Page 1

DECEMBER April 2016 2015



Long Game Managing Director of Al Ruwad Real Estate, Ismail Al Hammadi, talks perception, progress and preparing for the Emirate’s next chapter

contents 6 8 16 20



Managing Director of Al Ruwad Real Estate, Ismail Al Hammadi, talks perception, progress and preparing for the Emirate’s next chapter


PNC Menon, chair of Sobha Group, discusses the cyclical nature of a real estate business and how to survive and thrive despite the challenges


30 Experts from the regional construction industry voice their concerns for the future of women AEC professionals 34 Experts discuss how the energy efficiency movement has transformed the construction industry in the Middle East 38 Regional rail experts discuss the region’s biggest cross-country project, GCC Rail, and share some of the challenges the sector faces with budgetary concerns


construction business news me April 2016 3

38 Managing Director Walid Zok Director Rabih Najm Director Wissam Younane Group Publishing Director Diarmuid O'Malley Business Development Director Rabih Naderi +966 50 328 9818

40 TAKE 10

Construction Business News ME looks at the top 10 innovative suppliers in Middle East’s construction industry


John Stevens analyses the UAE property market and if this the opportune time to invest


Haider Tuaima, research manager at ValuStrat, highlights the challenges and processes involves in quantifying Dubai’s real estate supply


Etihad ESCO talks about achieving 75% measured and verified electricity savings at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority power stations

54 Q&A

Yasser Boudastour, project engineer at the Jahra Road Development Project, talks about the delivering an largescale infrastructure project


Rami Hajjar, general manager of Philips Lighting Middle East, discusses how lighting could play a huge role in energy saving


Group Editor Melanie Mingas Editor Lorraine Bangera Art Director Aaron Sutton Sales Manager Mostafa Abdo +966 56 6695 333

Sales Manager Vishvanath Shetty +971 52 6745378

Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon

c o n t ribu t o rs Stuart Matthews

Marlow McGuinness Ltd --------Abhi Shek Photography

SUBSCRIBE PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates P +971 4 4200 506 | F +971 4 4200 196 For all commercial enquiries related to Construction Business News ME contact T +971 55 339 5097 All rights reserved © 2015. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Construction Business News ME and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Construction Business News ME. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Images used in Construction Business News ME are credited when necessary. Attributed use of copyrighted images with permission. All images not credited courtesy Shutterstock. Printed by International Printing Press

4 construction business news me April 2016

editor’s note

A man's world


he construction industry has been more or less male-dominated for as long as anyone can remember where women have often been perceived as delicate, not fitting into the hardness of construction. This has not just been a regional issue, but has been common worldwide. According to research by Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians, more than half women in construction in the UK state that they have faced bias because of their gender. Some experts say the recent figures have been improving, but it is still not nearly enough to be equal to the male statistic. This sort of stereotyping of women has not only deterred women from entering the business it has also deprived the industry from acquiring some talented personnel. According to B20 Employement Taskforce, in collaboration with A.T. Kearney, closing the gender gap could add 12% to the size of the total OECD economy by 2030. A.T. Kearney’s discussion on International Women’s Day revealed three barriers women in all industries essentially face sooner or later. These include: lack of motivation, family obligations, and maternity breaks. Lack of motivation begins early on when young women realised the lack of support and presence of other women in the industry. There are handful of women working in technical departments and for a new female employee the task of working amongst countless men could be quite unnerving. The lack

6 construction business news me April 2016

of women in leadership roles could also be discouraging and paints a very negative picture about the role of women in a company. This pushes women to opt for more “womenfriendly” departments like human resources or communications which are more supportive roles rather than the core. Another barrier most women face is to balance their personal life and work life. Most women, especially in the region, have been burdened with the responsibility of running a household along with having a full-time job. Though men too, have to learn to balance their life, are not held liable as much as woman or a mother is. This kind of liability holds on to most women making it difficult to create a balance and move ahead in their careers. Most working mothers, however, admit that it is the time-off during maternity that tremendously affects their career growth. Taking a break for months or a year messes up their career timeline. This demotivates most women as they see their peers climbing the corporate ladder while they are either stuck or trying to make their way back up. What most women employees need are role models, mentors, and support systems, to help them sustain. The truth is it could be very difficult to achieve gender equality almost instantaneously. Transition is slow but ongoing, and until then women need to team up, motivate one another, and push themselves to achieve their own dreams.

Lorraine Bangera Editor


For News, features and more, Visit Follow us on twitter for breaking news: @cbn_ME Follow us on Facebook for up-to-the-minute breaking news Read the latest edition on

Drake and Scull Rail wins $93.3m Doha Metro phase-one contract Ahmad Al Naser

Fujita Corporation awarded Drake and Scull Rail (DSR) a $93.3m contract to deliver the first phase of the Doha Metro Depots. Fujita Corporation is undertaking the construction of the Red and Green Lines of Doha Metro’s Depots. According to the agreement, DSR will undertake the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of all MEP building services to be provided in the depot and stabling yard pertinent to the Red and Green lines and their associated buildings with a scheduled delivery slated for 2019. DSR will also be actively involved in the design verification process as a participant in the design review meetings. Ahmad Al Naser, managing director at Drake and Scull Engineering said: “The Doha Metro Phase-one project is a landmark urban transport project in the GCC region and our second major rail project following the Airport Passenger mover at the Dubai Airport. “We look forward to successfully executing and delivering the project in collaboration with our sister company DSI Qatar.”

Qatar to pass PPP law by end of 2016 To combat low oil prices, Qatar revealed it will be passing a law covering the use of publicprivate partnerships (PPPs) by the end of this year, Reuters reported. The Ministry of Economy and Commerce stated it would submit a draft PPP law to the cabinet by mid-2016, ministry official told the agency on 15 March 2016. “We hope to have the framework completed and start implementing the law by the end of the year.” He added that the new framework would will include a PPP programme to build between 10 and 12 public schools in the next two years. Regional newspaper Gulf Times reported that investment spending in real estate and transport between 2015 and 2017 is estimated to be around $70bn to $80bn a year, as said by QNB Group CEO Ali Ahmed al-Kuwari during a MEED Qatar Projects conference on 14 March 2016. The Qatar government has been increasingly interested in PPPs especially for the delivery of its infrastructure projects, according to partner at Charles Russel Speechlys Simon Green. In his article, he stated: “It is clear that given the number of projects connected with the Qatar 2030 Vision, alternative procurement structures will need to be considered to help alleviate the public sector burden.”

8 construction business news me April 2016

Dubai Properties begins construction of iconic 1/JBR Dubai Properties began the construction of its flagship project, 1/JBR on 20 March 2016 Development of the tower development was officially announced during Cityscape Global 2015. The construction started with site mobilising and enabling works by the end of January 2016. Final design has been completed and it is in the final stage of approval with the authorities. Marwan Al Kindi, executive director of sales and sales operations at DP, said: “This ground breaking marks an important phase of this highly anticipated development, reinforcing our commitment to delivering key projects at one of the emirate’s most sought-after beachfront destinations, JBR.” The registration of clients and customers with the intent of purchasing, was launched in September 2015, and the tower is set for completion and handover in early 2019.

Qaiwan secure $105m loan for power plant in Iraq Kurdistan-based Qaiwan Group secured two loans worth $105m to refinance part of the firm’s investment in the 442MW Bazian Power Plant. With Deutsche Bank as the mandated lead arranger (MLA) and Dubai-based Bankmed as co-MLA and co-lender, the finance is being backed by the French government’s Export Credit Agency Coface. GE, too, has arranged a five-year, $30m commercial loan. Dubai-based CT&F Consulting DMCC acted as financial advisor to Qaiwan Group on the entire financing. Saad Hasan, CEO of Qaiwan Group, said: “This plant is a marquee infrastructure project that will go a long way in addressing the growing demand for power in a rapidly developing Kurdistan.” Qaiwan entered into a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement with the Ministry of Electricity of the Kurdistan Regional Government on 24 November 2013 to finance, build, own, operate and maintain a power plant in Sulaymaniyah.

Phase-1 of JEC secures funds worth $959m The Alinma Jeddah Economic City Fund secured Shari’a compliant financing of up to $959m from Alinma Bank on 10 December 2015. The funding will be used to build and develop infrastructure for phase-one of Jeddah Economic City project and to continue the construction of Jeddah Tower which has now reached its 37th floor, in addition to developing a number of primary real estate projects within the general masterplan. The first phase of the project is expected to take five years. Developer on the project, Jeddah Economic Company, is the 100% owner of the Alinma Jeddah Economic City Fund’s units, which is a closed-end private, Capital Market Authority (CMA) approved, shari’a compliant real-estate investment fund. H.R.H Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, chairperson of Jeddah Economic Company and chairperson of Alinma Jeddah Economic City Fund Board said: “Securing the financing for this project expresses the financial sector’s trust in the real-estate market in Saudi Arabia in general as well as in the Jeddah Economic City Project and its development plans.”

Saad Hasan, CEO of Qaiwan Group

Klaus Fischer to receive Global DIY Lifetime Award CEO of Fischer Group Klaus Fischer will be honoured with the Global DIY Lifetime Award on 8 June 2016 in Stockholm’s City Hall. The award would be given by Europe’s technical DIY associations and the special global DIY interest group for his contribution to worldwide do-ityourself segment. Fischer, in the DIY segment for over 40 years, said: “I am pleased to accept this award on behalf of all my employees because it is only by joining hands and minds that we can be successful.” The fourth Global DIY Summit is biggest event for global retailers and producers in the DIY and gardening segment, a useful information platform for current and future developments.

Al-Futtaim Engineering wins maintenance contract for Ocean Heights Tower Damac Properties awarded Al Futtaim Engineering’s elevators division an annual maintenance contract to maintain Hitachi elevators at its Ocean Heights Tower in Dubai Marina. The company will service, maintain and provide for necessary spare parts for six ultra-high speed elevators in the 310m residential skyscraper. The 83-floor tower is currently the fifth tallest luxury residential building in the world and the fourth tallest residential building in Dubai.

construction business news me April 2016 9


UPC helps MRHE enhance Estidama ratings Existing villas in MRHE

Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment (MRHE) on 14 March 2016 to incorporate MRHE’s projects with Estidama Pearl Villa Rating System (PVRS). Initially, the PVRS will be implemented on the Al Warqaa fourth villa project, which will be the first Dubai Government-

Al Dharis SPF to build LPG tanks in Town Square Dubai-based Nshama has awarded Al Dharis SPF the contract for the design, construction and supply of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Town Square’s residential units that are currently being constructed as per schedule. The design includes the construction of two underground tanks of 50,000 litre capacity, over 35km of underground piping, and 24/7staff on duty for operations and maintenance. The contract was signed by Fred Durie, CEO of Nshama, and Khamis Khalifa Al Muheiri, chairperson of Al Dharis SPF. The project work for Town Square will include the supply of cooking gas to over 18,000 apartments and more than 3,000 town houses, and more than 100 buildings including a hotel complex. The total daily requirement is expected to be about 30,000 litres of LPG. Durie said: “Awarding the key contract for the design, construction and supply of cooking gas to Al Dharis SPF demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the on-schedule delivery of our various residential projects in Town Square.”

10 construction business news me April 2016

backed development to utilise Estidama. The project comprises 72 villas with a total gross floor area (GFA) of almost 20,000m2. Construction of the villas will commence in Q4 2016. UPC’s Estidama team will send experts to the MRHE to aid in developing MRHE’s technical knowledge on the PVRS through specialised training courses.

H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi, director general at UPC, said: “Since the Estidama Pearl Rating System became mandatory in Abu Dhabi five years ago, we have seen a transformation in the sustainability levels of the villas, buildings and communities that have been developed in the Emirate, which in turn will enhance the lives of all who live and work here.”

Aldar licensed as master developer under new law Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties received a master developer license from the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs on 15 March 2016. The license comes under the provisions of the new real estate law which came into effect on 1 January 2016. Talal Al Dhiyebi, chief development officer at Aldar, said: “We believe it will bring a high degree of predictability and transparency to the market and thereby increase the attractiveness of the market to existing and a new generation of customers.” Aldar is the first developer licensed by the Department of Municipal Affairs under the new regulations. The new real estate law provides enhanced protections for customers of off-plan developments and enshrines the rights of owners and residents in existing communities.

Talal Al Dhiyebi

700+ Projects Delivered

LEED Platinum, LEED Gold and LEED Silver Capability

s n o i t u l o S d e t a r g te End to End In

project experience

130+ years of

ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certiďŹ ed

Pioneering Engineering Construction since 1881

For over 130 years, Drake & Scull International PJSC has been shaping skylines and transforming the lifestyle of communities around the world.

Drake & Scull is an industry leader, with a proven history of delivering more than 700 projects through its General Contracting, Engineering, Rail, Oil & Gas, Water and Wastewater Treatment and Infrastructure development business streamlines across the region.


GCC investors given exclusive access to Chelsea Waterfront Property consultants Knight Frank released London-based development Chelsea Waterfront to GCC investors in Dubai from 15 to 16 March and in Doha from 30 to 31 March 2016. Victoria Garrett, head of Knight Frank International London Sales in the Middle East, said: “Over the past year we have seen a significant increase of London new home sales from the Middle East, whether for investment purposes or for end-use. This exclusive second phase release attracts significant interest in the Mid-

dle East following a successful first release in 2015 when investors from the region accounted for more than 50% of sales.” The project, set within nine acres in the heart of Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, is the last remaining significant river fronting site on the north bank of the Thames between Chelsea and London. Edmond Ho, executive director and general manager of Hutchison Property Group said: “We believe the popularity of the development in

the Middle East is a reflection on the size of the apartments, exceptional facilities and a stunning location and I anticipate the second release will be equally popular. Nothing of this quality is available anywhere else on the market.” The apartments in the second phase are due for completion at the end of 2016. When complete, the scheme will comprise ten buildings in total including two stand-out towers. The entire development is due to complete in 2019 providing 706 new homes.

