Bernardo Álvarez
Deputy CEO
Grupo IDESA
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View from the Top

Social Housing Is Mexico’s Fundamental Need

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 14:09

Q: Why did Grupo IDESA decide to create NOVIDESA?
A: In 2005, NOVIDESA was born from one of the largest industrial groups in Mexico, with the purpose of developing and manufacturing sustainable materials for construction. Because NOVIDESA works under the IDESA umbrella, clients can be certain that we have the appropriate infrastructure and the group’s support.
NOVIDESA’s products are designed for energy savings and thermal insulation, as well as building lighting systems, providing added value for builders and for the end user. Building with panels requires less manual labor and time than traditional construction methods. This translates to cost reductions. Whether it is a shopping mall or a house, energy consumption is much lower when implementing panels into the construction mix. In Mexico City, our products have become popular among large developers of offices and mixed-use projects because they help shorten the building time required for projects.
Q: What benefits does NOVIDESA offer and why should developers choose it over its competitors?
A: The main difference between NOVIDESA and its competitors is that we are constantly thinking about the customer. As a result, NOVIDESA offers a much greater focus on savings and sustainability. We offer construction systems that allow savings in execution times and optimization of resources. We can offer a more than 30-percent reduction in construction times compared to traditional systems. We provide full solutions, from thermal insulation against moderate temperatures in all weather conditions to lighting systems for the structures.
Q: Why is it difficult to innovate within the social housing sector in Mexico?
A: Large housing developers must change the way they build social housing because building thousands of homes in one spot is now inefficient. Acquiring large ecological reserves for projects of that size and developing the services is extremely expensive. The country must develop vertical housing because it is more economical than horizontal housing in terms of infrastructure and space. The country’s primary needs are in housing. Of course, there is a demand for offices and commercial centers but there is a higher need for residential, and not just for the middle-upper segments. We need to provide the lower-income segments of the population with decent housing near their jobs.
In my opinion, as a country we must promote the development of vertical and social housing in Mexico using the most efficient building materials. These homes must be of the highest quality, which is crucial so that in the case of another natural disaster, people will not lose their homes like we saw in September 2017. The supporting infrastructure must be built around these developments too. There are so many abandoned social housing developments throughout the country where the local and state governments had committed to developing supporting infrastructure and did not deliver. Now all those homes are derelict and uninhabited.
Q: What is required for Mexico to reach its full potential in terms of construction?
A: Rule of law is fundamental. After solving that we can dedicate our time and efforts to what we know best. But if there continues to be a lack of rule of law and uncertainty continues to permeate sectors, we will not be able to develop economically to our highest potential. We must take steps to avoid corruption and we must facilitate processes for those that want to do the right thing. For instance, in construction, obtaining licenses or permits for a project is an extremely tedious process. We need to work together as a country to eliminate the high level of inequality. We also must support those that want to create more opportunities. If the government supported industrial development, the sectors would create many opportunities to significantly reduce inequality. We must all contribute to make the most of the country and its resources.