Interviews

Article of a local newspaper


"THE METAL CONSTRUCTIONS HAVE LESS COST, LONGER DURATION OF LIFE."

Galerakis PantelisNowadays, metal constructions are really significant as far as the technological domain is concerned. Engineers tend to use this construction method more and more. Besides, most of the important projects accomplished during 2004 Olympics Games are metal constructions, for instance the Olympic Village, the Olympic Stadium (CALATRAVA I and II), industrial buildings, bridges, theatres and school complexes etc.

Exploring Heraklion, in Crete, we discovered Mr. Galerakis, an expert in this field and he is going to enlighten us about this particular construction technique. Mr. Galerakis Pantelis is an electrical engineer, who was born in a small village in Rethymnon, in Crete. Being a small child, he cherished making constructions. He was a prodigy child, who managed to build a whole room on his own, while being only in primary school!

His experience in the construction domain as well as his special knowledge urged him in establishing a construction company, named “Galerakis Construction”. Established in 2000, it is one of the most popular construction companies in Crete, as it is expanded all over the island (Heraklion, Rethymnon and Chania). The company’s manager, Mr. Galerakis is a diligent and reliable person and he is famous for working hard as he always wants to bring the undertaken project to perfection.

In order to have this interview, we visited Mr. Galerakis’ exquisite prefabriquated house, which is built in a place, providing a marvellous view of the Cretan sea. His lovely wife and his six children welcomed us warmly to their cosy home. Mr Galerakis has already created his own “empire”, so now all he desires is to have his own empire of buildings!

(?) Mr. Galerakis, when did the metal constructions make their appearance in Crete? This method has been implemented in USA and in Europe many years ago.

The metal constructions made their first appearance in Crete the last 20 years, regarding industrial buildings as well as bridges and port projects constructions etc. Greek engineers have expressed a strong preference for prefabricated constructions since 2000, while in U.S.A and in Europe they have adopted this technique 200 years ago, as they realized the great advantages of metal in contrast with concrete. For instance, many sky-scrapers are constructed with metal units.

(?) What type of metal do you use?

We use steel (Fe360, Fe420, Fe560) which is the most durable metal, having a lot of benefits.

(?) Mr. Galerakis, what encouraged you to work on metal constructions? How long have you been working in this domain?

My love for the metal urged me to be involved in metal constructions and that’s the reason why I studied to be an electrical engineer. I’m taking action in the domain of research and construction buildings the last 15 years. Working so many years on this field, I found out that constructions made of concrete have many disadvantages and I realised that they need much time and money so as to be accomplished. Having this on my mind, I decided to establish my own construction company, which is dealing with new generation metal constructions. We are aiming to provide defectless buildings of optimum specifications, meeting the highest requirements, as we have excellent technical knowledge and we cooperate with the most experienced architects, civil engineers and mechanical engineers.

(?) What are, in your opinion, the main differences between a concrete and a metal house?

The main differences are:

  • The accomplishment and delivery time, which can be equal to 50-75% compared with a concrete house construction.
  • Moreover, the cost of a metal house is less, because of the use of prefabricated units, which are industrially constructed.
  • The metal houses have a high degree of heat and sound insulation.
  • Low consumption of energy in relation with the concrete houses.

(?) What are the metal constructions’ main advantages? Why should we choose this construction type?

People should choose this construction type, because it has a lot of benefits. These are the following:

  • Stable project budget, which offers the possibility of cost accounting the materials, and their assembly as well as the transport means.
  • Planned prompt delivery time.
  • Control of the materials flow and reduction of their wear.
  • Manufacturing of units is made in places that are protected from bad weather conditions.
  • Guarantee of the required units quality and reliable controls enhancing their features to meet special needs.
  • Metal constructions are the only ones that are compatible with geothermal energy.

(?) Are these constructions earthquake and fire resistant?

Every construction is accomplished in accordance with the provisions of Eurocode 3, as well as the new regulation regarding earthquake resistance. In case of a strong earthquake, these constructions undergo a displacement of 4 mm, because of their great elasticity. Furthermore, these constructions are fire resistant, because every wall is manufactured with gunite of 3 mm.

(?) Are these structures flexible?

One of the most impressive features of metal constructions is their flexibility. You can add or rearrange the building’s design in order to create the environment that one has dreamt of.

(?) Are the building materials that you use ecological?

We use 100% recyclable and ecological materials as metal, glass, concrete as well as polystyrene foam of 25kg/c3m. The polystyrene foam is an ecological material, which meets every scientific control and European standards.

(?) What exactly is the polystyrene foam?

Polystyrene is an organic heat insulator material, which belongs in the stiff, fizzy plastics category. The polystyrene foam is the best heat insulator material used in building construction. It is a healthy and light material. Moreover, it doesn’t absorb humidity up to 25-27 kg. The wide variety of its technical applications in metal and concrete building construction makes it the most popular heat insulator worldwide.

(?) What’s the life duration of a metal building?

The metal buildings have the longest life duration in comparison with the concrete ones, because are covered with an admixture of sealing off materials, which protect metal from possible corrosion. Their life duration is 80-100 years, while the life duration of concrete buildings is 50-60 years.

(?) What did you gain from the recent house exhibition, which took place in Gouves? Were the visitors aware of this construction method?

The main goal of our participation in the house exhibition was to inform visitors about metal buildings and give them the opportunity to enjoy rich photographical material of these constructions. They were really interested in this type of constructions, that’s why they kept asking for details, so as to learn more about it.

(?) Is it possible to have a combination of concrete and steel in order to build a house?

Of course, we can use a combination of these two materials and build a house, having great functional and aesthetic results.

(?) Could you please tell us, which plots are constructible?

There are two categories of constructible plots: The ones that are in the city plan and the plots that are out of it. The plot’s adequacy depends on the region. In case the plot isn’t in the city plan, the required area in order to receive a building permit is 4.000 . There can be deviations, considering the plot’s area as well as its creation date. One of the main factors is whether the plot fronts onto a regional road or a highway. In these cases, depending on the date of the plot’s contract, the adequacy is 750 m for 1200 m2 and 2 .000 m2, if the plot isn’t in the city plan. The same factors influence the adequacy of plots that are in the city plan. The main difference is that it is necessary the plot’s area is smaller, so as to be considered constructible.

(?) Is there any investment interest for Cretan land by foreigners?

Many foreign people are interested in building their own house in Crete. Moreover, the tax system and legislation of Greece requires the investment of big amounts of money. Thus, even though they would love to have a house in Crete, they can’t afford so much money.

(?) What are your predictions about tourism in our island this year?

In my opinion, tourism in Crete is in a very bad condition, because of the hotels rooms’ prices. There are few organized hotels, which provide high quality services. There should be made many changes, in order to promote and offer visitors our authentic hospitality.

(?) Does your company take action in other activities?

Yes, we have a real estate agency in which people can immediately find plots for sale and build their own houses. For any additional information, visit our site: http://www.galerakis.com and at http://www.realestatecrete.net.

(?) Mr. Galerakis, we had the pleasure to be invited in your big, comfortable and hospitable house and meet your lovely family. According to which method is your house constructed?

It’s nice of you to ask me this question. My house is a metal building and it provides us with comfort and safety.

(?) One last question, what was your best creation?

I have constructed many buildings, but none of them can be compared to my six children!