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INDUSTRY TODAY 77
projects to ensure that designs – both external and internal – are
more customized and individualized. Two key concerns are the
use of quality materials and the optimization of space. In terms
of the former, the company has its own in-house quality depart-
ment that ensures the use of top-quality paints, tiles, doors (it has
an exclusive supplier), etc. for each project. With respect to
space, there is a commitment to avoiding “dead space” such as
hallways, and a determination that every square meter should be
“truly necessary for our customers’ day-to-day living needs.” In
fact, at its showrooms, Habitare representatives display fully-
decorated apartments with the goal of providing tips to home-
owners for maximizing space.
“We always want each project to be better than the last,” con-
fesses Soares. “So we’re always looking at ways to add new fea-
tures: whether it’s wider balconies or leisure areas that offer
more amenities.” Indeed, common spaces such as “leisure” and
“gourmet” areas constitute one of the market’s biggest and
fastest-growing trends. Today, almost all of the buildings
Habitare designs possess swimming pools, as well as soccer –
and even tennis – courts, along with “gourmet areas” containing
barbecue stations, cooking areas, bars, tables, and chairs.
“Increasingly, well-off Brazilians don’t want to leave their
homes because of security issues,” confesses Soares. “They pre-
fer to do their socializing at home in these common areas that
are safe, especially for younger kids and teenagers. As a conse-
quence, we’re starting to build more closed condominium com-
plexes, containing two or three buildings, where residents share
common areas as well as security features such as 24-hour gates
and doormen. The costs – for cleaning, maintenance, and secu-
rity – are a lot lower when they’re divided among many.”
Although the emphasis on quality is important, the company
also constantly strives to maintain its competitive edge when it
comes to price. Aside from selling units prior to completion, and
investing in up-and-coming neighborhoods where prices have
yet to skyrocket, on any given project, 95 percent of the com-
pany’s workforce is in-house as opposed to outsourced (Habitare
currently employs 2,700 people). While this practice allows
Habitare to maintain absolute control over its construction costs,
an added benefit is that employees are very involved in each
project and are highly familiar with the company’s requirements
and demands. According to Soares, this ongoing partnership
with its collaborators makes for better buildings.
“Our driving concern is to construct living spaces that surpass
our clients’ expectations,” he says. “What we’re selling to our
customers is a dream home. But what we ultimately deliver is
something that goes beyond their dreams.”
HABITARE • PROFILE
Pictured above: The president of Habitare, Sebastião Sidney Smith;
below: Habitare store, Rua Geraldo, Lúcio Vasconcelos Buritis.