blinds were being used in particular as glare control and as a way to control the heat when a facade was not doing its job properly.
Anders describes: “It then clicked in my brain that the use of textile could provide us with a helpful tool, and that drove our design on alongside the use of electro-chrome glazing which changes shade depending on the intensity of the sun. The achieved comfort is outstanding, the facade an active element.
“It is also the first project in the world to have a small-robot cleaning the whole glass facade. It is able to wash it automatically by extreme reduced water consumption and providing a “no look into” privacy during usage; so I would say that in its entirety this project provided a milestone in innovation for our Company.”
During the 16 years that Anders has worked at Priedemann, the Company has grown from six people to a team of 130 and in that time only very few people have resigned. This fact is a testament to the dedication to its people and pride taken by management to ensure that they are happy and fulfilled within their role.
Anders adds: “We provide customised contracts with individual responsibility for each of our employees. The well-being of each team member is a matter that is very close to our heart, we’re a family and we listen to the demands they have to deal with in life in order to get the best for everyone.
“We also try to create career opportunities all over the world in our various outlets, alongside providing educational programmes in all aspects of business from software to management skills.”
It is apparent in every aspect of the business that attention to detail and respect are key factors in the success it has experienced over the years, growing from a small business to a great success.
“I think a nice note to finish on that sums up our ethos within the Company came with the recent return of one of our team members,” concludes Anders. “A year ago one of my employees decided to try out a new opportunity and I told him to go and see what the world had to offer him, but to bear in mind that we would miss him and that our door was always open to him.
“A year later to the day he returned and that made me incredibly proud. We’re a big family with an exceptional work ethic and I believe that is why we succeed and people want to stay.”