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Grupa Skalski, Kraków, has been present on the Polish construction market for nearly 30 years now. Over this time it has managed to complete numerous investment projects and collect a bulk of prizes.

However, as Mr Dominik Wróbel, Grupa Skalski’s Managing Director, reveals, it is not so much prizes or honours but customers’ trust that the company finds most rewarding. The business has won recognition on the strength of its innovative ownership structure and the support of the Luxembourg-based Astron Company.

They Took the Risk
In 1982, when Mr Piotr Skalski decided to set up his own business in Kraków, he began modestly, turning out hollow bricks. The company did not become a roaring success all at once. You need to bear in mind, however, that its beginnings date back to the economic hard times. Poland was under martial law back then and the communist government still disapproved of private enterprise. These difficulties did not deter the founder of the company, though, which nowadays offers a wide range of general building, design and development services. Undoubtedly, Mr Skalski meant business from the very start. The fact that it was not only his money but also his name that he put at risk bears it out perfectly. “Few Polish entrepreneurs have decided to lend their names to their business so far. Mr Skalski took the risk, however. This deserves all the more attention as his adventure with the construction industry began in the turbulent year 1982,” highlights Mr Wróbel. Even though the market conditions throughout the 80s were not favourable for striking huge deals, the business nonetheless managed to raise considerable capital. This capital allowed the company to make a flying start into the 90s. In the first half of the decade, the company concentrated chiefly on the restoration of historic sites, including landmarks such as The Centre for Jewish Culture in the Kazimierz area in Kraków. Those achievements drew the attention of the leading players in the industry. As a result, in 1996, Grupa Skalski went into partnership with a foreign investor. “For us, this proved a real watershed. The cooperation with the Luxembourg-based Astron Company, now a part of Swedish Lindab Group, enabled us to reach for the state-of-the-art steel construction solutions,” says Mr Wróbel. Top-notch technology being at their disposal, the management of Grupa Skalski decided to expand its offer with development services. The first notable success in that field came in 2001, when the company, all by itself, designed and completed the project of TC Dębica, which took up the space of 46, 000 sqm. You have to remember, however, that Grupa Skalski achieved recognition primarily as a general contractor of industrial facilities. Nowadays the overall space of their completed investments equals, mind you, 800,000 sqm. “Thanks to the know-how of our employees and the specialist equipment we have, we are able to take on any challenge in the building industry. Nearly 30 years of our proven track record show that it is possible to turn your name into a trademark, but only if you build on the trust of your clientele. It is this capital of trust that I consider our crowning achievement,” summarises Mr Wróbel.

All Aboard
“What made us build such trust? Quality services delivered in a prompt, honest and reliable manner,” answers the company’s managing director. Pivotal in winning customers’ confidence, these values enabled Grupa Skalski to pool vast resources and achieve a comfortable position on the market. The former is presented in detail below. Grupa Skalski is a consortium combining many general building companies, including: Skalski Budownictwo LLC, Skalski – Logistic Park LLC, Skalski Export LLC., MS LLC and many others. The ownership thus structured proves a real asset as it makes possible to maintain equilibrium between unity and variety. What is this all about? Simple as that: a variety of companies secures an advanced level of specialisation while the group itself coordinates their activity. However important the structure, at the end of the day, it is Skalski’s people who turn out to be his most strategic asset. The company’s staff is made up of 10 fully qualified engineers, 90 general builders, 50 of which trained in the Astron system, and 30 people working in administration, design and technical support. Modern specialist equipment is yet another asset, which allowed the business to complete challenging development investments such as the already mentioned Logistics Centre T.C. Dębica in Tarnów, Logistics Centre S-Logistic Park near Wrocław (rental space of 34,000 sqm, extension to 200 000 sqm possible) and Logistics Centre in Podgrodzie near Dębica
(30 000 sqm for rent).

Comprehensive Services
As a general contractor, the group offers comprehensive services in terms of design and execution, in all the branches of construction. This includes turn-key projects of industrial and public facilities, and other works in construction engineering, too, be they logistics centres, warehouses, sports and leisure centres, manufacturing plants, supermarkets, hangars or multifunctional buildings. However, the group focuses mainly on industrial buildings, put up in technologies such as steel and concrete. The company’s offer also comprises property for sale, the already mentioned development services and a wide range of design services, including preliminary architectural planning as well as versatile construction and specialist engineering projects complying with the requirements of the Astron system.

