Many companies in the world want to expand their business to South America and Brazil occupies a prominent position in the region's economy.
In some cases it is necessary to set up a factory in Brazil to attend the local market and have competitive costs and tax incentives.
Recently our company was contracted to design the project of an industrial shed for an auto parts company from South Korea (youtu.be/T-Y05kOC7aw).
In this article I want to share key learnings that we had to deal with the differences between Brazilian and foreign culture.
The difference between climate and environmental conditions is what appears at first. Our client had a pre-project with hard heat insulation, common in his country with a cold climate with snow. We had to show locally that Brazilian industries have a concern about building ventilated environments due to the tropical climate. In addition, because Brazil is in the south hemisphere, the sun shines on the north face of the building and therefore the layout of windows for natural lighting should follow this guidance.
Another issue that appeared early in the project was the concern about earthquakes and how it can affect the structure of the building. In Brazil there are no significant earthquakes and it is very rare that a seismic event that can be even felt by people. An Internet search on earthquakes in Brazil show almost no occurrence of earthquakes in our country.
Despite being a tropical country, if the construction is not in the Amazon rainforest region it doesn´t rain as much as you think. Our client had a lot of concern about torrential rains and constant flooding so the design of rainwater drainage had to be oversized on client´s request. It was possible to design a lower cost rainwater drainage system if there was not this concern.
Brazilian construction legislation
After solving these initial doubts then we start with the Brazilian legislation for civil construction.
In Brazil civil construction projects must follow several rules and standards. Initially, each city has a Building Law, then each State has a Health Code and Fire and Safety Codes. We also have to follow technical rules of ABNT (Brazilian Technical Standards Association) for architectural, foundation, earthwork, structural, hydraulic and electrical projects. The engineer responsible for the project must be registered in the CREA (Council of Engineering) and must also be registered at the Department of Public Works of the city where the shed will be built.
This industry would have a large consumption of electricity and we had to make the electric project in accordance with technical standards of the local energy utility company.
There is a need to comply with the labor law of the Ministry of Labor. For example, our client wanted to construct only one toilet for men claiming they will only hire men to work in his factory but the labor law, which requires toilets for both sexes in the workplace, does not allow this.
In addition, we guided our client on taxes and fees resulting from design and construction.
All these rules may seem complex to a foreigner but with proper guidance and local support it is possible to design and build safely and quickly. Main doubts are resolved in the initial meetings and local solutions meets customer needs.
Civil Engineer in Brazil and is Director of Araki Engineering, a Brazilian company with expertise in projects, management and civil construction.
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