INTERVIEW

Digitization and Dialogue

Technical innovations are shaping the construction sector but teamwork remains key to success

Digitization and Dialogue
About the interviewee: Wolfgang Gomernik is CEO of DELTA Holding, CEO and Partner of DELTA Ukraine
Business Ukraine magazine
Sunday, 12 May 2019 19:26

DELTA Ukraine is a whole service provider operating in the Ukrainian construction industry offering both international best practice and strong local experience. The Austrian-based company has been present in Ukraine for thirteen years. Today, DELTA Ukraine has a staff of 45 working out of offices in both Kyiv and Lviv, with a diverse portfolio of completed projects including the LEONI Ukraine II automotive component plant in western Ukraine along with the Winner Bentley showroom and BMW headquarters in Kyiv. Projects currently underway include the HEAD Ukraine production plant in Vinnytsia, Zeppelin headquarters in Kyiv, and the Alexander Plaza shopping mall in Zaporizhia. Business Ukraine magazine spoke to DELTA Ukraine CEO Wolfgang Gomernik about his experience of the Ukrainian construction sector and asked him how technical innovation was shaping the future of the industry in Ukraine.             

 

What would you identify as the key trends in the Ukrainian real estate and construction industries since you entered the market?

Digitalization has progressed rapidly from the time when we first arrived in Ukraine. BIM (building information modeling) is becoming standard. We began implementing BIM as well as our “datenpool” documentation and communication platform for Ukrainian projects some years ago. DELTA Ukraine is a pioneer in digitalization and already uses BIM 5D as well as drones in construction. We employ Augmented Reality technologies a lot in order to give customers the opportunity to walk through a building and literally feel it before construction has even begun.

In recent years, we have implemented projects like the LEONI production plant and the KWS processing plant as industrial buildings have come to play an increasingly important part in our business. There is also growing demand for healthcare facilities and housing projects. As the country continues to emerge from the crisis conditions of recent years, people are once again showing an interest in Ukrainian projects because they can see the good performance and strong competences of the country. For example, we have found that our employees in Austria can learn about the latest technologies from their colleagues in Ukraine as well as vice versa.  

 

How will digitization shape the further of the Ukrainian real estate and construction industries?

Digitization serves on the one hand to improve existing processes and on the other hand to open up new business models. If digitization creates added value for the customer or increases the efficiency of our work, it is a success. There are important aspects of digitalization in the construction industry that will provide many advantages in the future. Working with BIM and seeking digital ways of communicating is now unavoidable. Building with the help of 3, 4 or 5D planning and the use of drones on construction sites are the future. Blockchain technologies will also change processes and workflows with smart contracts and supply chains. It will become possible to connect blockchain with BIM, allowing construction sites to order their own curtain walls, deliver them, and bill them precisely. With our in-house datenpool platform, project members can communicate and work together everywhere and at any time, facilitating efficient communication and reliable document distribution. Developed by DELTA construction and IT experts, this tool offers comprehensive search functions, structured storage and configurable workflows. It provides everything necessary for the management of a project with multiple participants.

 

Based on your experience in Ukraine, what are the key ingredients for successful project development?

Besides all the technical tools and digitalization issues, teamwork remains the most important element for any successful project. Our projects rely on a culture of mutual respect and partnership. This partnership-based project culture has a direct and measurable impact on future success. By adhering to costs, deadlines and quality, this culture ultimately leads to economic benefits. A partnership-based project culture is only possible if everyone involved is 100% behind it from the outset, and if they are given the opportunity to contribute. In particular, the client has a decisive, trend-setting role in this process. The first step is to get to know each other and develop a common vision for the project. For this purpose, all parties must have a clear understanding of the client’s goals. It is vital to communicate the expectations of project team members, together with possible challenges and solutions, at an early stage. This establishes common rules of the game, with compliance becoming the shared responsibility of the entire project team. Constant dialogue is just as important to maintain a positive culture and to keep an eye on the end goal. DELTA has been working for many years with these approaches to partnership project culture and has successfully completed many construction projects featuring regular workshops, team-building and open communication. Additionally, our employees are very motivated and are willing to go to great lengths to finish a project successfully (in 2017 and 2018 this included around 30 projects with a total area of over 300,000 square meters). We even opened a new office in Lviv last year in order to be closer to our clients in western Ukraine.

 

What steps would you advise to anyone looking to shape a winning project culture in today’s Ukraine?

Create transparency, trust, and commitment in every project. Manage projects directly and maintain a respectful interaction between the project participants while also fostering a culture of mutual support. Encourage feedback and make your strengths visible. Create positive reference points through mutual success, honest communication, and solution-oriented conflict culture. Be open to new ways of thinking and working. Above all, the most important thing is to rely on your employees. Encourage them to learn new things and to rise above themselves.

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