We have the pleasure of introducing you to our partner: Knauf Belgium.
Knauf is a true market leader in the plasterboard industry. They produce innovative finishing and insulation materials, as well as systems and accessories for every type of building. With more than 250 production sites worldwide, Knauf provides complete solutions for walls, ceilings and floors according to the performance requirements specific to each project. Over the years, the wide range the family business has to offer, with the plastering industry as its main activity, has convinced professionals all over the world.
How was your company created? What motivated you?
Knauf Belgium is a subsidiary of the worldwide Knauf group which set up in 1974 on the banks of the Meuse in the Liège region. When it was created, the original goal was to promote a new method of capping. The success being almost immediate resulted in a strong anchoring on the Belgian territory which lasts for more than 45 years. Over the years, other activities such as plasterboard and blocks, facade systems, insulation and the DIY range have enriched the plaster renderings offer. These different synergies allow Knauf today to meet the challenges in the fields of energy performance, fire resistance, sound insulation and mechanical resistance, not to mention the aesthetic aspect.
How many people do you employ?
Around 775 employees work in several production and sales entities spread over Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Plaster, plasterboard, plaster block, glass wool and styrene production plants are located in the north and south of Belgium.
What does your metier mean to you? What impact do you think it can have?
To be a key player in a buoyant and dynamic sector of construction. An industrial activity that shapes our living and working environment. We aim to develop and manufacture products offering a high level of performance, quality and comfort.
What do you consider to be the biggest strength of your products?
Without hesitation, the greatest strength of our offer is the quality and compliance with norms and standards. We favor a global approach by offering complete systems whose components are compatible and mutually reinforcing. We provide specifiers and installers with all of our expertise and experience during design and execution in order to create walls, ceilings and floors. Everything is in place to support the various stakeholders in order to offer the client the expected end result.
What exactly will you be providing for the Belgian pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai? And what did you take away so far from the cooperative effort between a governmental agency and your company?
For this project we were pleased to supply dry finishing systems such as fire resistant plasterboard, glass wool with ECOSE® Technology, Integral dry screed elements, Aquapanel cement, SoundDesign Cleaneo acoustic and perforated plasterboard as well as standard plasterboard.
We were pleasantly surprised by the attentiveness and willingness of the government agency to best meet the expectations of the partners. As far as possible, our questions have been heard and accepted. The win-win approach has taken on its full meaning in this large-scale project. We are well aware that it is no easy task to make this participation in an international event a reality. Especially in a period when the health crisis limits the areas for maneuver and regularly disrupts its smooth running.
What do you think of the general design of the Belgian pavilion?
The architecture of the pavilion clearly illustrates an eco-responsible approach. It aims to promote an architecture capable of providing answers to the future challenges we face today. The pavilion is made up of elements or components which can subsequently be reintegrated into the upgrading circuit. This aspect is particularly important to us. Knauf Belgium is in fact positioned as a producer committed to the recycling and reuse of its products. C2C certifications for a large number of its plates are proof of this.
The green walls that adorn the Belgian pavilion are a response that is still too little known in Belgium, although they could ultimately reduce excessive temperatures in the city. This method joins our Urbanscape green roof, which in turn balances temperatures inside buildings while forming a buffer zone during heavy rain showers.
What is the vision you want to bring to the Belgian Pavilion and Expo 2020 Dubai?
As part of the Knauf group, Knauf Belgium is very representative of the huge range of solutions that this world leader has developed over the past decades. We feel legitimate and equally honored to be able to showcase the brand at an event with an international dimension.
What projects do you have in store for the future?
Further develop our eco-responsible vision in several areas such as production, logistics and development. These steps are fully in line with our concept called "Knauf Blue". This approach, which we put at the heart of our thinking, brings together all the concerns that a player such as Knauf must consider, from the supply of raw materials to the recycling of end-of-life products.
What are the biggest challenges you face regarding your work?
We are on the eve of immense challenges that will undoubtedly influence our future decisions. Climate change, the densification of cities, mobility and the scarcity of certain raw materials will lead our decision-makers to take drastic measures. We will obviously be there to implement them and even encourage them.
It is quite likely that we will have to rethink our ways of building, living and working if we are to provide a future for the next generations. Our choices today will have repercussions for tomorrow. The genius of man and his force of reaction and creation have always provided answers. Now more than ever, now is the time to prove it.
What are the values and objectives that you bring to your work?
The intrinsic values of the Knauf group are four in number: Menschlichkeit / Humanity, entrepreneurship, partnership and commitment. Knauf has carried them in its DNA since its inception. The brand has always demonstrated its desire to be a major player in societal issues by providing it with unwavering support. The same goes for creating a work environment where the sense of initiative and the personal development of its employees is a major issue.
We also put all our energy and effort into interacting with other stakeholders in the construction industry. By challenging our different visions, we will undoubtedly be able to develop new perspectives for a more sustainable and lasting construction.
How has the current pandemic affected your work?
Unlike other sectors, construction has so far managed to cope with this pandemic. However, the pressure on prices and delivery of materials is being felt more and more. These increases tirelessly cut the margins of general and specialized companies. A trend that is also felt in the price increases for real estate, which is becoming almost inaccessible for young households and vulnerable targets.
A positive point to remember from this pandemic remains the remote working and the significant reduction in travel that this has caused. Digitization has brought effective responses and rapid implementation. In the future, a mix between face-to-face and distance learning will bring real balance and quality of life to everyone.
Do you have any advice for others who want to start off on the same adventure as you?
Share your knowledge, as it may inspire others. From the meeting, new ideas and fruitful collaborations can emerge. Let us remain ambitious and proud of our Belgium, a nation full of talents which has particularly distinguished itself during this health crisis by producing vaccines for the whole world. The same goes for actors such as Besix who asked us to join him in this project. We are proud to have had the opportunity to actively contribute to the realization of the Belgian pavilion.
Not including the Belgian Pavilion, what is your personal favourite project you have worked on and why?
The setting up of our own event: the Knauf Discovery Days. A key moment that we organize every 2 years for all those involved in construction, and during which we have the opportunity to highlight our expertise, our services and our colleagues who are hard at work every day to bring the various constructive projects to fruition. This biannual fair will be reinforced in 2021 by the Knauf on Tour. A series of traveling information sessions provided by our Knauf Academy training center, directly at the point of sale.