Wednesday, 4 January 2023

Popular Split Znjan Beach to be Transformed into Construction Site

January the 4th, 2023 - The wildly popular Split Znjan beach is set to be transformed into a construction site, the Dalmatian port city's largest construction site of all, to be more precise.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Znjan beach is Split's largest city beach, and at this moment in time, there are no more coffees or walks taking place there, and this summer there will be no swimming either. The much loved Split Znjan beach is turning into the city's largest construction site. The Znjan beach area, which can be compared to around forty football pitches, will eventually boast numerous interesting recreational facilities, and the investment is worth an enormous 35 million euros, reports HRT.

"We inherited this project from our predecessors, the urban planners did everything necessary to bring it to the beginning, and I hope very soon, we'll do the same to the end," said the mayor of Split, Ivica Puljak.

"Recently, we signed a contract with the competent ministry whereby our company received a concession for a period of forty years. We've made sure we meet all the prerequisites, we've had all of the building permits, and now we're drawing up all of the documentation for the tender, which they'll announce soon, after which we'll find contractors and start the works this spring,'' said Puljak.

"We hope that these works will last for one year and that in the summer of 2024, the Split Znjan beach will really become the most beautiful beach in all of Croatia, and beyond, which all the citizens of Split will finally be proud of," he said. However, this Znjan transformation isn't the only project brewing, and plans are heading more towards the east coast, that is, to Split's ferry port. That area is also set to undergo works as part of the wider Split east coast development plan, which also involves the much loved Riva (promenade).

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated news section.

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

Future Bjelovar Communal Geothermal Power Plant to be First in Croatia

December the 14th, 2022 - The future Bjelovar communal geothermal power plant will be the first in all of the Republic of Croatia, and despite already being the very heart of the use of geothermal power in this country, this will throw the spotlight on Bjelovar even more.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as stated, the continental Croatian town of Bjelovar is already the national centre of the use of geothermal sources, and the only geothermal power plant for the production of electricity (GE Velika Ciglena) is located on its territory. This town will raise its leadership position in this segment to the European level in the coming period with the construction of the Bjelovar communal geothermal power plant.

Although electricity can be produced from hot water, this technology is much more useful for thermal energy, especially for public hot water systems, in which Bjelovar will also lead the way. Bjelovar Mayor Dario Hrebak announced that this town will embark on just such a project - the construction of the Bjelovar communal geothermal power plant that will supply heat to the majority of public and apartment buildings across the area.

"The documentation regarding the boreholes made by INA over the past 60 years, done in search of gas and oil, shows that our entire area, including the centre of Bjelovar itself, is very suitable for the application of geothermal technology. We estimated that the green area next to the stadium is the location where we'll start the feasibility study and the investment in the first communal power plant of this kind in all of Croatia. It's an ideal position because within a small radius of just 800 metres, there are a large number of public buildings and large energy consumers - three high schools with a sports hall, a primary school with a hall, the police station, a retirement home, student dorms, and, in particular, a hospital that needs very large amount of heat to function. In addition, there are two districts with multi-apartment buildings, and it's clear what the benefits of this project would be", Hrebak explained, adding that the necessary infrastructure is relatively small because everything is already located nearby.

If this project is implemented according to plan, they expect to be able to build two to four more such thermal power plants in Bjelovar over the coming years and thus cover the entire area with hot water pipes where the water temperature is higher than 70 degrees Celsius.

They don't want to speculate about the specific deadlines and costs of the so-called "Operation Stadium" because the project has only just started, that is, a feasibility study is underway, which should be completed by the end of the year. However, Hrebak is more than sure that it will show profitability and expects that it should all have a similar process to the deadlines and dimensions of their already advanced Veliko Korenovo project on the outskirts of the town, next to the Bjelovar Fair. This was a large investment of 3.5 million euros that was developed over two years.

He estimates that Bjelovar has a total potential of around 30 MW of installed energy capacity in geothermal technology. Given that the town has a maximum, or peak, consumption of 40 MW of electricity, it's clear that with only its hot water sources, Bjelovar could become a very elegant, long-term and inexpensive energy-neutral environment. So far, there is only one operational geothermal power plant in all of Croatia, Velika Ciglena near Bjelovar with a capacity of 10 MW, and there are about ten more such projects in some stage of development.

