Spanning the entire chain of building services, Bog’Art has become reputed for its landmark projects, complex and innovative technical solutions and is the largest local construction company with fully integrated building services in Romania
Writer: Jonathan Dyble | Project Manager: Ryan Gray
Romania is home to a thriving construction sector.
According to statistics from GlobalData, the country’s current construction project pipeline – including all megaprojects valued at $25 million or more – is in excess of $100 billion.
It’s a substantial figure being backed up on all fronts. In April 2019, the European Commission (EC) approved investment worth $2.3 billion under the EU Cohesion Policy to develop infrastructure in Romania, focussing on various projects across transport, energy, healthcare, education, water, housing, communication and welfare development.
Meanwhile, the EC’s own research also shows a buoyant private sector. In 2016, more than 89,000 enterprises and 600,000 people were shown to be engaged in Romania’s construction industry, representing respective increases of 7.6 percent and 2.9 percent since 2010.
The result of this upturn? The sector today accounts for approximately 10 percent of national GDP, and with the nation renowned as one of Europe’s fastest growing economies, it is drawing in some of the boldest, brightest minds who are powering some truly inspirational companies.
Enter Bog’Art Group – Romania’s largest construction company.
Founded in 1991, the family-owned enterprise has come to typify the growing prosperity spreading across the local urban landscape.
“We like to think of ourselves as a completely integrated local construction company in the true sense of the meaning,” explains Bogdan Doicescu, President of the Board at Bog’Art Group.
“We’re the only company that can do everything from A to Z in terms of getting a building up and operating it. Our group of companies manage everything from land acquisition to design and permitting to many components of the construction process itself, as well as project monitoring and property management throughout a building’s lifecycle.”
Indeed, the sizeable remit of the Bog’Art brand is undeniably impressive. A company in the group such as Alusystem is the dominant player in terms of façade solutions in Romania, while Bog’Art Steel is famed as the second largest local steel producer, delivering roughly 5,000 tonnes of metal every month, for example.
At the centre of this growing ecosystem, however, is its original construction division which accounts for about 80 percent of the group’s entire revenue.
“Bog’Art is very much the engine that makes all the other cogs turn,” Doicescu affirms. “We have six other auxiliary service divisions that are each fully fledged companies in their own right, but they also work alongside and serve the construction company which is undeniably our core business.
“By having a group of companies that integrate all of the aspects that go into the building process, we have found that once clients come to us, we’re better able meet all their demands seamlessly owing to the mix of synergies that our group provides. Everything is tied in to create a one-stop shop.”
It is this position as an all-encompassing supplier of building services that sets Bog’Art apart.
By managing projects from early stages of land acquisition to many years of operation after construction, the organisation consistently delivers client savings, technical improvements and efficiency enhancements by filling in the gaps and lags that can appear between the vast multitude of different associated processes.
“We’ve successfully incorporated all of the lessons that we have learned across the entire spectrum and seen where short-term, attractive solutions can end up costing more money than they otherwise should in the long term,” Doicescu states. “Identifying these gaps, adding value in between and smoothing out the entire building process is where our brand stands out.”
A collaborative culture
Underpinning this array of specialisms and proficiencies is the Bog’Art Group workforce.
A 2,000-strong employee base, the company has been a pioneer in manpower recruitment from Asia in order to secure its high volume of works. At the management level, the average employee tenure is an impressive 14 years, where each and every individual is recognised as crucial to the success of the business, from the executive management team down to the on-site engineers.
“Everyone in the Bog’Art family is empowered to contribute in their own way through an ownership mentality transmitted by the values of a family business, as well as having a corporate governance standard on par with large corporates that come with the scale of the business.”
“At the helm of our activity, we put a lot of faith and trust in our project managers – the closest interface with the client and individuals directly responsible for successfully delivering the project,” Doicescu comments.
“Our business model is project based, which makes the organisation flat in the sense that the project managers are fully equipped with all the knowhow, having numerous projects under their belt by the time they begin making key decisions. As a result, we’ve developed a very tight chain of command straight to the executives, which allows for an expedient and accommodating flow of work.”
2019 was a record-breaking 12 months for the organisation. A number of its divisions more than doubled their revenues year on year, the group now totalling about €200 million in annual turnover.
These astronomical figures in mind, it may come as no surprise that many of Bog’Art’s competitors are revered international stalwarts. Yet the aforementioned, detail-orientated ownership mentality ensures it stays grounded.
“We’re very much a client-friendly interface and not a faceless organisation with high bureaucracy and no real decision makers,” declares Doicescu. “You can reach the President or the CEO of the company every day – we are there.
Members of the executive team are very often on-site, and everyone can see and feel their involvement.
“That comes from taking a lot of pride in what we do – the end result is that everyone feels they are part of every building built by Bog’Art.
“We find a lot of our staff love what they do and carry our values forward in the best light; it’s our greatest benchmark in terms of corporate culture.”
Invigorating the local landscape
Indeed, a glance at the group’s impressive portfolio provides visible proof of its perpetual pride.
