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Good for people and planet

Interview with Dagmar-Fritz-Kramer, Managing Director of Bau-Fritz GmbH & Co. KG

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European Business: What is so special about Bau-Fritz and its approach to house building and architecture?

Dagmar Fritz-Kramer: Bau-Fritz is well-known for its innovative use of wood for its prefabricated dwellings and it has sought to integrate wood as a key building and furnishing element. My great-grandfather started a small carpentry shop some 122 years ago before my grandfather Johann Fritz took over, starting to build not just roof structures but entire wooden houses. This was the starting point of what Bau-Fritz is today.

European Business: But it was your father who introduced sustainable building concepts in the 1970s?

Dagmar Fritz-Kramer: My father started to look into alternative ecological building materials as he was driven by the desire to focus 100% on sustainability. He had more than 40 patents for building environmentally-friendly houses. Our private home already featured all the trademarks like wooden wall panels, roof-mounted solar panels, clarification pond and composting toilets, which was very unusal at that time. The prefabricated houses which we built were really creating a unique healthy living climate but they lacked the eye for design and architecture. In a way they were very rudimentary.

European Business: Did you change the concept of prefabricated timber frame constructions when you took over in 2004?

Dagmar Fritz-Kramer: As an interior architect myself, I very much focus on combining the aspects of ecological living with great designs, and our houses today are clear proof that ecological houses can have a strong, modern architecture and excel in stylish design and great detailing. We offer a range of model houses but in the end all houses we build are custom designed to meet the needs of each house builder. However, there is never a compromise on quality and sustainability. We are pioneers in using only sustainable and renewable materials.

European Business: The houses are custom built, relying on prefabricated elements, which are manufactured at your headquarters in Erkheim.

Dagmar Fritz-Kramer: With wood, fast and efficient constructions are possible. We in a way create the warm bonnet for a building, as wood is an excellent insulation material. We have to know exactly which building materials are best, and it requires special planning experience to set up a sustainable house. We also collaborate with architects which we recommend if the customer approaches us with an idea but without the support of an architect.

European Business: How can you describe recent corporate developments?

Dagmar Fritz-Kramer: We build detached houses as well as apartment houses for customers in Germany as well as throughout Europe, with the Benelux countries, Switzerland and the United Kingdom being strong foreign markets for us. Currently, we generate 90 million EUR in annual turnover with the trend continuing in a positive vein. Healthy and sustainable building has made its way into the heart of society. There is a growing number of people who care about the products they use. Which materials are best for my building projects? How are they manufactured? These are important questions that they want answered.

European Business: What are the topics that lie ahead of you in the future?

Dagmar Fritz-Kramer: We have to communicate that we at Bau-Fritz do not compromise on sustainability. It is an issue close to our hearts. For us, it is all about authenticity. We take a stand for sustainability as we are convinced about its impact for the world we are living in. We are hoping to promote timber constructions in the coming years and raise awareness for our energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly building concept. We are very optimistic about the future, and we are convinced that our ideas are already widely acknowledged today.

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