Having a healthy house


In 2003, the Konti Group was the first to organize a private business in the Tula housing and utilities sector. Today, the company heats 75 apartment buildings, six kindergartens, two schools, a maternity clinic, a hospital, and a fire department. It manages 28 houses.

CEO Nikolay Motorin relates on the work of LLC KONTI TET.

– Nikolay, what were the first steps? After all, business in the housing and utilities sector was unusual at the time. Were you under pressure from the authorities, residents?

– In those years, a problem escalated in Tula: heat supplied from Tulachermet was not enough for the area and the people were freezing in their apartments. Then the authorities came up with the idea to revive the closed boiler house of the Combine Plant. It was built in 1930s and once provided heat for one of the city's largest enterprise; it operated on coal and fuel oil, and was morally and physically obsolete. Its complete reconstruction was required along with the construction of 3 km heat main to the residential areas 'North-Eastern' and 'Futsika'. While the heating agent from Tulachermet had to cover 6 km to get here, the route from the 'Combine' boiler was three times shorter. But there were no funds in the budget for the reconstruction. Only a major investor could afford such large investments and this was the Konti Group headed by Timur Timerbulatov. The district administrator Vladimir Mogilnikov and the Tula Mayor Sergei Kazakov lent great support to the Company. At first, Konti's idea was even more ambitious: building a brick factory, building residential houses, providing them with heat, and managing them. In other words, closing the entire process chain. This would reduce overhead costs at all levels, reduce the cost of housing and services. But the project was implemented only in the part of utilities. The investor spent 150 million rubles on the reconstruction of the boiler house and construction of the heat main. Now it is one of the three largest boilers in the city. Thanks to it, heat finally arrived in the area of the regional hospital.

– We are accustomed to a variety of players in the utilities market. One sells heat, another transports it, yet another distributes it in the house, and still another maintains the in-house heating networks. You are the only company in Tula that brings all the functions together. Is there a benefit?

– Economically, it is beneficial for everybody. Besides, when the facilities are concentrated in the same hands, it's easier to establish responsibility. If the temperature in the apartment does not meet the standard, the resident does not have to investigate what link is disrupted. One company is responsible for everything. This principle has been fully implemented in sixteen houses of the northeastern neighborhoods. Here, we are the heat supplier, the management company, and the service facility. We have our own operation support facilities and the necessary equipment. They are located near the neighborhoods, which also reduces costs.

At the same time, KONTI TET operates and maintains many houses in the Central and Privokzalny districts of Tula.

- In 2010, your management company joined the federal housing refurbishment program, and was one of the few who fully and timely performed its commitments under all tranches. During the three years, 11 out of 28 houses were renovated. This is a high figure. So, people trust you?

 - I always tell apartment owners: if you trust KONTI TET, then we will work. If you do not trust us – look for another company. We are very fortunate to manage houses where active and competent people live. You know that the federal program requires mandatory co-financing by the apartment owners. We don't have anybody to persuade, convince. This work is carried out by the senior residents; then they come to our company and suggest a ready list of refurbishment operations. For our part, we advise what really needs to be replaced, and what can wait. After all, the federal quotas are limited and we need to make best use of the available funds. The documents that we draw up are accepted for consideration by the municipal committee that passes the final verdict on the refurbishment. All in all, in 2010 our company renovated a total of 3 houses under the federal and municipal programs for the amount of 12.350 million rubles, in 2011 – one house for 3 million, and in 2012 – seven houses for 7.3 million rubles. We are working in close contact with the municipal and regional administrations, with the Sole Customer Service.

– When you walk by the houses that are under your management, you see how well everything is maintained. There are a lot of playgrounds. It is clean and cozy everywhere. Truth be told, there are not always enough benches. How are the works planned?

