Advent Construction remains at the forefront of the Tanzanian civil and building industry thanks to its unwavering standards and staff empowerment programmes
Written by: Dani Redd | Project Manager: Eddie Clinton
The past decade has witnessed a dramatic growth in the Tanzanian construction sector.
In 2008, it accounted for only 8.8 percent of the country’s GDP – a figure which rose to 15.6 percent in the first quarter of 2018. One reason for this growth is the Tanzanian government’s current economic strategy to modernise the country through building more infrastructure, housing and energy developments.
However, Tanzanian companies are not always the beneficiaries of this growth. The construction sector has been dominated by foreign contractors, some of whom have better access to materials and state subsidies, and can therefore tender better budgets. A second challenge is a shortage of local skilled talent – an issue faced by many sectors within a developing economy.
Despite these challenges, Dhruv Jog, Managing Director of Advent Construction, believes that the industry is a dynamic one to be involved in.
“A strong population that incrementally grows into the middle class, a determined government that wants to expand the national infrastructure in every segment including roads, railways, water and airports, and a national strategy aimed at enabling the private sector to industrialise the nation – these are just some of the reasons why the Tanzanian construction sector is an exciting industry to be involved in at the moment,” he says.
“All these goals – coupled with an overarching objective of increasing local capacity and developing skills within the country – mean that construction companies in Tanzania look forward to an exciting period of growth and capacity development.”
Jog is also very much behind the current government’s anti-corruption drive, which he believes has levelled the playing field for construction companies.
“Our current government’s zero tolerance policy to corruption and inefficiency has finally created an environment where competition is equal,” he continues. “It is only the quality of one’s project delivery and efficiency that decide how successful a construction company can be.”
And Advent Construction is perfectly poised for success.
“We have a 25-year-old heritage of transparency, best practice in compliance and first world standards of quality,” the Managing Director adds.
Since its inception in 1995, Advent Construction has worked hard to become one of Tanzania’s largest, trusted and most well-respected construction firms. Now with a workforce of more than a thousand, it has worked on everything from large scale manufacturing works and infrastructure projects to boutique five-star lodges.
It also performs the role of main contractor on large construction projects in Tanzania, acting as a local representative for global contracting groups, and bringing together multi-disciplinary teams.
So how has Advent succeeded in thriving for 25 years in a changing market? Jog believes it is down to the company’s adherence to high quality standards.
“Advent has always been known for quality and reliability,” he says. “Those have been the cornerstones of the company’s success over the 25 years of its existence.
“2020 is actually our 25th anniversary, and a year that we reinforce the foundations of our philosophy, while committing further to our mantra of constant innovation and consistent increase of our value proposition to our clients.
“These underlying principles have helped ensure Advent is at the helm of progress in our sector, and is always an industry leader known for excellent quality, unequalled value for investment and a transparent and honest relationship with our clients in helping ensure their project development goals are always the priority.”
Jog is also aware of the importance of adhering to global standards of quality and best practice in such a technical industry as construction. In 2012, the company began its drive for ISO certification, which it achieved in 2015. While such international standardisation wasn’t well known in Tanzania, Jog believes it has allowed Advent to stand out from the pack, as the company is able to assure certified quality.
Advent continues to renew its ISO certifications and comply with the latest standards, and currently remains the only construction company in Tanzania to be up to date with 2018 certifications in quality management, occupational health and safety and environmental management systems.
“High growth environments often create short term success stories, but consistent delivery of quality and reliability is what creates a 100-year business,” the Managing Director comments.
Jog believes another way to ensure the success and sustainability of a business is to invest in, and empower its staff.
“Our staff are the key to our success, and our training and development programmes are geared towards reinforcing that position,” he comments. “Staff development is consistently driven home as a key goal of the company, and the number of staff members who have grown to the top of their verticals by starting right from the bottom of the departments is amazing.
“It gives us great pride to foster such an environment of growth, improvement and shared ownership and it is evident in the performance of the company as a whole.”
Advent’s interest in empowerment extends beyond its staff to local communities. Indeed, the company is also proud of its participation in various corporate social responsibility programmes.
“We have a strong CSR strategy that focusses on education and healthcare, as these are two of the key areas of development needed in our region,” says Jog. “We continue to invest in the regions we operate in to develop capacity and increase the living standards of the population of our country.
“A great example is the classrooms we have built for Oysterbay Primary School and the ongoing school improvement project we have running in Zanzibar.”
Alongside direction donation programmes, Advent also engages in capacity development initiatives, providing training – and, subsequently, employment – for local communities.
“We truly believe that the real development for our region will come from people being able to develop their talents and skills and therefore increase their living standards in a sustainable manner, instead of relying on ad hoc assistance programmes,” Jog explains.
After discussing Advent’s ambitious CSR schemes, the Managing Director moves on to reveal some ambitious plans for the future, including several important infrastructure projects to be launched towards the end of 2020.
To facilitate these projects, the company is undertaking an aggressive expansion plan. It is currently investing into upgrading its already extensive fleet of plants and equipment, andbringing on board industry experts in the specific areas it seeks to grow into.
“It is an exciting period in the growth path of the company and we are really looking forward to the successful execution of our five year strategy,” Jog expresses confidently.
Such a strategy is one of expansion and capacity building. Currently active in three East African countries, the Managing Director would like to increase that to five by Q4 of 2022.
“We are working on enhancing project management capacity and the core strengths of the company to be able to scale to that level, while still maintaining our personal and close relationships with all our clients,” Jog says. “We are also enhancing our capacity into specialised areas of construction such as the water sector, and post-tensioned heavy RCC structures.”
With its ambitious plans for expansion, cohesive training and development programmes and high, unrelenting standards of quality, the future looks bright for Advent – and it is therefore no surprise that Jog concludes our interview on a positive note.
“We foresee extremely strong growth in the coming decade, and are very optimistic of coming closer to our corporate vision of being the solution for any construction-related needs across the African continent,” he says.