NCEMA urges Etisalat building to remove spherical structure The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NECMA) urged Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) to dismantle its Abu Dhabi-based head office’s spherical structure on 11 March 2016, according to Emirates News Agency. The instruction was made following the extreme weather conditions that hit the capital in the last week. The strong winds had severely damaged

the structure, as a result NECMA will be providing the telecom company with engineering solutions to contain the damage and dismantle the sphere. Representatives of Etisalat, construction companies and consultants held meetings overnight to discuss the damage. NCEMA also asked the public to follow traffic instructions on the main roads leading to Etisalat’s building while risks are being assessed and before the roads are reopened.

Nakheel helps Saudi firm with projects across Riyadh Dubai-based developer Nakheel will provide technical support to Saudi Arabian developer Al Akaria for a range of new mixed-use projects in and around Riyadh. The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which Nakheel will provide services including master planning, design, construction management, mall design and management, hospitality projects and leasing. Abdulrahman Almofadhi, chairperson of Al Akaria, said: “Al Akaria is embarking on a large and rapid expansion. We selected Nakheel to enable us to kick-start and speed up these new projects, and have every confidence in its ability to help us deliver.” Among the new projects is a 7,000 hectare integrated master development comprising thousands of units, Al Wasl, located north-west of the Riyadh. An estimated three million new housing units are needed in Saudi Arabia by 2025 to keep up with the country’s rapidly-growing population, which is expected to reach 37 million over the next 10 years.

12 construction business news me April 2016

Dawood Bin Ozair

Etisalat's HQ in Abu Dhabi

Project Qatar promotes the nation’s infrastructure boom IFP Qatar’s annual exhibition, Project Qatar (PQ), will provide traders with insights to further push and maintain the growth within the construction and infrastructure sector. Reports reveal that Qatar’s construction sector seems to be growing despite the oil slump. The sector, largely driven by Qatar National Vision 2030 and 2022 FIFA World Cup, will have infrastructure investments anticipatQatar Investment Funds’ ed to reach $150bn over the next few infrastructure investments years, according to First Qatar Real Estate Development Company. – Roads The Qatar Investment Fund has projected the country to witness a – Railways super-normal pace for the next five – Stadiums to seven years. Qatar’s investment programme includes more than 700 – Deep-water seaport individual projects worth more than $30bn to be implemented and 10,000 hotel rooms to be built in the upcoming years. The PQ exhibition will include construction products and services such as new building materials, HVAC, MEP, heavy equipment, stone technology, construction tools and technologies, interior design, security and safety systems, contracting, and trading. IFP PQ project manager Rawad Sleem said: “Project Qatar will continue to contribute year after year aided by the strong support of the Qatari government, yielding value to the construction industry in Qatar and beyond.” This year’s show will be promoting an educational side with several workshops. PQ will be held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) from 9 and 12 May 2016 with new operating hours from 2pm to 9pm.

DSCE to double investments in district cooling

$20bn $40bn $4bn $8bn

Project Qatar in 2015

DSCE’s 39th council meeting

The Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE) aims to double its investments at its 39th council meeting held on 13 March 2016. During the meeting, a strategy to organise Dubai’s district-cooling sector was developed. CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority Saeed Al Tayer, also present at the meeting, said: “The strategy will aim to improve the performance of operations, and enhance the amount of investments in this promising market from 20% to 40% by 2030.” The meeting was intended to support Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 by implementing energy Demand Side Management strategy, which features nine programmes that contribute to the city’s sustainable development. These include the rules and regulations for green buildings, the rehabilitation of existing buildings, district cooling, regulations and standards for energy efficiency, reuse of wastewater for use in irrigation and technology to raise the efficiency of street lighting, and the Shams Dubai Initiative. construction business news me April 2016 13


Anantara to open two WSP | PB calls for resorts in Oman this year smart development Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas announced the opening of two luxury resorts in the Sultanate of Oman in mid-2016. The resorts include Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort located in the north east of Oman 2,000 metres above sea level on the curving rim of a great canyon and Al Baleed Resort – Salalah by Anantara in the southern province of Dhofar positioned between a scenic beach and freshwater lagoon. Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar will include 82 premier and deluxe rooms will each feature private balconies or terraces, whilst the 33 one, two or three bedroom villas complete with private swimming pools. Al Baleed Resort – Salalah by Anantara, on the other hand, will features 40 premier and deluxe rooms, offering views of the Arabian Sea, lagoon or picturesque gardens as well as 88 one, two and three bedroom villas which will offer private pools. Firas Rashid, area director of sales and marketing – Oman, Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas said: “It is an exciting time as we open our first properties in the Sultanate of Oman. We are attending ITB in Berlin this month to build upon the extensive interest already shown by our European and International partners from both the leisure and MICE segments. We are looking forward to further strengthening the relationships already established through our hotels and resorts in the Middle East, Asia the Indian Ocean and Africa.” Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar

14 construction business news me April 2016

among regional rail projects Dubai Tram

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff (WSP|PB) urged regional governments developing metro or light rail ring-fence station-side land which would help off-set the upfront cost of rail projects. In its white paper, Smarter Rail – A Whole-life Approach, the company highlights one of the major challenges for local rail asset owners is transitioning from a delivery-oriented organisation to an asset operator and maintainer. The whole lifecycle of a rail network is often over-looked during planning and design, even though the operational phase is significantly longer and requires far more investment than the project phase. To help off-set the capital costs of construction and secure longterm revenues to offset operating cost once in service the consultants argue that rail owners should look to implement schemes to develop smart transit hubs and developments on adjacent and nearby plots. The whitepaper cites research that shows locations next to metro stations can enjoy increases in land values of over 50% in comparison to locations away from metro stations, and that people who live in a TOD are five times more likely to commute by public transport than other residents. Head of rail at WSP | PB Brendan Young said: “As the Middle East looks to grow its rail network, there is an opportunity for rail owners to take the next step and create smart developments. “However to ensure that this vision can be realised some policy and regulation measures will be required, and one that we envisage being crucial is some form of regulation to freeze and rezone station-side land for this purpose.”

Supplier NEWS

Photolight installs solar LED lights in MBR City

French company, Photolight, delivered 350 solar power LED lights to Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) City in December 2016, through its local distributor Al Ghandi Electronics. The solar-powered lights were installed in the project’s 9km cycling and jogging track to ensure good visibility at night and minimise energy consumption. The lights are equipped with 74w LEDs (adhering to RTA lux level standards) and have vertically mounted photovoltaic panels for dusty climate. These lights also don’t require cleaning maintenance which can be very costly. MBR City is developed by Meydan Sobha, a joint-venture of Meydan Group and Sobha Group. Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, CEO and chairperson of Meydan, said: “These lights have been imported from France, and unlike the bigger, lumpy solar-powered LED lights, these posts have embedded solar panels, making it sleeker and less space consuming”.

Alstom showcases solutions at Eurasia Rail Integrated railway system provide, Alstom, showcased its complete rail transport solutions from urban to high speed trains, and signalling to services, at Eurasia Rail held from 3 to 5 March 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. Arban Citak, managing director of Alstom Turkey, said: “Alstom has been a reliable partner for the Turkish railway sector for more than 60 years. With government intending to invest over $44bn in rail transport, we are looking forward to pursue our collaboration and contribute to the development of its transport network which include high speed and regional trains, metro, and signalling.” Among the solutions, Alstom showcased: Axonis, an integrated driverless metro system that can be quickly built and put into service in cities seeking affordable public transit systems; Coradia, highly configurable regional trains that offer numerous options with regard to engines (electric, diesel and hybrid); number of cars (one to six) and interior fittings; and the Pendolino high-speed trains that operate on both conventional and high speed lines.

Ducab launches PowerOverFire campaign Ducab, UAE-based cable manufacturer, launched the PowerOverFire campaign for 2016 on 29 February 2016 with the Ducab Truck in partnership with Dubai Civil Defence. This campaign is held in association with the General Directorate of Civil Defence, UAE Ministry of Interior and aimed to target contractors, retailers and the general public. Electrical power lines and transmission could also be a danger when it does not match the international quality standards of the UAE code within which the Civil Defence operates. Ducab is also held seminars at Middle East Electricity 2016 (MEE 2016), which ran from 1 to 3 March 2016 at Dubai World Trade Centre.

16 construction business news me April 2016

Dawood Bin Ozair

Since MEE 2016 truck has been touring the emirates and other GCC countries to provide an interactive learning experience on fire safety in key areas such as industrial zones and construction sites.

Himoinsa launches gaspowered gensets for rent

Himoinsa launched new rental gas-powered generators at this year’s Middle East Electricity held from 1 to 3 March 2016 at Dubai World Trade Centre. The new range by Himoinsa models include the HRGP 25 T5 LPG, HRGP 40 T5 LPG and HRGP 60 T5 LPG. The new version incorporates enough LPG storage for 24hour continuous operation without refuelling. The integrated LPG tank could also be connected to an external tank to extend their autonomous operation for as long as desired. The integrated tanks are LPG-certified for vehicles, making them a versatile option for the rental sector, where there is a high demand for mobile equipment that is easy to transport and can refuel with an LPG pump at a service station. Gas-powered options have also become a profitable feature among rental companies. The HRGP models guarantee low fuel costs and lower maintenance costs than diesel-powered generators. They significantly reduce carbon monoxide and particulate emissions, which together with the noise reduction that all Himoinsa gensets provide. Terry McGuire, regional general manager, said that there has been an increasing demand for gensets in the oil and gas sectors and one off applications. Gas-powered gensets are more hassle-free, he says. However, he admits that this region probably won’t respond to gas-powered gensets as well as Europe and South America where it is more economical. “We don’t have that benefit with the gas-generator purely because the price of electric is expensive here in the Middle East.” Which is why FAMCO and Himoinsa is focussing on the rental specific application. “It is more for tailored application, in some place critical or a remote areas. It is more of a bespoke solution right now, exclusively launched for the oil and gas industry.” Also the use of gas instead of diesel solves the problem of fuel theft, which is one of the biggest concerns of the rental sector.

Oil slump triggers “positive impact” on smart investments Falling oil prices and will have a “positive impact” on sustainability technology, according to Tatsuya Kumazawa, director and divisional head of the Eco Solutions division at Panasonic Marketing MEA (PMMAF). Speaking at Middle East Electricity, he said: “When crude oil prices began going down people were not paying attention. But now as it is more prevalent, they have started looking at renewable energy alternatives and smart energies. “Energy and power is undergoing an unprecedented growth with huge investments being pumped into the sector over the coming years thereby offering the industry players a challenging yet competitive business environment.” PMMAF showcased its energy solutions that feature the latest electrical products at the Middle East Electricity 2016 (MEE 2016). Some of the innovative solutions highlighted at the event included systems for energy creation, indoor air quality, and lighting solutions. Kumazawa said: “Though we are launching a lot of product ranges in the Middle East, we are also going to be making them accessible to the North Africa region as well.” Panasonic worked on Japan’s Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town and Kumazawa said that the expertise used in providing solar panels in that project could contribute to similar projects in the UAE and other Gulf countries.

construction business news me April 2016 17

Cover Story

The Long Game

Managing Director of Al Ruwad Real Estate, Ismail Al Hammadi, talks perception, progress and preparing for the Emirate’s next chapter. Melanie Mingas writes.

20 construction business news me April 2016


hile nowhere near the events of 2008, it’s been a somewhat turbulent start to the year for Dubai’s real estate market. 2016 began with news of new projects ranging from villas to affordable housing projects and analyses of the market that indicated the supply-demand equilibrium would begin to balance out by the end of the year. On the back of the activity came news that AED68bn had been spent on Dubai real estate in the first 53 days of the year and predictions surfaced that transactions would reach values of AED300bn by 2016 end. Allsopp and Allsopp announced that transactions in the first two months of the year were up 18% on the same period last year, and month-on-month growth over the last 12 months had increased by 12%. Then in early March, the emirate was ranked 96 out of 100 global markets due to its property price decline of 5.5% in Knight Frank’s Prime International Residential Index and statistics released by Dubai Land Department indicated a decline in the number of residential units sold between January 2014 and November 2015. As managing director of Al Ruwad Real Estate – and entrepreneurial force behind a number of other business endeavours – Ismail Al Hammadi heads a business that specialises in property

management, consultancy, buying and selling, brokerage and leasing. If ever one is unsure about the state of the market, he is a trustworthy source of information. “The market today is bigger than people are thinking. There is a perception that prices are always going up and down, but the size of the market and the projects we have today is different from what we had in 2013, 2008 and 2005,” he explains. “When it comes to a comparison I cannot compare Dubai’s market today to Dubai’s market yesterday. Reason being, every day you have new products coming up, new islands, new villa projects, new buildings, we are talking about almost 700 different projects which are being announced,” he continues. Al Hammadi, who previously served as executive director of TECOM and Dubai Industrial City, isn’t just a Dubai advocate, but one of the many business people who understands its economic nuances to enough of an extent as to capitalize upon them. He is also a keen writer. In his op-ed “Dubai Real Estate and Public Relations…The Wasted Opportunities” he talks not about the speculators who moved in in the early 2000s, but the lack of PR support for Dubai and how, with the right positioning in the press, much of the negativity in Dubai’s real estate market wouldn’t even exist.

