Adrián Liste, Country Manager of Peikko Spain, tells us why bolted column connections were quickly welcomed in the Spanish market and how Peikko also took their bolted column connections to Latin America.
20 years of Peikko in Spain
Peikko entered the Spanish market in 2001 and our bolted column connections have been successful from the beginning. Now, after 20 years, we are very proud of our achievements and we are happy to celebrate them.
We arrived just as a huge construction boom was getting underway and the industry was looking for faster and safer systems. Back then, the construction industry in Spain was very traditional and not very industrialized. Even though the popularity of precast concrete was growing, the solutions they were using were not very developed. They were still using traditional methods to erect and connect precast columns, like socket foundations or starter bars with corrugated tubes . So when Peikko arrived, there was already a real need for better construction methods. As soon as we introduced our bolted column connections, precasters and constructors saw the great advantages that Peikko offered them.
Good market insight
I joined Peikko 14 years ago because I liked the fact they were international, and I liked the company philosophy and the projects they were working on. That is still true today. However, before that, I was already very familiar with the Spanish construction industry. I had qualified as an industrial engineer with specialization construction and structures, and then I worked for some time in a precast concrete factory in charge of the technical office, and also in production and assembly planning. So that gave me a lot of useful knowledge about the construction and precast market here.
“In Spain, it became common for large investors to specify Peikko bolted column connections as the preferred solution in their construction and building manuals.”
The preferred solution
When Peikko entered the Spanish market, of course we started quite small. In the first introduction phase, we visited our first clients and established a small office and a warehouse, and we found that customers accepted Peikko bolted column connections very positively.
In general, customers were quick to understand the benefits because there was a real need for what we were offering. The demand for concrete structures had increased dramatically and they were also looking for systems that could handle taller columns and higher loads. Peikko’s bolted column connections met all these needs and also offered significant cost and time savings. That is why, after our introduction phase, we became really quite successful and well respected in the market.
Since then, Peikko products have been used in many thousands of successful projects including industrial buildings, factories, refineries, shopping centers, logistics buildings, warehouses, infrastructure projects, offices, residential buildings, and hospitals. Our solutions are very highly regarded here in Spain. In fact, it became common for large investors to specify Peikko bolted column connections as the preferred solution in their construction and building manuals.
Close to Spanish customers
There are three main things that our customers like about Peikko. Firstly, of course they like the speed, safety, and efficiency that out products bring to their projects. This means they can erect their columns reliably, safely, and easily. Secondly, they like the quality of the products themselves. Peikko products are the best quality on the market, with CE markings and the quality testing to guarantee the capacity and stiffness of their connections. That is very important for engineering companies and designers. And thirdly, they really value the local technical support and services from Peikko Spain. We have our warehouses here in Spain, so they can rely on us for fast deliveries. So, altogether, we offer excellent bolted column connections, a top class product and local availability and support.
Highs and lows in the Spanish construction industry
Since Peikko came to Spain in 2001 the industry has changed a lot. In the beginning growth was very fast and the industry reached a peak in 2008. And by that time Peikko had earned a very good reputation in the industry and it was common for us to work directly with customers, industrial engineers, and designers. Then, when the economic crisis hit in 2009, many companies started to close down, and demand dropped a lot in Spain. The lowest level in the sector came in 2013. And, although the market has recovered little by little, now the COVID-19 crisis has hit it again. More than half our clients have closed their factories. It has been a long road full of difficulties and challenges. Despite this, there have been many good moments and professional successes.
When the 2009 financial crisis hit, here at Peikko Spain we decided to try and get more business by internationalizing. We were already serving Portuguese customers as well, but we wanted to look further away from home for new opportunities.
We started our internationalization push in 2011, mainly working with Latin American customers. The first projects we did were industrial projects, including some big ones for the pulp and paper industry, as well as others for factories and warehouses. Our bolted column connections proved to be very welcome in those types of projects. And then we expanded to do residential projects, too. Today, we have ongoing projects in countries including Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Mexico, all of which we still lead from Spain.
In fact, one of the things I’m proudest of is that we managed to internationalize the company successfully. I was directly involved in the project, and it was quite complex because of the logistics and distance from our customers, but still we managed to give them the support they needed. I would say we have very special and close relationships with our customers in Spain, Portugal and Latin America. We don’t want to just be a simple supplier; we really want to be a partner who can help clients to optimize their projects right from the design phase.
“Bolted column connections will continue to be a success because they bring safety, speed of assembly and great economic savings to projects. These things will always be essential.”
The future of bolted column connections
20 years ago, Peikko solutions for precast columns were something new, now they are the standard system on the market, so we need to continue innovating with better properties and performance. I think bolted column connections will continue to be a success because they bring safety, speed of assembly and great economic savings to projects. These things will always be essential.
The future of Peikko in Spain is also promising because there are many new things ongoing and once again people are building bigger structures. However, we are currently the market leader, so we need to work to maintain our position. That is why we are now diversifying and introducing other Peikko solutions like DELTABEAM® and flooring products for different industries. We will also continue to develop the Portuguese market from Spain, as well as serving the Latin American markets, too.
It will be demanding but we are very optimistic.
BOLDA® launched in Spain
One of the other new products we are introducing in Spain is our BOLDA® Column Shoe. We have just launched it and it’s a very clever product, because it enables customers to use taller precast columns that also have smaller cross sections. In addition, BOLDA® has a higher load capacity and it is also more efficient and compact than the previous generations of column shoe. We developed BOLDA® to meet the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s buildings, and we are the only company in the market that can provide a product with these properties together with ETA assessment and CE certification.
A forerunner in the circular economy
Another development in the business is the circular economy. This is becoming increasingly important in Spain, even in the construction industry. Peikko can provide a lot of knowledge and experience because we have been working on it for quite some time. With our bolted column connections, you can reuse columns from structures that are being decommissioned rather than treating them as industrial waste. We have already shown that you can safely remove the grouting and unbolt columns for reuse in a new building. It is actually quite easy. And we have worked on projects where the buildings are designed to be circular from the start, too. Therefore, in Spain and in the construction industry, I would say that Peikko is a forerunner in the circular economy.
An inspiring place to work
To summarize, Peikko is an international but at same a time local company, with the philosophy that we should be close to our customers. We are also the company that invests most in R&D, but at the same time we offer powerful design tools to our customers free of charge. Our aim is to improve the market and our customers’ results.
We are still a family owned company, and our company values are important to all our people at every level. We meet our customers’ needs, we respect trust each other, we aim to better every day, and we seek profitable growth. I think these four values are the key to creating long term relationships with clients and colleagues. And they are also why Peikko is a really healthy place to work.
Want to know more about our 30th anniversary of Bolted Column Connections?
Visit our campaign site here.