Despite the ownership struggles of Dragan Jurilj and his Turkish partners from MB Holding, GE Velika Ciglena has shown that such projects can be realised in this country despite issues and that energy can be produced. Although they also plan to produce electricity in Bjelovar, currently their primary focus is being placed on heat. The construction of a well for the use of geothermal energy in the settlement of Veliko Korenovo will also soon begin. It is a project whose goal is to increase the production of energy from renewable sources, reduce CO2 emissions and increase security of supply. The total value of the project stands at 3.47 million euros, of which 1.3 million euros are grants.

A quick return on investment

Hrebak pointed out that the return on the investment poured into the Bjelovar communal geothermal power plant is planned in just a few years after exploitation, and it will indirectly create a large number of jobs. He added that a public procurement for the contractor is planned to be announced some time this month, and drilling is expected to begin in the middle of next year. Drilling will take a little more than one month to carry out, and it is expected that they'll find a source of water with a temperature of around 70°C, which would be used to heat the greenhouses, the Bjelovar Fair, and the Veliko Korenovo business zone. The mayor noted that it could be the first real "district heating" project in all of Croatia.

The project was co-financed by the "Energy and Climate Change" Programme of the Ministry of Regional Development and European Union (EU) Funds, the Principality of Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland as donor countries and the programme partner of the Hrvoje Pozar Energy Institute.

Along with the Bjelovar communal geothermal power plant, they also plan to build a Thermal Riviera, or a spa, on the basis of geothermal sources. The plan, as explained by Mayor Hrebak, is to submit the Spa and Stadium project to the tenders of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan in February next year, from which the majority of the investment would be financed.

For more, make sure to check out our news section.

Saturday, 5 November 2022

Works on Long Awaited "Most Expensive Croatian Road" Going Full Speed Ahead

November the 5th, 2022 - Works on the construction of what's often referred to (and has been being called that for about a decade, to be precise) the ''most expensive Croatian road'' are now well underway. 

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the D 403 road - which is currently being constructed in Rijeka - is one of the most important and expensive infrastructure projects in the entire country at this moment in time. Known as the most expensive Croatian road, it will eventually connect the container terminal of the Port of Rijeka with the A7 motorway as part of a larger trans-European transport network. This very difficult and demanding construction project is estimated to stand at a staggering approximate of 460 million kuna, as reported by HRT.

A whole decade has now gone by with people waiting for the most expensive Croatian road's actual realisation. Roundabouts, viaducts and a tunnel that stretches under urban areas is unique in the Republic of Croatia, and this adds to the difficulties faced in this phase.

"We've reached the Podmurvice tunnel, which is 1,263 metres long and very demanding because it was built in the middle of the city. We have two viaducts - Mlaka, 150 metres long, and Piopi, which is 315 metres long," said Martin Abramovic from Croatian Roads (Hrvatske ceste).

The construction of this brand new and much anticipated road means the development of a complete Croatian traffic route, as was pointed out by Denis Vukorepa of the Rijeka Port Authority.

"This new road will be connected to the container terminal, we'll cover the entire hinterland of [this part of] Europe, and we will also connect that road through what is now the port area, tomorrow we'll take that area out of the port area with the waterfront, you will have a ring going around the City of Rijeka,'' Vukorepa explained.

The dizzying rise in prices as a result of ongoing inflationary pressures requires a certain risk in solving all the previously outlined plans. "The increasing prices of materials, energy sources and raw materials are certainly putting pressure on liquidity, we're in negotiations with investors and we hope that we will soon find a solution to at least partially cover these costs," said Sanjin Puric from GP Krk.

Another challenge in realising this capital project, which European Union funds are financing as much as 85 percent, is the lack of manpower here in Croatia. This country is now importing more and more labour from elsewhere, and the construction of the so-called most expensive Croatian road is no exception.

Part of the labour force present on the construction site today are from Turkey, India, and of course, from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, which isn't unusual. The D403 road construction project began back in mid-2020, and the plan is for it to be completed at the end of June next year, when the traffic jams on Rijeka's roads should finally become a thing of the past.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

What Can I Build and Where? Croatian ePlans Editor to Provide Answers

July the 12th, 2022 - Investors seeking to build in Croatia will now have much more quick and clear answers to the questions of what they can build and where they can build it thanks to the Croatian ePlans editor (ePlanovi).

