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How Bluewaters Island will set a new standard for construction projects in Dubai



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// contents 8 10 18 20 22 26

April 2017 // Issue #26

Editor’s note News Appointments Contracts Comment Analysis

How the Middle East is Embracing solar power

30 In Person

Ashraf Al Garf, CEO of Projacs

34 Cover Story

The Benchmark: How Bluewaters Island will set new standards in construction

construction business news me // April 2017 //


CEO Wissam Younane Managing Director Walid Zok Director Rabih Najm Group Publishing Director Diarmuid O'Malley Group Sales Director Joaquim D'Costa +971 50 440 2706

Business Development Director Rabih Naderi +966 50 328 9818

Editor Jason O'Connell Art Director Aaron Sutton Sales Manager Vishvanath Shetty +971 52 6745378

Marketing Executive Mark Anthony Monzon

38 Technology Telematics

42 Commercial Vehicles UD Trucks

46 Interview

Harjinder Singh, chairman, the Image Group of Companies

54 Take 10

Saudi Megaprojects

60 Supplier News 68 Save the Date 70 Editor’s Pick

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construction business news me // April 2017 //


// Editor's note

editor’s note

Building a Legacy

When Meraas delivers Bluewaters Island in the first half of next year, it will raise the bar for other developers in Dubai. The man-made island, situated just 500 metres off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) will combine residential, hospitality, retail and entertainment components under the shadow of what is certain to become a world famous landmark. The world’s tallest observation wheel is steadily taking shape while construction continues around it. At 210 metres tall, Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye in Arabic) will dwarf the iconic London Eye (135m) and snatch the world record from the 167m High Roller in Las Vegas by some considerable distance. Bluewaters Island is the logical next step for a developer that thinks differently to others. The projects it has successfully concluded to date - The Beach at JBR, Citywalk, Boxpark, Last Exit and Dubai Parks and Resorts – have each introduced a completely


new concept to a city previously better known for shopping malls and skyscrapers. The government-controlled company is quite literally on a mission to change the face of Dubai. Take The Beach at JBR for example. Adding a pedestrian retail project in JBR seemed to fly in the face of conventional wisdom: that people in Dubai prefer to drive their cars to an air-conditioned mall. But the project has proven to be a huge hit with tourists and residents alike, invigorating the area and lifting the value of all property around it. Bluewaters is planned to be an extension of that project while taking it to the next level. The whole project is building to a conclusion in the first quarter of next year, though it looks as though the wheel will be completed sometime later. When that does finally happen, Dubai will have a new iconic landmark to add to Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa.

// construction business news me // April 2017

Jason o'Connell Editor

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construction business news me // April 2017 //


// Update An update from around the region

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Ground breaking

Dubai breaks ground on Meydan One Mall

Dubai Harbour

Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, officially launched construction of the new Meydan One Mall development last month. During an evening ceremony attended by VIP guests and regional and international retailers, Sheikh Mohammed led the delegation on site and broke ground on the project. Italian contractor Salini Impregilo won the $435mn contract to build the mega 10

mall which is part of a massive urban development project located between Meydan and Al Khail Road, close to the heart of the city. The stand out feature of the mall – which will have 620 shops including two major department stores – will be its retractable skylight measuring 160 metres by 100 metres. Other striking features include the largest dancing water fountain in the world, measuring 380m long, a 1km long indoor ski slope and a 258,300 square

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foot multi-purpose indoor sports facility located within the Meydan One Mall. Major construction work is to begin this year and finish within 23 months, the Italian firm said in a statement. Initial work involves overseeing the excavations and building the sub- and superstructures for the complex, including the foundations for the indoor ski slope and the concrete support for the mall's steel retractable roof. Meydan Chairman Saeed Humaid Al Tayer said: “In our

vision for Meydan One we have brought together all the wonders of a retail and leisure experience into one space, making this the number one destination for the UAE and indeed, the Middle East. “With construction now underway, the Meydan One Mall is scheduled to be completed by 2020, in line with phase 1 of the Meydan One mega development.” Meydan One will break at least seven world records and feature the 711m tall Dubai One tower.

Expo 2020

Al Futtaim Carillion bags $600mn Expo deal Al Futtaim Carillion has won the $600mn main contract for the key development of the three Theme Districts at Expo 2020 Dubai, seeing off competition from 34 other contractors from around the world. The three districts will be named Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability after its three sub-themes and the design will reflect traditional Dubai architecture. When Expo 2020 Dubai opens on 20 October 2020, the districts will be home to 136 pavilions for many of the participating countries, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and commercial partners at Expo, and will host cutting-edge exhibits and experiences for Expo’s many millions of visitors to enjoy. The deal is the first of AED 11bn worth of construction contracts that Expo 2020 Dubai plans to award in 2017. Ahmed Al Khatib,

Vice President – Real Estate at Expo 2020 Dubai said that the award marked an exciting step in the growth of Dubai, both for the six months of the event itself and beyond as the Districts and full Expo site become an integral part of Dubai South’s vibrant and varied new development. “Al Futtaim Carillion has a proven record of successful delivery of buildings and

infrastructure projects for the commercial and public sectors in the UAE. Their experience, knowledge and capabilities on major projects qualifies them to undertake the Theme District construction work for Expo 2020 Dubai.” He added: “We will follow up with other construction awards this year. It’s a big moment in the life of this event. The Theme Dis-

tricts will be a major part of the site, explored and enjoyed by many thousands of people daily during the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai.” Public spaces in the Theme Districts will host innovative shades and climate control solutions, which together with the passive design of the buildings, will create a comfortable and enjoyable visitor experience. Edmund Mahabir, Managing Director of Al Futtaim Carillion, said: “Al Futtaim Carillion has been operating as a Dubai-based joint venture since 1972. We are very proud to be able to play a role in the construction of the site for Expo 2020 Dubai, a venue that will play an important role in the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the UAE. We’re now mobilising and are excited to be starting work before the end of March.”


