Painting a Picture of The Perfect ApartmentThu, 11/01/2018 - 10:28
Pre-sales are notoriously difficult since the concept is convincing people to part with a significant amount of money for something that does not yet exist. Rogelio Zambrano, Director General of developer Carza, says the key for a company like his is using technology to its advantage and painting a virtual picture of the future building. “We use technology to create a visual building that incorporates everything, right down to the view the apartment will have.”
Zambrano says BIM technology is becoming increasingly accepted in the real-estate industry as developers begin to recognize its inherent benefits. But he does not solely rely on BIM. “We use the Autodesk suite, which is very complete,” he says. “We also construct model houses on a dollhouse scale, meaning we can give the end user or the investor a really complete picture of how the building will ultimately look.”
Carza works on residential spaces in Nuevo Leon and the State of Mexico, targeting socio-economic demographics that range from C to A/B. According to Zambrano, the company’s main asset is its understanding that its clients do not want to buy an apartment but quality of life, based on three pillars: location, security and functionality. “Ultimately, these three factors will dictate quality of life,” he says. “People want proximity not only to work but to schools, services and stores, with amenities inside facilities. Security is a very important factor across the country and obviously all this has to come with high quality.” The developer has typically worked on horizontal housing projects, such as Cumbres de Sol and Valle Azul, but like most developers in Mexico’s largest urban hubs, it has recognized the need to go vertical. The company’s upcoming projects, Cantera and Living, are both horizontal developments in areas that lack space for construction. “We decided to build Cantera in San Jeronimo because it is an area with a lot of housing demand but very little space,” Zambrano explains. “Similarly, Living is located in San Nicolas de los Garza, where space is even scarcer.”
Although he admits there was some initial resistance from neighbors to a vertical development, Cantera is advancing well and construction on the second tower is slated to begin by the end of 2018. Living is a little less advanced, and as of yet the building has no showroom for customer pre-sales. This will take place in the next few months and Zambrano is confident that, with the presence of an accurate model of the building, the units will quickly be snapped up. In all its developments, Carza is passionate about the concept of creating living spaces. Living, like Carza’s other projects, will include swimming pools, event halls, green areas, community spaces with barbecue facilities, children’s play areas and roof terraces. “This year we will start to build the first 80 units and the next year we will build the remaining 150,” says Zambrano.
But Carza not only wants to have an impact on its end users, but also on its workers. “We build these projects to make a bigger impact in the sense that we incorporate everyone into them,” Zambrano says. For example, at Cantera, around 800 people are working on the site. Carza has constructed classrooms where, either before or after their shift, workers can take classes, ranging from basic skills like reading and writing to more technical skills such as English or computer science. “We now have a range of graduates from Cantera’s classrooms who have learned various skills,” says Zambrano.
The ability to offer the best project to clients goes beyond end users and workers, and often starts with legislation, according to Zambrano. While he applauds the efforts of the federal government in passing the Human Settlements Law in 2017, he believes it is not being implemented as it should on a state-by-state basis. “This is a law that will help us offer better products to clients because it takes everything into consideration, including surroundings and mobility,” he says. But he says more needs to be done in Nuevo Leon. “In Nuevo Leon, certain things changed with this law but in comparison to the developments in the federal law, the changes have been very limiting.” On the other hand, he warns that if the legislation is very strict, it will limit creativity. This is a risk in Mexico where he says innovation in construction processes needs to be accelerated, not hindered. “Innovation can be very simple or very complex, ranging from using different colors for cement to using 3D printing techniques,” he says. “There are many technologies we are not implementing right now because the correct legislation does not yet exist.”