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the spatial plans of the new generation will be created through the new Croatian ePlanovi editor, and the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and State Property is developing this new electronic service.

The ''translation'' of old generation plans into new generation plans will be carried out through the service, so that the new software solution and connection with the Croatian ePlans editor module will facilitate the work of professional developers and bring about the standardisation of all spatial planning documentation.

The reforms being undertaken through the ISPU project - Spatial Planning Information System and its modules represent a ''reform storm'' in this area, because it will remove the toilsome tasks faces by professional developers, and investors will ultimately know about every single location across the Republic of Croatia for which rules are in force, starting with the question of what may or may not be built and where, and all of it will be available online and be free of charge.

The Croatian ePlans editor is otherwise a web-GIS solution that can be used free of charge by expert spatial plan makers, ie those who have the approval of the Ministry to carry out professional spatial planning work.

"Through the Croatian ePlans editor, all spatial plans across the Republic of Croatia will be created and presented in a standardised way. This will enable investors entering the construction process to very easily get answers to questions such as what can or cannot be built and where, what the building should look like, which body issues special conditions and information regarding procedures for each location in Croatia, including building permits and the like, and the data will be available for free on the ISPU Geoportal,'' the Ministry stated.

The Croatian ePlans editor module will enable the much faster and simpler creation of plans, as all official sources will be made totally available to expert drafters, including digital orthophoto maps, layers from the Register of Spatial Units (borders of counties, cities, municipalities and settlements, as well as addresses), always up-to-date digital cadastral plans, other valid spatial plans, as well as all available data from the registers and records of public law bodies.

This entire system was successfully tested in the area of ​​Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, more precisely in Crikvenica, where the spatial plan of the county - the spatial plan of the town and two urban planning plans were ''translated'' from the old to the new generation.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Croatian Construction Industry Doomed to Import Labour Long-Term?

May the 26th, 2022 - Is the Croatian construction industry simply doomed to have to import foreign (non-EEA) labour as an attempted long-term strategy to keep things afloat?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, there are fewer and fewer ''homegrown'' workers in the Croatian construction industry, and an increasing number of foreign workers on construction sites pose a number of challenges to the companies that hire them, according to the panel discussion "Challenges of the workforce" which was held in Zagreb recently.

Dragutin Kamenski, the director of the very well known company Kamgrad, pointed out that if the country successfully removed all other challenges that the Croatian construction industry is currently facing, and only the lack of manpower remaind, we'd still be in trouble.

A very complex process

"Now, the state has begun to take steps to facilitate labour migration, but it remains to be a very complex process because it requires additional efforts in bringing and introducing a new workforce to a particular company, as well as additional organisation and costs. As there is no additional base for recruiting labour here in Croatia, it's clear that in the long run we're doomed to importing foreign construction workers under any conditions,'' said Kamenski, adding that so far, they have had all kinds of situations with agencies that bring in foreign workers arise.

"Recently, a large number of agencies have appeared that bring in foreign labour, and time will show which ones are good and bring in high quality workers, and which aren't. If you end up with inadequate workers, it raises your costs and you're less competitive overall,'' Kamenski pointed out.

Based on his own many years of experience, he stated that in fact the best workers were those who did their training within large construction systems, and then eventually moved to smaller companies such as Kamgrad.

However, he is aware that is now rapidly becoming a thing of the past and that such workers no longer exist, and that now the focus should be on developing the Croatian construction industry's workers here in the country, and even more on selecting and introducing a foreign worker and then educating and introducing them to the whole process.

“Technical staff without knowledge of the Croatian language can only do a small range of work. We employ 10-15 trainees a year, of which only one or two remain,'' concluded Kamenski. Danijel Risek, the director of Hidroing, pointed out that they're a relatively small company that didn't have any major needs for the import of foreign labour, and what they did experience had a focus on nearby Kosovo.