 - Wishes usually come from residents. But as experts, we know better in what order to do things. You can implement the most fantastic projects up to concierge services and stair carpets. But you will have to pay for everything. As most people are not that rich yet, the priority is to ensure safe residence in the houses. Here the reins go to specialists. If I am sure that a section of the water pipe in a house needs to be replaced this month, the installation of benches will have to wait. People understand this. Over the years, we have established trusting business relations. Initiative groups of apartment owners seek help not only from us, part of the improvement works are carried out under deputy programs; our Governor does not leave our houses without his attention either – a playground near the house at Kutuzova Str., 8 is his gift to our residents.

- As they say, trust but verify. Do the residents monitor the operations of the management company?

– We draw up monthly progress reports on each particular house. Everything is entered in the expense reports, all the way down to purchased light bulbs. And the senior residents go through the house and verify everything. Such procedure suits everyone. Strict reporting allows comparing income and expenditures. If surplus remains from the payments, it is spent on additional items: arranging benches, fences, flower beds. On the other hand, sometimes there are unforeseen circumstances such as the need to replace an elevator cable, which was not included in the list of required works. We draw funds for unscheduled work from the core operation, of course, on condition of gradual and painless refund.

– You are a big company, you have extensive opportunities. And what should a management company with only tables and computers do?

– I call these companies 'crackers'; they have no operations support facilities, no money. This is a dangerous practice, given the general condition of the apartment buildings. There are companies that skimp on contracts with the municipal emergency service. In case of an emergency, they have a locksmith with the phone under the pillow. We believe this is not serious. I headed the Tula Housing and Utility Service, my deputy for economics Olga Kremsa is a utility provider with vast experience, the Asset Manager Valery Dorozhkin has worked in the housing sector all his life. We state authoritatively that the emergency service can be ignored only by swindlers. We cannot subject our houses to such risks, the more so that they are located in different parts of the city. Sometimes residents ask me: "Nikolayevich, why do we pay for the emergency service if there have been no emergencies in our houses?" I reply: "We will pay for the emergency service! There are things that you cannot save on. For ten months everything will be smooth, and then you won't know what hit you." In the future, when we have more houses under our management, we intend to organize our own emergency service.

– It seems that the city is also interested in big companies. Once, KONTI TET actually saved the village of Komarki located a kilometer from the plant. I just don't understand why a business would knowingly get involved in an unprofitable project?

– Buildings of the former occupational therapy center are situated in Komarki. Housing was privatized there, but the houses were turned adrift. People had to go to a well for water. Then, at the request of the district administration, we approached Timur Rafkatovich – the scope of required work was promptly agreed and we laid a water pipe to the village. The fact is that utilities are not a business in a strict sense. What kind of business is it if profits are not included in the rate? It is rather a politicized and social sphere. Housing & utilities are a special kind of activity, with its economic and social characteristics. Those who work in our sector should have a sense of citizenship and social responsibility. The main goal is to create conditions for the normal life of people.

– What is your understanding of the ideal heating of the city?

– Reducing costs is largely determined by new equipment and technologies. For example, the new heat main that we constructed practically does not allow the cooling of the heating agent. The use of inverters for electric motors allows saving power. Heating meters in houses are of paramount importance. 75% of the houses under our management are equipped with heat meters. Although the cost of a heat meter is 300 thousand rubles, it pays off. We invest in modernization every year, plus 7-8 million in the renovation and overhaul of municipal fixed assets on account of rental charges. In terms of organization, the municipal administration has ordered the development of the city heating circuit, where it will be calculated how to produce and distribute the required heat agent in the city at the lowest cost. For example, our boiler operates only during the heating season as a supplier of heat. But we have enormous capacity and can operate the boiler year-round, which will ensure the supply of hot water to the population. We hope that the development of a municipal boiler will be stipulated in the designed city heating circuit. So the issue of optimizing heat supply is ambiguous and associated with the interests of various parties.

– What is the most difficult aspect of the housing sector?

– First of all, working with people. But we were fortunate with both district administrations and senior residents. These are people who do not have a none-of-my-business attitude. They help us in everything. Together we work with debtors, together we figure out how to make residence even better and more comfortable. Each house began living by common interests and concerns, as a single organism. This is the main result of our work. Why are we here? To make the houses safer, warmer, more efficient and durable.

Liana Kuznetsova.