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.”
For multi-level buildings, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that timber, concrete, and hot-rolled steel aren’t always the best options – especially when it comes to the top floor. That’s why so many developers are now looking for ways to save on time, labour, and costs during the construction process.
All 422 load-bearing wall panels for levels three through seven of this 7-story (five levels on two levels of podium) project was fabricated at Douglass Colony's headquarters in Commerce City using FRAMECAD and shipped directly to the jobsite where the building was erected in a total of 40 working days, including all wall panels, flooring systems, and detailing with concrete poured and cured.
Dynamic Steel Frame hold the honour of having constructed the largest light-gauge steel (LGS) three storey apartment building in Australia using the FRAMECAD System. Located in the inner-western suburb of Yarraville, Melbourne, this three-level residential building illustrates how LGS is changing today’s approach to construction
In the US, the framing industry is changing rapidly. Concrete contractors are becoming a rarity and timber continues to offer challenges due to inferior material and a lack of availability. These days, US construction companies are turning more and more to cold-formed steel (CFS), and FRAMECAD partner Intellisteel is revolutionizing how these steel framed structures are built.