Abu Dhabi’s new terminal delayed to 2019 The opening of Abu Dhabi Airports’ new $3bn Midfield Terminal has been pushed back by two years, according to reports. Gulf News, The National and Al Etihad reported the delay, citing a senior Abu Dhabi official, although no reason was given. Expansion of the airport had already been delayed by around five months until December 2017. Contractors completed the

complex steel structure of the roof in May last year. The Midfield Terminal will be able to accommodate up to 30 million passengers a year when it opens, taking the total capacity of Abu Dhabi Airport to 45 million passengers per year. A consortium of Turkey’s TAV, Consolidated Contractors Company and Dubai’s Arabtec are building the terminal. construction business news me // April 2017 //



Sale & Purchase

Drake and Scull completes ONE PALM stake sale

Drake & Scull International has sold its ownership share in the ONE PALM development in Dubai to its joint venture partner Omniyat Properties. The flagship project, which is located on the left trunk of Palm Jumeirah, was launched by the pair in 2014. The sale is part of the

ongoing financial restructuring launched last year by Drake & Scull to revive its fortunes after taking a hit during the recent downturn. The company suffered a loss of AED 786.9mn loss for 2016. The partners have agreed to a provisional settlement plan comprising of

consecutive phases that is scheduled to be completed in 2017 which will generate liquidity of over AED 300mn ($81.7mn) for DSI, the Dubai-listed engineering and services firm said in a statement. “This transaction marks an important milestone in the DSI turnaround and capital restructuring plan that was initiated in Q4 2016. The company is progressing steadily with its divestment program and will continue to pursue the disposal and monetisation of its non-core assets and non-performing subsidiaries to generate cash for the business.” DSI announced in February 2017 several strategic measures to stabilise the business in preparation for a new phase of financial & operational recovery. Shareholders are due to convene at the company’s AGM this month to approve these measures.

// They said... “Al Futtaim Carillion has a proven record of successful delivery of buildings and infrastructure projects for the commercial and public sectors in the UAE” Ahmed Al Khatib, Expo 2020

“In our vision for Meydan One we have brought together all the wonders of a retail and leisure experience into one space” Saeed Humaid Al Tayer, Meydan

“We are very excited to be bringing MGM Resorts on our journey to making Dubai the world’s best city to visit, work and live in” Hesham Al Qassim, wasl Asset

// In numbers


AED 3.4bn AED 1.9bn

“Our ongoing successful development of Masdar City is demonstrating

net loss booked by contractor Arabtec in 2016

Debt the company wrote off last year

AED 6bn AED 1.5bn worth of trade and other receivables still owed to it 12

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funds the company is seeking from a rights issue

how cities can be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable” Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Masdar

Project launch

MGM hotels to make Dubai debut

World famous hotel brands MGM and Bellagio are set to make their debut in the Middle East after Dubai’s wasl Asset Management selected MGM Resorts to operate a three hotel resort on a prime location near Jumeirah Beach. Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum inspected plans for the futuristic mega resort last month. Although the exact location of the futuristic resort has not been specified, it will occupy a prime spot off the Jumeirah coast close to the Burj Al Arab, according to a statement on the Dubai Media Office. The 26-acre prime development will feature an MGM Hotel, MGM Residences and a Bellagio Hotel with a total of 1,000 rooms and 10 villas. Under the agreement MGM will advise wasl on the development of the project and then operate it once complete. US media reports cited Bill Hornbuckle, President of MGM Resorts, as saying the project would take nine

months to mobilise and about three years to build, resulting in a probable 2021 opening. Hesham Al Qassim, CEO of wasl Asset Management Group said: “Wasl is proud to be working in partnership with such an internationally acclaimed hotel and resort operator; it is a major milestone and we are very excited to be bringing MGM Resorts on our journey to making Dubai the world’s best city to visit, work and live in.” Bill Hornbuckle, President of MGM Resorts, said: “We are excited and honoured by the opportunity to introduce our incredible brands in one of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations. This marks the first time we will offer multiple MGM luxury brands at a prime beachfront location. “This agreement, which makes us the development advisor and operator, reflects our commitment to remaining disciplined and focused in our investments while continuing to advance our brand of entertainment resorts in markets around the world.”


Balfour Beatty exits the Gulf

Balfour Beatty has completed its exit from the Middle East construction scene after its local joint venture partner Dutco finalised the acquisition of the minority shares the UK-based contractor held in three companies. In February Balfour Beatty announced plans to quit the region as well as Indonesia and Australia to focus on its core markets in the UK, US and Far East. It sold its interests in Dutco Balfour Beatty, Dutco Construction Company LLC and BK Gulf LLC to Dutco for GBP 11mn (AED 50mn). After completing the deal Tariq Baker, CEO of UAE focused Dutco said: “Our relationship with Balfour Beatty has been very successful for over 40 years during which time we have executed many prestigious and complex projects. “A review of the strategic objectives of the two shareholders has indicated the time was right for a new chapter to be written for the joint businesses. This allows Balfour Beatty to focus on their target areas of operation, which no longer includes the Middle East. He added: “Dutco is part of the original fabric of construction in the UAE and we believe we have a significant role to play in the development of the country. There will be no fundamental change to our existing operations other than our continuous drive to become more efficient and productive in the execution of our projects.” Baker said Dutco would look to develop new relationships within the construction sector.

