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Selena Group: Construction worker – profession with a future

2019.09.26

Both Europe and developing countries continue to see a huge demand for construction works. For this reason, ensuring the proper number of qualified employees is of critical importance. Meanwhile, most difficulties in this area are common. 17.4 thousand unfilled posts were reported in Poland in Q4 2018. Spain is experiencing a rapid ageing of its workforce – merely 19% of employees are under 35 years of age . In Kazakhstan, over the past three years, the number of metres of space built has increased by 40%, which creates a huge potential for the sector as well as causing staffing needs. How to encourage new employees to work in the construction sector and how to change the way of working at the construction site?

To encourage new employees to choose this profession requires a general change in the way of thinking about construction and about the prestige of the construction worker profession. The skills required in the construction industry are increasingly higher, and the solutions and materials used are more and more technologically advanced. Suppliers of building materials should support the safety, speed and efficiency of the construction process, both in the buildings and infrastructure segments. That said, the future of construction depends on decisive actions to be undertaken by manufacturers and contractors alike in order to ensure effective response to the challenges facing the sector.

25 September is the Builder’s Day25 September is the Builder’s Day. For a company like Selena, this is a time to reflect on the condition of the industry and changes taking place in construction in Poland and in the world, and to take an objective view of the role this underestimated profession plays in the global economy. The first half of 2019 saw 94.7 thousand home completions, , up 14.4% year-on-year. In Europe, in 2018, the average number of apartments completed per 1,000 residents was 3.2. In Poland, this was 4.81, which means that the home construction activity is quite strong here. At the same time, at the end of 2018, Poland reported a shortage of about 2.1 million housing units, and by 2030 this deficit may increase to 2.78 million units, which reflects the rising living standards of Poles and the related needs. Additionally, infrastructure projects are being carried out in Poland and in the world to develop new roads, commercial properties and public utility buildings, where construction workers are also much in demand.

Nowadays, the construction sector and the economy set different requirements for contractors than before. They want each project to be carried out fast and well. The experience of Selena Group shows that the key thing is to analyse the entire construction chain and carefully listen to the comments and needs of contractors. Certainly, the challenges of the industry can be addressed by highly advanced products with high parameters that accelerate and facilitate construction work. These products should be prepared in cooperation with contractors, because only then will they respond to the real needs of users. One of the effects of close cooperation with contractors is the entire line of foam adhesives developed by the R&D department. As part of the exchange of knowledge with users, Selena Group learned that foams were also used as adhesives. Users themselves found a new application field, and the R&D department improved the formulation. A new product category – foam adhesives – was put on the market. As well as having good parameters and serving multiple purposes, these products significantly accelerate construction works. Direct cooperation with the contractor is the first step to ensuring the product’s market success and an opportunity to change the way of working in construction.

Michał Specjalski, Division Director in Selena Group"In the light of the challenges facing the construction industry, the market needs tools to support and facilitate work at the construction site. Technology is now commonplace, and is also entering construction sites of the 21 century. For some time now, Tytan Professional solutions have been available in the market, replacing traditional work systems. Electricity or water supply is no longer needed at the construction site, which has a positive impact on the environment and generates savings for the project owner. Likewise, heavy bags with cement no longer need to be carried around, so there is less dust, which improves the comfort of work. Based on our and contractors' experience, we have prepared a package of products for quick building for construction workers. This package includes Tytan Fix2 GT hybrid adhesive, which has a very strong initial grip, and can be put under pressure already 30 minutes, and reaches its full strength already after about three hours, which is an absolute record in the industry. Plasterboards can be installed fast using the Tytan Professional DRYWALL FOAM ADHESIVE, which can be used for full handling of the boards (pointing up, jointing) after just 30 minutes. In turn, windows can be installed using the Tytan Professional ULTRA FAST 70 foam, which, while maintaining a very high yield of over 70 liters, can be worked after just 10 minutes, and fully cures after 1.5 hours, which means you can move to the next stage of work, saving time and allocating human resources to further tasks. These are modern solutions for the industry. However, we are aware that a significant part of construction sector employees are slow to embrace change, which calls for market education, testing new products at construction sites and a series of direct meetings. We can already see the first effects of such meetings, in Kazakhstan for example, and we know that this is the right direction. Let’s remember that each day we use the construction sector’s products, including houses, flats, roads, bridges, tracks, office buildings and kindergartens. That is why, in spite of workforce shortages, it is essential for employees from the construction industry to be able to continue work with the available 21st-century solutions which are modern, fast and ensure full quality. This is possible thanks to the use of the product offer developed in close cooperation with contractors. Changing the way of working at the construction site and thinking about construction is in our mutual interest and affects both the labor market and, ultimately, the economy”, says Michał Specjalski, Division Director in Selena Group. 

Selena Group’s R&D Department is engaged in regular and direct cooperation with builders, because they are the best critics and reviewers of the products they use, confronting the ideas of scientists and intended application fields with the reality of the construction site. One of the spectacular achievements of this cooperation is the whole family of foam adhesives – which, in addition to the masonry product, also contains, for example, the fast IS 13 Styrofoam Adhesive, the fastest single-component polyurethane adhesive for ETICS (External Thermal Insulation Composite System). It has a quick initial grip and ensures working precision and a strong adhesion, even on uneven substrates. This product is recommended for graphite and white polystyrene (EPS), XPS and PUR, mineral wool and foamed glass. IS 13 is a systemic offer component, which helps do the work even six times faster, while increasing work efficiency and making life easier for contractors.

The current requirements for the industry – for fast and reliable building – seem to be the future of the entire sector, which is struggling with staff shortages coupled with a growing demand for further projects. This situation can be addressed by advanced construction chemicals, which accelerate construction work and facilitate the construction process. For this reason, the construction worker of the modern day should be open to increasing his knowledge of technological innovations, and above all, in order to perform well in the labour market, should also be open to changes that will facilitate his work. This is because, in addition to the contractor, he is increasingly often the person who suggests non-standard ways of doing work – to do it better, implementing new solutions on the construction site. The construction worker is also a source of inspiration and knowledge about what needs to be improved and what new expectations the product user has. Such exchange of knowledge and experience is key to effective industry development and meeting new requirements in the construction sector.