EL & Site illuminates construction sites worldwide
With an original product in a highly competitive industry, this Finnish company aspires to light construction sites globally.
Innovation can take many forms. Sometimes it’s a question of creating a product that is so radically new that it upends the industry. But it can also come down to taking an existing product, and improving on it so dramatically that it takes the concept to a new level.
The latter was the road chosen by EL & Site when it embarked on developing its signature product. “Timo Lamberg, who founded the firm, used to work at an equipment rental company,” says the company’s marketing and export manager Kati van Heerden. “He noticed that site lights they rented out were fragile and had to be constantly fixed. So, he figured that there just has to be a better way.”
Lamberg built a team and set out to develop an improved site light intended to withstand the rough conditions of a construction site. The resulting light, MBerg, has since become the key product for EL & Site. Unlike regular, fluorescent, temporary construction site lights, MBerg is a LED light, which makes it very robust, maintenance-free and gives it a longer life time.
The MBerg is almost entirely a made-in-Finland product: it was designed in the country, and nearly all its components are produced in Finland. The lights are assembled in the Helsinki suburb of Pitäjänmäki where the company employs eight under 25-year-olds. (All-in-all the company has a staff of 12.)
In addition to its self-produced lights, EL & Site offers other products related to temporary lighting and electricity solutions, such as switchboards and transformers.
“All our products have something special about them that makes them stand out. For instance, our switchboards are the ‘Rolls-Royces’ of that category,” van Heerden says. “Generally, our approach is to offer high-end products rather than to compete with pricing.”
Light knows no borders
Some of the biggest construction sites in Finland that EL & Site has provided lighting for include the new children’s hospital being built in Meilahti, the Tripla complex in Pasila, and Hotel Torni in Tampere. But abroad, even bigger opportunities are emerging.
The French market has especially been auspicious: Bouygues, one of the largest construction companies in Europe, initially used MBerg lights when building an Ibis hotel by the Paris Orly Airport. Impressed with the product, the company currently uses them at various other sites all around France, and EL & Site is also in talks with a major French equipment rental company, van Heerden says.
Not to be outdone, the company was also awarded Rental Product of the Year at the European Rental Awards in Stockholm back in June.
As for further plans, EL & Site already has on-going projects in Iran, Spain, Italy, and other parts of Europe – but it may head out to new markets even farther away. “Lighting is a seasonal product, and it’s always a dark period in some part of the world. That’s why we’re thinking about the southern hemisphere, and there’s already been some interest in Australia,” van Heerden says.
“Our products are in demand in Finland during the dark wintertime, so the coming winter will be a busy period for us. But once the darkest season is over it will be a good time for us to take stock and reflect on where to go next.”
Text: Teemu Henriksson