Bundled competencies after successful merger

Interview with DI Franz-Christian Kraschl, Managing Director of IKK Group GmbH

DI Franz-Christian Kraschl, Managing Director of IKK Group GmbH
DI Franz-Christian Kraschl, Managing Director of IKK Group GmbH

A planning office that offers the most diverse services from a single source? That offers consulting and construction management in addition to planning? And that is equally competent in both structural and civil engineering? The Austrian IKK Group GmbH, headquartered in Graz, is this company, resolving and utilizing interfaces between the company's individual competencies and offering clients complex complete solutions as well as individual services.

"We have competent employees who take responsibility and work in a team," says DI Franz-Christian Kraschl, together with DI Andreas Perchinig managing director of IKK Group GmbH, citing one of the reasons speaking for the company. "Moreover, as a full-service provider, the customer has one point of contact with us. Of course, it also goes without saying that we possess and can implement a wide range of specialized expertise in depth."

Successful Fusion

The look into the history explains the broad range of topics that IKK Group covers today. The IKK Group GmbH was established at the beginning of 2023 from the merger of four companies: Daninger + Partner Engineering GmbH, Hydroconsult GmbH, IKK Engineering GmbH, and Witrisal GmbH. Daninger + Partner comes from industrial and engineering construction, while Hydroconsult specializes in hydraulic engineering, hydraulics, and hydrology.

Headquarters of the IKK Group on Reininghausstraße in Graz
Pioneering building: Headquarters of the IKK Group on Reininghausstraße in Graz / © Schreyer David

General planning in the field of infrastructure (roads, bridges, tunnels and other civil engineering structures), but also in construction and architecture, for example in the areas of commercial and industrial construction as well as residential and office building, are the competencies of the former IKK Engineering, while Witrisal focuses on infrastructure in railway planning. With the merger, the collaboration between the companies, which already existed via the former holding, was transformed into an operational and active company - the IKK Group GmbH.

The IKK Group, which belongs to BKW Engineering, a company of the internationally active energy and infrastructure company BKW AG based in Bern (Switzerland), now employs 150 staff members and expects a turnover of between 17 and 18 million EUR for the current year. Besides its headquarters in Graz, the IKK Group also maintains additional offices in Vienna, Steinhaus near Wels, and Villach.

Small and large orders

"Today, we have eight departments each led by responsible department heads," explains DI Franz-Christian Kraschl. "Of course, there are interfaces between the individual departments, which are coordinated with our clients and resolved satisfactorily." The departments include architecture and construction, structural engineering, construction management, industrial construction, civil engineering, infrastructure, water and environment, as well as tunnels and geotechnics.

IKK Group Construction Management
Everything in view: The IKK Group takes over the complete construction management / © Markus Kaiser, Graz
IKK Group Station
Infrastructure: Railroad planning is also among the competencies of the IKK Group
IKK Group Civil Engineering
Highly specialized: Civil engineering includes new constructions and renovations of bridges / © Chris Zenz, Graz

"In addition, there is another topic that is of great importance to us, namely Building Information Modeling, or BIM for short," explains the Managing Director. "This enables us to work efficiently and in coordination among the specialized departments - our team also grows closer together day by day, as communication and personal exchange are of particular importance in this way of working. BIM gives us as general planners the opportunity to improve our Quality Management as well as processes and planning quality. In this way, customers can get services from a single source upon request, which is also increasingly in demand by customers. As for the size of the projects we take on, the range varies from small orders with a volume of 2,000 to 5,000 EUR to large projects of three to five million EUR."

Projects for Deutsche Bahn

The portfolio is as diverse as the spectrum of customers of the IKK Group. Clients include municipalities and federal states as well as civil engineering companies, water associations, and major corporations like ASFINAG, ÖBB, Austrian Power Grid, and many more.

"For the German DB Netz AG, we are currently planning and implementing a section of the rail connection for the Fehmarnbelt crossing," mentions DI Franz-Christian Kraschl, citing a flagship project. "We are very proud of this. And we will also be working on another project for Deutsche Bahn in Stuttgart."

Besides Austria, Germany and Switzerland are also markets for the IKK Group. In general, the individual specialized departments take care of acquiring new customers and projects. In addition, the group is represented at trade fairs and also presents itself at university events.

IKK Group Tunnel and Geotechnics
A lot of experience: In special civil engineering, tunnels are planned and realized in open construction, underground routes, and enclosures / © Paul Ott
IKK Group Water and Environment
Water & Environment: This is where hydrology, hydraulics, water construction, and hydropower come into play

Road Map for BIM

Project BIM is currently being driven forward with great energy, as DI Franz-Christian Kraschl explains: "Since the beginning of the year, we have been pushing the implementation of BIM. This is done with a clear road map. With a budget and through clearly structured and organized goals at the project level, we are investing a lot of energy here. We are currently in the startup phase of a project in which we are applying BIM 100%. In addition to operational activities, we are also advancing digitalization in the back office, our service area with around 15 employees. Here we are dealing with administration, acquisition, and commercial topics."

In addition, the current issue of sustainability is highly valued. DI Franz-Christian Kraschl: "My fellow managing director, Andreas Perchinig, was recently at a conference of the ÖGNI, the Austrian Society for Sustainable Real Estate. Some of our employees are certified according to ÖGNI standards and in planning with BIM, ecological concerns are taken into account for each component."

A family-oriented and appreciative corporate culture at IKK remains a focus for DI Franz-Christian Kraschl - as well as external representation: "We want to be perceived as a competent and resource-conserving general planner for structural and civil engineering and satisfy our customers. The whole team works on this every day."