construction business news me April 2016 21

Cover Story

In light of how the first quarter of 2016 has played out, one would be hard pressed to argue otherwise; for almost a decade the media, no more so than internationally, has relished the anti-Dubai narrative. Sensationalist headlines – mostly driven by an online journalism industry that is fed by how many times a page is visited, rather than how much value an article can bring to the reader – only perpetuate the situation. “How many developers did we have in 2005, then 2010, now 2015? I can see the market is growing so why talk negatively about it? Unless we have a hidden agenda to say the market is down, in order to sell our product, you can come and buy. “In 2015 alone there were more than 60 projects launched with a value of more than AED130bn It’s not a small amount and this is only one city in the country.” Talking with passion on his mastermind subject, any frustration that could be considered normal in the face of such 22 construction business news me April 2016

“The good time to invest is now. Which locations? I don’t want to mention the places because it will be a promotion for the developers, but we have the best places to invest in Dubai.” – Ismail Al Hammadi a constant, is jokingly brushed off as he adds: “People come over to me and say ‘hi how are you? How’s the market?’” Following the leader When Al Ruwad entered the real estate industry in 2013, Hammadi had a simple mission: to create one of the top 10 real estate companies in Dubai, based on the firm’s core values of professionalism, innovation, responsible business and integrity. Today the business spans multiple operations and within three years Hammadi

is certain that list will have expanded to include the words “holding company”. As he says: “We will expand into all the supporting activities to increase the Foreign Direct Investments in the UAE by offering complete business solutions under one roof.” Partnering with the emirate’s big name developers has been the driving force behind a large part of that success and these include Emaar, Damac, Meraas, Dubai Properties and Al Wasl properties, among others. Hammadi is the first to admit – albeit with humility – that he is incredibly well connected. But as with any industry in a business environment that is built on global transactions, the local value is not the end of the story. Dubai is highly dependent upon foreign direct investment (FDI) when it comes to making projects financially viable, in addition to banking facilities and infrastructure development – as somebody whose profession depends on relaying the state of those three key

elements to investors in the city’s property stock, Hammadi’s authority is second to none. Dubai aggressively targets FDI from a number of key markets, without depending on too small a pool of interest in its projects – residential, retail and commercial. “In my business I like to be honest and transparent with my investors to show them all the positive and negative because their opportunity is my opportunity. In real estate the stakes are very high. One mistake and nobody forgets, so you need to cover all the gaps. Reputation is of a high importance for me. “In only 40 years, Dubai became one of the most attractive cities in the Middle East because regulation outside of Dubai is much more difficult to operate under.” Over that time, the market has not only continued to recover from its 2008 lows, but has entered a phase of hypergrowth, which while far from the heady days of the mid 2000s, is shaping the emirate of Dubai for a future based on diverse economic pillars. “Dubai is about chapters. A new chapter is now open in Mohammed Bin Rashid City, a new chapter is open in Jumeirah Village Circle and Jumeirah Village Triangle, Sports City is also upcoming and Dubai South is taking part because it is linked with Expo.” And it is with the words Dubai Expo 2020 that Hammadi’s tone changes – far from being the person who looks to the six month event in four years’ time as a way to pave the streets with gold, he is one of the few people who refuses to join the bandwagon. “Expo is one event and I am proud it is here in Dubai but I should not link it with my business – my services will be provided before and after Expo and Dubai’s strategy and the government vision is for 2021 not 2020.” “For example, today we could have a launch for Emaar and the development will be completed in 2021. That shows that even the developers are not looking only to 2020,” he continues. The where and when When it comes to business, Hammadi’s local knowledge means one thing:

he knows where to develop, and he knows what to develop on each plot. According to his observations, there are areas of Dubai which are “ignored” by investors. Without surprise these are the submarkets, generally on the outskirts of the city, that are not served by a metro line and don’t boast water-side views. In a horizontally-planned city that has been known to create additional coastline on a whim in order to boost real estate development and values, where the proximity to a metro line can add between 20 and 30% to the value of the plot, these are important points. But there are other things which add value. “You can compare Jaddaf to Barsha, it’s the heart of Dubai, it is linked with Sharjah and New Dubai, it is four minutes to the airport, seven minutes to Burj Khalifa, you have access to everywhere, infrastructure is 100% ready and even the metro stations are there. But it is not being utilised because the area is not on the agenda for development.” Why? “I don’t see any reason. The main reason for Dubai is that the investors who are GCC nationals or foreigners, are following a scenario, but you need to have someone who is proactive to take risk and build, and then you will find people who follow these investments. “We need to educate people more on these areas and become less reactive. At the end of the day I have a regulation for each zone. You can go right now and see that there is a huge investment in Jaddaf and I can see the role that area can play in the greater Dubai story and once that is clear people will be moving fast into that location,” he continues. Al Ruwad has few hotel plots inventory some of which sold over recent months, although plans remain to develop a 3-star hotel that will be independently branded by Al Ruwad itself. Jaddaf joins the likes of International City Phase 3, Al Ain Road – where Al Ruwad has “huge plots” listed in it’s inventory– and the area surrounding Global Village. But it isn’t just infrastructure and a thirst for risk. Referencing the “Down-

Ismail Al Hammadi on… Infrastructure “A metro or transport development can add between 20% to 30% to the value of a plot of land. Expanding the Dubai Metro is essential for both communities and also land owners” The next big thing “There are many plots in Dubai that are ignored by investors such as Al Jaddaf, which is very well connected, International City Phase 3 and Al Ain Road.” The demand for property types “Affordable housing is in high demand. If you notice, for the past few years now all the developers are promoting mid-class apartments, affordable houses. Starting from even Business Bay to Mohammed Bin Rashid City and Dubai South. All the projects announced include this and it balances against the high investment property types.” Biznet Consulting “This was launched in January 2015 and this year we changed the name from Al Ruwad Project Development Consultancy to Biznet Consulting, to prevent people from confusing it with our real estate business. Biznet is a multi-disciplinary corporate services firm, assisting entrepreneurs, business owners, and investors to establish their presence in UAE. Biznet aims to provide its clients services of corporate relocation, business licensing and registration, business process and quality consultancy and business modeling. We do project development consultancy in terms of evaluating any project and supporting our clients in terms of supervising”.

construction business news me April 2016 23

Cover Story

town effect” new areas need demand drivers, especially if they are out of sight. Close to Global Village for example, is Al Barari; a luxury villa development described by its founder as an “exceptional botanic haven, unrivalled in its ecological sensitivity”. It’s an enormous, sprawling oasis, with very little else around but the only part of the development non-residents know is its flagship restaurant, The Farm. “That is the only anchor in that area and it is one restaurant in a huge development. We are not looking at the value of the project but because we know that one landmark that is what it is known for.” Another key development on this trend is the evolution of the product offering. Not only is interest moving away from the “prime” areas, but it is also diversifying. Today affordable housing components are required alongside the luxury developments, because no one single property type sells to every member of Dubai’s ever expanding society. It is a sign not only of market maturity, but also the changing face of 24 construction business news me April 2016

The below projects are under Ismail Al Hammadi’s supervision: Location Business Bay

Project G+70 hotel G+22 hotel

Burj Khalifa


Al Jaddaf

3-star independent hotel development

the Dubai resident and buyer. “The good time to invest is now. Where, the location I don’t want to mention the place because it will be a promotion for the developers, but we have a good place in Dubai and this is the right time to invest, regardless of Expo,” Hammadi asserts. The road ahead In light of how 2016 had begun, what could happen over the next 12 months is anybody’s guess. In February 2016,

Asteco, real estate consultancy, said residential rents would fall in 2016 and 2017 if “all housing units are delivered on time.” It’s a big if, but a statement continued to predict that: “rental performance in 2016 will be highly dependent on the timely delivery of supply. Assuming the anticipated supply is handed over on time, rental rates are likely to come under pressure over the course of not only 2016, but also 2017 onwards.” In Hammadi’s eyes the road to 2018 could see “any service providers do well”. He predicts hospitality will emerge “as a main player”, both hotels and restaurants, and the demand for services such as FM, building materials and maintenance will reach such a level that the market will need to double to keep up. “Then the price will be in competition and companies from other emirates will not be able to come to Dubai.” He concludes: “My target is not 2020 because if a major event is going to start then I need to be in the market by 2019, 2018 is even better, so we have a good number of investments.”

Porto Arabia Towers Doha, Qatar

Mall of Qatar Doha, Qatar

Viva Bahriya Towers Doha, Qatar

Qatar National Museum Doha, Qatar

If you can imagine it, we can manage it.

Hill International The Global Leader in Managing Construction Risk 1.800.283.4088 Dubai Office: 971 4 227 0078 Doha Office: 974 4 435 8381 Corporate HQ: 800 283 4088

Š2014 Hill International, Inc.

For nearly four decades, owners and developers in the Middle East have turned to Hill International to manage their construction projects and programs throughout the region. Hill is proud to have helped our clients turn their most challenging visions into realities. We have participated in over 10,000 projects with a total construction value in excess of $500 billion, managing all phases of the construction process from concept through completion. Hill is also the leading construction claims firm in the world, having helped resolve problems on some of the most complex projects throughout the Middle East and around the world. To minimize risk and maximize results on your next project, turn to Hill International



inevitable cycle PNC Menon, chair of Sobha Group, discusses the cyclical nature of a real estate business and how to survive and thrive despite the challenges

26 construction business news me April 2016

Real estate is a very cyclical business,” PNC Menon, chairperson of Sobha Group observes. Since the oil price drop, the GCC has been going through a slowdown in various sectors, but according to the chairperson this would be true regardless of the oil slump. He says that ups and downs are common in any business especially real estate. Dubai, he observes, goes through a four-year cycle which includes two years of positive and two years of negative. “Considering the negative hit us in 2014, we should be ending the negative cycle by more or less the end of this year.” He admits that when is difficult to really map out, but he explains that the cycle is somewhat inevitable and existent in every market. “This kind of cyclical periods in real estate is all over the world, not just in Dubai. I was recently reading about the US, and quite strangely the US has been going through positives for the last eight years. This is quite unusual.” He says cycles are very difficult to figure out. It is very dynamic and has become even more so since the financial crash in 2008, which he says is when the whole world changed. He asserts that the global phenomenon affected Dubai in many ways. But when it comes to the oil slump, he says that looking at the fundamentals I don’t think it could affect Dubai as much. “Dubai is not really an oil and gas economy. The UAE, too, as a whole does not only depend on oil.” When it comes to the future of oil prices, Menon predicts that the oil price would probably stay between $40 to $60 per barrel. He urges that it is impossible to truly predict the future. “There could be a technological breakthrough that could change the economy and the minds of people.” He believes with good management and the advance human resources available in the GCC, the region would be able to engineer an alternative and reduce its dependency on oil. He admits that GDP is extremely

Sobha Hartland apartment building

critical, but he argues that the element of oil in the GDP is absolutely negligible. “It is not an oil economy. What Dubai has created in terms of infrastructure has become a magnet for people from the surrounding regions to come on a holiday, to come shop, and even to come live. “I am a strong believer of Dubai, not just today but also back during the financial crisis, I used to say ‘this city cannot be stopped.’” Menon admits that the financial crisis in a way opened the minds of businessmen around the world. Personally he learnt a lot about leveraging. He says that there was this unspoken belief in the market that leveraging has to always be limited. “In the real estate and construction indus-

try, I think it is best to have a debt equity ratio of about 40:60 rather than the other way around.” He explains that the industry is cyclical in nature anyway, so a good company would be wise to target 40% debt and 60% equity. “This, in my opinion, would really help during the pressures of the negative cycle and would protect your business. “The year 2008 financial crisis was a beautiful lesson on sustainability of a business. You can be successful one year and not the other.” What is more important is to sustain, he says. “If you want to target a sustainable business in the real estate domain, financial discipline of a good debt equity ratio would really pull yourself out of the negative cycles

smoothly and help you sustain your business.” Venturing into affordable projects The group made a move into the affordable sector last year. Menon says that the reason Sobha, a primarily luxury brand, is considering this is because of the different kinds of buyers in the market. Some buyers are interested in luxury while others in affordable. “There are different kinds of budgets: high-end, mid-end and lowend, in every market even the GCC. We need to cater to all kinds of demand.” He explains: “Luxury and affordable projects are not the same, specifications for the low-end would be lesser construction business news me April 2016 27


than the high-end. But the quality will be very good either way because that is our philosophy.” In delivering any project, Menon says that Sobha’s strongest point is that is a totally backward integrated company. “What I mean by that, is that we have got our own contracting company, our own design studio, we do our own engineering, we pretty much do everything under one umbrella. This makes it easier for us, and it gives us a lot of control in terms of time and quality.” These two aspects, time and quality, are critical in development, says the chairperson. The multinational group has various developments and investments in the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Brunei and India. Menon has especially been focussed on Dubai. He says: “If you look at this city, it is really a magnet for the three billion people living in and around it which includes surrounding regions such as the whole of Africa, Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. All put together, there are three billion people easily live in this region, which is roughly about more than 40% of the world population. I don’t think any other country has created a city like this till today in this geography, nor do I see the possibility of that happening in the next ten years.” He praises the Prime Minister of UAE H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for the development of such an incomparable city. The Dubai-based entrepreneur has multiple businesses overseas but makes sure he travels not more than 120 days in a year, leaving the rest two-third of his time in the UAE. Sobha has been running projects worth $12bn in Dubai and plan to add another $12bn during the course of this year. Looking at other markets in the region, Menon says Iran has been an interesting new addition to the region’s property market. After sanctions were lifted earlier this year, many groups have been showing avid interest in endorsing the country. Menon says that Sobha too has definitely been looking 28 construction business news me April 2016

Sobha Hartland villa

into Iran, though since the country has just stepped out now he thinks it’s better to wait and watch before making a move. He reveals that the group has made a decision to not look at any new destinations, other than the UK, till the beginning of 2018. He says: “The reason behind this is because I think it is time to consolidate the business. I am 67 years old, it’s time.” Back to Indian roots Sobha Group has also made huge progress Menon’s home country, India, where his son is currently the chairperson of the company. Menon says that India too has a cyclical nature. “It doesn’t matter if you are in India, New York, or Dubai, it is the same case everywhere. This is what I call the unfortunate part of the business.” He emphasises that businessman need to start accepting it rather than trying to combat it. By preparation to deal with negative cycles businesses could do better. In terms of India, Menon says that it’s economy is doing pretty well keeping in mind the large amount of population it has to tackle. “I think the Indian economy is going to do ex-

District One by Meydan Sobha

ceedingly well especially for the next three years to come. The projection is that India is going to be one of the strongest economies of the world even more than China. They say that the US, China and India will be the strongest

Villa in District One by Meydan Sobha

economies in the next 25 to 30 years.” UAE is one the biggest trading partners with India. Menon says that the relationship between the two nations is only going to get better because of the growing interest to work together.

