In all, 270 leading firms from seven countries brought their novelties and achievements to the fair. Last year, it was visited by around 26,000 construction specialists from all over the globe. In 2011, interest was no less great, with 19 companies arriving from Turkey, nine from Lithuania, five from Poland, four from Russia, two from Germany and one from Ukraine.
Belarus was represented by 230 construction firms, demonstrating a wide range of building materials, heating and water supply equipment, sanitary and special equipment, decorative and heat insulating materials, falsework, scaffolding and other products. As expected, the largest stand belonged to Belarus’ Architecture and Construction Ministry.
In the first six months of 2011, state construction material producers exported almost $223m of goods — up 25 percent on the first half of 2010. Cement supplies accounted for around $20m (70 percent up on the same period of 2010), while sales of precast concrete units doubled (generating over $13m from exports in the first seven months of the year). Impressively, 11 percent more walling materials were exported (compared to the same period of 2010), while sales of ceramic tiles brought in over $56m (up 7.3 percent). In turn, over $19m of ceramic bricks and goods made from porous ceramics were sold, in addition to almost $7m of mineral cotton. Exports of dolomite powder almost tripled, while sales of glass products increased by 34 percent (reaching $5.7m).
The Architecture and Construction Ministry has been focusing on import substitution to reduce the price of new-build housing. As the largest Belarusian construction organisation — MAPID JSC — has calculated, imported materials account for around 55-61 percent of the cost per square metre. They account for 5 percent of assembly works and 35-53 percent — for electrical and plumbing works.
Budpragres was a good venue to discuss how best to reduce costs, while debating the effects of the financial crisis. “This year, we’re lagging behind regarding the construction of accommodation — in comparison to 2010,” noted Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Kalinin, speaking at the solemn opening ceremony. “In 2011, 7.280m square metres of accommodation should have been built but, taking into consideration inflation and other economic aspects, we plan to construct 7m by the end of the year. As regards 2012, we hope to build at least 5.7-5.8m square metres, taking into account all possible changes.”