Production of prefabricated wooden houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Establishing a modern production of prefabricated wooden houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina

When 17-year-old Haric Hotic told his mother that he wanted to drop out of his commercial apprenticeship in the last year, she was anything but pleased: What would become of her son without a vocational qualification? But the young man did not remain idle. Convinced of the market opportunities for prefabricated house components, he founded his own trading company together with his friend from sandbox days, a draughtsman.

The young entrepreneurs were convinced that the market for prefabricated houses would develop well in the future and offered them entrepreneurial opportunities. They wanted to use Haric Hotic's network as far as Bosnia to procure products at low cost and sell them to building contractors in Switzerland with an attractive margin. As absolute newcomers to the industry, the young entrepreneurial team had a bumpy start and had to pay a lot of dues: The products from their Bosnian suppliers were attractively priced, but the quality left much to be desired: cracks in the exterior walls of houses due to insufficiently dried wood, mistakes in the construction and spacing of stairs, the use of low-quality material in building elements such as structural plastic instead of proper vapour barriers - these were just some of the many unpleasant surprises they had to deal with. And recourse was limited, as the products were delivered against advance payment. So the learning curve was costly in every respect. But on the back of the many challenges, the two entrepreneurs quickly built up their know-how and expertise. And in 2018, the decision was made: "Production of prefabricated houses? - We can do that too".

The newly founded company in Bosnia started production in a hall rented from Hotic's father-in-law in Mostar.  In a short time, the entrepreneurs were able to prove that they were capable of producing high-quality prefabricated wooden houses. In addition to quality, sustainability was also important to them from the beginning, with only certified wood being processed. The products quickly attracted the attention of international buyers. To meet the growing demand, it became necessary to build a larger and modern hall not far from the old location. The SECO Start-up Fund loan is financing part of the construction of the new hall and the first Weinmann semi-automatic production line in the Balkans.