“The historical relationship with the two countries also plays a strong role. All of it together is going to add a lot of benefit to both the countries. I think over a period of time there is going to be a lot more investments with India

becoming an opportune investment destination. This will be hugely beneficial for both the countries.” Man behind the scene Back in 1974, he moved to Oman with roughly $7 in his pocket and a powerful drive to prove himself. Menon says: “When you have no money, you can’t imagine the struggle. The first two to three years was really a testing period. Unless you have the resilience to go through it, it is not easy.” In 1976, Menon established an interior decoration firm under the name of Services and Trade Company in Muscat. His fit-out business then slowly propelled from basic fit-outs for offices to competing (and winning) against European firms to do the fit-out of palaces and mosques. “I was always different from others, in the business it was the quality of our work that stood out.” While talking about succeeding in life, Menon believes that you are either born with it or not. “It is in your DNA, and you either need the opportunity to prove it or create your own opportunity.” Running a business on the other hand needs skills, he says. “Each entrepreneur needs the right business skills to take it further, and also a philosophy. That could be different for each individual because people believe in different things, methods, and schools. My belief is that quality is the most important requirement and main strength.” At the age of 67 and retirement not at all on his mind, Menon says that today he still has dreams to pursue more. He aims to start up another business with a professional team and achieve a target of $2bn and also concentrate more on his philanthropy. The businessman says he has committed half of his wealth to society and has big dreams primarily in building education institutes in the near future. He emphasises that as long as he has the health and breath of life, he will continue to work, create and thrive. construction business news me April 2016 29


Women in construction

Experts from the regional construction industry including program director at Atkins Kathleen Gale, transport planning manager at Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council Khulood Al Marzouqi, and partner at Tabanlıoğlu Architects Melkan Tabanlıoğlu voice their concerns for the future of women AEC professionals construction in the GCC is clearly dominated by male AEC professionals. Why do you believe this is? Tabanlıoğlu: Construction is generally regarded as a strenuous, harsh and masculine industry as there is a stereotype that this sector requires physical strength for manual labour due to the use of heavy machinery and specialised equipment. There is a gender typecast that women are too delicate to work under such brash environments. They fail to realise there are other areas within this field that women can work in, and this is possibly why it appeals to men more than women in the GCC. Gale: I think it starts at a very early on when you’re choosing a career. The perception of construction is more appealing to young men than to young women even while pursuing higher education. A lot of the degree course used to be very technical, but now other aspects of planning, infrastructure, environment and sustainability come into play. By looking into the social aspects, I think women will be encouraged to get into this field. 30 construction business news me April 2016

Marzouqi: If you’re talking about construction on site then yes it is dominated by male. I think most engineers, especially those who work on site, are men because of the cultural sensitivities in this region. For women it is difficult to be onsite as they need to interact with male workers and contractors and that could be culturally challenging. I don’t think women cannot do construction, but I do think in these times most of them prefer not to be part some aspects of construction. You will find more women in the more creative side of construction such as in architecture, design, and urban planning. It is a matter of preference, and most women choose to go into the creative side of it. I think it might be because that is the way most women are, they are more interested in creativity than men.

Is there a gender bias in the in regional construction sector? Tabanlıoğlu: Gender bias in any industry is an unfortunate reality in the Middle East, especially in the construction sector. Construction is categorised as a male domain, and very rarely if ever do we find women in this field in the region. Very few women have made their mark as an important figure in this field, and they are mainly from the West. It would be refreshing to have more women from the Middle East come forth as leaders in the industry. Marzouqi: On site, men are preferred because they don’t have the cultural sensitivity of being around other men. Most women also cannot stay for longer hours which could be

“For women it is difficult to be onsite as they need to interact with male workers and contractors and that could be culturally challenging” – Khulood Al Marzouqi as feeble and inferior is a global stereotype, however the West has progressed from this traditional misconception whereas women in the region are still fighting it. Being a woman in a man’s world grants you advantages as well as disadvantages, I have always been on the lucky side.

a barrier as some sites need supervision both day and night. So when it comes to on site related work, companies usually lean towards hiring male engineers instead of female. In planning, design, architecture, and real estate, however, there are opportunities are for both as the work expectation is the same for both genders. What stops women from taking on a role in construction? Tabanlıoğlu: Personally, I don’t believe in gender differences in any profession or platform, and believe we all have a duty of educating this very thought in our peers for generations to come. In fact, we need to improve the working conditions of women all over the world so that they may take on

more senior roles. A building, a landscape or simply a room designed by a woman is no different. Gale: I think family commitments can stop women from reaching out more career-wise. Generally and internationally it is the same case, women are primary carers in their families. They are expected to be accessible 24/7 and manage all of it. The stress of it all does not encourage progression but it tends to discourage women to move up to the next step. Is the lack of women in construction a regional issue, or does it also exist in an international level? Tabanlıoğlu: Although to a much lesser degree, but the issue does exist on an international level. Women deemed

Gale: It is absolutely an international issue, we have similar problems across borders. Though I do believe the US and China have better statistics than the rest of the world. Do you think there is a need for change or are things starting to get better? Gale: I am saddened in a way because when I started 20 years ago, I did a presentation on women in engineering and had high hopes for the numbers to be equal by the time I reach where I am now. Sadly, that is not the case yet. But I am very excited about the change in the engineering and construction industry. The industry is becoming more innovative and dynamic, and I think as it transforms it will naturally attract more women professionals to join the field. Tabanlıoğlu: I think things are definitely starting to brighten for women in the field. It is a slow, but steady imconstruction business news me April 2016 31


provement from the scenario several years ago. I don’t believe that the clients prefer men as architects; on the contrary, women are better facilitators and better negotiators. Technically, men and women have the same educational background, yet I trust the institutional command of women is a better tool in design. There are plenty of women taking up AEC courses in university, but don’t follow through to practicing it. Why do you think that happens? Tabanlıoğlu: There can be several reasons that amount to this, lack of support from the family, personal issues, lack of funding, demotivation or just feeling incapable to take on the challenge. Similar to the rest of the modern world, almost 25% of architects in Turkey are women, but in Tabanlioglu the percentage of women architects rises to almost 60%; it could well be due to the fact that one of the partners is a woman. At Tabanlioglu, we support and encourage women in the industry and our gender ratio within the organisation surely proves this. do you find the lack of women in the industry discouraging for other women? Tabanlıoğlu: This could be true, but I like to see the positive in everything or at the very least, find a solution rather than to dwell on the problem. Women who have achieved and excelled in the industry should lead by example and encourage and assist the young generation women architects by creating the path for them. Gale: The lack of women in this industry could put some women off, especially those who have grown up in a female-only environment. The thought of walking into an industry that is primarily male dominated could be quite daunting. Also these young women sometimes tend to have no real role models. When I was young, I was a civil engineer sitting on a floor that was surrounded by hundreds and hundred of men, it is certainly very uncomfortable. 32 construction business news me April 2016

“The lack of women in this industry could put some women off, especially those who have grown up in a female-only environment” – Kathleen Gale

“Women who have achieved and excelled in the industry should lead by example” – Melkan Tabanlıoğlu

Could seeing more women in leadership roles inspire young women to take up an AEC as a profession? Tabanlıoğlu: Being a woman in a maledominated industry has its challenges, one being that most executives or senior roles are reserved for men. It is still difficult for women to excel and reach top executive levels as an architect or engineer. As a woman, it is demotivating to know when entering any field that you will not be given what you rightly deserve based solely on your gender. This could be possibly why women stray away from construction knowing they skills and worth will not be recognised. That being said, I do think pioneering models always inspire and encourage. Women need to build solidarity by working hard to compete and earn leaderships roles so that young women may feel inspired and encouraged to take on AEC professions. Gale: Atkins has established a Women’s Business Network and one of our primary goals with that network is to ensure that our female colleagues have role models. When you work through your career you tend to begin with learning how to do your job, but eventually it becomes learning how to do your job and balance your personal life like having a family and children. What a young woman needs is role models to look up to and who could help on that journey. If these role models don’t exist, it is very hard to sort of see yourself in that sort of future.


The energy fix CEO of Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence Ivano Iannelli, chairperson of Emirates Green Building Council Saeed Al Abbar, and country president – GCC and Pakistan at Schneider Electric Benoit Dubarle discuss how the energy efficiency movement has transformed the construction industry in the Middle East How have decisions made at COP21 affected the Middle East energy mix? Dubarle: COP21 created a global momentum and awareness towards sustainability and stressed the urgency for renewable energy investments and research. As Middle East oil reserves dwindle and governments look to diversify their economies, they must also seek technologies which help various industries grow in a sustainable manner. The COP21 has highlighted the need for a long-term policy framework, collaborations between the public and private sector, and the importance of developing technical skillsets in the region. Iannelli: Action is already being taken in the Middle East and Dubai has proven itself to be a true trailblazer with innovative strategies such as the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. Dubai acts as an innovation hub whose experiments are going to be replicated across the region. To ensure this, Dubai Carbon is already working in Oman and Bahrain, with plans to move into Kuwait and Iraq, to scale renewable strategies and projects. Does the growing renewables sector in the UAE have a direct impact on the construction and building sector? Al Abbar: The increase in market de34 construction business news me April 2016

mand of renewable energy has been driven by the rise of conventional electricity costs, restructuring of energy tariffs, technology advancement, environmental concern and strong government incentives to encourage investment in grid-connected applications. There is growing support from the authorities towards building a ‘greener’ UAE. Local government bodies have mandated a minimum level for compliance of buildings and constructions. For instance, buildings in Dubai must comply with Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications while buildings in Abu Dhabi must achieve a minimum requirement under Estidama Pearl Rating System. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is taking a lead in the solar field with initiatives such as Shams Dubai, as part of its Distributed Renewable Resources Generation programme. The programme encourages household and building owners

to install photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity, and connect them to DEWA’s grid. The electricity is then used on site and the surplus is exported to DEWA’s network. Abu Dhabi is also looking forward to increasing the renewable energy share by 7% by 2020. Buildings in Abu Dhabi, for example, achieve points under Estidama when considering or installing renewable energy systems. This is just the beginning of many more initiatives to come, encouraging green building and new frameworks to support sustainable development. Dubarle: Construction processes and buildings consume massive amounts of energy each year, and are also responsible for emitting greenhouse gas emissions; this energy includes heating and cooling systems, lighting and appliances, manufacturing and transportation of building materials. There are various ways in which we can shift towards ‘zero-energy’ buildings, which are con-

structed using low-impact renewables and smart solutions which manage and allocate energy wisely. Renewable solutions such as rooftop solar panels, smart windows that block out UV rays, and ultra-energy-efficient HVAC systems can revolutionise the construction industry and building structures, making them more sustainable. As governments impose stringent regulations on green building practices, low-carbon renewables will gain more popularity in the construction sector. Iannelli: The UAE has been actively diversifying its economy and energy sector. The shift to renewables is undoubtedly affecting the economy in numerous positive aspects. Renewables also translate to good business sense as they help save billions of dollars. They enable countries to depend on their own energy production rather than having to import it. Looking at countries that have embraced renewables has proven to us that adoption of this

technology translates into economic benefits in the long run. Could you draw a comparison between the West and the Middle East when it comes to energy efficient buildings and use of renewables? Iannelli: There cannot be a comparison between the Middle East and the rest of the world because the contexts are vastly different and one would need to take into account a range of environmental, socio-economical and political factors. What can be advanced as a certainty is that there is a growing demand in the Middle East, and PV is now economically viable for meeting it, with prices in the Gulf region forming a new benchmark and grid-parity representing a very important milestone for further PV diffusion. There is a proven cost effective nature to renewables in the Middle East

and, while the market may be local, there are global opportunities for financing and supplying renewable energy projects. The renewables policy landscape in the Middle East, although sometimes still at an exploratory phase, is rapidly developing and will soon provide a strong backbone for a large number of PV projects. This policy shift reflects the region's commitment to meet its ambitious national targets regarding PV. Al Abbar: In terms of energy efficiency or energy performance of buildings, you could say that European Union countries pioneered in developing their building codes and standards. For example, many European countries, such as Austria, Denmark, UK, France or Germany, set their own definitions of energy efficient buildings. These definitions include low energy buildings, zero energy buildings and passive buildings. We can see that the Middle East and the UAE in particular, are makconstruction business news me April 2016 35


ing important strides towards a more structured framework with regards to green building. Does the Middle East have sufficient energy investments, or is there a need for more funds? Dubarle: According to the International Renewable Energy Authority (IRENA), global energy efficiency investment are expected to reach $385bn per year, or $5.8tr by 2030. PwC report, Financing the Future of Energy, states that tens of billions of US dollars per year are required in the Gulf’s investment for power generation, transmission and energy use. The energy demand is expected to increase three times in the next fifteen years and will not be met by today’s supply. To close this gap, the GCC will require massive investments in projects which can increase generation capacity and energy efficiency. The report also states that currently, there is limited finance for renewable energy projects. This presents a massive opportunity for the private sector to shape policies and projects in clean energy moving forward, and collaborate closely with governments taking the lead towards this movement. Al Abbar: It is very positive to see the governments investing in renewables and it is important that we encourage everyone to continue to do so. These investments can only be positive for the industry. The renewable energy targets set by GCC countries (Abu Dhabi 7% by 2020, Dubai 15% by 2030, Bahrain 5% by 2020, Kuwait 15% by 2030, Oman 10% by 2020) and the commitment towards them is creating trust in the real estate sector and therefore attracts more financing. Iannelli: I think if what we have seen in the past six months is not enough of a commitment to the transition, then I don’t know what would be! In an effort to compliment the government’s drive to excellence, Dubai Carbon is now working to streamline the green economy multiplier of the GDP. 36 construction business news me April 2016

“In an effort to compliment the government’s drive to excellence, Dubai Carbon is now working to streamline the green economy multiplier of the GDP” – Ivano Iannelli

“The energy demand is expected to increase three times in the next fifteen years and will not be met by today’s supply” – Benoit Dubarle Is there a lack of local expertise and technical knowhow while building renewable projects in the Middle East? How could that be improved? Al Abbar: Worldwide, renewable energy employment in 2014 grew 18% compared with 2013, according to IRENA. Throughout the years, we have witnessed an increase in the number of qualified professionals but, as the industry grows, we will need even more professionals with a thorough understanding of green buildings, so we are placing a strong focus on education.

