When one of the world’s leading manufacturers of lightweight building products and systems set up in Algeria in 2006, it introduced a new facet to the country’s construction industry and launched a new generation of professionals
“Knauf is a known name, a benchmark of quality in construction products,” says Brahim Abdelatif, General Manager of Knauf Algeria, part of the multinational Knauf Group of Germany. “The plastering profession as such did not previously exist in Algeria. We had plumbers, carpenters, painters and a lot of other businesses, but not plasterers, neither drywall applicators.”
We need to build fast in this country and dry lining is exactly what we need. It is fast but also extremely performing, cheaper than traditional methods, technically very much advanced and flexible, providing fire protection, acoustic solutions, time saving and high quality for the owner.
Under a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Professional Education and Training, Knauf has set up one state of the art Training Centre and is sponsoring six training centres across the country that have so far successfully trained more than 3,000 people to create a new pool of qualified Algerian plasterers and drywall specialists.
“Our presence is helping young people to learn in our centres and become drywall installers or plasterers who work on large sites and as a result no foreign specialists are needed for large projects,” says Mr Abdelatif.
Established in 1932 by two brothers in Perl an der Mosel, Saarland, Knauf has grown from a family business to a worldwide group of companies with a workforce of 23,000 people on more than 150 sites in 40 countries. In Algeria, it currently employs 200 people directly and 120 indirectly. “Creating the demand through huge contacts with architects and building constructors, we are strongly contributing to the organisation of small businesses in the distribution and the erection of our important range of products. We consider that there is a potential of 30,000 jobs which could be created in this field of the finishing side of the construction,” says Mr Abdelatif.
Originally a producer of conventional gypsum, Knauf specialises in producing construction materials for drywall construction and manufacturing plasterboard, mineral-fibre acoustic boards, dry mortar with gypsum for internal plaster and cement-based external plaster.
The company offers complete tailor-made solutions for flexible, speedy interior finishing work, such as its renowned drywall systems. Its plastering and flooring options permit a high level of freedom when it comes to interior design. Knauf also produces weather-resistant facades for buildings.
Its high quality energy-saving wool-based insulation materials are recyclable and can be used from the basement to the roof of any building, whether as part of a new-build or refurbishment scheme.
In addition to supplying construction professionals in the building trade, the ease of use, high quality and adaptability of Knauf’s products are also in great demand in the DIY market by people carrying out extension or modernisation projects.
“When we talk about energy-saving materials and sound or acoustic insulation, as well as good living standards, integration of light, climate or air conditioning, not all of these techniques exist here in Algeria. People know about them, but they prefer not to use them,” says Mr Abdelatif. “We are helping them to adopt these techniques. It is a long process and we expect that the whole Gypsum Industry of the Country will join us in the development of those technics. But already, through Knauf, dry systems and modern building systems are being developed and making Algeria as the leader in Drywall construction systems in Africa.”