Margarita Valigun, Head of Design, Engineer & Entrepreneur at Nova Ceiling LLC
In my 15+ year career as a designer, engineer, and entrepreneur, I’ve seen firsthand how people want spaces that truly fit their personalities and needs. As a result, I’ve focused on making each project unique for the client.
In fact, the latest figures published by the U.S. Census show a steady pattern in new home construction. As of November 2023, about 1.5 million new homes were set to be built, which is similar to last year’s 1.4 million. This means the number of new homes people plan to build is quite stable. We also see a small rise in the number of homes that are actually finished, suggesting a slow but sure growth in completed homes.
Overall, since 2022, the numbers for planned and started homes have not gone up much, but the steady number of finished homes indicates that the housing market is holding strong, even with the economic ups and downs following the COVID-19 period. . Looking ahead, it’s expected that once the current economic difficulties ease, the housing market will experience a significant boost.
In this article, I’ll talk about how homeowners’ needs are changing and why customization in construction is essential. I’ll share my unique approach, the challenges I’ve faced, and my ideas for the future of customization. I believe that customization is the way forward for the construction industry, improving both the industry and the lives of those who request it.
Evolving Client Demands: Adapting to Change
My career has taught me that understanding what clients want is crucial for success in construction and design. What clients want and need has changed significantly over time, and keeping up with these changes is key.
Throughout my experience, which began in Russia and later led to gaining insights into the American market, I’ve experienced a variety of client preferences. In Russia, I worked on developing special engineering solutions for construction and remodeling, particularly in the field of stretch ceilings, to offer innovative and cost-effective options for interior design that are both attractive and accessible. With my expertise, I aim to inspire the American market by sharing this same spirit of creativity and innovation.
In the past, clients were mainly focused on functionality and cost-effectiveness when it came to construction. These aspects are still important, but clients are now better informed and have higher expectations – meaning that their wants and needs have changed. They seek solutions that are practical, aesthetically pleasing, sustainable, and technologically advanced. These changes reflect a bigger societal shift, where people are more aware of environmental impacts and want personalized experiences.
The current trend leans towards minimalist designs that maximize natural light and space. Clients are increasingly drawn to sustainable and eco-friendly options, valuing long-term efficiency over short-term savings. In response, I focus on using materials and designs that are both environmentally conscious and visually striking.
My projects, especially those involving stretch ceilings and LED lighting, combine practicality, aesthetic appeal, and energy efficiency. These innovations meet the growing worldwide trend for designs that are not only personalized but also environmentally conscious. They appeal to clients who value both functionality and style.
In short, client needs have evolved in the construction industry to reflect a shift towards personal style and sustainability. Keeping up with these trends and understanding what clients want is essential for delivering successful projects that stand the test of time.
Gaining an Edge: The Power of Customized Solutions
Customization in design and construction is critical for businesses like mine to reach a broader range of clients. By offering tailored solutions, I can meet the varied and specific needs of everyone, from individual homeowners to large-scale developers. This strategy helps me meet client demands and sets my work apart in a competitive market.
One prime example of this is my work with stretch ceilings. In Russia, I transformed these ceilings from a cost-effective option to an innovative design element that grabbed the attention of the country’s top developers, showing how customized solutions can open doors to high-profile projects. Stretch ceilings are versatile – they can be simple and elegant, or complex, multi-level installations with intricate lighting systems. Each design is shaped to fit the client’s vision and the specific space, demonstrating the power of customization.
Now, I’m exploring modular structures, which are quickly becoming popular in construction. These structures are rapidly erected, cost-effective, and can be customized to suit many needs. For example, they can provide temporary homes in disaster relief efforts or be used to create innovative living spaces. The modular approach aligns with the trend for personalized and adaptable living and working environments.
Ultimately, customization is about more than just meeting needs; it’s about being innovative and forward-thinking. It means understanding current trends, foreseeing future demands, and creating adaptable and scalable solutions. Whether it’s through the artistic use of stretch ceilings or practical modular structures, the goal is to provide unique, practical, and modern solutions. This approach has widened my client base and established me as a leader in offering specialized solutions to diverse clients.
Customization in Construction: My Personal Journey
In my journey in innovative construction, combining science, technology, and entrepreneurship has been vital. This unique blend of expertise has helped me create groundbreaking solutions in the industry.
Starting out, I led a team at New Technologies, developing medical devices. This experience, where I mainly worked on the Aster device for treating bronchial asthma, honed my skills in precision, innovation, and attention to detail. These skills are crucial in my current field, where thinking outside the box and applying rigorous scientific methods can lead to breakthroughs.
In 2009, I started Khimira LLC, a company that dealt with chemical reagents and lab equipment. This business laid the foundation for my next venture, Ventakhim LLC, in 2012. Initially, Ventakhim focused on building hazardous industrial facilities. However, I soon steered the company toward constructing suburban homes, leading three teams in this new direction. During this time, I also earned key certifications in designing hazardous facilities. I also became involved in the National Agency for Low-Rise and Cottage Construction, underlining my growing role in the construction industry.
