A dynamic, 16-year evolution has seen Alusystem rise to pre-eminence in Romania’s construction industry. Razvan Popa tells the façade specialist’s story
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Ryan Gray
Shrugging off the slight downturn of 2017 and 2018, this year has seen Romania’s buoyant construction sector once again capitalise on numerous tailwinds.
Take January and February, for instance. According to GlobalData, the country’s national construction works index grew by 4.8 percent year-on-year, while the new construction segment rose by 8.7 percent. Equally, this upward trajectory has been maintained as the year has shifted from spring to summer and now autumn, so much so that the industry is anticipated to grow at approximately 3.37 percent per year until 2023.
From the optimism surrounding a revival in public sector investments to financial commitments coming from the European Union, geared towards national infrastructure development, positivity is being projected across the commercial and residential segments alike.
“Romania has huge potential,” Razvan Popa affirms.
“The ambition of our architects and the quality of construction work in this country is truly amazing. In my eyes, it is like a pearl for Eastern Europe and investors can expect to see an abundance of opportunities emerging here in the coming years.”
Echoing GlobalData’s own bright outlook, Popa’s insight its similarly well informed.
Having led a fruitful career in Romania’s construction industry for more than a decade, he now stands as the Executive Director of Alusystem – a façade and curtain wall specialist that is thriving against this optimistic backdrop.
“Engineering runs in my family; I’ve been surrounded by the industry ever since I was a child,” he reveals, pointing to his degree in Civil Engineering. “There’s nothing quite like the feeling of satisfaction you can get when working on a construction project from start to finish and seeing it come to life.
“The thrill never ends, particularly in the façade trade. When you talk about a façade, you talk about the image of an entire project. Because of this, all architects want to bring new ideas to the table – buildings are their business cards.
“It makes it an exciting, challenging, fast-moving industry to work in.”
These animated attitudes are reflective of Alusystem’s own perspectives, a forward-thinking company that excels by bringing game-changing solutions to market in what is already an innovative environment.
From design to execution to installation, the company has established an esteemed reputation as a turnkey operator. Popa confirms: “Our main products include glass and ventilated façades, but nowadays most projects are custom, so we’re proactive in developing technical solutions to meet any architectural request.”
This ethos has seen Alusystem deliver a vast array of globally renowned projects to the highest standard across Romania over the years. From office blocks to a number of specialised projects including the Dolj Law Courts, Otopeni Airport and the Romanian US embassy based in Bucharest, the company’s esteemed portfolio speaks for itself.
“I think every project harbours something special, whether that’s glass characteristics, new technologies or a crazy quick delivery time. But yes, a few spring to mind that we consider to be particularly in unique,” Popa responds when asked about those that he is particularly proud of. “Global Worth Tower, for example, features the first glued spider façade in Europe that is more than 100 metres in height.
“Meanwhile, the Victoriei Office Building project includes the first unyielded 3D glass façade placed in two directions on the continent, and in 2008 we were the first Romanian company to install a unitised façade on Gemini Towers in Piata Presei Libere.”
This list of firsts somewhat stems from the firm’s acknowledgement of the importance of technologies, readily utilising, incorporating and investing in design software solutions and computer numerical control machines (of which it has three).
“Everything in our company starts from the design and you cannot perform without technology in the modern day,” Popa declares. “In order to come up with precision installation, for example, we scan the structure and use topometric measurements in order to avoid any errors.”
Equally, the Executive Director highlights Alusystem’s esteemed network of suppliers and unrivalled facilities, including its Timisoara-based warehouse and Bucharest-based workshop, as pivotal parts of the company’s success since its founding in 2003. Yet, at the same time, he is quick to state that a core differentiator comes from its workforce.
“Alusystem’s greatest assets are its employees,” he states. “They bolster our competitive advantage and help us to stand out in this industry.”
This is not lost on the business, the company taking ample steps to ensure it provides its employees with the perfect platform from which they can flourish.
“We work tirelessly to create a working environment where our young employees can develop long term careers – careers where creativity has no limit,” Popa adds. “I myself have been here for 12 years now, since I was 22 years old, and this is a major reason as to why.
“Our strategic partners offer us training, for example, ensuring we remain on top of industry trends. And when hiring new talent, we look for curiosity – if our staff are curious, then not even the sky is the limit.”
Be it suppliers, investment strategies or a fiercely creative workforce, Alusystem has secured sound grounding from which it can continue to excel moving through 2019 and beyond.
The company’s existing portfolio will soon be accompanied by a number of ongoing developments, Popa pointing to the 3D modular façades that are being delivered for Globalworth and the loop system façade with printed glass it is developing for the AFI mall in Brasov as ones to watch.
“For the next year, we also plan to work on our operational skills and improve our performance, delivering quality in shorter timeframes at the lowest possible price,” he adds. “Larger margins tend to come from custom projects, something that will additionally require us to take more risks and bet on innovation.”
Equally, the company is beginning to look beyond the borders and limitations of Romania’s market, eyeing expansion in the future.
Popa concludes, eluding to these long-term ambitions: “Most investors are global, meaning international business has vast impacts on business in Romania. Our advantage here is that there are strong growth prospects.
“Will we go global ourselves? It’s something that key suppliers for businesses around the world are asking us a lot.
“The number of opportunities in Romania have dictated that we haven’t had the time to think about developing an international footprint, but in the future, we would like to go abroad for sure, ideally via small steps and organic growth.”