Heijmans did well in the first quarter, but he is also feeling the consequences of the war in Ukraine. The construction company is facing rising prices and logistical turmoil. “There is more uncertainty,” says Ton Helen, CEO of Heijmans.
For now, it seems Heijmans hasn’t had much trouble with the price hikes. Rather, the order book rose to 2.2 billion euros in the first quarter. “Heijmans is in really good shape,” explains Ton Helen, CEO of Heijmans. “The first quarter numbers are strong, but the availability and affordability of some materials like rebar and lumber and energy prices have increased. Inflation has also fueled that, so we are unsure about the whole year. But we started with a very good basis in the order book, in terms of Quality and quantity increasing.
And according to Helen, connectivity issues will also cause other pillars to falter. This means that we can no longer have closed price agreements, this means that we have to agree on indications with our customers, that we have to include clauses related to security of supply, because sometimes we don’t know if some of the materials can also come from certain regions. At the moment we haven’t been bothered yet by construction projects that are on hold, nor do I expect them, but that does mean more uncertainty for the client. This is not nice.
Helen does not expect Heijmans to have to implement price increases in the meantime. But we will therefore include indexing agreements or clauses in securing supply in the new offers. We cannot risk that.
Despite the tight job market and a significantly expanded order book, Helen does not anticipate any problems in finding enough employees. “We are in good shape in terms of staffing capacity. The elements that I find worrisome in the housing market are permitting and a lack of planning ability, as well as the nitrogen profile that continues to falter.
I’m very much looking forward to the fact that the government said they would monitor for two years. And then you actually say: We’re not going to make a decision during this ministerial term. I respect the Belgian minister, who really makes the decisions. In my opinion, not making decisions by the Cabinet and leaving it to the judges is not the right thing. Dare to make choices, show decisiveness and make decisions. Ensure that the Netherlands does not stand in a dead end. As far as I’m concerned, the stool and damp time has passed.
According to Helen, this also applies to locating construction sites. I’ve said before that we definitely want to build an inner city, and I think we can solve the housing problem for about fifty percent of the inner city areas. The remaining fifty percent is needed out of town, and then you have to make choices about where and how to do it.
“Lifelong zombie fanatic. Hardcore web practitioner. Thinker. Music expert. Unapologetic pop culture scholar.”