Current Issue 52
Quality Construction for a Developing Infrastructure
Boasting two decades of experience and a longstanding reputation among key East African clients, Holtan E.A. Limited persists with its commitment to build world class structures
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: James Smith
From a small business with one just carpenter to a fully fledged high profile construction company in Tanzania with a turnover of 20 million, Holtan E.A has built its reputation from the ground up. Boasting two decades of experience and a longstanding reputation among key East African clients, the company persists in its commitment to build world class structures. “The majority of our projects are negotiated with skilled architects before the construction phase, which ensures that a client is satisfied before a project commences,” states Robert Scheltens, Managing Director of Holtan E.A. Limited since beginning its journey to success in 1996.
Holtan’s exclusive list of clientele includes the likes of embassies, banks and insurance companies, law firms, hotels and private housing. Taking a project from concept to completion, the company work on professional contracts for corporate entities. “As a developing country, Tanzania is a great place for our business to grow. We strive to be the best in Tanzania, it is about quality and not quantity,” says Scheltens.
Moreover, the company owns the largest woodwork facility in Tanzania which Scheltens says is a significant advantage: “No one else in the country has the large scale capacity that we have. Having control over the quality of woodwork that goes into our builds is a huge benefit; clients can trust in our craftsmanship from the ground up, quite literally.” Holtan E.A. has been mass producing a number of wood products including hardwood flooring, outdoor and indoor furniture, wardrobes, kitchens, doors and windows in Tanzania for eight years. This assists project efficiencies, especially when constructing hotels where a significant order of soft furnishings is needed.
Supporting this notion of a quality end product is a skilled team of staff who work hands-on in any given project, complemented by a designated a manager that oversees the individual project. “By building relationships based on honesty and respect, both with our clients and our suppliers, we believe in ownership and accountability from the top down. As such, our management team is closely involved in the project at all times, monitoring progress and addressing any issues with finality as and when they arise.
“We are 100 percent focussed on delivering a quality product and service, with stringent measures in place to make sure we always deliver the best,” comments Scheltens.
When it comes to securing a local African workforce, Holtan turn to training schemes from expatriates around the world in order to upskill the construction industry in East Africa. Building on this, Holtan places health and safety at the forefront of construction activities, aligning with international quality management systems and keeping staff abreast of the latest policies.
However, after the national wage increased by 180 percent in the last few years in Tanzania, Holtan E.A. has undergone a major restructure in order to create the best opportunities for its employees. “Continuing training of such a large number of people became unfeasible. We have gone from a staff complement of around 500 down to 220 as a result. We have refined our internal training initiatives in accordance with this change,” says Scheltens.
With projects ranging in size from US$3-20 million, Holtan has been involved in some of the most expensive builds in the country. Most recently, the company has won a contract to build a new embassy for the South African government.
“We have completed several prestigious and acclaimed resorts, lodges and hotels and have been directly involved in more than 350 keys in East Africa,” says Scheltens. Among its portfolio is the construction of the Arusha hotel, which is recognised today as one of the best hotels in Tanzania.
“The main reason we are selected to work on a project stems from our single-source accountability, which allows our clients the benefit of dealing with a single entity and being assured of the outcome. The resultant reputation of Holtan ensures that the company is well-placed in Tanzania to continue growing at a steady rate,” concludes Scheltens.