Meraas chairman to lead Dubai Holding

Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has appointed real estate heavyweight HE Abdulla Al Habbai as the new chairman of Dubai Holding. Al Habbai will continue to serve in his current position as group chairman of Meraas, according to a statement issued by Dubai Media Office. He replaces Mohammed Al Gergawi, Dubai Holding’s founding chairman, who stepped down last month after 18 years in charge of the group. HH Sheikh Mohammed said: “As a business leader who has steered major projects that have contributed to realising Dubai’s and the UAE’s growth vision, Abdulla Al Habbai is ideally placed to lead Dubai Holding in its next phase of growth. “He has a proven record of successfully delivering projects that have supported the development of key sectors. I am confident that his extensive experience and expertise will enable him to steer Dubai Holding in achieving new levels of industry development and innovation.” Meraas has emerged as one of Dubai’s highest profile property developers in recent years with projects such as The Beach, Citywalk and Bluewaters Island.

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// Snapshot

Aldar Properties prepares to flood the 2.4km canal running through the heart of the Shams development on Reem Island


DAMAC awards 121 contracts worth $380mn

Top 5 Web Stories



Al Futtaim Carillion bags $600mn Expo deal


Abu Dhabi’s new airport terminal delayed


Dutco completes purchase of Balfour Beatty JVs


Dubai Ruler lays foundation stone for Meydan One


Salini Impregilo wins $425mn Meydan One contract

DAMAC Properties awarded 121 construction, supplier and consultancy contracts valued at AED 1.4bn ($381mn) in Dubai during January and February 2017. The main contracts were for the provision of various services at five of DAMAC’s projects in Dubai, including the golf community AKOYA Oxygen, as well as DAMAC Hills, AYKON City on Sheikh Zayed Road, and Avanti Tower in addition to Merano Tower, both in the Business Bay area. In DAMAC Hills, the contracts include the main works package for the Golf Villas, as well as the landscape, irrigation works, water features for the approach roads and furniture and accessories for the Park Villas. The contracts for the AKOYA Oxygen master development cover consultancy services for the provision of supervision services, main works packages, roads and infrastructure works packages, as well as concept design. The awarded contracts for AYKON

// construction business news me // April 2017

City include specialist design services and piling works packages, while those for Merano Tower encompass the main works package. Mohammed Tahaineh, Senior Vice President – Commercial, DAMAC Properties, said: “Sustaining momentum from the successful launch of the Trump International Golf Club Dubai at DAMAC Hills, work has been steadily progressing at DAMAC Hills as the community takes shape. “We are also pleased with the level of progress at AKOYA Oxygen, AYKON City, Avanti Tower and Merano Tower and our appointment of these reputable contractors, consultants and suppliers to get the work completed on our projects at various stages of development.”

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Project launch

Masdar City to get first sustainable residential project

LEAD Development and Project Management Consultants (LEAD) and The National Investor (TNI) will build the first residential community of private “green” villas and townhouses at Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s flagship sustainable urban development. The freehold real estate development will accommodate around 5,000 residents when

completed in 2022, and will be open to both UAE and foreign national investors. Located in the southern district of Masdar City’s Free Zone, the project will meet a minimum 3 Pearl rating according to Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s “Estidama” sustainability framework for built environments and urban communities.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, said: “Our ongoing successful development of Masdar City is demonstrating how cities can be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, reducing energy and water demand and the production of waste efficiently and cost effectively, while also building thriving communities. “The private sector has a vital role to play in promoting the wider adoption of commercially viable solutions to urban sustainability challenges, and in sharing knowledge and experience across the industry.” Residential property will make up more than 90 percent of the mixed-use development. Roughly 7,800m2 has been set aside for community amenities, and there is additional space for commercial units. Abu Dhabi’s planned light rail system will also serve residents.

Utilities a key construction driver in the UAE Power and water projects are expected to be a key growth driver for the UAE construction sector in the coming year, analysts say. There are currently 401 active projects in the UAE’s utility sector, with an estimated value of $83.5bn, according to BNC Construction Analytics. The utilities sector constitutes 4 percent of the number of active construction projects and 11 percent of the total estimated value of


ongoing construction. BNC Project Intelligence identified four major new utility projects with a combined estimated value of approximately $175mn awarded in January alone. The largest of these was a District Cooling Plant worth $150mn for the National Food Products Company located in Khalifa Industrial Zone. “The UAE has always shown exceptional foresight. The significant ongoing investment in the power

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sector is one of the best indicators of an aggressive development plan in the years ahead,” said Avin Gidwani, CEO, Industry Networks. In addition to the Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi, notable multi-billion dollar utility projects under construction include the Hassyan Coal Fired Power Plant in Dubai, an Independent Water & Power Plant (IWPP) located at Mirfa, Abu Dhabi and the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai.

// Bitesize news

Al Moayyed Contracting has started foundation works at the $150mn mixed use Harbour Row development in Bahrain’s capital city Manama.

Construction of Azizi Developments’ Royal Bay serviced apartment project on Palm Jumeirah is 80 percent complete and on track to finish this year.

Arcadia Engineering, owned by Middle Eastbased KBW Investments, has been appointed General Designer of an office building in Bucharest, Romania.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has been named one of the top 24 companies to work for in the UAE for the third year running.

// Appointments

Appointments Movers and shakers in the industry

Al Tamimi & Co appoints new head of arbitration UAE law firm Al Tamimi & Company has named its new head of arbitration as Thomas Snider who comes with over 16 years of experience in the field. Al Tamimi Senior Partner, Essam Al Tamimi, said: “Tom’s appointment could not be timelier. He joins our firm at a time that international arbitration in the UAE and the Middle East is going from strength to strength, as witnessed by the proliferation of arbitral institutions and rules in the region.”

