Conversations: Arnold de Asis on real estate technology |
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Conversations: Arnold de Asis on real estate technology

by MyProperty.phPublished: February 24, 2016Updated: March 3, 2016

How will real estate technology help provide affordable housing to Filipinos? Datem President Arnold de Asis explains.

Arnold de Asis, Datem Homes, Philippine real estate

Family togetherness under one roof may be a time-tested, traditional value, but that doesn’t mean innovative know-how can’t help it along the way. Datem Homes thinks so, which is why they’re focused on creating durable, affordable homes using various technological advances, some of which have yet to be seen in the Philippines.

To learn more about Datem Homes’ efforts to produce affordable and socialized housing with the help of modern construction technology, spoke with Datem Homes President and Datem Inc. Vice President for Operations Architect Arnold P. De Asis.

What was your goal in forming Datem over three decades ago?
Initially, Datem Inc. was a construction company. Two years ago, the group decided to venture into real estate. We’ve been constructing office buildings, residential condos, the most prestigious projects. We’re still doing that, but we’ve figured that if we go into real estate development, our advantage in technology would make us more competitive.

Now that your focus is more on real estate, what learnings have you gathered in the process?
In construction alone, we basically executed the plans and specifications of the client. It could be a hotel, casino, or a hospital. But in real estate, you have in mind the people that will live in that house. So we’ve developed houses that are durable, requires less maintenance, that owners can be very proud of. So we allocate more time in the study of (1) space planning, (2) the technology that will come in, and (3) trying to bring down the cost. At the end of the day, it’s still value for money we’re after.

You mentioned you had an advantage in terms of technology. What kinds of technology is Datem using in constructing homes?
For medium-rise buildings, we used the pre-cast system wherein concrete members of a structure are manufactured offsite, then we just bring it in. I think we have the most advanced technology in form works. We also developed the Datem Wallcrete, which is five times stronger than hollow blocks.

On the low-cost, or affordable, housing, Datem is putting together a German system we call the “shoebox technology.” Here, we put together floors, walls, doors and windows, the whole house in the factory, and bring it to the site whole. Datem will be the first to use this shoebox technology, which will come in this October. This technology has been applied in countries where the demand for modular housing is high.

How much would a “shoebox home” cost?
The 22-sqm house would be about P450,000, then the 28-sqm, with a bigger lot, would be from P900,000 to P1.6 million. We would like to work with local governments and government personnel, like teachers and police.

What is Datem’s current priority in relation to the prospects in Philippine real estate?
We’re trying to focus on the affordable and socialized housing, because we know the backlog is there. And by focusing on this segment, we’re not competing with our clients in the construction business, because in that aspect we're building high-rise, luxurious, expensive projects.

What do you think the real estate landscape will be like in the next 5 to 10 years?
I think much of the competition will concentrate on the affordable housing. And we’re using our advantage in building technology to get a good share of that. What we have in mind is to develop the technology that the house, when you turn it over to the homeowner, there will be minimal maintenance cost and complaints.

We’re bringing in technology and innovation to the affordable housing segment, so that we can deliver quality, well-planned houses for our D and E market.

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