I then founded Profkrepezh, where we developed an extensive range of fasteners and building engineering solutions, with new kinds of facade fasteners being one of the many innovations. This venture wasn’t just about creating new products; it was about improving what already existed. My approach has always been hands-on, combining theory with real-world practice.
After founding Profkrepezh, I started Nova Ceiling Design in 2022. This company marked the start of an extensive journey into innovative solutions within the construction and finishing industry, beginning with the installation of stretch ceilings. Starting with stretch ceilings, Nova Ceiling Design has plans to grow. I aim to get a construction license and take on full-scale projects.
Nova Ceiling Design represents my dedication to conceptualizing forward-thinking construction designs, with the hope of inspiring the American market in the future. This venture is a major milestone for me, combining my technical expertise with insights into what customers and the market want.
This is clear in my work, where I use my physics and math expertise to create aesthetically pleasing yet functional designs. I’ve taken engineering concepts to a new level, as seen in my use of aluminum profiles to make layered designs more interesting and stylish, especially with added lighting. I’ve also made it easier to install lighting in ceilings, leading to more design choices and better efficiency. While I’ve worked on many engineering projects, I have a lot of experience with ceilings, which are popular in Russia. Ultimately, these advancements opened up new design possibilities and became popular among major developers.
My innovative spirit led to a solution for quickly erected premises, which won a presidential grant. Born from the pandemic’s urgency, I developed a fast-assembly technology using aluminum frames and PVC film. This technology acts like building blocks, creating various room sizes quickly and almost without tools, ideal for emergencies.
In summary, my construction approach combines my scientific and entrepreneurial skills. I create practical, market-driven solutions, turning real-world challenges into efficient, innovative designs.
Overcoming Obstacles: Navigating the Challenges of Customization
Customization in construction, as my career shows, means dealing with various challenges. These include making sure designs are stylish and functional, and sourcing unique materials.
For example, a huge challenge when designing stretch ceilings is to make sure the artist-designer, who focuses on aesthetics, and the installer-technician, who builds the design, understand each other. This communication is key to ensuring the final product looks stunning and remains practical and sustainable in different environments. We promise a 10-year warranty, but our work usually lasts longer. Our materials can handle heat and moisture, making them great for places like kitchens, bathrooms, and even outdoor areas.
Another challenge is sourcing and using unique materials. The technology behind my quickly built structures is aluminum frames and a special type of PVC film. It was important to find high-quality, sustainable, and affordable materials. They also needed to be light, strong, and easy to put together quickly.
Using project management tools has been very helpful in overcoming these challenges. These tools help manage everything from design to materials and the fabrication itself. They make sure we stay on track, keeping the design, functionality, and materials in line with the project’s goals. In my work, these tools help different teams work together effectively, making sure the design vision is achieved while maintaining functionality.
Working with local material suppliers has also been vital. By partnering with local suppliers, I get access to high-quality, unique materials that are affordable and environmentally friendly. This not only helps the local economy, but also cuts down on the environmental impacts from shipping. For example, local sourcing of aluminum profiles for stretch ceilings helps us keep quality high and costs low.
In conclusion, the challenges of customizing in construction have many sides, but they can be managed with the right strategies. For example, integrated project management, local sourcing, and teamwork have been crucial in my ability to deliver projects that are not just creative and unique, but also practical and long-lasting.
The Future of Construction: Personalization and Sustainability
Looking ahead, the future of customized construction is exciting, with new trends and technologies changing how we build. These changes are not just about enhancing aesthetic appeal and functionality but also about a more substantial commitment to sustainability.
One of the most significant future trends in construction customization is the increasing use of 3D printing technology. This technology lets us create complex designs that were once considered impossible or too expensive to execute. With 3D printing, architects and designers can experiment with unique shapes and structures, pushing the boundaries of creativity. Personally, I find 3D printing immensely useful in my work. It’s really helpful to print out my designs in plastic first, so I can identify any flaws and make necessary adjustments before moving them into pre-production. It’s a great tool for making sure everything is just right.
Smart technology in building materials is another upcoming trend. Imagine walls that can change color or texture on demand, or windows that adjust their opacity based on the time of day to optimize natural light. These smart materials don’t just add to the building’s look and feel; they also save energy, which is essential as we try to make construction more sustainable.
Ultimately, sustainability will play a pivotal role in the future of customized construction. The construction industry is moving towards using eco-friendly materials and adding green tech like solar panels and systems to collect rainwater. These green methods help the environment and save money and energy in the long run.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, based on my experience in the industry, I’m convinced that the future of this field is all about customization – making things just right for each client. This article shares my story, underlining how creating tailor-made solutions for clients meets their needs and elevates the entire project.
Throughout my career, I’ve focused on being innovative and listening to clients’ wants and needs. For me, it’s more than just a way of doing business; it’s about believing in the powerful impact of creating personalized and eco-friendly solutions, and using technology to get there.
By focusing on the needs of our clients, we can keep up with evolving trends and make sure our work truly means something to the people we design for.