TBY talks to Raúl Nazario Rizek, President of CONSTRUCTORA RIZEK, on how big infrastructure projects are helping the economy.

Raúl Nazario Rizek
Raúl Nazario Rizek holds a Civil Engineering degree and a Postgraduate Degree in Construction Management. He has more than 25 years of experience in heavy construction, infrastructure development and residential real estate development. Coming from a second generation of Civil Engineers, he is the founder of Constructora Rizek, holding the position of CEO since its beginnings. During the past 10 years he has successfully completed projects for clients such as Barrick Gold, IADB, Dominican Government, Punta Cana Airport, along with more than five residential developments.

Constructora Rizek has over 40 years of experience in the Dominican market. How has the company evolved since its foundation and in which sectors are you most active?

Constructora Rizek is a market leader in the construction industry in the Dominican Republic. We have vast experience of over 40 years of continuous service in the country. Our success is built on three pillars: quality work, efficiency in delivery times, and competitive prices for construction services. Constructora Rizek has high-level resources for the execution of its projects. Our engineering team has vast experience in planning and execution, and we have specialized in the construction of roads and housing for many years. We now plan to start actively developing commercial projects as well.

What are some of the key projects you are currently involved in?

The Santo Domingo ring road is the most important highway project in the country, as it impacts both Santo Domingo as and the broader country. It connects all main Santo Domingo roads, and is a long-awaited project and we are extremely proud about our involvement in it. The project is divided in two parts, and we are involved in the second, a 36-km section set for partial completion in February 2015. The Dominican government finances the project. The Southern Highway Corridor is another of the main projects we are currently developing. This project is being financed by the International Development Bank (IADB) and involves the reconstruction of over 120 km of the road that links the Dominican Republic with Haiti.

Could you talk about the Barrick Gold project?

We participated as one of the first contractors, taking on considerable responsibility. Quality, safety, and timing were the main drivers of this project, and these considerations were met despite our working 24/7 in shifts to complete it. We learned a lot from this project, as it came from a major Canadian mining company, which insisted on meeting extremely high standards. Thanks to our work we have contributed to a wide range of economic sectors in our country: mining, road, housing, and also tourism, among others. We were part of the construction team building the Punta Cana Airport, constructing the taxiway and landing strips. This project involved the implementation of new technologies to meet the demands of the project and its tight deadlines. We also have several other projects within the tourism industry.

How do you ensure the use of high quality machinery?

We managed to impress Barrick Gold engineers with the high quality level of our machinery, as we use the latest and most advanced technology in the industry and this sets us apart from the competition. We recently implemented GPS system technology in our excavators, so when using it, excavators know what they need to do with no need to rely on topographic measurements. This tool makes the work more efficient and raises the quality level. Before, you needed four people plus the driver, but with this new system, only the driver is needed.

How do you assess the workforce of the sector?

There are no institutions or education and training centers for our industry in the Dominican Republic. People are not sufficiently prepared for the work at hand, which is why we provide training. We have a highly experienced operations manager, who is the main person involved in training our workers. Training is also related to safety, so we have developed our own training resources.

What is your assessment of the development of the infrastructure sector in the Dominican Republic, and what role do public-private partnerships (PPPs) play in that context?

PPPs are the future of the sector; however, the country is yet to fully exploit the benefits of them, despite some successful cases in the construction of maritime and airport facilities. The implementation of these project schemes requires time and PPPs will definitely become a useful tool in the country, especially for the development of infrastructure projects. There have also been positive steps regarding the regulatory framework for these projects.

What are the greatest challenges facing the infrastructure industry in the Dominican Republic and what is your outlook for its future?

We need to raise the level of security on our roads, as we have a number of dangerous highways. We also need to amend current legislation, as another major challenge for the country is the rapid urban development of cities. Dominican cities require considerable additional services and infrastructure.

How would you assess the overall investment environment in the country?

Political and economic stability are on the rise, as is legal security for investors. The government supports and respects private investment, and I believe that the investment environment today is better than ever.