“We're too small a company to go into the process of finding a workforce on our own, so we're referred to agencies. It's important to have a correct relationship with such agencies so that they know exactly what we need,'' said Risek. Stjepan Jagodin, the director of Pinoy385, a company specialising in the employment of Filipino workers, said that there are currently more than 300 agencies across the Republic of Croatia registered for employment mediation.

"An unregulated market leads to a situation where everyone comes to us, without any selections and conditions, and then the problem is that companies that hire such workers. In tourism, there are precise conditions that you must have and know in order to open an agency, and employment mediation can be done by anyone. That must be regulated urgently,'' Jagodin said.

Knowledge of the market

Ana Jadresin from the Manpower Group pointed out that it takes time for the market for mediation in the employment of foreign workers to be profiled. "Agencies that deal with employment mediation, be they domestic or foreign, must have a good knowledge of the market and the needs of their clients - what exactly companies need, what qualifications are necessary, what level of digital literacy there is, etc.

The problem is often that the client himself doesn't know what kind of workers he needs and what qualifications will be necessary, so it becomes difficult to meet their expectations. On the other hand, it's pointless to give unrealistic promises to foreign workers about a country with rivers full of milk and honey, because that only leads to frustration,'' stated Jadresin.

The issue faced by the Croatian construction industry isn't something new. The demographic crisis the country has been in for a very long time now has been a gradual drain on labour across all fields, even with the tourism sector, otherwise the country's strongest economic branch, also suffering tremendously. The Ministry of the Interior's infamously drawn out and draconian procedures often result in employers not getting work permits approved for their foreign staff in time, resulting in the dire need for a rethink.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Peljesac Bridge Construction Still Ongoing as Season Approaches

May the 15th, 2022 - The tourist season is rapidly approaching, and Peljesac bridge construction works are still ongoing, with some final things to tie up and one or two issues to solve yet.

As Morski/Andrej Jelusic writes, the height of the summer season is just around the corner, and the largest road investment in all of Croatia, Peljesac Bridge, is still being constructed to a certain degree, despite numerous encouraging announcements. We'll be waiting until mid-July for the Peljesac bridge construction to be entirely completed and for the structure to be open to traffic, but that won't really be the end.

With the arrival of summer temperatures across Croatia, the tourist season has unofficially begun. Since the global coronavirus pandemic severely impeded global travel for two years, there was a fear that Croatian tourism would also continue to experience a real fiasco, writes net.hr.

Fortunately, that didn't happen. The reason is not some special campaign or vision of the Croatian Government but the country's very lucky position. More precisely, the fact that Croatia very close to large markets from where tourists came to us in previous years. The coronavirus pandemic has proven that people feel the safest when travelling by car, at least as far as this contagion is concerned. In other words, destinations to which people can drive on their own have benefited. Countries to which people usually fly suffered, and Dubrovnik, separated from the rest of Croatia by Bosnia and Herzegovina's only tiny piece of coastline (Neum), also suffered enormously.

Given the country's location and relatively good road network and connectivity, the past two summer tourist seasons have been better than expected. Road connectivity should be even better in the future, as well. The Istrian Y should get another lane, and the Ucka tunnel will be further improved. The most famous road project in the country is certainly the Peljesac Bridge construction, which will unite not only Croatian but EU territory, cutting out the BiH border crossing entirely.

The bridge will be there, but it will also be crowded...

Back in 2017, a tender was announced, and in 2018, Peljesac bridge construction began. The Republic of Croatia was granted 330m euros to finance 85 percent of the Peljesac bridge construction costs, and the bridge has been built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, which made a bid of 2 billion kuna, with a construction deadline of 36 months.

The works were slowed down by the coronavirus pandemic, but in July 2021, the last segment of the bridge was installed, and it was announced that the end of works on the bridge could be expected by the end of the year. At the beginning of 2022, the asphalt and other such equipment were installed on the huge structure, and a test load of the bridge was performed, which is why 21 trucks weighing up to 40 tonnes arrived at the Peljesac bridge construction site.

The problem has been the access roads with several viaducts and tunnels. The biggest challenge was the 485-metre-long Ston Bridge. Its specificity is that it will connect two tunnels above the Ston Bay, Polakovica, which is 1242 metres long, and Supava, which is 1290 metres long. The bridge has five pillars and two abutments, and is 40 metres high.