Specialised degrees and training in renewable energy and sustainability are available and are becoming more popular. For instance, EmiratesGBC provides Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) and Certified Energy Manager (CEM) training. We can anticipate that many jobs will be created through Shams Dubai initiative. For that, DEWA provides solar-PV training for employees working with consultants or contractors companies. Iannelli: In my opinion, the technological know-how is abundant in the region. This know-how needs to be matched to the local entrepreneurial acumen as to ensure economically vi-

“In terms of energy efficiency or energy performance of buildings, you could say that European Union countries pioneered in developing their building codes and standards” – Saeed Al Abbar

ability of the projects. Furthermore, the larger deployment of renewables requires structural reform of regional energy market and pricing mechanisms. Could you comment on the energy efficiency movement happening across the Middle East? Apart from UAE, which other countries are doing well in this aspect? Dubarle: As the Middle East looks to diversify away from oil commodities and address the high energy demands in an efficient way, we will see investments in energy efficient projects across the MEA region, particularly in the GCC.

Other than the UAE, several countries are taking steps towards energy efficiency, including Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) plans to develop 54GW of renewable energy by 2040. Other renewable projects, such as the KAUST solar power plant and initiatives by Saudi Aramco are also underway. Recently, the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) signed a $1.2bn contract with General Electric to establish the Kingdom’s first fossil fuel and solar power plant near the Red Sea port of Dhuba. Al Abbar: Sustainability is a reasonably new topic in the region, but the green construction industry has grown significantly in the Middle East in re-

cent years. Buildings in Arab countries consume about quarter of the energy consumed domestically. Internationally, buildings account for some 41% of global energy savings potential by 2035, compared with the industrial sector, which is only at 24% and the transport sector, with 21%, according to the International Energy Agency. With this data, it is evident that in order to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions, we need to reduce the energy demand and adopt energy efficiency measures, such as improvement of efficiency of building envelope components, such as external walls, floors, roofs, ceilings, windows and doors, passive low energy design, and improving the efficiency of appliances and equipment used inside buildings. Authorities throughout the Middle East are increasingly implementing regulations and rating systems that are setting high standards for new construction projects. The industry have developed their own energy efficiency strategies as part of their climate change mitigation plans. These countries know that energy efficiency the least expensive and most effective form of energy available today. As such, targeted energy efficiency measures are regional policymakers’ best solutions. construction business news me April 2016 37


Full steam ahead?

Regional rail experts discuss the region’s biggest cross-country project, GCC Rail, and share some of the challenges the sector faces with budgetary concerns. Lorraine Bangera reports


he Middle East has an aggressive plan for the future,” says Michael Stangl, senior director of Global Services at Autodesk Consulting. “That gets me excited!” The US-based senior director participated at this year’s Middle East Rail and praised the region for its zeal and vigour. “There is no other region in the world that moves so quickly, with its impressive 2020 or 2030 visions and drive to move beyond oil economies.” He observes this region’s rail industry to be doing exceedingly well as compared to most of the West, given that the rail sector here is relatively new. Most industry reports point out that GCC has had a strong passenger and freight transport network on the agenda. Currently the region has 16 major railway projects worth $352bn that are currently underway in the region. With oil prices down the region has been focussing on not oil-related projects, and thus transport and logistics sectors are playing an increasingly important role in its economies. That being said, there has been a lot of talk about projects being postponed due to budgetary concerns and speculations have been made if rail is the way to go. Tim Armsby, partner at Eversheds, says that delaying projects were the key discussion at Middle East Rail. Andy Glyde, industry sales director of Project Delivery at Bentley Systems MEA, agrees that projects were the key focus at the summit. Discussing projects that have started, planned and postponed, the event highlighted new

38 construction business news me April 2016

projects that are ongoing and how to approach the project delivery team and the clients together. He admits that the sector has been affected by the oil slump, but wasn’t sure of the extent of this as yet. “Expenditure in all the sectors, including rail, has been put under the microscope which has definitely affected the status of some of the projects.” Armsby clarifies that projects such as Doha Metro and Riyadh Metro that have already been underway would not be stopped now. However, he says that there would be a need to look at some more value engineering options behind the scenes to select more optional materials given the current circumstances. The fate of the regional network

Local daily Gulf News reported that GCC Assistant General for Economic

Affairs Abdullah Bin Juma Al Shibli told delegates at the conference that the GCC Rail project will go ahead. “Some members have already completed their phases. The GCC has pledged ongoing support to this project through partnerships with the private sector.” That being said, he did not comment on the final completion date of the project. At the Cargo Show, co-located with Middle East Rail, director of Dubai Customs Ahmed Mahboob Musabih discussed the future transport projects in the region, according to Emirates News Agency. He said: “The GCC rail network, which will link all six Gulf countries, is one of the major projects undertaken to develop forms of transport between GCC members. Once completed, the network will support the establishment of a GCC corridor for freight forwarding, supported by more

Dubai Metro

ME Rail The 10th edition of Middle East Rail was held from 9 to10 March 2016 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC). Featuring keynotes, panel discussions and research sharing, the event discussed ongoing rail projects with key government departments, railway operators and construction companies. It also gave a first look at 2016 tenders and an understanding of the techniques and technologies being implemented to build these futuristic networks.

developed procedures, trade services and Customs facilitations to streamline trade flow between Gulf states.” “Challenges are numerous, but so are opportunities,” said Musabih, “Government and private entities in the MENA region must forge solid business partnerships to capitalise on these opportunities.” In February, GCC transport minister Abdulla al-Nuaimi urged the need for a “more realistic” plan for the GCC Rail. Due to weak global oil prices, GCC transport ministers will hold a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to examine the project and if it could possibly be completed by 2018. Industry report in International Railway Journal stated that the 2018 completion date has been looking “unrealistic” due to the difficulty in getting the six countries to coordinate their plans for the project.

Glyde explains: “The projects postponement might be unfortunate from our perspective, however it will be done for obvious reasons of the oil slump. In times like these, everyone is looking at what is absolutely necessary.” “I don’t think it would have been possible to be completed by 2018,” says Armsby. “Though the structure is not a complicated construction project but there are significant amount of technical requirements for it. For example, one topic that came up during the discussion at the conference was the impact of sand. In the Saudi network sand was covering the tracks in a matter of hours, which not only prevents the train from running on the tracks but could also increase wear and tear of the engines.” The key driver in establishing the GCC Rail network is the transport of

freight and to shift the focus from roads to rail. Armsby says that greater connectivity is also a major positive as it increases connectivity and trade amongst regional countries. In terms of carrying the project forward, he looks at each country participating in building the network as a separate business case. “It is safe to say that some countries would benefit more than others from a fully connected network.” From the GCC, he points out that Oman and Saudi Arabia have the best business cases as it would complement its existing logistics industry. One of the key disadvantages, he observes is that certain states don’t have a strong business case for the project to move forward with full steam ahead. He says: “It is inevitable that with budgetary concerns all GCC states will be looking into which project would be more necessary and lucrative.” “Projects like the GCC Rail are highly capital intensive, though an investment for a greater good, it won’t be paid off immediately. We are looking at a number of years till it will be able to breakeven on operational expenditure. So, perhaps it is sensible that since work isn’t yet underway we postpone the development until oil prices improve.” construction business news me April 2016 39


Innovators’ focus Construction Business News ME profiles 10 of the most innovative suppliers in the Middle East construction industry

Philips Lighting

As leaders in the LED technology revolution, Philips creates lighting systems that prioritises energy efficiency, sustainability, and operational cost reduction. The company focuses on improving the liva-bility and effectiveness of indoor and outdoor environments, providing everything from functional general illumination to spectacular colourchanging experiences that enhance your brand, encourage social interactions, and revitalise communities. The expertise and range of systems available at Philips helps transform into effective lighting applica-tions. As a global leader in lighting and sponsor of the International Year of Light (IYOL) in 2015, a UNESCOled initiative, at Philips we are committed to driving the connected lighting agenda, taking lighting beyond illumination. From indoor to outdoor spaces, to personal

40 construction business news me April 2016


and business use, connected lighting translates into intelligent systems that offer personalization and increased efficiency, effectiveness and productivity across multiple landscapes and verticals. By enabling the collection of valuable data, connected lighting allows facility managers to adjust lighting levels based on usage whether managing an office building, or an entire city. Lighting for example on a certain street or an office floor that is little used can be dimmed at any time of day or night. This can result in significant energy savings, reducing both cost and environmental impact, a primary driver in the implementation of connected lighting systems. Or alternatively, lighting can be increased on a street should there be a safety concern, working to enhance the experience of its users.

BASF The BASF Construction Chemicals division has been present in the GCC for more than 35 years, with headquarters in Dubai and other offices in Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, KSA as well as representatives in Bah-rain. Its products are found in most iconic projects, with BASF’s involvement providing technical support and recommendations right from the design phase to a project’s completion. BASF’s admixtures played a crucial role during the construction of the Burj Khalifa with concrete being pumped to world record heights of 600 metres. BASF has also made significant contributions to the construction of various other major projects in the region including providing waterproofing solutions for Dubai’s Airport Terminal 2 project and the use of BASF anchoring grouts to secure and reinforce the world’s largest roller-coaster, Formula Ross at Abu Dhabi’s Ferrari World. BASF’s Construction Chemicals division offers advanced chemicals solutions for new construction, maintenance, repair and renovation of structures. Its comprehensive portfolio encompasses concrete admixtures, cement additives, chemical solutions for underground construction, waterproofing sys-tems, sealants, concrete repair and protection systems, performance grouts, performance flooring sys-tems, tile fixing systems, expansion control systems and wood protection solutions. To solve customers’ specific construction challenges from conception through to completion of a pro-ject, BASF combines its know-how across areas of expertise and regions and draw on the experience gained in


countless construction projects worldwide. It leverages global BASF technologies, as well as its in-depth knowledge of local building needs, to develop innovations that help make customers more successful and drive sustainable construction. With continued research and development into new technologies, products and chemical solutions, its lays the foundations for its customers’ long-term success. These products, technologies and solutions, under the Master Builders Solutions brand, maximise work productivity, durability and longevity and therefore sustainability in construction projects throughout the world. Leveraging the technologies and know-how available in BASF’s global research and development network, its innovations address the current and emerging market needs. One of its most innovative solutions is Green Sense Concrete, a mix optimisation programme in which supplementary cementitious materials and non-cementitious powders are used in combination with specially formulated BASF admixtures. This results in an environmentallyfriendly, cost-effective con-crete that meets, and often exceeds, performance targets. MasterEase, a superplasticiser for low-viscosity concrete, is an ideal admixture for the Green Sense Concrete mix since it improves its rheo-logical properties, significantly facilitating its pumping, placing and finishing. Another product from the BASF comprehensive admixtures portfolio is the MasterLife range, which enhances the durability of the concrete extensively.

construction business news me April 2016 41




3M, a science-based company, produces thousands of imaginative products in scores of markets - from health care and highway safety to office products and abrasives and adhesives. 3M is known for many of the world’s most popular products, including the Post-it Note, Scotch-Brite products, and Scotch Magic Tape, to name only a few. The diversified technology company has more than 65,000 products that are sold worldwide. In fact, 3M innovates across a wide range of industries as diverse as healthcare, automotive, biotechnology, nanotechnology, aviation, oil and gas, industrial, construction, and communications. 3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious solutions. Incor-porating a culture of creative collaboration which inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better.



42 construction business news me April 2016



GEZE is a global developer and manufacturer of construction systems for door, window and safety technology. The company offers a comprehensive range of products including automatic door systems and door technology, glass systems, smoke and heat extraction systems, safety technology as well as window and ventilation technology. As one of the market, innovation and design leaders, the independently-managed family company has decisively influenced facility engineering and building technology with pioneering developments. These developments are constantly being driven onwards in the company's technology centre. GEZE products tries to contribute towards some of the most innovative building concepts in the world and ensure convenience and security in building technology. Individual and building-specific special constructions are also offered by the company, for example, revolving doors or all glass systems are implemented by a subsidiary. Product solutions from GEZE can be found in renowned buildings across the entire world.

