Gabriel Santana Echeagaray
Director of Business Development
ITISA
/
View from the Top

Pre-fabricated Concrete Solutions for Longer Duration

By Gabriela Mastache | Wed, 06/10/2020 - 09:28

Q: What makes your firm the best choice as a construction partner?

A: ITISA has a very complete offering. A construction offering that includes design, technology, construction materials and execution capabilities is not common in the market. Since our beginnings, as a 100 percent Mexican company, ITISA became the most important railroad concrete tie manufacturer in Latin America. Then, the company expanded to become a leading player in the construction of railway tracks, including fully mechanized construction tandems and the supply of track materials and equipment, such as level crossing systems, rail, ballast, fastenings and Trackmobile railcar movers, among others. Today, at almost 74 years old, we have accumulated solid expertise and extensive experience in every product and sector we serve. These skills, along with our devotion to quality, a resolute attention to safety and our dedication for dependable performance at every job, are our most important priorities to best serve our clients.

Even though the railway industry use to be the core of our company´s business, ITISA chose to broaden its abilities to serve and complete its product portfolio with more solutions. In 1993, when the country announced the privatization of the Mexican railroad system, we decided that we could no longer rely on a single product and started to endeavor into related new business opportunities. Using our experience with concrete, we started with a pre-cast concrete business unit to manufacture structures for buildings, bridges and so on. This opened the door to participate in a bigger market. Today, our company’s offering covers a wide variety of innovative construction products and techniques. We provide integrated solutions focused on concrete structures for three different sectors: industrial, commercial and infrastructure. Gradually, ITISA became one of the most relevant players in Mexico’s construction market, serving both public and private sectors.

We participated in flagship construction projects in Mexico City, including the B Metro line, for which we built all the platform overpasses. We also began building bridges and elevated vial distributors in other parts of the city. We undertook new projects such as the construction of shopping centers and industrial buildings, becoming a reliable and repetitive construction partner for important national and international real estate developers. Later in the 1990s ITISA made its first international incursion as co-founder of Preansa, a pre-cast concrete manufacturer with operations in Chile. Gradually, ITISA grew to serve new markets and to engage into larger-scale projects, always striving to differentiate through relentlessly searching for better solutions with valuable innovations that were new to our markets. Following this important focus on innovation, along with our core value of delivering the highest quality, ITISA has had the opportunity to build more than 7 million m2 of commercial buildings, offices, parking spaces, hotels, schools, factories and distribution centers. We participated in some of the most important infrastructure projects in Mexico, such as the Periférico Elevated Highway, other elevated highways, vial traffic distributors and bridges throughout the country, as well as in the construction of several shopping centers, commercial and industrial buildings across many states nationwide.

Q: What benefits do pre-fabricated products bring to a project in terms of quality, price and duration?

A: A rapid and swift construction process with high quality results is the most important advantage. You do not need to wait until the machines have completed the excavation to start building the structure. You can start production in the factory in parallel, and since it is not in the same location as the construction site, you do not disrupt the various construction processes that precede the above-ground structures. We manufacture the pre-cast elements at our factories, and then we deliver the finished pieces ready to be mounted and connected on-site under a cleaner and safer construction environment compared to the traditional methods.

While our solutions may not necessarily be the most economical alternative, they are highly competitive and safe. In the last 20 years, we have participated in the construction of over 100 buildings, some being in the most vulnerable areas of Mexico City in terms of soil quality and seismic stress. Yet, all of our buildings consistently resisted very well and stood firm during the last strong earthquakes the city suffered. These buildings were all made with pre-stressed concrete and demonstrated that high-quality pre-cast concrete systems are among the most reliable performers in elevated seismic regions.

We believe there is a tremendous opportunity still for precast concrete structures in Mexico. While the use of these systems has grown exponentially over the past 25 years, even now, it only represents a small percentage when compared to the whole construction sector’s projects. The ratio of precast concrete projects is much higher in the US and Europe and Mexico is definitely trending into such direction.

Q: What are the company’s priorities regarding the construction sector?

A: We have to read the market carefully. Sometimes, there are years in which public investment in infrastructure is very high and we have to follow those projects. It is a market that sometimes values the benefits of our technologies and allows for our participation, but sometimes the market does not. Sometimes, low value-added elements are treated as commodities where the only differentiation is price so for us, being a corporate company with a solid support overhead and above-market manufacturing and personnel practices, it becomes harder to win these projects because we could tend to be priced above other options. As a result, we focus on projects where we can use our engineering design skills and innovative production techniques to introduce our products with some differences that deliver measurable and worthy value added to our customers. We know that the engineering solutions are the real differentiation factor. We stand out from the rest because we have our own engineering division and we are in the process of integrating Building Information Modeling (BIM) to become even quicker to respond to increasing customer demands.

Q: In terms of housing and commercial projects, what are your priorities?

A: In the vertical housing market, we think that Mexico City’s metropolitan area is one of our most important markets. One of our factories is in Tlaxcala and the other is in Tecamac, along the way to Pachuca. This allows our products to have competitive access to cities like Mexico City, Puebla, Queretaro, Toluca and Guadalajara throughout the central part of Mexico. It is a great opportunity for us and we intend to service our customers by being a solid alternative in quality, with reduced construction times and with less risks on-site. Furthermore, our offering includes several elements that are among the most LEED compliant and sustainable products that exist in the market today. Our main focus in these complicated economic times, is to offer innovative, time and cost-saving solutions that allow our clients to bring their projects to successful completion in terms of safety, delivery times, performance and profitability.

Photo by:   MBP
Gabriela Mastache Gabriela Mastache Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst