Fri, 13/11/2015 - 12:15
Originally designed for cruise ships, ALMACO Group is continuing to adapt its modular accommodation concepts for use in the construction industry as a much greener and cost-effective solution to traditional building methods
Innovative Modular Living
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Ben Weaver
ALMACO Group has leveraged its position as one of the leading accommodation and food handling solutions specialists not owned by a shipyard, to take its unique and versatile modular accommodation concept and apply the idea in likeminded industries including marine, offshore and construction.
Founded in 1998 in Turku, Finland, the Group initially utilised its modular concept to deliver large turnkey outfitting projects for cruise ship interiors travelling around the world; taking its first big order in the same year with the refurbishment of M/S Europa, a vessel made by Singapore-based Company, Star Cruises.
“Right from the word-go, we were operating on a global scale and quickly became known to the industry. In the subsequent year, we marked our expansion into the US with an office in Florida, continuing to grow our operations and key vendor partnerships into France, Italy, South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asian territories,” recalls Sebastian Lagerlof, President of the Construction Division at ALMACO Group.
Acquiring the catering technology business from MacGregor Group in 2005 is among the many significant milestones achieved by ALMACO over the past 16 years, enabling the Company to provide a total solution spanning design and construction of both the accommodation and catering aspects of a cruise ship.
“We utilised modular solutions to be able to fast-track construction projects, driving efficiencies and improving completion times for some of the biggest liners in the world. It quickly became apparent that our solution could be applied to the offshore industry and could also create a very unique offering for the rest of the hospitality industry,” he notes.
Having successfully applied its skillsets in new and exciting areas, investing heavily in research and development, the Company recently redesigned its business model to sharpen its focus on the customer, as well as to drive the growth of the ALMACO brand and internal efficiencies. Now comprising approximately 235 employees, the Company is responding to market opportunities, offering a complete modular product portfolio for construction, modernisation, maintenance and spare parts in the three aforementioned industries; bringing together global expertise in design, engineering and sales to provide the right solution.
“When we deployed our unique business model in the oil & offshore industries, we began creating large-scale modular solutions for vessels with up to 500 crew members. However, it is important to stress that we remain focused on a few key sectors so as to make sure we can always deliver quality on time and keep up with demand,” Lagerlof says.
Despite integrating these new business areas into its core offering, ALMACO remains a key contact among cruise liners, connecting ship manufacturers to the most reputable and trusted suppliers.
Launching five years ago, ALMACO’s venture into the construction sector has been welcomed, with its unique offering being utilised in some of the world’s most innovative hotels and accommodation ideas. In 2013, the Company was awarded a contract by Resorts World Bimini for the supply of 287 pre-assembled standard rooms, 18 garden villa suites and all public areas for the New Hilton Hotel.
Located on Bimini Island in the Bahamas, this project presented its own individual set of challenges as Lagerlof explains: “As a small island with an extremely limited local workforce, we had to handle every element of the project ourselves, leveraging our vast experience of the marine industry to bring a total solution to construction.”
ALMACO handled the complete turnkey delivery of the project, including conceptual and interior design aspects, with guestroom assembly completed close to the site. “In addition to the accommodation section which we have now completed, we are now working on creating five floors of public areas; including a reception area, restaurants - with kitchens and food handling areas - a piano lounge, banquet and conference rooms, shops, a roof terrace, gym, spa, salon, night club, VIP lounge and other key leisure facilities,” he adds.
Having received several large orders in the past two years especially, ALMACO Group has simultaneously focused on its research and development (R&D) to both increase and improve the offerings across all three core divisions of its business; placing particular emphasis on sustainability.
Lagerlof says: “On the construction side, we set ourselves high targets that address the increasing demand for smarter and more sustainable living and working accommodation. A recent example of this is Sveavägen 44, an office building that also comprises the ‘Hotel With Urban Deli’, a unique and stylish underground hotel at the heart of Stockholm city.
“We supplied 106 guestrooms - 84 of which were pre-assembled - to the site and construction was completed in less than nine months; an impressive feat that presents unrivalled efficiencies and cost-savings when compared to traditional building methods. And the opportunity to further deploy this model in European cities is huge,” Lagerlof highlights.
Achieving a rating of ‘Excellent’ from the international environmental certification system, BREEAM, Sveavägen 44 boasts direct public transport links and has a reduced energy consumption of more than 70 percent when compared to the average office building. This reduction is the equivalent to 900 cars on the road making the daily commute to work.
“Sustainability forms a crucial part of our business and will play an ever-increasing role in our R&D to make sure that our whole supply chain is as environmentally-considerate as possible. Alongside this, we recently achieved ISO 14001 certification which will serve to emphasise our commitment to international quality standards and monitoring the latest green trends in tandem with our suppliers.” he details.
ALMACO’s current organic growth can be attributed to its continued focus on answering the needs of today’s cruise liners, hospitality and offshore industries in the most cost-effective and sustainable way possible. Its unique value proposition has bolstered the Company’s reputation across these three sectors, rising to particular notoriety in the construction market as one of the most innovative pre-assembled room providers.
“In the next five years, ALMACO’s construction division will continue to leverage the Group’s worldwide reach and expertise, with the aim to double in size,” Lagerlof says.
He concludes: “Our people form an integral part of our strategy, and we do our best to take care of them. By working together to overcome challenge and create the best solutions, we can make sure that ALMACO is the first to capitalise on industry change and subsequent opportunities.”