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Choosing local expertise

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Until recently we had the impression that foreign well-sounding brands were the criterion of buying e.g. clothing from €100 to €500, because they are of an international brand and therefore if you are show-off who seem to be the majority, not only will you buy the brand, but with great pride you will tolerate the brand being listed everywhere on your clothes.

When we are on vacation , we pay special attention to the swimsuits and T-shirts that the brands are listed in such a size on the clothes, that almost the wearer of this costume becomes a live advertisement.

Being “modern” and trendy in Cyprus, we established that every foreign and known names is the best.  And so, with this basis, we constructed Eleftherias Square with a foreign architectural firm, where according to the reports of the Project Director (based on press reports) the project was delayed for years.  Two more projects were carried out in the wider area by foreign architects with nice appearance, but were not functional and certainly not viable as an investment.

Some local architects call the projects “pigeonholes”, while others with a sales price of €3,500/sq.m. came with so many errors in the layout that make them non-functional.

Of course, we also have our own architects with very nice design in appearance, but also wasteful on the other hand.  See the new offices  in Nicosia of the Town Planning which has a very nice plan, but while on the ground floor at least 50 people could be placed there, it is only the main reception area.  Similar wasteful buildings exist mainly in government offices where after winning the architecture competition, the project is executed differently and in the end the cost is at least 11-12 times the specified cost of the competition.

Various other projects of very good architecture were carried out such as the Olympic Tower in Limassol, the Fishing Port and the Limassol Marina and so many others.  Why should we have this inferiority complex, and we want to use a “name” rather than the substance and end up with excessive costs?

Of course, we need foreign firms where there is no local know-how, but here too the use of foreign firms should take second place and with the aim of locals learning and gaining experience from foreigners.  However, the responsibility should lie with the local architect, who should not present himself as a formal attendee but essential with responsibilities.  There are, of course, local and international rules on such matters.

But there are projects that local architects cannot cope with due to lack of experience – e.g. golf courses, marinas, innovative redevelopment projects etc.  We are not against foreign architects and others, but we should not be seduced by well-sounding foreign names alone.  That is, what is to envy the Limassol Fishing Port, the Ministry of Finance, the projects of various audit firms, the various office projects on the Limassol coastal avenue and so much more.

Of course, the big international names have their followers, who pay special attention to the name of the architect and therefore practical issues such as functionality, cost and construction capabilities, time, etc. are not particularly a priority.

In 1-2 cases where we had some involvement with these international architectural firms and despite the owner’s suggestions for some changes for cost reduction, their answer was “either you accept the plan, or we leave”. I do not think that the person who bears the name of the architectural firm is also the one who does the job.  A lower-level architect takes it over, such as  from Asia which  lends itself (due to low costs) to processing architectural details and other data.

Following the real estate market for 44 years, we pay attention to both older but especially young local architects with very nice designs, functionally and within the framework of the construction cost and consequently their disposal price.  At the end of the day, perhaps the former contractor of Eleftheria Square was right from what we are now hearing about with the new +30% bids.  Therefore, do the “foreign” names believe that we are “suckers”?

 

Antonis Loizou F.R.I.C.S. – Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Appraisers & Development Project Managers

www.aloizou.com.cy

[email protected]