Philips Lighting appoints Goktug Gur

Al Naboodah names new HSE manager Al Naboodah Group Enterprises (ANGE) has appointed a new health and safety officer as part of its drive to slash injuries to zero by 2020. Rob Munn will take up the newly created position of General Manager of Safety, Health, Environment, and Quality, with overall responsibility for overseeing the wellbeing of all 16,000 employees across the Group, comprising 20 companies including the contractor Al Naboodah Construction. 18

Philips Lighting has named Goktug Gur as the new leader for its Middle East (excluding KSA) and Turkey operations. He replaces Rami Hajjar, General Manager of Philips Lighting Middle East (excluding KSA) who has been appointed as Country Leader for Indonesia. Gur’s appointment coincides with a brand new regional mandate, combining the Middle East (excluding KSA) and Turkey under one leadership to further increase synergies and fasten execution of Philips Lighting’s regional initiatives.

Alistair Young moves to Dentons in Dubai

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Alastair Young has joined the Middle East Construction and Dispute Resolution practice of law firm Dentons in Dubai. He will initially lead Dentons' UAE Disputes practice and then the wider Middle East Disputes practice from 1 May 2017. Alastair has been practising in the Middle East whilst based in the UK since 2007 and has a wealth of experience acting for international companies operating in the region.

// Contracts

Contracts Hill to project manage new Masdar neighbourhood Hill International will provide project management services during construction of the Masdar Institute Neighborhood in Abu Dhabi. The three-year deal has an estimated value of approximately AED 12.2mn ($3.3mn). The mixed-use development will contain more than 103,000 square meters of space and feature a commercial office building, two residential buildings, underground parking and a plaza.

Nakheel awards $50mn hotel contract

AlJaber and Tekfen win $342mn Qatar contract AlJaber Engineering (JEC) and Turkey’s Tekfen Construction have been confirmed as the joint-venture (JV) partners in charge of building the stadium in the Al Thumama district of Doha, Qatar. In a statement Tekfen confirmed the deal was worth QAR 1.25bn (342.5mn). Arab Engineering Bureau (AEB), the oldest architectural and engineering consulting firm in Qatar, was confirmed in 2015 as the Design & Construction Supervision Consultant for the 40,000 seater.

Parsons bags $400mn Sharjah airport deal Parsons has clinched a $408m (AED 1.5bn) project management contract for the expansion of Sharjah International Airport. The project will involve construction of a number of facilities, including the expansion of the passenger terminal as well as roads in the surrounding area. The contract will include the pre-design, design and construction phases, and the delivery phase of the project. Upon completion, the expansion is expected to increase the number of passengers to 25 million by 2027.

Nakheel has awarded a construction contract worth AED 184.5mn ($50.2mn) for a second hotel at Ibn Battuta Mall. Dubai-based Parkway International Contracting will build the 375-room hotel, which has a total project value of AED 240mn. The property, to be operated by Thailand’s Minor Hotel Group under its AVANI brand, complements Nakheel’s first hotel at Ibn Battuta – a 372-room Premier Inn that opened last October.


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Al Nuaimi wins $3mn Mina Al Arab enabling works RAK Properties has signed an AED 11.5mn ($3.13mn) enabling works contract with Al Nuaimi Group for its upcoming InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort. Operated under the InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) luxury brand, the 350 key resort is set to open in 2019. Mina Al Arab, which includes an Anantara resort, is being developed over five years with an estimated investment of AED 5bn ($1.36bn).

ALEC to build data centre at Dubai airport

DAMAC hands $55mn tower contract to Commodore

DAMAC Properties has awarded Commodore Contracting Co with the AED 200mn ($55mn) main contract to build the Merano Tower in Business Bay, Dubai. The 29-storey residential tower is due for completion in 2019. Merano Tower includes a basement level, ground floor and three podiums with 26 floors of residential apartments varying from studios to three bedrooms.

Gettco wins $41mn Al Seeliya Tower project in Doha

ALEC has been awarded a AED 44mn ($12mn) project to build the world's first Tier 3 certified Modular Data Centre Complex (MDCC) at Dubai International Airport. The scope of works include complete civil, MEP and infrastructure works. The Dubai International Airport Data Centre will be the first of two planned for Dubai Airports. Atkins will manage the project near Terminal 2 which will take around nine months to build.

Gettco Construction has been awarded a QAR 150mn ($41mn) contract from parent company Al Sawari Holding to build a 33 storey tower in Doha. Located in the heart of West Bay, Al Seeliya Tower will have 180 serviced apartments when complete which is scheduled for the end of this year.

Larsen & Toubro bags $76mn Doha Metro contract

SNC-Lavalin contracted for Salalah plant

Qatar Rail Company has awarded a contract worth INR 5bn ($76.5mn) to Larsen & Toubro Electrical & Automation for work on Phase 1 of the Doha Metro. Work encompasses supply, installation, testing, integration, commissioning and five years’ maintenance of network-wide building automation and control systems (BACS) for 37 stations. The frame agreement is through nine contracts with design & build contractors for the stations and tunnels along multiple lines and a five-year maintenance contract directly with Qatar Rail.

SNC-Lavalin has won a contract with Salalah Methanol Company LLC (SMC) for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of a petrochemical plant, including its utilities and off-site infrastructure, in the city of Salalah, in the Sultanate of Oman. The project began in March with SNC-Lavalin initially performing the early works program.

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// Comment

Get ready for VAT Property development and construction industry – will the VAT foundations be safe? By Bruce Hamilton, Director Indirect Tax, Deloitte Middle East


t is widely accepted that the application of VAT to the property development and construction industry is one of the more complex areas of the economy. However, if developers take the implementation of VAT seriously and don’t wait too long to start their project, it is possible achieve it. The issue is why this sector is high risk for VAT implementation? A quick look at the skyline around the GCC should answer that question. It is a fundamental driver of economies of the region and applies, not just to the iconic buildings, but also the world class infrastructure for carving out a place in a region that not that long ago was a desert. The challenges to a successful implementation of VAT cover three main area – Financial, Commercial, and Operational. In considering these we have set out a few of the issues to be addressed. Financial Risks The supply of construction services (including materials) is normally subject to VAT at the 5% standard rate. However the ability of developers to recover the VAT charged to them will depend on a number of factors, including whether they have undertaken a robust process of setting their accounting system and processes up to enable them to do so. We would generally recommend a structured project for them to achieve this outcome. It is essential that they don’t wait for final legislation in the respective GCC states, as this will leave them with insufficient time to ready their accounting and commercial systems to address the changes that will be required. 22

have an impact on their working capital requirements. Commercial Risks These risks will be many and varied, depending upon the precise operations of the developers and construction contractors. Some of the risks would however include those identified below.

As with any construction project, the VAT implementation project can only proceed successfully if properly thought out, and structured. You can’t put the roof on before the foundations are in place Cash flow One of the biggest areas of concern would be planning for cash flow impacts. The sector, which operates on thin margins could be under pressure in terms of meeting the additional requirement of paying 5% VAT on the acquisition of goods or services each quarter on an accrual basis and any refunds from the Tax Authority may, initially at least, take months. It is critical that developers perform a comprehensive impact assessment and determine the additional cash flow requirements, as this will

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Lead times on larger projects There tend to be long lead times between the inception of major projects and completion. At the extreme, one simply has to look back at the construction of the Burj Khalifa and the time it took from first excavation in approximately 2003, to completion in 2010. The Expo 2020 project in Dubai is little different. With many of the major projects on track for the next few years it is likely that many contracts were entered into well before it was clear that VAT was on the horizon. The issue is that most contracts will not include any reference to VAT on the charges that are to be made after 1 January 2018. In future, if the contract price would have been AED 1,000, contractors should be in a position, commercially and legally, to charge AED 1,050 including the VAT, rather than having the VAT taken out of the AED 1,000 charge. This however requires that the contract terms give the Contractor the right to recover VAT in addition to the agreed charge for services. Barter transactions Property transactions often involve considerations other than money, which can cause complex VAT problems. As an example, an exchange of

property interests, such as a surrender of one property in exchange for another, may be completed without any exchange of money. This is a barter transaction and a failure to recognize these transactions for VAT purposes could result in penalties.

Lease incentives It is relatively common for developers to offer rent-free periods and other incentives to prospective tenants of commercial properties. This could trigger a VAT liability for both the tenant and landlord if it is determined that something has been supplied in return for the inducement (e.g. building works, or similar). Mixed use properties Depending upon the treatment of residential and commercial properties in the different GCC states, developers supplying both exempt residential and taxable commercial units, could be faced with complicated calculations for recovery of proportionate VAT amounts for each accounting period. This is due to the inability to recover VAT on costs where the developers make exempt supplies. Registration of subcontractors Another commercial issue that Contractors need to address is that many smaller subcontractors may not be able to deal with VAT adequately even if registered. The responsibility then falls on larger developers to educate their sub-contractors as to their responsibilities under VAT. Operational Issues As a result of the nature of this industry sector, there could be a number of operational issues to be addressed.

Treatment of residential v commercial property This is likely to be addressed in the GCC VAT Treaty, hopefully publicised by the time this article goes to print. Normally the construction and supply of commercial, industrial, retail properties in addition to the construction of infrastructure, is treated as

subject to VAT at standard rate – ie 5% in the case of the GCC. However, the construction and supply of residential properties may, in parts of the GCC be treated as being exempt or zero-rated rather than standard rated for a variety of reasons. Clearly the preference for the industry would be that such supplies are zero-rated as this will then allow them to claim the VAT incurred during the construction process. It would simplify the manner in which developers would need to account for VAT on the supplies they make, as all construction supplies would be taxable supplies, allowing for the recovery of VAT on costs. If the first supply of residential property is treated as exempt, this will mean that the developer will not be able to recover VAT incurred during the construction of residential property, but could seek to recover that additional cost when the property is either sold, or leased out.

Industry practices Other operational issues can arise through existing industry practices and the way they tend to interact with the VAT law.

Examples include dealing with the time of supply where work done on construction is subject to certification. If not dealt with contractually, the recognition of supplies generally occurs on certification rather than the issue of the pro forma invoice. Another area is the manner in which retention payments are ultimately dealt with. Once again, differences between what is stated in the contracts compared to the industry practice could result in the incorrect amount of VAT being accounted for potentially in the incorrect tax period.

What is the Solution? Panic is not a solution! As with any construction project, the VAT implementation project can only proceed successfully if properly thought out, and structured. You can’t put the roof on before the foundations are in place. This being the case, structuring your implementation project would be a good place to start. Seek VAT technical advice, and work with those that have experienced the process previously. Expect VAT to come into effect on 1 January 2018. It is coming, and is soon to be a fact of life.

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// Analysis

The Dawn of Solar The Middle East is now leading the world when it comes to the development of solar power. By Jason O’Connell


number of significant recent events confirm that the Middle East has welcomed a new age of solar power and is playing a leading role globally in pushing a technology that will be vital in taking the fight to climate change. Last month Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, prime minister of 24

the UAE and ruler of Dubai inaugurated the 200MW phase 2 of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s Solar Park known as Shuaa Energy 1. When DEWA signed a deal with Saudi-based ACWA Power in January 2015 for the development of the project, it shattered the world record for the lowest cost of solar power. But that was just the

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start of what is expected to eventually become home to a giant solar installation boasting a grand total of 5,000MW of power production capacity by 2050. A consortium-led by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Group (Masdar) is developing the 800MW Phase 3 of the solar park which lowered the Levelised Cost of Electricity (lcoe) even further to

