The 101º edition of the International Infrastructure Conference, promoted by FIDIC, International Federation of Consulting Engineers, had its second day today. The conference’s theme is “Innovative infrastructure solutions” and it’s being held at Royal Tulip Hotel, in Rio de Janeiro City, Brazil, where around 650 people, from 70 countries, were welcomed for the event.
The conference begun with the discourse of emerging economies and needs of insfrastructure and development, by the speaker Hernando de Soto, International Economist and President of the International Institute for Liberty and Democracy, in Peru. The theme proposed a reflection on the phenomenon of mass migration to cities, transforming rural economies into urban economies, in an informal, unorganized and illegal growth. Hernando presented statistics of the world’s population and how it can be classified in formal and informal. He underscored the importance of understanding cultural differences involving migration and how immigrants may have interest in returning to their countries or cities. The economist gave many examples of cases and observations of his own life, most of the time comparing Peru to other countries. Then, Hernando was interwied by the moderator Greg Ward.
Javier Baldor, Executive Vice Presiden of BST Global (FIDIC Strategic Partner), presented the theme “Business Solutions for Consulting Engineering Firms”, poiting out the main aspects of digital age future, with the trends that will transform the consultancy, the resources provided by the growth of Internet use and the changes in behavior between employees and employers, due to the way the softwares offer new interactions.
“Making the best of the business opportunities” was the theme of the third plenary. Reyes Juárez, President of FEPAC, Panamerican Federation of Consultants, brought up again the importance of PPP (public–private partnership) for the competitiveness of infrastructure. He showed rates of Latin America, that have been facing the challenges of insufficient investments, compared to other countries. Cristiano Kok, President of Engevix, highlighted the importance of having technological tools, and quoted Javier Baldor’s speech. He also indicated the models of infrastructure projects: by concessions, mainly used in industries, cities and transports; or public-private partnerships, mainly used in education, health, housing and administrative buildings. André Fleury, Programme Lead at Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Concremat / Arcadis, with a large experience in working with different types of consulting firms, presented ways to look for opportunities, tools, culture change and innovation. He concluded proposing that, if we don’t question the situation of our clients, if we don’t question their decisions or the way they think, it’s not worth it. Mauro Gomes, civil engineer and President of Engecorps – Urban Integration Porto Maravilha, presented the characteristics and challenges of the project.
The theme “Smart and innovative solutions that optimize efforts” was discussed by the invited guests Terry D. Bennett, Senior Industry Program Manager, Civil Infrastructure, Autodesk; Riccardo Barberis, Director of Management, Manpower Group, from Brazil; and Luiz Octavio Land, Sales & Marketing Director at Samsung. Moderated by John Gamble, from ACEC, from Canada. The speakers presented topics about optmising processes and projects, working with new structures and improving the project comprehension, by looking at cities as well as at its surroundings. Thus, it is necessary to optimise and understand the urban infrastructure in case of natural disasters or any other kind of emergency. Riccardo Barberis mentioned the issues related to education quality, such as investment in human capacity. He also talked about young professionals, their multitasking profile and the difficulty of these young people to enter the workforce, and how it can affect the economy.
The giga-projects Canal do Panamá and Jirau Hydro Power, both in Brazil, were the main subjects of the plenary “Investors and contractors: a two lane road”, whose purpose was to discuss the relationship among investors, contractors and builders, hiring methods and the main experiences and challenges. Júlio Cesar Bueno, from Pinheiros Neto Advogados in Brazil, who represents some of the biggest construction companies in the world, was the moderator. Júlio recognised the awareness promoted by FIDIC, mainly in Latin America, about construction laws, privatization processes and new concepts of engineering contracts, throughout the development of huge and important projects. Luis Quijano, administrator and CEO of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), presented the project of Canal do Panamá, which has the largest group of contracts in project and infrastructure of the world and the only one, so far, with global impact. Quijano presented the experience of the project and its subprojects, and its major challenges, such as integration of members in the contractor’s management, diversity of corporate cultures and different languages. The challenges of majesty and the integrations were also discussed by Víctor Paranhos, President of Sustainable Energy of Brazil (ESRB), who presented the project of Jirau Hydro Power and explained the complexities of civil works and hiring methods.