Source: eKapija | Wednesday, 21.03.2018.| 15:39
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(AUREA 2018 AWARD NOMINATION): Lafarge – Lafarge houses

Lafarge BFC Srbija has launched a unique construction concept, which includes the financing and the construction of Lafarge family houses under a turnkey system, as well as the obtaining of all the necessary construction permits.

Lafarge has thereby enabled a complete end-to-end process for its clients, from finding the plots, through spatial and program analyses of the locations, design, the obtaining of the permits, to the construction itself. Depending on the technology and the client's specific requests, the entire process takes 1-2 moths from the obtaining of the necessary permits, depending on whether the facility is generic or more complex.

The new business model, run as a startup within the company, entails functional partnerships of several companies under the roof and the guarantee of the strong Lafarge brand, all to the end of providing quality service, a simplified process and greater security for the end client.

The concept was first presented to the market in June 2016, when a series of houses designed to test customers' reactions was presented, and it gained its proper shape, as a startup, in April 2017.

So far, 11 non-commercial and one commercial facility have been built, and several facilities are being designed. The price of the construction of a Lafarge house starts at EUR 370 per square meter, without VAT, depending on the degree of equipment featured.

INNOVATION

(Photo: ESB Professional/shutterstock.com)
Lafarge houses are a complete system of construction of family buildings under a turnkey system, such as hasn't been present in the Serbian market until now, meant primarily for natural persons who want to get a home in the simplest way possible.

Due to poorly regulated terms of construction in the segment of individual family housing, the usual manner of building individual family homes in Serbia until 2015 allowed for the construction to begin and end with the legalization coming after the fact. The adoption of new regulations and the announcement of the last cycle of legalization, as well as the implementation of satellite imaging has largely discouraged citizens from having new buildings raised without a previous procedure, permits and similar requirements. An average citizen now has to go through a complex procedure and needs to have knowledge equal to that of a professional investor, while being engaged in numerous processes with architects, lawyers, construction companies, tradesmen, local self-governments, secretariats...

With its concept of Lafarge houses, Lafarge has provided clients with a new service – a full end-to-end process in the market of individual construction – from finding the plots, through spatial and program analyses of the locations, design, the obtaining of the permits, to the construction itself.

The project is run like a startup and is based on a business model which doesn't entail the formation of a large organism-company that would employ all the necessary professionals, but on functional partnerships of several companies under the roof and the guarantee of the Lafarge brand. The company therefore performs the function of an integrator, bringing together architectural studios, contractors and consultants (for the obtaining of permits), banks etc, while taking responsibility towards the end client, guaranteeing a safe completion of the process.

Clients are offered 9 generic facilities from the first series, and two each from the second and the third one, but they can be adapted to any plot of land and special requests and affinities of the client.

Through a unique concept of construction, the client gets a home in a simple fashion, not more complicated than the purchase of an apartment. Thanks to the implementation of the technology which enables precise construction and controlled quality under factory conditions, one can get a new home a month after obtaining the necessary permits. In order to enable as many citizens as possible to get the kind of homes they desire, Lafarge has also secured a unique banking product for its clients in cooperation with Societe Generale – a house construction loan.

Using a special app, clients can also follow the course of the construction and all the details related to the progress of the works and cost control on their computers or mobile phones.

SOCIAL USEFULNESS

Lafarge houses are primarily a commercial project with serious added values for end clients, the construction market and the society as a whole.

As a construction material company primarily, Lafarge promotes socially responsible operations through the concept of Lafarge houses, by:

- guaranteeing full legality of all processes, which is often absent in this segment;
- providing environmentally sustainable construction systems, using prefabricated construction instead of preparing materials on the spot, thereby using all resources optimally under industrial conditions;
- building facilities featuring high-grade energy efficiency (insisting on B class and above);
- generally integrating heating and air-conditioning solutions using the latest technologies featuring a high energy conversion and efficiency quotient;
- educating natural persons about the process and procedures for building their own homes, even those not to be built through the Lafarge concept, as all the information about the procedures and the obtaining of the permits is available on the website.

By entering the market of the construction of family houses, Lafarge has provided the citizens of Serbia with the possibility of getting a new home in a quick, efficient and safe manner, and the benefits include the financing option (construction loans), as well as the provision of project documentation and the obtaining of all the construction and exploitation permits.

Furthermore, the business model based on functional partnerships engages other players in the market as well, providing work for construction companies above all. The company cooperates with around 6 partners for now, and as the business grows, their number will increase accordingly.

This way, the Lafarge local unit in Serbia also contributes to the creation of a business environment which stimulates innovation and the startup culture, since a traditional B2B business model has produced an atypical B2C model through the Lafarge houses concept.

FINANCIAL POTENTIAL

(Photo: Tony Stock/shutterstock.com)
Lafarge BFC produces construction materials, above all cement, concrete and aggregates and has been present in the Serbian market for 16 years, whereas the Beocin cement factory has a tradition of 179 years.

With the realization of the concept of the construction of family houses, the company has stepped outside of its usual core business through a startup model, without investing large funds and resources in the new project, primarily thanks to a business model based on cooperation with local partners.

The concept of Lafarge houses is a new and unique one in the market, and the all-encompassing approach puts it at a comparative advantage, since the offer in this segment used to provide only partial answers (services) to the most critical issues the clients had with the entire process of the construction of family houses.

Another competitive advantage is the fact that 90% of the clients note that this type and quality of service cannot be found anywhere else.

According to Lafarge's estimates, this is a business with a potential of several million euros in turnover a year.

The price of the construction of a Lafarge house starts at EUR 370 per m2, without VAT, depending on the degree of equipment featured. So far, 11 non-commercial and one commercial facility have been built, and several facilities are being designed.

If Lafarge houses are your investment of the year favorite, you can vote for them on the official website of the Aurea award.
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