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Trenchless technologies for pipes installation become more and more popular
Krasimir Stoyanov, Sales Manager and Procurator at Hobas Bulgaria

Mr. Stoyanov, what are your expectations for the development of the water and wastewater infrastructure projects during this year?
- There is an unanimous opinion, that the best anti-crisis measure for Bulgaria in the current situation is the implementation of water and wastewater projects, for which there is ensured financing mainly from the EU Operational Program “Environment”. Currently in Bulgaria there are several integrated water projects that are being implemented – in Sofia, Ruse, Kyustendil, Shumen, Sliven, Smolyan, Dimitrovgrad, Pernik. These projects are financed through the EU pre-accession programme ISPA. Projects in Vratsa and Gabrovo have been approved for financing and the municipalities are working hard to finalise the contracts for the implementation. There is a commitment from the Ministry of Environment and Water that other new projects are being developed now. Having in mind the ensured financing from the EU we can say that the levels of project implementation are far from what the business expects and what the country needs. We hope that after the current quite period, we will see more active work on the preparation of new quality projects to be approved, financed and realized in the fastest possible terms.

What are the possibilities for development of EU-funded projects and which are the main factors that could support their implementation?
- Obviously the possibilities for EU-financing of the projects are currently quite larger than our readiness and capabilities for using these funds. However some important steps have been made by the government in order to cope with such a ridiculous situation – for example, defining clear priorities, preparing transparent criteria for evaluation and following strictly the EU rules and requirements. It is clear now, that the money of the European taxpayers should be spent transparently and efficiently, with a though about the environment and water protection.
And what is next – a lot of work should be done by the responsible ministries, the municipalities and the engineers. Political will, adept management and sufficient administrative capacity are the key factors now. It is crucial also that the state ensures the needed co-funding. It would be good to use the expertise of the European consultancy companies as technical support for the projects’ preparation and for funds spends. The role of the NGOs is very important as well - they should require a responsible attitude and action from the government.

What are the main areas of expertise in which you could support your clients in the course the implementation of infrastructure projects?
- Ever since we have entered the Bulgarian market, we have strived to share with the Bulgarian engineers, investors and builders the best global practices in the water sector. That’s why we have organized seminars for engineers every year now. We present different projects at the specialised events in the sector, in front of municipal and state administrations. We are trying to share our experience and know-how publicly that it is available for maximum number of people in the sector. We publish descriptions and technical data about the newest projects in the water sector in specialized magazines. These are sent regularly to our partners too.
We know, that half of the work is to invest (in our case) quality pipe systems in the project. The other integral part of the work is the quality installation – it should be done in line with the requirements. This is why we regularly train the builders, supervise their projects and send regular quality reports to the investor and the supervisor of the project. Our efforts through the years as well as the gained experience are resulting now in higher and higher quality of the implemented projects.

What are the biggest technical challenges during project implementation in Bulgaria and what solutions could you provide to handle them?
- As time goes by the investors, meaning the municipalities and the ministries, become stricter and stricter towards the quality of the projects’ execution and the technical solutions, being used. The European practice shows that trenchless technologies for pipes installation become more and more popular. This technology does not interfere with the life and the traffic in large towns. Installing pipes does not mean you have to destroy the existing road and other infrastructure and build it all over again. Hobas has successfully implemented a number of micro-tunneling projects in the whole world for the last 10 years. Another popular technology is the rehabilitation of corroded old sewerage collectors. We hope that soon these technologies, which are standard for Europe, but new in Bulgaria, will be implemented and that we would be useful with the experience we have.

In the beginning of June Hobas Bulgaria organizes a seminar for Bulgarian and foreign experts. What are your expectations for this event and what experience would you share with the participants?
-    The main idea of this forum is to provide a floor for the engineers from Central and Eastern Europe to share experience and present good practices and successful projects, implemented in their countries. We have commitments for participation from colleagues from Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Turkey and Greece. We hope to have interesting presentations, useful discussions and many opportunities for networking between the engineers. We hope that every one of them will hear new ideas and knowledge, which will be useful for their future work. And event more – we hope they all will leave with lovely memories from our beautiful Black Sea coast

According to the experience of your company which European countries could be pointed as a good example for Bulgaria in terms of infrastructure projects’ implementation?
- I always use my meetings with colleagues from Central Europe to understand more about the way in which the projects are managed in their countries, what difficulties they face, and what their experience is. The main advantage for us is that the co-funding Bulgaria needed is considerably less than in the Czech Republic for instance. When you ask me about good examples I could definitely say Poland. This country is overcoming the hard financial times mainly because of the water and sewerage projects implemented within the EU programs. Poland uses very efficiently not only  the EU funds, but also the most advanced technologies and quality materials. I hope to see such levels of work in Bulgaria soon.

Krasimir Stoyanov is Manager Sales of Hobas Bulgaria since 2009 and procurator of the company. The Bulgarian company is part of Hobas Group – one of the world’s largest producers of pipe systems CC-GRP type. His previous position in the company was sales representative of Hobas Bulgaria for Southern Bulgaria. He has also worked as well in Prostream Group as Manager of Industry sector.

Mr. Stoyanov is master in “Energy” from the Technical University in Sofia. Currently he is visiting the Master of business administration program at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. He also has an additional qualification in International economic relations.

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