Public sector is the most problematic
The article was published in the magazine Development News 6/2016
What were the beginnings like at K4?
After returning from my ‘experience stay’ in Austria, I founded the company with two other associates as an Ltd company. We gradually expanded the architectural and planning oﬃce by building management, building process, TDI, services in the BOZP area, BREEAM certiﬁcation and others. We are based within our own building at Kociánka, Brno, and also have an oﬃce in Prague and several other workplaces at building sites throughout the country. Our team in the planning division currently comprises some 40 employees with a network of subcontractors (K4 partners) throughout the country; a further 50 people work in the division of project management.
K4 has a relatively broad spectre of activities: Which one is the most active?
Both divisions currently experience about half from the overall turnover. This ratio naturally changes depending on the market situation. From our experience, the two divisions complement one another well in such a way whereby ‘everybody pulls the strings for a while’. We also have projects on which both divisions co-operate. Depending on the economic cycle, there are times when more work is in project preparation and then when more pressure is put on our realization capacity (like now).
You also operate in diﬀerent market segments. In which ones mainly? Do your clients come back to you?
Thanks to our corporate structure and universality, we are able to oﬀer services for the whole ‘lifecycle’ of a building project. From co-operation during changes in outline plans, preparation of areas, architectural studies and all levels of project documentation to the construction’s management and control, choice of contractors, cost controlling, BOZP and all relevant associated activities. Clients, mainly developers, who are important to us, are often our stable partners. For example Penta, for whom we manage several projects in Prague and Bratislava, Multi Development with whom we realized several projects, CPI with Clarion hotels and Česká spořitelna, for whom we work throughout the country on all their projects and branches.
What projects have you been lately working on?
We have recently completed several interesting projects that our two divisions participated in. Our oldest long term client is Technology Park Brno where we together realized its larger part within the segment of administration and high-tech production. Also the shopping centre New Karolina Ostrava which was also participated on by the two divisions. Another visible reference for the division of building management is Prague Florentinum by Penta, for whom we are currently working in Prague on Waltrovka and in Bratislava on the administrative building ROSUM. As for our author’s projects, it is the four-star wellness hotel Vista in Dolní Morava, an aqua park in Brno-Kohoutovice and the Oncology Pavilion at Plzeň hospital.
Do you participate in public tenders? What is the result?
The private sector is generally probably the most problematic segment in the market that we operate in. However, our company’s share in the turnover is, fortunately, only small. The whole process of public procurement, starting with the choice of contractors through communication with the investor during planning or construction to delays with completion, are usually the most unpalatable that we come across in our segment. A public servant in the position of investor is simply wrong from a system point of view and if the situation is enhanced by grants from European money, we are in an area that we try to avoid. Resulting from this situation is the fact that we do participate in public tenders but only where it involves an interesting project (for instance health care) and where we already have a positive experience.
Last year you celebrated your 20th year anniversary of being in the market. How do you see K4 in comparison with its commencement?
Compared with the start, we, and I dare say most of our clients, feel that K4 has moved on to the position of a signiﬁcant planning and managing oﬃce. Regular co-operation with our clients is a sign of the fact that K4 is seen as a marque of quality and in the construction management area, for example, belongs to the top echelon and is unquestionably a leader within the market. And for a present we also gifted ourselves a new and more active website (www.k4.eu).