Innovation at the heart of DATEM
DATEM has long cemented its name as a top-of-mind contractor because of the values it has constantly espoused over the years.
It is these same values that have driven the company to roll out innovations that now benefit the real estate industry; introduce mechanisms that have helped institutions participate in its sustainability efforts; expand its ambit across industries; and consistently embrace a culture that places an importance on people and relationships.
Its consistency finally paid off in 2017 when DATEM received a Quadruple A license from the Philippine Contractors Accreditation Board (PCAB). This is the highest category of license given to construction firms who have shown impressive financial capacity, building experience and technical expertise.
While DATEM may already be at the summit, within an elite circle of contractors, the company continues to anchor itself on those values. Here are some of DATEM’s hallmarks that showcase its enduring adherence to its values.
DATEM is credited for bringing precast technology to our shores, an innovation that has revolutionized the industry.
This technology involves the production of materials by casting concrete in a mold. The finished product is transported to the construction site then lifted into plays. This ensures close monitoring while the material hardens, and lowers cost with reusable molds that can be used hundreds of times. It also minimizes the safety concerns, formworks and scaffolding that come with onsite casting.
This option considerably speeds up construction and compresses the project schedule—which is another advantage compared to the conventional system. It dramatically decreases wastage. The technology has been used for projects worldwide, from real estate to public works, from housing to megaprojects.
DATEM has begun using the technology in the mid-90s. In 1995-96, the company had incorporated DATEMFORM, a partnership with an international firm specializing in formworks and precast technology. The objective was providing an option that was cost-effective and innovative.
In 1998, DATEM showcased its technology and expertise with the completion of the ELJ Communications Center project in Quezon City. It was accomplished in record time, setting a new standard in construction.
Today, DATEM’s offerings include: the precast wall, cast using hydraulic tilting tables and upcrete battery system; precast slab, cast on two sets of 100-linear meter beds which can accommodate blockouts and embedments; and precast ledge, which can accommodate flexible plumbing requirements.
The precast beam technology is used to cast the beams (lintel beams or non-load-bearing beams) ahead of time. DATEM also produces precast stairs. Modular housing meanwhile enables speedy construction of houses with only two components that are paint-ready.
For architectural finishing works, DATEM introduced its cost-efficient interior wall systems including the Ecowall and the Datem Wallcrete.
Dedicated to providing solutions that are responsive to clients’ needs and which are only of the highest quality, DATEM maintains a precast plant. The company has helped clients shorten build time by at least 20 percent.
Seeing it as a concrete expression of the corporate value of malasakit, DATEM has championed sustainability with its practices and solutions. Because of this, the company has committed itself to green building initiatives, even enshrining it as a mission point: “committing to be the foremost green builder in the country through environmental practices and sustainable development.”
With 35 years in the industry, it has erected buildings that prove its unrelenting effort at going green. Many of its projects have achieved certifications from the US Green Building Council and the Philippine Green Building Council, through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system and Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) Program, respectively.
An excellent showcase of DATEM’s work is the 32-storey Menarco Tower in Bonifacio Global City, for which DATEM provided civil, structural and architectural support. Known as “the healthiest building in the Philippines,” it has snagged multiple awards that affirm its reputation: the WELL Gold Certification handed out by the International Well Building Institute in August 2019 and the LEED v3.0 Gold Certification in September 2017. Among others, the building uses air-conditioners providing prefiltered air, and double-glazed windows maximizing natural ventilation and daylight.
Other projects that have green features include The Mind Museum (LEED v2.2 Gold Certification), Botanika Nature Residences Phase 1 (BERDE v1.1.0 4-Star Certification), Unilab Corporate Center Phases 1 and 2 (LEED v3.0 Gold Certification), 8 Campus Place (LEED v3.0 Gold Certification), Arya Residences Towers 1 and 2 (LEED v2.2 Gold Certification and BERDE v1.1.0 4-Star Certification) and The Brilliance Center, which also targets the LEED v4.0 Certification.
