Daniel State
Managing Partner
Rustler Romania

02 July 2021

Rustler Property Services Romania, part of Rustler Gruppe as a property and facility management services provider, established in 1936 in Wien as a family business. They entered the Romanian real estate market in 2012 to offer property and facility management services, today offering beside the core activities, specialized revisions, project management services, TDD’s and WELL certification.

 

Rustler was born amidst a rocky political context, 80 years ago - how is Romania positioned in Rustler's wider portfolio and what are some of the key services you offer here?

Indeed, Rustler was founded as a property management family-owned company, in Wien in 1936 and 20 years ago the portfolio became international (WE and CEE areas). At group level, Austria is the leading market, Romania representing an important pillar.

We first entered the market through property and facility management services for office buildings. Today, 90% of our turnover is generated by technical services: facility management services for office buildings, industrial & logistic and retail centers; project management and a number of specialized works (e.g.: fire detection and extinguishing systems, high voltage electrical installations and clean air ventilation for surgery rooms, etc.).

We recently enriched our portfolio from the medical sector, by delivering the 10th surgery room for Monza Group, with state-of-the-art equipment, systems and installations.

How do you assess the Romanian market's current appetite for these services, which segments generate the highest demand?

There is more a necessity for these services than an appetite per se. A building thrives only if it's well maintained.Even though the legislation requires some compulsory maintenance operations for the vital systems, it is encouraging that owners request additional technical services, necessary for the life cycle and quality standards of their building. Being able to provide the requested specialized services, we are improving the overall standard and experience in their properties.

The retail segment is a fertile soil for property management, as well as the office sector, even though the local context is not regulated as well as in other CEE countries. We would like to see improvements in terms of properly aligning the occupational standards, which currently does not reflect/includes all the roles in our field, or legalized minimum service level standards.

 

When developers work with us from early stages of design and our inputs are considered regarding the equipment, systems and installations that are planned to be implemented, the final project is always more reliable and easier to manage both for the owner and the companies that are responsible for its maintenance.

Such consultancy activity helps mitigate design flaws and sustain the implementation of user-friendly solutions that contribute to the final quality of the building, and of course to minimize operational expenses.

 

The global pandemic created some turbulence among office and retail players - how did this affect your demand and how did you adapt to the new reality?

The lockdown affected the retail sector the most, as shopping centers were obliged to close their doors. Shopping centers and office buildings owners reduced their maintenance contracts in order to reduce operational costs. We, among the rest of the “unseen” contractors, which normally maintain a shopping center alive, were forced to downsize our activity instantly, affecting our revenues.

On the upside, industrial and logistics segments registered considerable growth (as well as residential) during the pandemic and thanks to this emerging segment we managed to remain stable and “patch up” the losses from other projects that were affected.

Taking into consideration the level of professionalism needed - how easy can you find suitable work-force on the Romanian market?

For the past three years, the market became extremely challenging in this respect because a great deal of professionals (engineers, technicians, etc.) migrated. On the other hand, besides the demographic problem Romania faces, there is also the issue of less and less specialized and technically prepared specialists in the young generations (e.g.: electricians, plumbers, etc., as well as engineers in various fields).

Having these in mind, finding competent work force is as a struggle. Our domain needs polyvalent employees who know how to be humane while performing their technical jobs. At group level, one of our priorities was and remains to keep and support our employees, and accompany their professional development together with constantly growing the team.

Looking at the next two-three years - what would be some of your short-term ambitions?

One main goal we are pursuing is to become a one stop shop in real estate. This means that we are able to provide all necessary services related to any type of commercial property. For this, we are looking to develop and increase our team with the best professional on the real-estate market.

Alongside this, our focus is on keeping a consistent quality standard throughout all the services we provide across Romania, as well as keeping the country at the top of the portfolio. Educating the market through qualitative services and streamlined workflow represents a benefit for our industry.

Do you have a final message about the Romanian real estate market?

Even though there are a few legislation gaps, some bureaucracy and other similar challenges, the Romanian market is structured and stable and investors can benefit from the great momentum that real estate now has.



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