Carlos Martínez Bertrand | Managing Director of PTEC: “Our greatest achievement has been to integrate all members into a global ecosystem of cooperation”
Carlos Martínez is, since mid-2018, responsible for promoting, directing and coordinating the work carried out within the Spanish Construction Technology Platform (PTEC), as well as its representative with the authorities and forums related to R&D&i, among other functions. From this period, he highlights the solid growth of the institution and “the muscle that the Spanish sector has” as well as the fact that the biannual conference of the ECPT will be held next December in our country.
PTEC is the Spanish Construction Technology Platform, what are its main purposes as an association?
From PTEC we have the ambition to contribute to improve the Spanish construction sector through cooperation and R&D&i, and therefore we have defined a strategy based on 4 main axes: the internationalization of the R&D&I of our members, the promotion of innovation, the improvement of the image of the sector through R&D&I and to increase our number of members in order to offer them more complete services and to show the muscle that the sector has.
In this sense, what do you think have been your main results and achievements?
In addition to our work in the 4 axes, I always like to emphasize that in PTEC we have a very direct relationship with our partners and we like to encourage their participation through assemblies and working groups, and I think that is one of the reasons why we have managed to maintain a continuous growth and currently we have more than 144 associates. Furthermore, as a sign of this solid growth and the muscle that the Spanish sector has, we have managed to hold the biannual ECPT conference in our country this year, although due to health conditions it will take place in a mixed way, telematically and face-to-face. We are very proud to be able to host the meeting on December 2 and 3 at the Palacio de Cibeles in Madrid, with great institutional presence and support. In addition to events and the doubling of membership in the last two years, PTEC’s greatest achievement has been to integrate all its members into a global ecosystem of cooperation in the sector.
As you have already mentioned, within the PTEC the work of the members and the working groups is very important, what are the advantages of belonging to these groups?
The commitment to the working groups is one of the initiatives that has a better reception from the companies, since we have more and more, 11 already, with several thematic subgroups. Although their coordination causes us a lot of headaches, in the end the effort is compensated every time a collaboration consortium or R&D project is consolidated. Each working group operates independently, led by two entities of recognized prestige in the field. Each need that is detected is channeled to new working groups or to subgroups of existing ones. In this sense, the proactivity of the members makes us continue to grow every day.
With the new European framework Horizon Europe, with initiatives such as Built4people and Metabuilding, how do you see the future of PTEC and R&D&I in construction in Europe?
From PTEC we are committed to participate in European projects aligned with innovation in the construction sector. Our goal is to bring innovation closer to Spanish companies and increase their presence in the European R&D landscape. Currently, we are part of three European projects and we will continue to grow and contribute more and more projects to the Spanish construction sector, and to this end, at the initiative of our partners, we have opened an office in Brussels to not miss the opportunity presented by the new European funds and this new framework program. Likewise, participation in projects such as Metabuilding is positioning us as a platform for collaboration with SMEs, reaching directly 40% of our members are SMEs and indirectly reaching a large part of the sector, with the help of the associations of construction companies belonging to the PTEC.
Your commitment to R&D&I and collaboration dates back to before you joined PTEC, and in fact, you have been collaborating with CETIM since your time at Vías. What aspect would you highlight from so many years of collaboration?
The collaboration with CETIM, as you remember, comes from the past. With you I have always found collaboration and closeness, as well as a high degree of specialization in the subjects. I consider CETIM to be a center specialized in sustainable construction materials of all kinds, from low carbon footprint cements and concretes based on geopolymers obtained from inorganic waste, to insulating foams or construction additives based on wood by-products, with a very dedicated and qualified staff. In addition, I would highlight its proximity to companies and with special relevance to SMEs.
In addition to his work at PTEC, you have also taken on a SEOPAN (Association of Infrastructure Construction and Concession Companies) position, so you also have a privileged view of the Spanish sector at a global level. What do you see as the next steps to be taken?
The sector is facing major challenges. The arrival of the Next Generation funds gives an important opportunity and, especially, to the construction sector, which supports one of the most important percentages of the national GDP.
For this reason, from SEOPAN and PTEC we have presented Expressions of Interest for more than one billion € to different ministries, identifying in the sector, more than 32 MDIs for a value of 6,000 million €, among the members of PTEC, which surely have been many more. From PTEC and from the sector we hope that the digitalization needs that the sector has to continue to be of value to the country’s productivity will be met.