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Bahitbek Katen, Chairman, Artisan Group

Behind the Build: Interview with Bahitbek Katen, Chairman, Artisan Group

Around the world, construction is expanding at a rapid rate. As populations grow, more people move into cities and infrastructure needs are at an all-time high, construction teams are looking for ways to build more and faster. In fact, the global construction market is forecasted to grow by over 70% by 2025 meaning building teams have large foundations to fill in the near future.

Bahitbek Katen, Chairman of the Artisan Group initially noticed that while his country of Kazakhstan had growing construction needs, companies were failing to deliver quality projects on time. As a result, he believed his company had a responsibility to do better for his developing nation. Now, his company has been in business for 11 years and continues to grow and make a difference in Kazakhstani communities. In our latest installment of “Behind the Build,” speak to him about what motivates his company to build and how he uses technology to facilitate construction efficiently.

What first got you into construction?

When we saw the way buildings in our country were being constructed, we decided we needed to get involved. We wanted to bring a new level of vision to this sphere and to provide the best quality and improve decision making.

We felt a responsibility to do better in our country, and we wanted to help by fully developing projects from architectural ideas all the way through operations.

Why do you continue to build today?

We continue to build because we see how our world and environment today is vigorously changing around us and we want to keep up with that pace of change. We want to deploy construction faster with new technologies existing in the market. We understand that the construction industry has one of the biggest influences in the world we live in. So, it’s important we take action and responsibility and build to improve the places where we live and work.

What do you love most about the industry?

We love to see the real results of our vision and inspiration.

Furthermore, it’s a big deal to understand and see the impact we have on society especially after the hard work and many hours our team spent developing the project.

Which projects are you most proud of and why?

We are very proud of our latest project, the Mega Silk Way City. The project was in cooperation with leading world architecture companies, and we provided detailed designs in all disciplines. Other projects we’re honored to be a part of include the Radostovets Residential Complex where we provided schematic design and detailed design, international pavilions on the EXPO 2017 where Germany ended up winning gold for its pavilion, Aport Mall in Almaty where we were the general contractors for construction in an additional area of MFC APORT, warehouse and administrative building of Wilo which is the first industrial object in Kazakhstan and earned LEED Gold certification, in addition to many others.

What do you spend the most time doing at work?

Our company spends the majority of our time on engineering work. Personally, I dedicate my time to envisioning development strategies, finding and working on new opportunities in the market and thinking about which buildings and construction processes we can improve with new technologies.

Bahitbek Katen, Chairman, Artisan Group

What’s the most frustrating part of your job?

We are a fast-growing company, and often the most complicated part of the job is not the technology itself or even the architectural design–it’s the people. When some people on my team don’t understand the way we move or want to keep up with changing times, it interferes with our project and impacts interactions with subcontractors and other stakeholders. I think getting our team onboard to change and new processes is the most challenging part of our job.

Any recommendations or thoughts you want to share with the next generation of builders?

Currently, the construction industry is not very developed. However, we firmly believe that in the very near future, we will see many technological breakthroughs within the sector through machinery and IT. The time gap between developing good ideas and plans, to a fully constructed building, will significantly decrease as a result.

My recommendation is to keep believing in yourself and continue developing good ideas which will be built faster and better in the future with new technology in both construction and architecture.

How has technology changed the way you work in construction?

As mentioned, the construction market doesn’t develop fast enough today. However, technologies that have emerged recently have already helped us make significant changes in design and engineering and have made the construction process easier and faster. Just look how 3D printing makes the construction of one-level buildings easier. Improvement of technologies will get even better in construction and will allow builders to save time and get to their main priorities faster.

When and how did you first start using PlanGrid at the Artisan Group?

We are new to using PlanGrid, and we’re actually the first company in Kazakhstan to use the software platform. It’s very exciting for us. We believe that it’s the perfect technology to change the way we work and transform the environment of the projects we are working on. We hope that it will enable us to work together in one shared space as a team.

Right now, we are just starting to train and encourage people to use the program on a daily basis. Once we have full adoption, it will make information flow faster and provide more transparency in projects. We’re excited to see how it will contribute to the quality of the information in construction within our teams.

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