Hi-Con was a first-timer at Finnbuild, The International Building and Building Services Fair in Helsinki, Finland in the beginning of October. And I was a first-timer at Finnbuild with Hi-Con. Been there many times with my former employee, HB-Betoniteollisuus Oy, but this time was special to me. We had a pretty good location for our stand just outside The Concrete Park, a joint exhibition area of 21 companies from Finland. Our stand wasn’t the biggest around, not even far, but I thought we might have something not many at the exhibition had when I unpacked the two awesome looking real size sample stairs from their crates on Tuesday afternoon.
We had a bit of a difficulties with lifting and placing those 400 kg pieces on to the right spot because the stand was ready for the visitors except the stairs. But all the efforts were worth it! Hi-Con crew at the factory had done a great job with the samples and I knew we were going to have fun at the fair, if nothing else. Those stairs were real eye-catchers! But I must confess that I had to make a “pressure test” to them by walking to the very top of both just to see myself that they are strong enough. No worries!
And right after the stairs, Tommy Bæk Hansen also arrived from Aalborg to accompany me at the fair. We were ready! And it started to look good right from the beginning of the fair. Our stairs and beautiful pictures of our balconies and facades attracted a lot of people to come and ask more about our slim products, which they hadn’t seen before. And it just kept on like that the whole three days of the fair! It was even hard to find time to get something to eat during fair hours and you wouldn’t even want to leave the stand because it was what we had wished for.
To have as many contacts as possible at the fair and to be able to say “Congratulation Finland! Our CRC products are now available also in Finland! Come and get yours!”. Much more is to be done than just to deliver to a new market like Finland. I’ve noticed that in the past year. And in the fair. Visitors were very excited about our slim balconies and stairs, but still they were a bit reserved at the same time about the fact that they are new products in Finland. Even though they have been used for almost two decades in Denmark. The usual concerns with visitors were our products durability in Finland’s cold climate (frost resistance) and resistance capacity against reinforcement corrosion. But after discussing the technical foundation and the performance of our high performance concrete CRC, they were assured that our products are both good looking and very suitable for Finland. What a combination!
And then there is this big question of money that popped out quite often at Finnbuild, too. Construction business is at the high peak in Finland and the competition is hard. Some companies are trying to get more profits just by buying same old materials cheaper, but I was glad to notice that there are more and more companies who are also willing to look new ways to do things with even new materials and products in Finland and get the benefits out of that to generate more competitiveness and profits. Hope to get even more of those discussions we had at the fair with building professionals about the whole prices of solutions rather than just prices for single products per square meter or kilo. And it was so good to see that those innovative and open-minded people still exist in Finnish construction business. So, I still have faith in Finnish builders and their will to also build with quality in mind.
Thanks to those awesome stair samples on the stand, there were quite many detached house builders visiting us at the fair, too. Many were building concrete houses and they wanted the stairs also to be made of concrete but preferably not so heavy looking as conventional concrete stairs elements tend to look. And they were quite happy to find our ultra slim stairs there. But…with bespoke single stair elements the price always rises way up. I discussed with many of those visitors (and with Tommy) about the possibility to have a standard detached house accordion stair model that could be more affordable. The problem lies with the measurements of that kind of detached house stairs because there are no standards for floor heights etc. That is something we must study a bit more. I’m sure we’ll find a proper solution for these private projects also.
All the good qualities of our high performance concrete work as their best, especially with structures outside in harsh climate conditions like in Finland. People at Finnbuild who spent a little time to study the features of Hi-Con products realized this. And there were many of them. So yes, I’m sure there will still be lots of activity for us in Finland also after Finnbuild.
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