Now the construction here is completely finished and “LRS” has moved to a new site, but it still does not leave its apartment buyers without attention. What human, and not only commercial and monetary relations in the construction field are based on, Leonid Kvasnyuk, general director of LenRusStroy, said at a “business breakfast” in the St. Petersburg edition of RG.
Leonid Yakovlevich, this year was planned as a year of recovery, post-COVID, but geopolitics have made their own adjustments. What decisions did this require of you as a leader, what kind of support did the state provide?
Leonid Kvasnyuk: We continue to live. They just tightened their belts a bit. In the two years of dealing with the coronavirus infection, we have learned to work in difficult conditions. I can say that all these anti-epidemic requirements have taught us discipline, and in general, this is only for the benefit of all.
After the start of the special military operation, the most difficult thing -because it was completely unexpected- was the increase in the mortgage rate to 22 percent. And I’m talking about difficulties not only for us builders. People were making money, preparing to become new settlers, and suddenly it was over.
But fortunately, almost immediately the rates were adjusted and the situation stabilized. Today, mortgages are given at six percent, that is, buying a home has again become affordable.
But after all, at the beginning of the year, both metal and other building materials, including domestically produced ones, rose sharply in price. How did this affect the cost of construction?
Leonid Kvasnyuk: For us, the sanctions against Russia have even brought certain bonuses. Iron fittings, for example, have not risen in price in recent months, because everything remains on the domestic market. The price of cement increased somewhat, but it was generally managed to level off. Another thing is the complex engineering equipment. We always build schools and kindergartens next to our houses, all at once. And there are problems with the internal equipment of educational institutions today. I was surprised to learn that the Russian equipment for school canteens does not exist at all! Of course, we will manage and fill this niche. However, this will take some time.
In general, taking into account the networks and engineering equipment, the cost per square meter in our facilities has increased from 15 to 25 percent.
This year, his company “LenRusStroy” has completed a long-term project – LCD “New Gorelovo”. What could be marked as an absolute achievement?
Leonid Kvasnyuk: I am not at all ashamed of this work. In addition, it is very nice when the residents of our houses stop me on the street and say thank you. Sometimes, by the way, at the same time you have to solve some of his minor household problems.
Each new house of ours in this neighborhood is better than the last. We take all the most modern, comfortable and high-quality, work out every detail and transfer it to the next object. Despite the fact that this is the outskirts, the border of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, it is convenient and pleasant to live there. We have built and put into operation all the necessary social, engineering and commercial infrastructure, including two schools, a kindergarten, and now we are completing the Promyshlennaya street pavement. After the completion of the work, the accessibility of transport in the area will improve significantly – it will be possible to start buses with a larger capacity in the “New Gorelovo” residential complex.
At the moment, we have fully completed the work on this territory and will withdraw the equipment in the near future. However, we will probably never completely leave Novy Gorelov – we will continue to help the management company that services our homes. Where the advice, and where necessary – and money. Although formally these are not our structures.
During the 10 years that we have been building our houses here, the management company has also learned a lot. They work not only for money, but also to strengthen the reputation and preserve the beauty that we create there: the boulevard, named after the paratrooper of the 6th company Vadim Chugunov, with active and passive recreation areas, a large gaming center
What experience will you transfer to your next projects?
Leonid Kvasnyuk: We are now building the second stage at the LesART complex in the village of Novoselye, Lomonosovsky district, Leningrad region, and there will be four construction stages in total. Without fail, we use the “smart home” system, which we implement in conjunction with SberMobile (Sber ecosystem). After all, a smart home is not just turning on the light with your voice or clapping your hands. This is safety and saving resources: water, heat, electricity and various additional services.
By the way, we are also building a kindergarten at the same time as residential buildings; today, very few people do.
How do you perceive winning construction competitions? Both “New Gorelovo” and even “LesART” have already received prestigious industry awards…
Leonid Kvasnyuk: Of course, it’s nice, it warms the soul. And we show these signs of recognition to our customers, we store figurines in the sales offices. But the main reward is still the return of our customers, repeat transactions. In Novoye Gorelovo there is, for example, a man who moved there from the Murmansk region. His relatives, friends and relatives have already bought six of our apartments on recommendation. And in total, about four percent of the apartments in the last of the houses we built remain unsold at the moment – this is a high figure. Most often, our apartments are purchased specifically for life – investment transactions make up no more than 10 percent of the total.
A few years ago, you breathed new life into the Kirishi Housing Construction Plant (DSK). How is your production capacity being used now?
Leonid Kvasnyuk: Now our DSK works for LesART. And I want to emphasize that these houses are being built to a very high quality, and most importantly, with perfect geometry.
Modern panel housing construction is usually undeservedly offended – when you need to fulfill large government orders, build quickly and at the same time well, they are best suited. The whole process is almost 1.5 times faster.
Of course, everyone remembers the “panels” of the Soviet period. But today it’s a completely different panel! Our panels are a kind of “sandwich” of insulation layers, they have increased sound insulation, cavities for low-voltage systems, holes, for example, for sockets, etc. The surfaces are perfectly even and smooth, so we need many times fewer employees to finish the apartments than the “monolithic” ones. The panel is assembled end to end, with no visible gaps or seams. In addition, our panels are made in a closed and warm room, that is, the concrete gains strength when all the necessary conditions of temperature and humidity are met. Monolithic structures during construction in winter need to be heated, and even then it is not always possible to do absolutely everything as it should. And for brick construction today there is a desperate shortage of skilled masons. Therefore, the panel is also a good option in this regard.
When we started the complete modernization of the company, we bought the first new production line in Cheboksary.
It was created by a talented Russian engineer by analogy with well-known German developments. And it turned out no worse! There is vibration shrinkage, leveling of finished surfaces, and magnetic tables that allow you to quickly change sizes – you can make ceilings higher, increase window openings, and so on.
Interestingly, the second modernized line was already assembled by the engineers of our company, they bought the necessary components and equipment, some of the equipment was made by ourselves. All went well. So, there are craftsmen in Russia, and they can do anything, if they are not interfered with.
What do you expect from the next 2023?
Leonid Kvasnyuk: Our company has fully implemented its plans for 2022: what we planned has been put into practice. The most important thing is that we managed to retain people, and now we even continue to recruit employees. We have an exceptionally professional team. We have to think about quality, deadlines, take care of professionals, and we will take care of everything. The safety margin is solid.
In 2025, we will complete construction in Novoselye, there are plans to build in Sosnovka, and we will continue to build housing for National Guard employees in the south of St. Petersburg. As for completely new projects, they exist, but we will not talk about them yet. Let’s do it first, then we’ll tell you.
By the way
The project of the company “LRS” was awarded prestigious awards.
This year, the builders received the prize of the “Golden Trezzini” architecture competition for the “LesART” residential complex project, in the nomination “Highest-tech project of a residential complex”. In addition, from the government of St. Petersburg, he received the Grand Prize of the competition “Leader of Construction Quality – 2022” in the nomination “The Best Object of Housing Construction”.