By Svetlana Dovlatova
Belarus’ construction industry has gone from strength to strength, being now ready to ‘sell itself’ abroad, with the aim of generating valuable foreign currency.
On the banks of the Talystan
Our builders have already proven themselves in Azerbaijan: the eastern country boasting plentiful oil and gas is investing heavily in infrastructure, with bids received from leading companies worldwide. Grodnopromstroy is among them, having built 45 houses for migrants, on the bank of the River Talystan.
“I returned from Azerbaijan recently and saw that people had already moved into the houses which we’d constructed. They are content and the client is happy with our work,” emphasises the Deputy Director General of Grodnopromstroy. “We’ve built the accommodation to take into account the traditions of the local population. It was our first experience in Azerbaijan so we had a few initial problems adapting to local building standards but we eventually managed to understand each other.”
Great prospects lie ahead for Belarusian builders abroad, notes the Head of Foreign Economic Activity at the Ministry for Architecture and Construction, Alexey Shilo. He explains, “At the present time, we’re building a residential estate of 13 houses in Smolensk. It’s a pilot project for future dissemination. We have our eye on an area in Kursk, where 50-60 houses may be built, as well as social infrastructure. We also have plans for Pskov.”
Belarusian builders are working on major infrastructural projects in Turkmenistan, where an ore-dressing and processing enterprise is under construction. They are also active in Venezuela, comments Mr. Shilo. He tells us that five factories have been constructed there, and that our builders have huge capacity and potential. “Recently, we received an offer to build a cement plant in the Kingdom of Lesotho. Our main advantage, despite so much competition abroad, is that our workers are highly-organised and skilled; they have the equipment and capacity to realise major building and modernisation projects.”
In order to cope with its work abroad, Belarus has created some large, integrated structures. Some work with financial partners, for example, from Russia. More such financial-industrial associations and partnerships are sure to be established with time.
Belarusian specialists have been creating monitoring systems, using transducers, sensors and means of data transmission and high-capacity software. In fact, their systems excel many western analogues. Valery Venrenovich, who manages computing diagnostics at the Institute of Applied Physics, at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, tells us, “It’s a huge industry which needs to be developed. For example, in the USA, all bridges are equipped with monitoring systems. In Kazakhstan, all larger public buildings are monitored, as are bridges, buildings above 50m in height and other such sites. The recent building collapse in Riga is indicative of the need for such systems, to prevent trouble.”
Svyatoslav Novikov, the Deputy Director for Scientific and Innovative Work, at the Institute of Applied Physics, tells us, “We’ve installed monitoring systems at sites such as Minsk Arena, as well as in the Parus high-rise building in Minsk’s Maxim Tank Street, at the Centre of Freestyle, at Chizhovka-Arena, and at the aquapark on Pobediteley Avenue. We’ve installed 24 transducers at Moskva Cinema, in Minsk. These provide information in real time on how elements are loaded, how they are vibrating and how the parameters are changing. Such systems can be installed in sites under construction not only in Belarus but in neighbouring countries.”
The export of building, engineering and architectural services should earn the Ministry for Architecture and Construction almost $200 million by 2015. Over the first nine months of this year, the branch has earned $70 million. The national programme for social and economic development for 2011-2015 stipulates a four-fold increase in the export of construction services.