BîldTEK’s Federico Amador and Andres Riggioni thrive on a challenge. This includes changing deep-seated regional attitudes about construction. “We’re planting seeds now. If we don’t get the contract, that’s ok, we’re educating people and they’ll recognise the benefits for future projects. We’re in it for the long haul.”
One of BildTEK’s first defining projects was the Los Arcos apartment complex in Cariari, Heredia. “It’s the first multi-story development in Central America built with smart steel framing and manufactured right here,” says Andres, BîldTEK’s commercial director. “The first part of this project (four two-story apartments) took us three months, because we were getting used to the technology and wanted to do everything slowly and carefully until we became confident. The next stage we completed in a fraction of the time, about two weeks. Compared to traditional masonry construction we can build a more precise structure in less than half the time. Also, we have two distinct seasons here: dry and sunny, wet and cloudy. This technology means we no longer have to plan around wet weather, we can build all year round.”
While efficiency and cost are key benefits to the BîldTEK model, Andres and Federico don’t simply push the savings. “The numbers clearly show that we can build locally at a much lower cost than traditional masonry,” remarks Andres. “But we concentrate on the other advantages, the strength to weight ratio, the precision of construction, the seismic safety. Usually the first question we get asked is ‘Is this up to code?’ Costa Rican seismic seismic code refers to the US AISI S100 code but requires significantly more load consideration, which is very strict. We stack up particularly well. “
Solid concrete-masonry construction is the default form of building in Costa Rica, but Andres is keen to prove the benefits of more advanced materials and methodology. “The biggest challenge for us is to educate and demonstrate that there’s a much better way, a faster way and the buildings are strong and much safer. People here go up to a wall and knock with their hands to see if it’s solid. If it doesn’t feel solid, they are put off. They don’t understand ‘framing and cladding’ because to them, masonry is both.”
Despite this resistance, a number of leading local architects and developers are excited by the FRAMECAD System. BîldTEK is working on several significant projects, and has many new orders coming in. “It’s been incredible,” says Andres. “We haven’t even launched our marketing campaign, but there’s been a constant stream of requests for quotes and information.”
Andres is optimistic about BîldTEK’s future with FRAMECAD.
“The construction sector is definitely ramping up. We have lots of new contracts and a steady pipeline of new work, more apartment buildings, and commercial work on the horizon as well. It looks like a promising year.”
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