The 200MW Shuaa Energy 1 project was the tipping point for solar, not just in the Middle East, but worldwide” Ahmed Nada, First Solar

another new world record of just $2.99 cents per kWh. The deal proved attractive enough to entice global energy giant EDF to buy in to the project last month, taking over the stake previously owned by Abdul Latif Jameel’s solar subsidiary FRV. Phase 3 will be developed in three stages. The 200MW Phase A is cur-

rently under construction and is due for completion by April next year. The 300MW Phase B is expected to come on stream in April 2019, while the final 300MW tranche, Phase C, is scheduled for April 2020. Future phases of the Dubai Solar park will also include some capacity of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), a technology that has the advantage of being capable of generating electricity after the sun goes down, due to heat stored in molten salt. A consortium of KPMG (Financial), Mott MacDonald (Technical) and Ashurst (Legal) is advising DEWA on the first phase of the CSP plant which is expected to be operational by April 2021. The plant should eventually generate 1,000MW using this technology by 2030.

Game Changer Ahmed Nada, Vice President and Region Executive in the Middle East for First Solar, the company that provided the solar photovoltaic (PV) modules for Shuaa Energy 1, says the Gulf region has made a major contribution to cutting the cost of solar power to a level where it is finally competitive with hydrocarbons, even without subsidies. “The 200MW Shuaa Energy 1 project was the tipping point for solar, not just in the Middle East, but worldwide, when it effectively reduced the cost of solar electricity by 20% in 2015. Since then, we’ve seen mega projects bid at tariffs that are roughly half of Shuaa Energy 1, within the span of 18 months. “Solar’s growth in the region is being driven almost entirely by economics, with the reduction in carbon emissions being a welcome byproduct. The solar PV projects we’ve seen tendered in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with conventional power generation, helping address each country’s unique energy needs. “In my opinion, this indicates the seriousness with which the region’s utility companies are treating solar PV. The days when solar PV was a nice-to-have are long gone – I would go so far as to say that solar PV is now essential to a robust, diversified power generation portfolio.” There are a number of factors which contribute to the final cost of a solar power project. It starts with the cost of purchasing the equipment needed – most obviously the solar panels – but also includes the cost of paying a contractor to build the project, the cost of operation and maintenance over a 25-year period as well as the cost of financing the project. In fact it was the availability of cheap finance in the Gulf that played a very significant role in bringing the cost of solar down in recent years. However, there are signs that that could be a thing of the past and that further gains in the cost of developing solar projects could be harder to come by in the coming years. “Tariffs are based on many factors ranging from the cost of finance and the

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// Analysis

cost of technology to the political and economic risks of developing a project in a particular country,” says Nada. “However, it appears that debt-finance, which accounts for as much as 40 percent of the Levelized Cost of Electricity of a project, is getting more expensive. What impact, if any, this will have on tariffs being bid in the region remains to be seen and will only be evident once the bids are in for the next few utilityscale tenders.” While Dubai has led the way in the Gulf, its more oil rich neighbours appear determined they will not be left behind. China’s JinkoSolar and Marubeni Corporation of Japan are developing the 1,177 MW (DC) solar photovoltaic (PV) project at Sweihan, 120km east of Abu Dhabi. The plant will produce enough electricity to power around 200,000 homes when it is commissioned with commercial operation expected to begin in 2019. JinkoSolar and Marubeni will each hold 20 percent stakes in the consortium that will build, operate and maintain the power plant while state utility ADWEA will own the remaining 60 percent. Sleeping Giant But it is Saudi Arabia that represents the biggest prize for the solar power industry in the Middle East, given the huge size of the potential market. With its bountiful crude oil reserves the kingdom has been rather slow to react to the falling price of solar and there have also been a number of false dawns. But that appeared to change recently when in February the country released a tender for a 300 MW solar photovoltaic and a 400 MW wind project with a view to being operational in 2019. The tender is in line with Saudi Arabia's ambitious Vision 2030 agenda launched in April, 2016 and the corresponding mid-term policy paper “National Transformation Program” (NTP) released in May, which specified a National Renewable Energy Program (NREP). “After years of anticipation and several failed attempts, the tender now clearly marks the beginning of a sustainable large-scale procurement program for renewable energy in the 26

Kingdom,” Dr. Moritz Borgmann, Partner Apricum – The Cleantech Advisory said in a recent report. “The key enabler for the program has been the consolidation of all relevant entities under the central command of the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources (MEIM), headed by Khalid Al-Falih, the former CEO and now chairman of Saudi Aramco. The ministry has now set up a new entity called Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO), which will be responsible for all renewable energy procurement and which directly reports to a committee under the minister.” The first round of projects with 700 MW will be followed by two more rounds of 1,020 MW and 1,730 MW, respectively, to complete the targeted procurement of 3.45 GW of renewable energy by 2020, Apricum says. Later rounds are expected to include additional technologies, likely concentrated solar power (CSP) and waste-to-energy. As per the Saudi Vision 2030, this will be followed by further procurement to reach 9.5 GW by 2023. Applicants can be a single bidder or a consortium, which must provide a strong track record of developing and operating both IPP projects in general and PV or wind projects specifically. “As a result, the eligible set of bidders will most likely be limited to the largest

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developers and IPPs from Saudi Arabia and the region, together with select large European and Asian utilities and IPPs,” said Borgmann. “To an extent, international players with a limited footprint in the Kingdom may want to forge partnerships with local conglomerates.” He adds: “The structure of the tender is set up such that Saudi Arabia can expect similarly attractive tariffs for delivered renewable energy as in recent landmark tenders in Dubai (DEWA) and Abu Dhabi (ADWEA). “Apricum expects the wind tender to be of special significance, as the potential for wind in the region has been widely underestimated so far. With the rich wind resource in the country's northwest, Apricum expects an extremely attractive tariff not only for the solar, but also for the wind part of the tender.” Apricum says the release of the tender demonstrates a strong seriousness on the part of the Saudi government to implement the high-level targets for renewable energy released almost a year ago, and to proceed with a high degree of professionalism. “The smooth rollout of the process is an auspicious sign for the potential of the Saudi renewable energy market, which will gratify many players who had to invest a considerable amount of patience in the market in past years.”

