Miguel Alegria
CEO
Engexpor

11 January 2022

Engexpor specializes in project and construction management, with experience across various sectors such as offices, residential, retail, industrial and logistics.

What is Engexpor’s current footprint in Portugal as well as internationally and what are some flagship projects you have worked on?

Engexpor is a project and construction management company founded in 1984. We offer services of project and construction management as well as technical and environmental advisory services in the real estate sector, and our expertise covers housing projects, offices, retail, hospitals, hotels and industrial buildings. At the moment we are present in Portugal (Lisbon & Porto), Brazil, Angola and Mozambique.

Given that the company is over 35 years old, we’ve had quite a journey! In Portugal we took advantage of several fruitful contexts: in the '90s we were helped by the expansion of bank agencies and EXPO 98; in the early ‘00s we started our expansion into the shopping centers segment (until now we participated in more than 70 projects in several countries) and office buildings and in the last ten years we turned our attention towards the industrial, residential and hotel sectors. At the moment, we are working on some of the most interesting office projects in Porto and Lisbon, and we are as well very active on the residential sector, both refurbishment and new construction. In recent years we have also grown significantly in hospitality and healthcare and have completed or are managing many remarkable projects across the country. Besides these, the industrial sector is also developing in Portugal, with a lot of exciting but equally demanding projects.

Despite the pandemic, 2020 was the third biggest year in terms of volume of investments in Portugal, how did that mirror in terms of demand noticed from your side?

Until the crisis years of 2010-2014, the residential market in Portugal wasn't a hot deal, but nowadays there are a lot of companies that invest in this sector in a professional way and developing high quality projects. From Engexpor's perspective this is where most demand comes from. However, offices are also on the rise, with a great deal of exciting projects flowing in from the commercial side.

The real estate market is evolving significantly, in which way did you adjust your services to respond to rising standards, including from a sustainability stance?

Portugal is an increasingly attractive country for real estate investment and those who invest, whether in the acquisition of land for real estate development or in the purchase of built assets, want to make decisions based on credible, independent and reliable information. On the other hand, more and more companies are committed to sustainability, through the use of practices that minimize the environmental impact of their projects and activities, including the implementation of certification systems that prove this commitment. As a company oriented towards the future and attentive to market needs, Engexpor has strengthened its advisory services with the creation of two new areas - Technical & Urban Advisory Services and Sustainability & Environmental Advisory Services – allowing us to present more complete and specialized solutions to our customers and partners.

Through our new branch, DCS - Digital Construction Services, we are able to provide digital services across the entire real estate value chain whether for buildings or organizations. In this domain, we are very focused on the BIM (Building Information Modeling) area, through which we guarantee the integrated and centralized management of project, construction and operation information, according to reference standards and good practices followed at national and international level.

BIM (Building Information Modeling) technology seems like a very interesting concept, could you tell us more about how it works?

 

In the traditional way, a 2D architectural and engineering design is used. By choosing a BIM methodology process, you're not only able to design in a tridimensional perspective but you can also see the building at a true to life scale and identify if there's some conflict or errors and solve them in real time for everyone involved in the process.

 

This improves not only the way buildings are developed, but also how they will be managed in the future, as it is based on a standardized digital model that centralizes all information so that it is accessible and clear to all interested parties throughout the cycle asset life from project design to operation.

How does the lengthy licensing process measure up again other development challenges, from a project manager’s stance?

In Portugal the price of land and of existing buildings is too high to allow developers to undertake profitable projects while keeping prices affordable, especially in the residential sector. Construction means taxes, lots of them, with a spotlight on the infamous 23% VAT, that is just a cost. Fortunately, the licensing issues are not the same all over Portugal: in some cities the process is faster, while in others it can take quite a long time (e.g., Lisbon & Porto), but it generally depends on the size and complexity of the process. Licensing is so tedious mainly because there was a boom in projects and the municipalities weren’t able to keep up. Additionally, the construction sector is encumbered by a lack of workforce and an increase in raw material prices.

What are the main goals you want to achieve with priority in the next two to three years?

We plan to continue growing across all sectors and sign more residential, hospitality and healthcare developments in the short term, with room for growth in the industrial sector also. As a complementary field, we have experience in managing green energy projects in Brazil and want to expand it here, in Portugal. And, of course, we want to strengthen our advisory and digital services across all sectors. We see a bright future ahead thanks to the high demand that can be now found on the market.

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