Among the features shared by the buildings are a proximity to major establishments, technologies that nod to natural daylight and ventilation, the use of paints and sealants that are low on volatile organic compounds, vegetation as part of the design, low-flow and low-flush fixtures to decrease water consumption, and low-energy-consumption appliances and systems to address energy efficiency.
DATEM also makes sure to use construction materials with more than 30 percent recycled content and locally available materials in over 30 percent of requirements. Some buildings even have bicycle storage, and shower facilities for individuals who take a more sustainable commute to work.
DATEM has always compelled itself to discover new ways in meeting its commitment to value. This is why it has taken innovation to heart. Beyond providing products, it shares its expertise to provide technical consultancy, project planning, early contractor involvement (ECI) program, design + build, value engineering, cost-benefit analysis, research and development, quality assurance and control, environment health and safety management system, green building technical services and time-saving strategy.
Through service offerings that encompass almost the entirety of a construction project’s lifespan, DATEM helps its clients transmit its passionate focus on cost-effectiveness. It is able to involve itself at the early stages of projects, reducing construction time and increasing client revenues at the outset. It also attains agreed milestones with an unquestionable assurance of quality and efficacy.
The company has refused to be boxed in a specific niche of the larger construction industry. It may have begun its charge with low-cost housing and residential condominium projects, but it has transcended boundaries as it grew into the reputable institution that it is. At the turn of the century, it embarked on ventures in shopping and mixed-use developments. Now, it has a portfolio that spans residential developments, office hubs, hospitality destinations, commercial and recreational landmarks, even medical, educational and religious projects.
Its ongoing projects provide an overview of its intention to further diversify. While continuing to do projects in areas where it now boasts a footprint, it also entered projects in bulk water filtration and waste management. One example is the Alviera Reservoir of Manila Water in Porac, Pampanga. It takes on the design and building of a 1,000-cubic-meter cistern with booster pump. With Robinsons Land Corp., it took charge of the excavation and construction for the Robinsons Place Galleria Sewage Treatment Plant.
DATEM also plans to enter public infrastructure aligning with the government’s “Build, Build, Build” initiative. It sees itself in property developments like industrial parks, casinos, hotels and horse race tracks. It wants to expand networks globally and raise its level of competitiveness for the world stage, the reason it will continue seeking tie-ups with international companies in future projects.
Right thing to do
DATEM has made itself known in the industry for always choosing the right thing to do. It entered the real estate scene hoping to make a difference with innovation and technology. In its early years, it stayed honest and abided by good governance practices, refusing to take under-the-table dealings. It has always placed a premium on its people, too, paying workers above minimum wage and employees above industry standards.
Even today, its corporate profile expresses DATEM’s continued commitment to integrity. So serious it is in upholding this, it has made it a core value: “We seek to act with integrity and to accept accountability for our actions. We steadfastly adhere to high principles and professional standards. We conduct ourselves with uncompromising integrity and honesty as individuals, as teams, and as a company.”
One of its mission points also shows the importance of people to the company: “by dedicating our efforts towards the health, safety, and well-being of our people and stakeholders, by advocating safety standards.”
One might argue, and they would be right, that much of what DATEM has done in its 35 years has been rooted in its choice to do the right thing: from green initiatives to cost-effective processes and technologies to programs benefitting its own employees. Its existence is deeply rooted in its social responsibility, its stewardship not only of the company but of the nation and its people, and also the environment.
This virtue of accountability has touched many people, beyond project sites, through social responsibility initiatives highlighting DATEM’s core value of malasakit. These undertakings have included medical missions, scholarship programs, even relief operations. It has also executed disaster-resilience campaigns.
Only recently, it partnered with Illac Diaz’s My Shelter Foundation to take the Liter of Light project to an off-grid community of approximately 300 residents in Tanay, Rizal. The program has provided high-quality solar lighting to communities with limited or no access to electricity, such as the beneficiary chosen by DATEM for its Christmastime mission this year: Sitio Dayapa.
While DATEM continues to provide responsible construction services to help in nation-building, it will also conduct activities that champion inclusive growth and uplift less fortunate Filipinos.
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