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// Interview

The Next Level Ashraf Al Garf, CEO of Projacs, says the merger with French giant Egis will take the regional project management specialist to new heights. By Jason O’Connell

When things are bad in certain countries we can manage in others and this has helped us to survive over the years�


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Regional project management specialist Projacs opened a new chapter in its history in 2015 when it merged with Egis, a Francebased engineering company with an international reach. The move also marked a new chapter in the career of its chief executive officer, Ashraf Al Garf. In 1996 the Egyptian joined Projacs in Kuwait as a general superintendent on a major project and began the long climb to the summit of the company which he finally reached following the merger. Mr Ashraf is currently seeing Projacs through the transition and integration phase of the tie up, which will last five years and eventually end with Projacs being 100 percent controlled by Egis. The merger made sense from a number of standpoints, allowing regional player Projacs to expand outside the Middle East and North Africa and giving Egis the opportunity to boost its profile in the Middle East. “The objectives of both companies are matching,” he says. “Egis are in the Middle East but very small, mainly in Qatar and Saudi Arabia and they definitely want to expand here. Projacs is well established in this region so it was time for us to expand internationally.” Starting out in Kuwait in 1984, Projacs spread first to the rest of the Gulf and from there throughout North Africa. Prior to the merger the company had its corporate headquarters in Bahrain but is now established in Dubai. The company specialises in

Central bank of Kuwait

project management for all sorts of buildings and oversees a number of other business units, including a Facilities Management division and its well-known Projacs Academy. Projacs is currently managing a huge variety of building projects throughout the Middle East. They range from one of the biggest children’s cancer hospitals

in the region in Egypt to the upgrade of two stadiums that will host matches at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including Khalifa Stadium which is almost complete. The company has recently finished working on the Central Bank of Kuwait, a national landmark, and is also engaged on the new National Bank of Kuwait headquarters. In the UAE it

is working on a major hotel and furnished apartment complex on Palm Jumeirah. A market that is clearly huge for Projacs is Saudi Arabia where it is working on Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport in partnership with Egis. In fact it is also managing four other domestic airports in Saudi and is hoping to secure more with the help of Egis

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// Interview

which has a strong aviation background. Large scale residential projects and hospitality projects are also on the cards in the kingdom. It’s well known that the construction sector in Saudi has been hit by an economic downturn induced by a drop in oil prices. So has Projacs been affected? “We have experienced lots of projects that were delayed,” says Mr Ashraf. “Not cancelled but delayed. The period for releasing cash is elongated so it has affected the cashflow. 2016 was really a challenge and we are expecting 2017 to be the same. But there are some good indications that the market is improving.” He points towards the new trend of using alternative financing models such as PPP (public private partnerships) to overcome the liquidity and cashflow problems. “For example, we are bidding for the project management contracts for 11 domestic airports in Saudi Arabia and all of them are on a PPP basis,” he says. “That trend is evident throughout the region. In Saudi they’ve started using PPP with airports but there are plans for housing projects as well. It’s very important for them because there is huge demand for housing among nationals. We are also expecting it to be adapted to the healthcare sector. They have some medical facilities that will be tendered on a PPP basis.” These may be challenging times for construction in the Gulf but it seems Projacs’ geographical reach has helped it weather the storm to an extent. 30

King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah

“When things are bad in certain countries we can manage in others and this has helped us to survive over the years,” he says. “You remember what happened in Dubai a few years ago? At that time Dubai was our biggest operation, we had more than 250 staff here. But we managed because we had operations elsewhere so we could send people to other places.” The merger with Egis, he says, has now given the company another competitive edge. “We are project manag-

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ers and Egis is mainly an engineering firm in the infrastructure field. So it’s been very important for us to expand in that direction, into airports, industrial projects, power and water, etc. They are new to us but for the past two years with Egis we are getting introduced to these fields. “So diversification geographically and of activities through Egis helps us a lot to achieve growth even in tough times. 2016 was a tough year but we had slight growth of around 5 percent, which was remark-

able, but we did it thanks to that diversification.” Clearly infrastructure is a major driver for the construction industry at the moment throughout the Middle East and North Africa region and Mr Ashraf expects the partnership with Egis to help Projacs to take advantage of that. “We have our core business activities and we are aiming to strengthen them,” he says. “But in the meantime we want to capitalise on the reality of Egis as our mother company and to do work in other

We are bidding for the project management contracts for 11 domestic airports in Saudi Arabia and all of them are on a PPP basis”

areas and to capitalise on their experience.” Another useful tool for Projacs is the training division which it uses for its own staff but also for other companies and government agencies. As well as being a good revenue generator, Projacs Academy is leveraged as a marketing tool that helps to spread the company’s network throughout the region. “We deliver hundreds of courses per year, different types but mainly in engineering, financial so it’s a very important tool for us

for marketing our business and to get introduced to more and more clients,” says Mr Ashraf. In a world where the public sector is a very strong driver for the construction industry, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a good network of contacts in government. “We organise in house courses and tailor them for the Ministry of Public Works for example here or in Kuwait or Saudi or anywhere. They may have special needs in project management, engineering, financial,

contracts or soft skills like presentations and so on, so we produce courses to suit their requirements. Then we have public courses for private clients so we work with both.” He adds: “It’s also a very good revenue generating unit. Our business units are independent when it comes to financial reporting so all of them make money and Projacs Academy is one of the main contributors to our end results and a very successful business. “It’s also mandatory for our engineers to be trained