Often dubbed as the “formwork experts”, the Doka Group was established in 1958 in Austria where it supplied formwork and engineering solutions to numerous infrastructure projects. In 1961, the company expanded its operations to Germany and further to Brazil and Kuwait in 1977. With more than 160 sales and logistics facilities in over 70 countries, the Doka Group has a highly efficient distribution network which ensures that equipment and technical support are provided swiftly and professionally. Supplying a range of products, systems and design services, including formwork panels, slab formwork, wall formwork, one-sided wall formwork, climbing formwork, tunnel formwork, dam formwork, bridge formwork, shoring or false work, tie systems and filed support, software and training, Doka's business includes production, equipment sale and rental, engineering and maintenance. One of its innovations, Concremote, entered the regional market in early 2014. The range enables greater quality control and cost efficiency by providing realtime information about the concrete via a concrete maturity sensor system, helping to reduce cycle times and commissioning quantities by accurately informing about the optimal time to remove formwork. Doka is currently engaged on a number of ongoing projects in the Middle East including the Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower, Dubai’s Marina 106, and Abu Dhabi's Midfield project.


Ideal Standard

Ideal Standard, provider of total bathroom solutions, operates across Europe, Middle East and Africa. The company offers a spectrum of bathroom solutions – from ceramics, brassware fittings and shower kits to bathtubs, furniture and shower trays. Ideal Standard’s highlight since The Big 5 Show 2015 has been the revolutionary AquaBladeTM flush technology and Tonic II total bathroom range. AquaBladeTM is a newly engineered system of channels to create a cascading wall of water from the top of the toilet bowl opening, which gives optimum water flow covering every inch of the ceramic, keeping the toilet bowl immaculately clean. With a refined soft geometric design, Tonic II’s clean, beautiful lines offer a broad choice of solutions and combinations of harmonious, contemporary ceramics, fittings, furniture and bathtubs that won this year’s IF Design award. The collection is created by German design studio, ARTEFAKT.



Autodesk, Inc., is a in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software provider that has been popular in global markets since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982. Today, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio of 3D software for global markets. Customers across the manufacturing, architecture, building, construction, and media and entertainment industries use Autodesk software to design, visualise, and simulate their ideas before they're ever built or created. Through its apps for iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Android, Autodesk also making design technology accessible to professional designers and amateur designers, homeowners, students, and casual creators — anyone who wants to create and share their ideas with the world.

RAK Ceramics


RAK Ceramics, manufacturer of ceramics lifestyle solutions, specialises in high-quality ceramic and gres porcellanato wall and floor tiles, sanitary ware, tableware and faucets. One of the largest ceramics manufacturers in the world, RAK Ceramics has a global annual production capacity of 117 million square metres of ceramic and porcelain tiles, 4.6 million pieces of sanitaryware and 24 million pieces of tableware; with a $1bn turnover and a distribution network that spans 160 countries. Specialising in high-quality ceramic wall and floor tiles, gres porcellanato, and sanitary ware, RAK Ce-ramics uses more than 10,000 production models (tiles) and 13,000 design pieces (sanitary ware), with new designs being added every week to its portfolio. Tiles are manufactured in a variety of sizes, from 10 cm x 10 cm up to 150 cm x 300 cm, as well as bespoke sizes – the widest range offered in the ceramics field.

construction business news me April 2016 43


Emirates Glass


Emirates Glass was set up by Dubai Investments PJSC to create a vertically-integrated Flat Glass Industry in the UAE. It was established in 1998 in the Al Quoz Industrial area of Dubai in response to the rapid growth of the local construction industry. The company is known for the production of processed architectural flat glass in the Middle East. Emirates Glass manufactures MSVD sputtercoated high performance glass under the EmiCool range of solar control, multi-functional Low-E and Standard Low-E glass designed to minimise solar heat gain into air-conditioned buildings in the Gulf environment. Since 2003 up to the present time, Dubai Municipality included code of practice for the use of energy-saving glass in buildings. Base on the parameters for solar shading and thermal insulated shown in the following summary of Dubai Municipality, Emirates Glass’s Emicool range of sputtered high performance and multi-functional Low-E Glass meets and beats the minimum requirements of this code for control of heatgain in air-conditioned buildings.



Mapei Construction Chemicals LLC is Mapei’s UAE subsidiary created in line with Mapei’s globalisation strategy to be closer to the market. Mapei products are manufactured to the most stringent health, safety and environmental requirements as well as complying with the latest material standards such as GSO: ISO 13007-1 and GEV. Product are then tested in one of the regions most advanced temperature and humidity controlled QA/QC laboratory. Mapei also offers a unique stone testing service where natural or artificial stone can be tested and classified for stability and absorption, enabling the most suitable and durable installation materials such as screed and adhesives to be specified. It also has a commercial and technical training centre conveniently located in Dubai in order to ensure the highest levels of service and support for our customers. The staff of Mapei are available to provide any required support such as specification advice, correct material selection (based on substrate and type of finishes selected), green or LEED product compliance, as well as on-site assistance including preparation, mixing and installation of the selected Mapei material.

44 construction business news me April 2016

Real Estate

All the right moves

John Stevens, managing director at Asteco, analyses the UAE property market and if this the opportune time to invest


nyone with an eye on the real estate market in the UAE over the last few years cannot fail to have noted the pace of development, and I don't just mean from a physical development perspective but from the point of view of regulatory changes and the impact of economic influencers. It’s certainly been an interesting period as we have seen the market continue to mature, adjust and react to domestic as well as external global factors. Looking back, property sales values and transactions have declined over the past 18 months since the government introduced the necessary cooling measures to reverse sales prices from overheating following the announcement of Dubai’s successful bid to host Expo 2020 as well as due to general concern regarding the uncertain economic outlook exacerbated by continued low oil prices. With substantial supply due to be handed over in Dubai throughout 2016, both sales prices and rental rates in the city are expected to come under increasing pressure in the coming months. This will invariably be affected by the addition of 22,000 apartments and 7,700 villas, due to be handed over this year, but, nevertheless, the real estate sector in Dubai continues to offer attractive post tax returns to investors looking more long-term, especially when compared with other global cities. The trend for falling prices in Dubai began in 2015 and year-on-year figures showed a decline in apartment sales 46 construction business news me April 2016

Real estate in Sharjah, UAE

prices of 8% and villas by 11%. This is expected to continue during the course of 2016, albeit at a more moderate pace as rates in several developments have already declined sufficiently to encourage the conclusion of transactions. Last year’s price softening has been welcomed by prospective investors eager to get a foot in the door or add to existing portfolios, and it has also allowed the market to catch its breath and regain investor confidence in its longterm prospects and the value offering when compared to other global property hotspots. Dubai’s rental yields are currently averaging just over 7%, which is extremely attractive when compared with cities such as Hong Kong, which offers just 2-3%, and London at 3-4%. In some parts of Dubai, the yield can be as high as 10% for prestigious de-

velopments on Palm Jumeirah, for example, with hotel managed apartment units at Dukes Dubai and Anantara developments representing sound investment potential. While we have seen a cooling of sales prices, the rental market has remained broadly robust, thus contributing to a climate of solid yields for rental properties in select areas. The reality is that residents still need somewhere to live, and when coupled with the forecasted increase in the local population as we edge closer to 2020, renting remains the first choice for the majority of newly arrived residents. The knock-on effect of prolonged decreases in Dubai could potentially see rental rates in the Northern Emirates decrease further, following an average of 2% year-on-year decline for Sharjah, while Ajman flat-lined over the same pe-

Real estate in Dubai Marina, UAE

riod, due to historical interdependence on Dubai’s real estate market movement. With as many as 1,000 units expected to be added to the market in Sharjah in 2016, downward rental pressure is expected to continue, particularly impacting poorer quality developments. Residential sales for the whole of the Northern Emirates are expected to be subdued, with only quality projects at truly affordable prices may be able to generate the desired sales despite the introduction of new Sharjah Ownership Laws in 2015, which have benefited the emirate’s residential sales market, driving increased levels of investor interest. In contrast, Abu Dhabi has a more limited pipeline due for completion during 2016. As a result, vacancy rates are likely to remain low despite a potential reduction in demand, implying stability and potential growth for both

sales prices and rental rates. The emirate will add 3,000 apartments and 850 villas to its residential supply this year, and the 2015 buyer preference trend for high quality turnkey properties, which saw off-plan sales slow significantly, is expected to continue. In the rental market, 2015 saw slow but overall positive market performance with apartment rental rates increasing, on average, by 5%, with prime projects achieving up to 10% growth, and 3-4% growth for apartment sales prices. However, Asteco expects a noticeable slowdown in the next 12 months, due to a restricted pipeline and further impacted by a reduction in government spending and stable salary levels. It is also worth noting that the expatriate population in Abu Dhabi, which represents approximately 75% of the total population, remains one of the main

drivers for residential property. Therefore, any plans for job cuts may impact overall demand significantly. There are several motivated and serious sellers in the market place, especially in the case of vacant land and bulk inventory, which presents an opportune time to buy. Knowing when to purchase a property will become the major factor but all signs point to 2016 being a good time to invest in the UAE’s property market.

With the experience of providing strategic property advice to owners and occupiers, John Stevens has been a pioneer in the establishment and continued development of professional management services. He is respected within the industry for developing this service. construction business news me April 2016 47


Lifting the lid on supply numbers Haider Tuaima, research manager at ValuStrat, highlights the challenges and processes involves in quantifying Dubai’s real estate supply


fficial supply figures are reported annually by the Dubai Statistics Center, stating the number of completed residential buildings and total number of individual units. At ValuStrat research we use official figures to report on past supply, however to estimate current and future supply we have to broaden our analysis to additional sources. Several real estate consultants publish market reviews on a periodic basis, often displaying large discrepancies with each other on Dubai’s supply numbers – this variance can cause understandable uncertainty amongst planners, developers and investors. Reasons for these discrepancies can be explained by differences in research methodology, definitions and terminologies. ValuStrat has developed its own supply database, sourcing information from available project data providers. We then work to fill the many gaps we find, such as missing projects, wrong locations, incorrect status and crucially, completion times. Consolidating multiple data sources is a challenge, merging dissimilar data into one compatible database and filtering out duplicates, identifying master projects and their sub-projects. Updating the supply database on a quarterly basis is also a challenge, as it involves identifying the new projects as well as updating the status and completion due dates for existing projects. After ensuring a comprehensive cleansed supply database, our analysis commences. Project’s land use, location,

48 construction business news me April 2016

“17,328 residential units were supplied during 2015, short of almost 15,000 units that were supposed to be delivered during the same year. The delayed units have been carried over to 2016 and 2017, pushing the estimated supply for 2016 to over 35,000 residential units” Haider Tuaima status, and completion dates are looked at with scrutiny, and when in doubt, data providers are asked to verify the project information by speaking to the contractors or developers and performing site visits if deemed necessary. The next stage involves segregating the supply database by land use, so pure residential projects, as well as mixed-use residential projects and hotel apartment projects are included

to quantify the total residential supply both currently and in the future. This is further cut down to include only under construction and completed projects. Other project statuses includes, under design, planning, cancelled, partially completed, proposed and on-hold. When the quarterly updates are compared, the total supply is determined, and by total supply, we mean the whole of Dubai - freehold as well as non-freehold projects. When we analyse the data, we find that some projects are completed before their due date, most projects are completed on time or a few months later. However, we do find that many projects witness delays for various reasons. ValuStrat’s latest quarterly report, Dubai Real Estate Market Review Q4 2015, stated that 17,328 residential units were supplied during 2015, short of almost 15,000 units that were supposed to be delivered during the same year. The delayed units have been carried over to 2016 and 2017, pushing the estimated supply for 2016 to over 35,000 residential units. It’s worth noting that this volume may be subject to significant downward adjustment as the year advances. However, we do expect the percentage of delayed projects to generally decrease as we approach 2020. Dubai continues to grow not just in terms of urban development but also in terms of adopting the latest technologies, enhancing government services, improving statistical research and promoting data transparency. This progress will invariable help us more in accurately estimating residential supply numbers going forward.

Project review

Light it up

Stephane Le Gentil, CEO of Etihad Energy Services Company, speaks with Construction Business News ME about achieving 75% measured and verified electricity savings at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority power stations that retrofitted 8,500 lighting fixtures with high efficiency LEDs

DEWA Power Station

Etihad Energy Services Company (ESCO), the energy retrofit entity has executed the lighting retrofit project at the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) power stations in Jebel Ali and Al Awir. The Jebel Ali Power Station is estimated to cover an area of almost four square kilometres, and the facility was initially built in 1976. The project involved replacing 8,500 light fixtures with high efficiency LEDs and it has exceeded the contractual savings guarantee to 75% savings from initial electricity consumption, which is equivalent to a 15GWh reduction annually. Stephane le Gentil, CEO of Etihad ESCO, says: “This lighting retrofit project of the DEWA is the first project that Etihad ESCO launched when the company 50 construction business news me April 2016

“Lighting today accounts for 19% of the world’s total electricity consumption, whereas this number is 22% in our region. Importance of energy efficient LED lighting solutions is getting more crucial every day for a more sustainable standard of living.” started its operations. The project was executed in January 2015 and was completed in November 2015. We are now at the stage where the energy savings are happening.” The project deployed an average of 30 workers on-site for the installation works with five engineers and technical experts working behind the scenes to ensure timely project delivery with customer satisfaction.