The past year alone has seen the delivery of numerous flagship projects to the Romanian market, including the 70,600 square metre Expo Business Park – an office complex comprising three buildings and an underground parking area situated in northwest Bucharest.
Featuring low water and energy consumption solutions, high efficiency LED lighting, low impact façade materials, an intelligent ventilation system, and a fully automated intelligent building management system, the compound has been rated BREEAM Excellent as well as being an iconic feat of local urban architecture.
“Bridge Phase 3, Timpuri Noi Square Phase 1B, GlobalWorth Campus and Renault Bucharest Connected are likewise all particular highlights completed recently,” Doicescu states.
“These are all big office schemes delivered for longstanding clients and are the type of developments that our brand is best known for: premium, spotless, class-A office buildings.”
Much like Bog’Art Group’s capabilities, however, the firm’s portfolio is likewise continually diversifying.
In the retail space, the company last year delivered Bucharest’s second IKEA – a 67,000 square metre shopping centre.
In contrast to the IKEA project, Doicescu also highlights an institutional project delivered in 2019 in the form of the prestigious Kuwait embassy building.
“This was a very small project for us in terms of size, at just 4,000 square metres, but it was a gem of building with so many intrinsic details and finishes that made it really stand out,” he reveals. “It was a demonstration of the compact quality that we can deliver against the backdrop of a year that was characterised by more sizeable works.”
As talk turns to the future, Doicescu is also able to reveal that this versatility in project type and ability to adapt to the market will further be put to the test through 2020, with Bog’Art having taken on major works for two of Romania’s leading airports in Bucharest and Brasov.
These institutional projects, combined with new office developments that the group will continue to deliver for its longstanding clients, will ensure it is able to build upon the successes of 2019 in the next 12 months.
“This year we will be focusing on being more selective in terms of the volume of works we take on, while internally enhancing our organisational procedures. The lessons learned from a high volume of works given the market constraints and challenges will require some rethinking of our strategy for the future,” Doicescu explains.
“We’ve got a really exciting mixture of projects in the pipeline to diversify our exposure by client and project type, but we’ll also be using the coming months to pace ourselves and re-establish sound working methods that ensure our performance withstands after such a huge year.”
“Bog’Art is very much the engine that makes all the other cogs turn. We have six other auxiliary service divisions that are each fully fledged companies in their own right, but they also work alongside and serve the construction company which is undeniably our core business
Technology is set to play a key role in this consolidation strategy, Bog’Art continually ensuring it strides ahead of the curve by not only investing in the latest process upgrades, but also developing its own tailored in-house solutions.
In regard to the latter, it has developed an expansive platform that ensures critical on-site issues are highlighted to executive management in the form of condensed reports that are consolidated upwards from minor issues to major risks at the project and company level – a policy that reiterates the company’s emphasis on employee empowerment throughout the chain of command.
“Internally, maintaining dialogue, sharing lessons learned and the transfer of career-long collective know-how, combined with effective reporting from project managers, allows decision makers at the head of the company to identify and mitigate risks before they become issues,” states Doicescu. “This is a key driver of our pro-active management approach.”
Prefabrication is another technical area that the company has been relying on extensively, looking to simplify on-site construction processes with innovative construction methods and materials that help to reduce manpower reliance and compress construction times.
Likewise, this is a field where Bog’Art works extremely closely with its suppliers and partners – relationships that Doicescu himself describes highly creative and collaborative.
“We always involve our supply chain in decisions relating to technological change,” he affirms.
“For example, if there’s a design revision that we want to implement in order to save costs, time or efficiency of work, then we need the full support of our teams in order to understand whether it can be done. They have the experience and the knowhow to determine what can be optimised.
“We have to pitch to the market and find that solution, exhaustively and completely. You only get to build once, and we make sure to get all of the resources at hand involved. To achieve that, we work closely with our professional service providers and suppliers, maintaining longstanding relationships with open and constructive dialogue.”
Keeping an eye on innovations while continually championing supplier- and staff-led cooperation and pursuing a number of promising project opportunities, 2020 is already shaping up to be yet another bright year for Bog’Art.
Continually revising its position, methods and procedures and further instating its role as an extensively diversified, integrated construction player will only help to maintain its already revered market position, deemed critical to ensuring that 2019 wasn’t just a one-off year in terms of revenues.
“The goal is to maintain this level in the long term,” Doicescu expresses, providing an overriding outlook as our conversation comes to a close.
“With persistent confidence in the market in the long run, we want to push our investments in real estate development by presenting our own in-house projects to partners.
“We’ve actively invested in securing an ample development pipeline for the coming years and are seeking partnerships in this space. There’s more risk than just providing a service, but it comes with the reward of owning your project from start to finish. By putting together the right partners and right resources we’ll be able to not only withstand the challenges of years ahead but thrive in the face of them.
“Am I optimistic? I would say cautiously. The coming months are going to be a time to re-evaluate and rethink to make sure that we continue to provide the best of the best. That said, I’m confident in our ability as a company who takes projects from A to Z while leaving a meaningful footprint, and we’re certainly here to stay.”