BCCC: Design, Engineering, Project Management and Construction in Uganda

Obbo Benard discusses the challenges to be faced by the construction sector in Uganda and gives an overview of BCCC, an organization that specializes in design, engineering, project management and construction. He also mentions his interest in farming and agriculture, and shares his vision for the future in the medium term.

Interview with Obbo Benard, CEO of BCCC

Obbo Benard, CEO of BCCC

What are the major challenges you are facing and how are you overcoming these challenges?

The biggest challenge facing companies in the construction sector is competition. Some of the major players we compete with are Roko, which has been in the market since 1978, as well as Indian and US companies. There are then national companies to complete with. As a youth and a civil engineer, I began in India where I had the idea to start this company to solve the challenges facing construction here. In Uganda specifically, we have cheap labor but the problem that we are facing is with equipment and tools. To overcome this, we hire tools. Funding is also another big challenge. The government is also giving out loans. We get a loan, finish a project, and then pay back the loan.

What are the competitive advantages you offer? Why do clients come to you?

What gives me my drive is my knowledge of civil engineering. If you come to me as a client, I will explain to you what should be done and how it should be done. By that, you can see the entire picture of the project.

In my view as a civil engineer, I give my people free consultation. BCCC is a construction and consultation company. Clients come to me with what they want and I give them advice on what they should do. I also advise them how to get their project done at a low cost. Other companies do not tell them this because they are only focused on profit. That is the difference between BCCC and our competitors. In addition, what makes us different from others is that we also have architects in our company. So, we start with the design, we do the construction, and then we also provide the interior finishing. We want to help people with the entire process. Many people in this country have been cheated because they do not know the specifics of this industry. I want to come in as a messiah for them.

Are you looking for investors or strategic partnerships? Do you want to attract international investors as well?

Because construction is now a combination of many aspects, we need to partner with each other. Partners and investors are both very welcome. We are doing a lot of work, but we cannot do every aspect, so we often partner with other companies to finish the work on schedule. According to our vision, we want everyone in Uganda to own a house. I realize that to achieve that, even something for 10 million UGX, someone can have a place to sleep.

What are your core activities and current projects?

Before COVID, we were working in Uganda and South Sudan building steel structures and fabrication. We also had a project in the works to create six water tanks in South Sudan, each costing approximately $25,000. After the COVID lockdown, borders were closed and many of our projects were put on hold. As we dealt with COVID, we moved more into our design aspects because we can do so remotely.

How are you planning to overcome these COVID related challenges?

As a youth, you need to think outside of the box. As an engineer, I do not only see the construction sector. I am also interested in the farming and agriculture sector. When COVID came, it negatively affected construction, but positively affected the agriculture sector. In our company, we employ 50 people, both technical professionals and non-professionals. We are now taking those technical employees to the farming aspect so they can work. We are challenging COVID instead of it challenging us.

What is your background? Why did you decide to start BCCC?

Even when I was in high school, I had the dream of becoming a civil engineer because I wanted to help my people. People have been cheated so much in this sector because they are not educated. After finishing high school, I did not get what I wanted. I was first given a scholarship for agricultural engineering. I finished my diploma in that area and then applied for a scholarship in India where I was able to study my dream of civil engineering. As I was studying, I got the idea that instead of going back home to look for a job with another company that had already cheated customers, I should start my own company to help those people. I started this business because I wanted to give back to the community. Now it is working very well.

Why did you decide to offer the entire chain from design to construction to finishings?

What gives me my drive is my knowledge of civil engineering. If you come to me as a client, I will explain to you what should be done and how it should be done. By that, you can see the entire picture of the project. For example, you want to construct a house. Instead of you buying bricks, I would tell you that you still have time. So, we can mold the bricks, burn them, and that will reduce the cost of materials by 50%. Other companies will not do that. They will show you brick options, find ones you like, and make you buy them. If you were to go to buy something in the supermarket, it is better to go there by yourself and see it in person. I am following behind you with the protocol step by step. Taking this approach allows you to see clearly what you need to know, how it should be done, and how to start. It is something big. So, what I do is take the whole contract. I know how much my services can cost. For time overrun and cost overrun, I will get other companies to partner with to make the work finish on schedule. I can do the design, the construction, and also have other people start working on interior finishings. We know all the work that needs to be done for the entirety of the project. My biggest concern is people being cheated and we avoid this by our process.

What values do you hold important? How are you applying these values to your work in the sector?

As the CEO of BCCC, first of all, we have the vision and the goal that we are following. Right now, we are in a digital world, so we need marketing. From finding customers digitally, we can explain to them what they need, and then build trust with them for our business. Everything is based on the trust between BCCC and the clients. In construction, you need that trust first, then from there, you need the recommendation from previous clients. If I do something good for you now, your friend might need a project constructed in the future, and they will come to us. As a person, I am a civil engineer by profession with a desire to help the people in my community. We have the goal to make sure everyone in Uganda has a house. We know that it is a big project, but by 2030, we can achieve 80% of this mission. In everything you do, you must have a goal and a direction. It is about planning. Not everyone needs a two-bedroom or five-bedroom or six-bedroom house. In Uganda, even a one-bedroom house for a few thousand dollars, which is very cheap, is possible. There are those people that just need something little to be able to have a life which they can enjoy on this planet. That is what I fight for, for those people. In fact, our motto is “build for generations.” I know it is possible and I will continue to work towards this. Through that, we leave the rest to God and He will open the way.

Project yourself to the medium term, three years’ time. What is your vision for the future?

My dream is first and foremost for everyone to own a house in Uganda. The second is in terms of agriculture. Uganda is a developing country and its economy depends on agriculture. But, how are people helping those in the agricultural sector? My concern is in the community. What can we do to make people carry out this agriculture without being disturbed? When I was in India, I was in a state called Gujarat. It is a dry state, but farming is taking place. The government is taking the initiative and giving irrigation to farmers. In Uganda, if we can get irrigation systems to the farmers that are affected by the climate, they can have more production in agriculture. How can we allow these farmers to do more? My plan is to have a canal irrigation system for the production of crops in every community. We need to get the knowledge to help these people. It is not about money, and that is why we are different from other companies.


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