Construction worker retrofitting lights at DEWA Power Station

Project Data

68% 14 GWh AED6m

saving from current electricity consumption

reduction per year

The energy savings have been achieved from high efficiency LED lights by Philips Lighting that replaced old indoor, outdoor and streets lights in Jebel Ali and Al Awir Power Stations. The new electricity consumption from the installed LED lights was measured and verified and confirmed a savings of 75% compared to previous consumption. Through this ESCO project, DEWA will witness 6,286 tonnes of CO2 reduction. Gentil explains that there are many advantages for a building owner surrounding retrofitting an existing project. “The critical one being to save electricity and water, therefore reduce the utility bill. The second major advantage is improving the comfort of the occupants thanks to

better equipment installed. In the case of the DEWA Power Plants, the DEWA employees benefits from much better lights both outside and in the offices.” Using commercial electricity rates, the project generates an annual savings of AED6.6m with no maintenance costs on DEWA on lighting for the contractual six years. DEWA’s initial investment of AED21m will be recompensed through the guaranteed savings in less than 3.5 years. Through previously undertaken audits, Etihad ESCO identified that the lighting infrastructure at DEWA Power Stations were aging and a significant improvement could be implemented to reduce energy consumption. Discussing the electricity usage,

to be saved annually for DEWA An investment by DEWA of AED21m paid back through the savings in 3.5 years

6,286 6 tonnes of CO2 avoided

year contract with guaranteed electricity savings and light levels

construction business news me April 2016 51

Project review

DEWA Power Station

Project in short

Alfonso D’andretta, head of systems centre Dubai at Philips Lighting says: “Lighting today accounts for 19% of the world’s total electricity consumption, whereas this number is 22% in our region. Importance of energy efficient LED lighting solutions is getting more crucial every day for a more sustainable standard of living.” “The better quality light fixtures will benefit the DEWA employees working on site at night and result in better safety and comfort conditions, but the biggest impact will be a large reduction in the energy consumption while reducing the maintenance budget for lighting to zero” adds Stephane le Gentil. Though the retrofit project completed on time and rather effortlessly. Gentil points out that there were some challenges faced on the way. “Since we were working in a facility that is considered ‘critical infrastructure’, ensuring compliance and acclimatisation of the all involved in the process to the strict security and procedural requirements was a major challenge. In addition, since the team was working near live 52 construction business news me April 2016

End User

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority

Project Site

DEWA Power Station, Jebel Ali and Al Awir

Project Scope

Upgrade of 8,500 indoor, outdoor and street light fixtures with LEDs from Philips lighting, to reduce energy consumption and increase visibility, and enhance sustainability

Products and Suppliers used

A total of 8,500 LEDs from Al Ghandi Electronics limited and Philips lighting Company

Cost savings with new system

The upgrade will result in DEWA’s energy consumption saving – 75%

Other benefits

• Improved comfort conditions for DEWA employees • Significant Energy Savings • Better visual image of the site due to high performing lighting systems, which elevates visibility and ambiance

equipment, access to areas was limited and, so, it was imperative that we plan around the obstacles to complete the project on-time.” Other projects Etihad ESCO is the official super ESCO in Dubai and the first in the region, created to spearhead the development of a viable ESCO market through management of energy-efficient projects. Etihad ESCO aims to inspire cross sector actions and partnerships among multiple stakeholders to create and sustain a vibrant market for energy performance contracts.

Gentil says: “We have three projects currently in execution including one for DEWA and two for Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA). We have two more projects that are in award phase, one for JAFZA and one for Dubai International Financial Centre. Finally, we have one project in RFP evaluation phase for Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment. We expect all these projects to move smoothly and produce large energy savings. We have many more projects in preparation that will contribute to help Dubai reach its energy efficiency targets.”


Hit the road

Yasser Boudastour, project engineer at the Jahra Road Development Project, speaks to Construction Business News ME about the delivering an largescale infrastructure project that will soon be an integral part of Ministry of Public Work’s (MPW) longterm strategic plan What is the current construction status of the project? How much of the project is complete? To date, the project completion rate is at 88.5%, with the exclusion of the Al-Ghazali intersection. Phase-two has seen the most amount of progress, with two major openings to the public, and a completion level at 99%. Major structural works have been completed on the Jahra mainline. For example, as of 30 January 2016, the last segment had been installed on the Jahra mainline.

The levels of Jahra Road structure

Construction of Jahra Road

What are some of the key features about this project? This project has many unique characteristics, including the precast yard facilities in Doha area as well as the launching gantries used for segment erection. Precasting method: Special precast, post-tensioned segmental bridge constructions are used for the elevated structures. These segments are manufactured in a precast yard constructed specifically for the Jahra Road project. Located in the Doha area in Kuwait, the precast yard covers a total surface of 150,000 square metres. The facility accommodates large-scale precasting techniques and equipment such as different type of molds, gantry cranes, steel factory, storage area, batching plant, curing chambers and offices dedicated to the production of precast segments. Employing this system of precast segments has helped enhance the speed of production and has ensured better quality. 54 construction business news me April 2016

Precast segmental balanced cantilever method of bridge construction: Precast segmental balanced cantilever construction involves a symmetrical erection of segments around a supporting pier. Bridge segments are lifted into position and their matchcast faces are aligned and coated with epoxy before bonding the segments together. Temporary pre-stressing is applied on each segment until its balancing segment is installed. Finally, cantilever tendons are installed and stressed from one segment to its counter-part on the other side of the pier. When all segments of a new cantilever have been erected

and tendons stressed, a closure joint is made at mid-span called a stitch. Afterwards, continuity post-tensioning tendons are installed and stressed inbetween the piers for span continuity. Launching gantry: The erection process of bridge segments involves using the launching gantries, which were designed specifically for the project and weigh 500 tonnes each, and are 140 metres in length. The launching gantry is capable of lifting bridge segments that weighs up to 120 tonnes. Three launching gantries were designed for this project.

What are some of the challenges faced during the construction of this project? And how have they been overcome? Like all major projects, Jahra Road has had its fair share of challenges, including: • Very restricted space, which hinders the ability to move with as much ease and speed as possible • Using the launching gantry allowed segments to be installed without disrupting or stopping the traffic at ground level. If cranes were used, it would have resulted in many closures and detours of the roads • Many stakeholders involved, including other government agencies. All need to be coordinated with to ensure minimal inconvenience and disruption is caused. A number of approvals, licenses and documentation are needed when dealing with a project of this magnitude, and coordination with these many entities, government and private, has a big effect on overall time • Dealing with existing traffic during construction • Harsh weather conditions • Procurement of long-lead items • Material supply and quality control; we have rejected material that does not pass our quality standards and testing • Utilities relocation, coordination of detours, and the highly sensitive location of the project Regardless of these hurdles, the project has continued to successfully coordinate with its different stakeholders, and progress as one of the country’s key infrastructural projects in MPW’s long-term strategic vision. Could you talk more about constructing large elevated stretches of road? What was the reason behind this design and was it more challenging to build than regular roads? A traffic impact analysis was conducted in the area to project traffic levels for the next 25-30 years. It was concluded that the current roads would not sustain the projected levels. However, due to the lack of

Launching gantry

Phases of the project Phase 1

Jahra Roundabout (Sheraton Roundabout) to Airport Road

70% complete

Phase 2

United Nations Roundabout to Hospital Road (Al Sabah Medical District)

99% complete

Phase 3

Hospital Road to Al Ghazali Road

95% complete

Phase 4

East of Ghazali bridge and ends after the crossing with Airport road

83% complete

Phase 5

Al-Ghazali intersection, linking to the Jamal Abdul Nasser Road project

34% complete

expansion capacity at-grade, an alternative was sought. An observation and feasibility study showed that there was just enough space in the centre of the two roads (each direction) where an elevated structure could be built; essentially, enough space to accommodate central piers. Single large piers, with large diaphragms accommodating six lanes of traffic (three in each direction), would be built. Employing this design was more functional, as it would also allow for six at-grade service roads to be built, bringing the total number of lanes to 12 (six in each direction). Economically, building one pier (rather than two, one to support each direction carriageway) brings down the cost as less material is used. Also, aesthetically, it’s a better option.

Naturally, it is more challenging to build elevated structures, but in this case it was impossible to build at-grade roads as the government would have had to buy out and relocate multiple private, public and corporate entities. The contract was awarded in 2010 was a five-year contract. Were there any particular challenges faced that causes the delay? The project has faced, and overcome, many challenges that have resulted in delays in some areas of works, causing a knock-on effect to the whole project. Completion will be towards the end of 2016, but this does not include phase-five, which is the AlGhazali intersection. Works on phasefive were halted, and a new schedule was put in place. The individual construction business news me April 2016 55


Opened ramps and mainline

Approximate totals of project components include: • 4,579

piles which is approx. 100km in length if lined up side by side

• 499 piers

• 255


• 8,400

precast segments

• 20

abutment piers

• 444,000 m2

of anti-carbonation coating

schedule set for Al-Ghazali bridge is due to its position as the sole access route to the busy Shuwaikh port. Due to the heavy congestion on this road, it requires coordination with the other two road projects connecting with it (Jamal Nasser Road and Jaber Causeway). Once the other four phases of Jahra Road is completed, it will allow for alternate routes and for work to commence on the demolition and upgrade of Al-Ghazali. Once opened, how will this road impact the infrastructure of Kuwait? Jahra Road has traditionally been one of the core transport routes running through the heart of Kuwait, servicing numerous residential and key industrial areas, including educational, medical, commercial, and governmental sectors. The road is also heavily used by trucks carrying cargo across borders. With the continued development of these areas, traffic numbers have grown to proportions unserviceable by the current infrastructure, initiating a development programme set forth by the MPW aimed at transforming this simple three-lane road into a grand unified highway, with 12 lanes in each direction, creating a two-level motorway that separates local service traffic below from through traffic 56 construction business news me April 2016

• 381,345 m2 Precast yard

Asphalt (elevated)

• 558,300 m2

Asphalt (at-grade)

• Concrete used for viaduct and trough only:

743,181,170 m3

• Steel bars used for viaduct and trough only:

176,592,550 tonnes

above. The objectives of the project include the reduction of traffic in the affected surrounding areas, as well as playing an important role in MPW’s strategic goal of tackling the growing congestion issue in Kuwait. The transformation will convert the existing Jahra Road into an expressway that includes an 80-120 kph multi-levelled highway, designed in accordance to international standards; as well as upgrading the existing service roads to provide additional traffic lanes with enhanced utilities infrastructure. Due to the nature of its location, and the busy high-demand areas it services, the impact will be evident. The elevated structure will allow for people to bypass many of these areas and allow for free flow of traffic. Furthermore, the project is also up-

grading the existing at-grade service roads, which will allow for easier access to the private, public, residential and commercial entities on this route. Has Kuwait’s construction sector been affected by the drop in oil prices? Do you think the slowdown in GCC construction markets will affect ongoing or upcoming infrastructure projects in Kuwait? Jahra Road Development Project budget and allocation of funds was approved prior to the drop in oil prices, and this project has not been affected. Despite the drop, The MPW has a number of on-going projects, new projects set to start shortly, and many more in the pipeline as part of their long term strategic development plans.

THE HOME OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT Cityscape Abu Dhabi, the capital’s largest and most influential property exhibition is back. Bringing together investors, developers, government officials and real estate professionals, there is no better place to find investment opportunities and new business partners. With hundreds of developments from Abu Dhabi and overseas being showcased, Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2016 is the home of real estate investment.

Register now for FREE entry Strategic Partner

Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsor

Official English Newspaper

Official Arabic Newspaper

Supporting Partner

Official Online Partner

Regional Broadcasting Partner

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces


 +9714 336 5161  

12 - 14 APRIL 2016

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, UAE Research Partner

Official Property Portal

Official Classified Partner

Business Magazine

Official Magazine

Official Russian Publication

Hosted Alongside

Organised By


Supplier corner

Rami Hajjar

A leading light

Rami Hajjar, general manager of Philips Lighting Middle East, discusses how lighting could play a huge role in energy saving Could you tell us more about Philips’ Connected Lighting initiative? As a global leader in lighting and sponsor of the International Year of Light (IYOL) in 2015, a UNESCO-led initiative, at Philips we are committed to driving the connected lighting agenda, taking lighting beyond illumination. From indoor to outdoor spaces, to personal and business use, connected lighting translates into intelligent systems that offer personalisation and increased efficiency, effectiveness and productivity across multiple landscapes and verticals. By enabling the collection of valuable data, connected lighting allows facility managers to adjust lighting levels based on usage whether managing an office building, or an entire city. Lighting for example on a certain street or an office floor can be dimmed at any time of day or night. This can result in significant energy savings, reducing both cost and environmental impact, a primary driver in the implementation of connected lighting systems. Or alternatively, lighting can be increased on a street should there be a safety concern, working to enhance the experience of its users. Connected lighting can also have an 60 construction business news me April 2016

additional impact on the bottom line of businesses. By delivering light to specific areas of your retail store for example, a responsive and flexible system can encourage consumers to spend more time in low-footfall areas. Furthermore transforming light points into sources of information can enhance and personalise customer experience, with push notifications sending special offers based on individual shopper history. There are a number of energy issues around the world, but how much of an impact can efficient products have on solving these? With more than half of the world’s population currently living in cities and urban areas, and this number predicted to rise to close to 70% in 2050, sustainable development is a pressing concern on the global agenda. Globally the use of lighting accounts for 19% of all energy use. The associated increase in demand on energy resources that come with growing populations and urbanisation however threaten to affect access to electricity, and thereby the proper functioning of cities. Shifting over to energy efficient resources is therefore a necessity for governments today in light

of the growing pressures they face in ensuring the health and well-being of its residents, with many of them already leading the drive. With 75% of all current urban lighting inefficient, there are considerable gains to make by making the switch to LED. At Philips we predict a saving of 8% of global energy use through widespread adoption of LED. How does shifting to LED lights help a developer in terms of energy cost? LED offers several advantages over incandescent light bulbs including high energy efficiency, long life, and excellent quality of light, design flexibility, controllability and colour. With a lifespan of up to 40,000 hours and energy savings of up to 90% over traditional light bulbs, the advantages over the use of incandescent light bulbs both short term and long term are astronomic – they are simply too huge to ignore. How long would it take for LED lights to be used across projects in the region? Energy efficiency is high on the government agenda across the GCC region, as witnessed by the recent phasing out of incandescent light bulbs in the UAE, a

years is split into two phases. First execution and installation, which was completed in 2015, and second maintenance, which is ongoing and consists of maintaining lighting levels, quality and fixtures. Philips also worked to improve the visual comfort of occupants while working towards the energy savings mentioned above.

