Georgina Ibarra
View from the Top

Broad Approach Provides Added Value

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 15:17

Q: What added value does Brickwalling offer the industry?
A: The key to success when offering a wide services portfolio is being able to adapt to a client’s business model. We contribute across all stages of a project by ensuring compliance with due diligence, strong and experienced staff on site and an efficient closing model. Our value proposition lies in having a broad service offering, instead of narrowing our focus to a few areas. Also, by believing in and betting on our human capital, we add expertise to all the services we offer. The market is constantly changing, so we must evolve at the same rate to make sure we can adapt to our clients’ needs. Customer service and communication are also crucial differentiators from other project managers. We like to look at ourselves as the overseers of our clients’ investments, because it is our role to make sure projects are completed on time and with high quality.
Q: How do you help Fibras, REITS and investment funds to make the best decisions when expanding their portfolios?
A: We find that the added value Fibras and investment funds want is short response times. As the number of properties available for purchase is finite, investors need short turnarounds. It is also essential to ensure investor confidence by carrying out Technical Due Diligence (TDD), Initial Project Reviews (IPR), Property Condition Assessments (PCAs) and Construction Risk Management (CRM) reports, but to do so in a timely manner so they can invest before somebody else does.
The capital reserve analysis of a property is also crucial to understanding how much must be paid to optimize the building’s operating conditions for up to 10 years. We differentiate ourselves through our extensive PCA portfolio, working for several Fibras and market niches, such as industrial parks, hotels, resorts, offices and commercial centers. This expertise allows us to be more assertive when providing a cost estimate for the investment. In Mexico, we have worked with most Fibras, CKDs and other funds. To continue improving our services, we are developing internal software to improve and deliver all kinds of reports in short time frames. One example is a PCA software, the beta version of which will be launched at the end of 2018. This tool is composed of multiple inputs that allow us to adapt to each customer’s case and provide a faster turnover.
Q: How can construction firms better manage risk and what is your assessment of Mexico’s performance in this regard?
A: When it comes to construction security, it is necessary to have a clear and binding internal regulation on safety and sanitation. It is important for builders to have an on-site engineer to revise security matters. But safety in construction is also a component of the safety of the investment. When managing project risk, it is crucial to prioritize thorough planning and due diligence. There is always going to be risk but it can be managed and mitigated through proper project planning. In comparison to the rest of Latin America, Mexico is outperforming in construction regulation. There are some cases in which regulations are not followed properly but the majority of players involved in construction strive to comply with them.
Q: What is your assessment of the performance of green building certifications in Mexico?
A: We have collaborated in several LEED and BREEAM projects as project and construction managers. For example, we have worked with Bioconstrucción y Energía Alternativa (BEA) on several occasions. The market is demanding more sustainable building. We have a special position we created as the LEED champion of the projects we assess. This specialist works with the rest of our team and with the certifying firm, such as BEA. But the market is still resistant to adopting these certifications as they imply a significant increase in costs, of around 25-30 percent. When investors review their financial models and conclude that it is not feasible to invest in a green building certification, they will instead focus on the implementation of best practices for their projects, which are not necessarily certified.