Astron System
Grupa Skalski has been building facilities in modular technology since it went into partnership with the Luxembourg-based Astron Company in 1996. It has to be noted that, for more than 35 years now, Astron has been the leading producer of steel constructions designed specifically for industry or services. Its very capacity of 70 ha of ready buildings put up every week should already take your breath away. So should the fact that up till now it has built facilities of overall space amounting to 22 mln sqm. The Astron system allows for tailor-made solutions, which, used together with modular technology, make it possible to adjust the shape and size of the building to individual requirements of a given client. This system combines traditional approach to technology (brick, wood, concrete) with modern solutions. Brought together, they improve both aesthetic and utilitarian qualities of the facility. Custom-made and reproducible at the same time, Astron solutions prove as affordable as any other serial product. In addition, the system is supported by Allplan tools, by means of which the visualisation of the site can be created. There are also other advantages of the system, including:

- interactive, tailor-made solutions meeting every requirement, flexible structural layout (span of up to 100 m without any additional support), optimum height of the construction;
- finishing construction components: attics on chosen roof edges, mezzanines, canopies, cornices and many others required of a building to be complete and functional;
- wall and roof spandrel beams made from cold-bent galvanised components;
- reinforced steel, bolted joints, anti-corrosion protection; 
- the lightest construction on the market; easy and fast to build, adapt or transport; environmentally friendly solutions;
- construction protected by shot-blasting; already painted on the processing line.

Thus, the Astron system is a warranty of ultimate quality and a reasonable price, too. Firstly, the use of reinforced steel allows you to cut down on investment expenditure. Higher quality means less material, this in turn reduces the weight of the construction and the overall volume and cost of transport. Secondly, the reproducible quality of this system is certified by ISO 9001. Thirdly, the manufacturing process of ready-made modules is seen to by companies such as Lehr – und Veruchsanstal Duisburg u.v.m (responsible for balancing of structural components), TÜV Germany and SOCOTEC France (assembly control). It should be also added that the system complies with the requirements of the following European permits and certificates: CSTB (F), EMI (H), TZUS (CZ), BOVERKET (S).

Shower of Awards
The fact that Grupa Skalski guarantees professionalism and top quality services is well reflected in numerous recommendations made by customers and independent institutions. In an opinion poll conducted by “Murator Plus” magazine, Grupa Skalski was named among 100 biggest construction enterprises in Poland. The company was granted many honours by Polski Związek Inżynierów i Techników Budownictwa (Polish Association of Construction Engineers and Technicians). These included awards in “In the Construction Site of the Year” category, received for the following projects: the Suder&Suder office and storage premises, the Skalski office building, The Logistic City Logistics Centre, The TC Dębica Logistics Centre, Polifarb Cieszyn Wrocław warehouses, as well as the BIK, the Hart, the Ekoland and the PKS Multispedytor buildings. This list should be extended further with the prizes awarded by independent institutions cooperating closely with the construction industry. These include:

- Fair Play Golden Certificate and Statuette 2001, Solidna Firma 2007, Solidny Przedsiębiorca 2007, Przejrzysta Firma Certificate 2009;
- Man of the Year 2009, Krakowski Dukat, Złoty Dukat 2007 – for the company’s owner;
- Mecenas Kultury Krakowa 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, Srebrny Laur Małopolski 2005;
- Złoty Orzeł Polskiego Budownictwa 2006, 2007, 2008, Lider Rynku 2007, 2008, Euro Lider 2007, 2008;
- Przyjaciel Sportu 2006, Gazela Biznesu 2006, Polski Sukces honours in 2005;
- Hermes Prize 2000, Drabinka Sukcesu prize for dynamic increase in sales in 2000; Logistyk Roku 2002 in the “Warehouse” category;
- 3rd prize awarded at the Expo-Bud trade show; European Medal for construction services including industrial and public facilities.  

This impressive collection comprises also awards granted by the Astron Company such as: Astron Millionaire for sales topping the figure of 1 mln EUR in 2008; lots of prizes won every year in the following categories: The Largest Site, The Largest Increase in Sales, The Largest Sales Figure in North-Eastern Europe; Life Record 2007, the 250,000 sqm Club 2004 and the 500,000 sqm Club statuettes. 

Written by Bartosz Sowiński

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