Philips Lighting’s work on Meydan Bridge, Dubai

step Qatar is likely to take in the near future. LED usage has been widely adopted in response and Philips has specifically helped the Dubai government to retrofit its own buildings thanks to a MoU signed back in 2013 with Dubai Municipality. How strong is the consumer demand for LED lighting and efficient products? Are there any regulations in the Middle East that support the use of LED lighting? In the Middle East, where electricity consumption accounts for 22% of all electricity use, above the global average, the compulsory implementation of energy efficient LED light bulbs in Dubai is helping to lower energy consumption. Authorities there have led the evolution to LED, banning the sale of incandescent light bulbs in stores from 1 January 2015. Philips, an Energy Service Company (ESCO), an accreditation developed by the Regulatory and Supervisory Bureau (RSB) in Dubai and awarded to those companies with sufficient energy auditing capabilities, has partnered with Dubai government across several projects to help it make the switch. The certification has allowed Philips to support

Dubai to achieve the goal of becoming an internationally recognised energy efficient city and achieve its target of a 30% reduction in energy use by 2030, in line with Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy. Philips has also worked closely with Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, working with the government there to upgrade its street lighting to LED, and is leading other similar initiatives across the wider region. Could you talk about one of your recent major projects? Philips Lighting worked with Etihad ESCO to refurbish Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) Jebel Ali and Al Awir Power Plants with LED lighting solutions. Looking for a partner with proven technology that could meet international standards in retrofitting Dubai’s two power plants, which provides the city of Dubai with all its electricity needs, Philips successfully met the criteria in a partner DEWA was searching for and began working on the project, tasked with achieving guaranteed energy savings of 68% - equivalent to 6,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions savings. The project, spanning a total of five

Could you tell us more about your work with Dubai municipality? Dubai Municipality is working to implement LED lighting in 262 of the government’s buildings as it works towards its goal of becoming the most sustainable city in the world. In 2013 a partnership between Dubai Municipality and Philips was initiated, with Philips tasked to support the Municipality in the retrofitting its buildings from conventional to LED lighting. This was in order to meet the key objective of reducing the electricity bill on lighting by 50%, reducing maintenance costs and, most importantly, improving the quality of lighting for the employees of the municipality. Phase-one of the project saw 15 of Dubai Municipality’s buildings having their lighting upgraded to new LED technology. A few of these buildings had very old lighting in place, making the retrofit particularly challenging. The end solution following accurate assessment was a hassle-free, risk-free solution delivering the most innovative CoreLine and GreenSpace LED luminaries to not only deliver high-quality optimum lighting but also delivery on the energy savings. Across the 15 retrofitted buildings, a total of 57% of energy savings has been achieved, along with positive feedback from the employees of the Dubai Municipality on the improved quality of the lighting, which was said to have created a more ambient and vibrant space. The project saw Dubai Municipality and Philips receive the accolade of Lighting Project of the Year at the Middle East Lighting Awards in March 2015. construction business news me April 2016 61


Mark your calendar

Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, Qatar

Construction Business News ME picks the latest and most sought-after exhibitions, conferences and seminars coming up in the construction industry

Lighting Tech Qatar

9 to 10 May 2016 City Centre Rotana Doha, Qatar The third annual LightingTech Qatar 2016 features a high level advisory board with representatives from Ashghal Public Works Authority, Amey and Parsons Brinckerhoff. Collectively, the advisory board with their combined expertise have helped develop topics covering the latest government regulations, industry standards and certifications, the impending needs and requirements in the lighting industry in Qatar and how they can be addressed.

Project Qatar

9 to 12 May 2016 Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, Qatar Project Qatar provides a platform to view the latest equipment and services from the construction industry, develop international relationships and generate new business opportunities. Exhibitors and visitors will gain fast access into Qatar’s lucrative construction market, and the opportunity to generate new business opportunities with companies of all sizes. In 2015, over 2,000 companies and brands from 40 countries exhibited at the show, and organisers expect more participating companies in 2016.

Smart Skyscraper Summit

16 to 17 May 2016 Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort and Spa, UAE With over 300 senior architects, engineers, policy-makers, developers, contractors and building managers attending from across the GCC, Smart Skyscraper Summit offers a platform for networking and knowledge sharing required for developing world-class skyscrapers in the Middle East. It will also showcase innovative building technologies, design principles and solutions from around the world and offers high-level networking opportunities.

Future BIM Implementation Qatar

11 to 12 May 2016 InterContinental Hotel The City, Qatar The Future BIM Implementation Qatar is the essential platform in 2016 for all those involved in the architecture, design, con62 construction business news me April 2016

struction, engineering, consulting, building and infrastructure industry in Qatar and the GCC to stay up-to-date on how this software and technology is facilitating future cities in the region.

FM Expo

Date: 23 to 25 May 2016 Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE The FM Expo is co-located with Middle East Waste and Recycling and Commercial Cleaning and Hygiene and Elevators and Access Control. The Expo will unite FM professionals from across the region with suppliers and experts from integrated FM providers, waste management, elevator products and solutions, maintenance and environmental services, to IT solutions and health and safety products.

Bridge and Road Engineering and Maintenance

2 to 25 May 2016 Eastern Mangrove Hotel and Spa, UAE The event will gather senior government representatives from UAE, including the Department of Transport, Al Ain Municipality as well as local developers, contractors and consultants. The strategic conference will be a great platform for local agencies to demonstrate their achievements in infrastructure delivery and management in the UAE.

Roads and Highways Egypt

24 to 25 May 2016 Cairo, Egypt Join key stakeholders from the Egyptian Ministry of Transport, Egyptian Holding Company for Roads, Bridges and Land Transport, Egyptian Ministry of Housing, Egyptian Ministry of Finance, AMG Al Amar Consulting Group S. A., and more at the conference. The event will discuss solutions for the phase-two of the National Roads Programme, the National Intelligent Transport Systems Programme as well as the CATIC refurbishment projects.

For more news about construction events and more, visit

Building materials

Interpipe initiates the fight against fake pipes in the GCC Ukraine-based steel pipe producer, Interpipe, has officially registered its trademark with the Ministry of Economy in the UAE. This marks the first step in the fight against the emergence of a counterfeit steel pipe industry in the UAE. With over 10 years of experience in supplying steel in the UAE, the company’s products are widely used in construction and infrastructure projects and can be found in approximately every third building in the UAE. The region accounts for more than 16% of the company’s global sales. “The depth of the counterfeit steel industry in the UAE remains unquantified, however its existence presents a significant challenge, not only to

Interpipe steel pipes

the steel industry but to the construction business as a whole,” said Andrey Burtsev, vice president of pipe

sales at Interpipe MENA. “Uncertified steel cannot be guaranteed for its integrity, strength or durability.”

Alucopanel urges a ban on combustible ACP Alucopanel Middle East Euroclass A2 Non-Combustible Grade ACM/MCM, avoids spreading of fire to exterior wall claddings of high- rise buildings. The company is a subsidiary of the Danube Group and a joint venture between Danube Group and Alucopanel USA. Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairperson at Danube Group believes that human life must be valued and protected. “As a part of the real estate community I appeal to the fellow members to come together in making sure that only the best safety solutions are developed and deployed without any compromise. We need to take control now by planning how we will go about curbing the mishaps or accidents, especially fire related,” he said. Currently, the region’s construction community-consultants and owners are looking for solutions, suggestions and codes to curb fatal fire accidents. The government of UAE examined the fire and life safety code in March which 64 construction business news me April 2016

included detailed information on the start and continue the fire. don’ts and dos of fire safety. Zohaib Rahman, division head at AluOne of the major reasons behind copanel Middle East urged: “Ban everythese active measures is the increasing thing other than Class A2 in accordance number of fires that have occurred in to EN 13501 for high-rise buildings or skyscrapers across the country includ- structures which have a height of more ing Tamweel Tower, The Torch, and than 15 metres. Buildings with height the Address Hotel Downtown Hotel. any less than 15 metres can have Class All of the towers used the traditional B1 in accordance to EN 13501 OR Class Aluminium Composited Panel (ACP) A in accordance to ASTM E84 grade made of combustible material (LDPE). material, however any grade less than Though the reasons behind build- B1 should not be considered at all ing fires are range from spark in under the new UAE Fire-safety electric wiring to cigaretteDid you know? code 2016. butt thrown carelessly, “Any ACP material which Almost 90% high-rise the fire itself propagates contains combustible skyscrapers built before because of thermoplascomponents will not be 2012 in GCC are cladded with able to get Euroclass A2 tic core material used non-fire-retardant grade in the manufacturing of fire certification as they aluminium composite panels won't pass the test. A aluminium composite due to the lack of stringent product with the main panels, which works as measures and codes. fuel in fire propagation. ingredient of the core maThere are three elements – terial, which disallows the fuel, oxygen and heat– that are diffusion of flame and restricts the required to combine before ignition development of smoke in accordance and combustion can take place to to following test standards.”

Future BIM Implementation 11-12 May 2016 InterContinental Hotel The City, Doha, Qatar Optimizing BIM Implementation to Improve the Management of Complex Construction and Infrastructure Projects KEY SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Ramalingam Thirunavukkarasu Senior CAD & BIM Analyst, Public Works Authority - Ashghal

Hamzeh Nawar Senior Manager- BIM, Meraas

Bhushan Avsatthi Associate Director AEC, Hi Tech

Michael Turk Construction Manager, Hill International

Prof. Nashwan Dawood Professor, Teesside University

Omar Selim BIM Specialist, Urbacon Contracting

Moawia E. Abdelkarim Managing Director - Middle East, DPR Construction

Bhanu Sri Prakash Gejjala Vice President - Project Architecture & BIM, RSP Architects Planners & Engineer

Bisrat Solomon Degefa BIM Project Manager, Atkins

Steven Lewis BIM Manager, ALYS JV

Nithin Thomas Senior BIM Engineer, Habtoor Leighton Group

Allen Jay Holland Senior Architect and BIM Manager, KEO International Consultants

Winn Gomez BIM Manager, Oger International Abu Dhabi LLC

Derek Bankston BIM Manager, GHD

Muhammad Jabakhanji Head of VDC + BIM, Alpin Limited

Mohammed Mahboob BIM Specialist, BuroHappold Engineering

Anthony Lapierre Senior Manager- BIM, Meraas

Grant Crow Cost Planning Manager, MACE Group

SPECIAL OFFER FOR Associate Partner

Networking Partners


Organized by:

Advanced Conferences and Meetings FZ-LLC T: + 971 43614001 I F: +971 4 361 4554 I Email: I


Gran Meliá Ghoo, Caspian Sea

The Persian empire

Editor of Hotel News ME, Sophia Soltani, assesses the hotel development opportunities in Iran and how foreign investors are being enticed through lucrative tax-relief incentives


ising from the ashes in the ruins of ancient Perspolis in Southern Fars to the topaz clear waters running through the mountains in Damavand, it seems that Iran, the second-largest nation in the Middle East, is set to rise-up and reveal its beauty and potential to the rest of the world – well, at least to Europe anyway (American companies have a while to go yet). Having been one of the most talked about countries in recent years, most notably for the lifting of sanctions which are expected to open up what is arguably the sole remaining major hotel market largely untouched by international brands. With a population of approximately 80 million, there is huge potential for growth in both domestic and international travel to Iran. Moreover, the total number of hotels throughout Iran is just 640 (less than the number in Dubai alone) with only 96 hotels based in Iran’s capital, Tehran. The immediate demand is likely to be from business travellers, both domestic and international business persons, the latter of which are likely to flock towards internationally recognised brands, with an estimated 65% of

66 construction business news me April 2016

business travellers already being part of hotel loyalty programmes according to a report issued by MasterCard. The current lack of any experienced hotel developers in Iran presents vast opportunities in all hotel classes. According to reports, only 13 out of the 96 hotels in Tehran are classified as 4-and 5-star, although it is widely acknowledged that these would not meet internationally recognised standards for these classifications. Consequently, there is a clear opportunity for an influx of international class high-end hotels (which would also take market share from the existing 4 and 5 star hotels) as well as “true” luxury brands. Another significant opportunity has been flagged in the mid-range sector, with a particular focus on modern, trendy hotels to cater for the young population of Iran, leaving ample opportunities for mid-market investors to benefit from this modern day gold rush. Additionally, there is likely to be a growing demand for budget hotels, particularly those maintaining internationally recognised standards. Accor has clearly seen the potential across both the budget sector, in the opening

of Ibis in Tehran, as well as in different classes, as demonstrated in the opening of the mid-scale Novotel Tehran, both of which opened in October last year. These opportunities in the market are coupled with a series of recent incentives for foreign investors provided by the Iranian Government. These incentives include 100% income tax exemption for new hotels and tourist infrastructures in less developed areas for which a license is issued by the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHTO). Hotels and tourism projects in developed towns and areas will also benefit from 50% income tax exemption and in addition to all this the Iranian government recently announced that it will issue visas for nationals of nearly 65 countries including citizens of most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE upon their arrival at Iranian airports. Despite the potential for political unrest, Iran is a signatory to over 60 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) all which have been designed to encourage and protect the investment of foreigners, so what else could potential investors want?

Construction Business News ME - April 2016  
Construction Business News ME - April 2016