The market of sustainable constructions and electrical, mechanical and environmental installations has been strongly affected in the recent years by the decline in orders and equipment and services contracts. However, the sector starts gaining a new expertise, capital and innovating technical solutions. Alex Bătrâneanu, Managing Director for WSP Romania, granted us an interview in which we explored the dynamic of the national market of design and engineering consultancy and the internationalization of this type of activity.
What are the main challenges in leading the Romanian subsidiary of one of the companies with global presence in design and engineering consultancy services for construction, energy and transport?
We are carrying out our activity in a market that is dynamic, constantly changing, and the greatest challenge is to adapt to the conditions and requirements of our customers. The organizational culture of WSP group shows that it’s important for the smooth running of the business to understand the needs of our beneficiaries in order to be able to provide personalized services, not standard ones. In a market that has been dominated by national competitors, we found that it was indicated to focus on the quality and complexity of services provided. Thus, we manage to be one step ahead of the competition.
How do you appreciate the evolution of this market reported to the same period last year and compared to what the economy could 5-6 years ago?
In the first half of the year we noticed a slight increase in the interest of developers to invest in new projects. Also, interest mainly for office buildings, followed by retail was maintained. Comparing the current situation to the one in the past two or even three years, I notice an improvement, but it is far from the boom recorded by the construction sector 5-6 years ago and we don’t believe to reach any time soon such a level of activity.
What is the potential of the Romanian market in which WSP Group activates and what should be done to materialize this potential?
As the developers have also noticed, the potential is high. Unfortunately, the economic crisis that affected the economy at international level, but also the local factors, such as political instability, corruption or the difficult and costly process of obtaining funds resulted in a slowdown of the investment pace in construction. Developers operating in the Romanian market for several years have already started or have concrete investment plans in new projects, but there are also investors that don’t have the courage yet to come to Romania, due to the already mentioned reasons.
The segment where I noticed the least real improvement is infrastructure, where the local authorities should create a transparent and simplified process to facilitate the development of this segment. WSP will continue the already existing collaborations with its international customers, but we will also try to develop relations with new partners active in the local market.