Ston Bridge has now been connected, but there is still a lot of work to be done on that section. A concrete slab is now to be built, which could take about four months, so that sometime in the autumn, perhaps come October or November, these works might also be completed.

When will Peljesac bridge actually be opened?

Peljesac bridge has passed a technical inspection and will be opened along with 20 kilometres of access roads in July this year. The other 10 kilometres of access roads and the Ston bypass will be completed by the end of the year. There will be a total of 32 kilometres of new state road, of which 25 should be ready by July the 15th. Unofficial information as to when the bridge will be open to the public is mid-July this year. Minister of Transport Oleg Butkovic was a little more specific and announced the opening on July the 15th to the 17th.

According to the contract, the workers of the aforementioned Chinese contractor will remain on the construction site until the commissioning of the Peljesac bridge with its accompanying access roads and the complete demobilisation and arrangement of the Peljesac bridge construction site. The contractor of the access roads is the Austrian company Strabag.

The suspended bridge spans a total length of 2404 metres with six main pillars and thirteen spans of steel which are 72 to 285 metres long, and was designed by Marjan Pipenbacher from the Slovenian company Ponting at a height of 55 metres. This was due to a request from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina so that the unimpeded passage of ships to Neum could be met.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Central State Office Agrees Construction Of 216 Substitute Houses In Banovina

ZAGREB, 5 May 2022 - The Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing has agreed on the construction of 216 substitute family houses at 43 locations in the earthquake-struck Banovina region, the Office said in a statement on Thursday.

The office said that 59 contracts, worth a total of HRK 180 million (€24m), were signed for this purpose with 11 contractors.

Also agreed was the removal of 150 damaged family houses, which would cost HRK 14.12 million (€1.88m) and would be carried out by 12 companies.

The office has so far repaired 2,354 family houses and 910 houses are being repaired. HRK 92.89 (€12.4m) million has been spent on non-structural reconstruction and 44 companies have been hired for this purpose. It has also received 606 decisions on structural reconstruction from the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Croatia Introducing German DGNB Certification For Sustainable Construction

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - An NGO called Croatia Green Building Council on Tuesday signed an agreement with the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), a Stuttgart-based non-profit organisation, on the DGNB system for certification of sustainable buildings, building interiors and districts.

The DGNB Certification System, a second-generation system compared to other international certification systems, includes assessment which revolves around ecological aspects, DGNB says.

DGNB-certified buildings consume fewer resources during construction, have lower greenhouse gas emissions and largely can be recycled.

The DGNB director, Christine Lemaitre, said today in Zagreb after the agreement-signing ceremony that she was glad to see that Croatian partners opted for promoting the DGNB system.

The head of the Croatian NGO, Dean Smolar, explained that the system was adjusted to EU regulations and the Life Level(s) project which is being implemented by the Croatia Green Building Council.

To date, over 8,200 public and private buildings and districts in 27countries worldwide have acquired DGNB certificates.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Volume of Construction Work Up in June, Rising For 13 Months in Row

ZAGREB, 26 Aug 2021 - The volume of construction work carried out in Croatia in June 2021 rose 11.3% compared with June 2020, and it went up 2.1% as against May 2021, according to data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) on Thursday.

June was the 13th consecutive month to see the rise in the volume of construction work on an annual level.

Year on year, the volume of construction work to buildings increased by 11.6% and the volume of construction work to other structures grew by 10.8%.

Month on month, the volume of construction work to buildings rose by 3.4%, while the volume of construction work to other structures increased by two percent.

 For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS): Volume of Construction Work up 16% in May, Rising For 12 Months in Row

ZAGREB, 21 July, 2021 - The volume of construction work carried out in Croatia in May 2021 rose 15.9% compared with May 2020, and it fell by 0.1% compared with April 2021, according to data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) on Wednesday.

May was the 12th consecutive month to see the rise in the volume of construction work on an annual level.

Year on year, the volume of construction work to buildings increased by 18% and the volume of construction work to other structures grew by 13%. Month on month, the volume of construction work to buildings fell by 0.3%, while the volume of construction work to other structures decreased by 0.9%.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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