through our own Academy. It’s an important tool for us to keep our staff motivated and for them to develop a career path within the company. So it’s very useful for our own operations and means everyone is qualified to the same standard. Many companies do this of course but we also provide it for external clients.” Projacs also organises conferences four or five times per year throughout the region. The upcoming Project Management conference in Dubai has run every year for the past four or five years. “First of all as a business it helps to generate some money,” Mr Ashraf says. “But it also generates exposure because you engage with lots of highly qualified institutions and clients who are willing to come and exchange ideas and views. So that’s important for us to get to know what’s happening in the industry. It’s also complimentary to Projacs Academy and our network of operations.” Facilities management is a relatively recent but fast expanding area of business. Projacs only ventured into the sector five years ago but has tripled activities in that time and expects 2017, despite challenging conditions, to bring a further 20 percent growth in revenues and net margins in these operations. “There are a growing number of buildings and clients need to maintain them,” Mr Ashraf says. “We do it from the management perspective only. We don’t employ blue collar workers directly but we manage the project by tying up with a contractor and the owner will only have to deal with us.”

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// Cover Story

How Bluewaters Island will set a new standard for construction projects in Dubai

eB nchma


T he

Jason O'Connell reports



height in metres of Ain Dubai

passenger capacity of Ain Dubai


capsules on Ain Dubai


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hen Meraas delivers Bluewaters Island in the first half of next year, it will raise the bar for other developers in Dubai, a city hardly short on big ideas. The man-made island, situated just 500 metres off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) will combine residential, hospitality, retail and entertainment components under the shadow of what is certain to become a world famous landmark. The world’s tallest observation wheel is steadily beginning to take shape while construction continues around it. At 210 metres tall, Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye in Arabic) will dwarf the iconic London Eye (135m) and snatch the world record from the 167m High Roller in Las Vegas by some considerable distance. Bluewaters Island is the logical next step for a developer that thinks differently to others. The projects it has successfully concluded to date - The Beach at JBR, Citywalk, Boxpark, Last Exit and Dubai Parks and Resorts – have each introduced a completely new concept to a city previously better known for shopping malls and skyscrapers. The government-controlled company is quite literally on a mission to change the face of Dubai. Take The Beach at JBR for example. Adding a pedestrian retail project in JBR seemed to fly in the face of conventional wisdom: that people in Dubai prefer to drive their cars to an air-conditioned mall. But the project has proven to be a huge hit with tourists and residents alike, invigorating the area and lifting the value of all property around it. Bluewaters is planned to be an extension of that project while taking it to the next level. “Meraas doesn’t see itself as a traditional developer,” says Michelle Seywood, Vice President of Design at Meraas. “We’re here to deliver a legacy for this city. We’re here to deliver great places and great experiences for the people who live in Dubai and the people that visit Dubai. We want

Meraas doesn’t see itself as a traditional developer” Michelle Seywood, Meraas

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// Cover Story

Bluewaters Island In Numbers

10 698 17 2 479 200+ 18km 1 residential buildings



luxury hotels

hotel keys

retail, dining and entertainment outlets

circumference of the island

driverless Group Rapid Transport system


beach club


people to leave with fantastic memories of what Dubai has to offer.” She adds: “Fundamental to our brand is this active urban life. We want people to participate in our developments. Putting people at the forefront is what sets us apart. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed when we opened Citywalk gathered all of the other developers to tell them “this is the benchmark for Dubai”. What Meraas developments have in common is that they are destinations, magnets for people that live in the city as well as those that come here to play. The company says it already attracts over 140 million people per year to its projects. At the heart of

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the firm’s ethos is a set of standing principles, says Seywood who has worked at Meraas for almost all its nine years of existence. “We are a government developer. We’re not just about building buildings but about creating places and experiences, a community for people to live in and a lasting legacy, a catalyst to change the city and drive transformation in the whole landscape of the city of Dubai.” Sure enough the developments have already begun to affect how others are doing things. The most obvious impact has been on the areas in the immediate vicinity of its projects. “When we opened Citywalk all the

other developers started following us and knocking out the blank walls of their developments, opening the streets up and making them active with food and beverage and retail.” Meraas is doing all of this with a view to what Seywood terms “creating addresses”, distinctive neighbourhoods much as you would find in world class cities such as New York, London or Hong Kong. “You go to London and you’ll remember key addresses within that city and that’s what we aim to do in Dubai,” Seywood says. “At Bluewaters you’ll see architecture that you’ve not seen in Dubai before. Everything is carefully crafted – from the architec-

ture, the urban planning, the mixture of uses and functions and tenants that we have in there – to create a new environment for Dubai.” The final straight Construction Business News paid a visit to Bluewaters Island late last month to get a close up of work in progress. The new bridge, built by Habtoor Leighton Group, had only been in place for around two weeks at the time and you could still see the parallel temporary causeway used daily by thousands of vehicles during the construction process which began in mid-2013. The island is served by its own dedicated link from Sheikh

Zayed Road to ease passage in and out of the development. Pedestrians will have their own direct access from The Beach via a bridge which is still under construction. However visitors will also be able to access the island via a third, innovative mode of transport which operates on a dedicated track along the middle of the road bridge. Provided by Dutch technology firm 2getthere, the system will feature 25 driverless Group Rapid Transit (GRT) vehicles capable of carrying 24 passengers each, connecting stations on the island with Nakheel Harbour and Tower Metro Station 2.5 km away. Early plans to build a cable car to take pedestrians to the island from The Beach were scrapped. The pedestrian bridge and GRT will connect with a transport hub at the first building on the island which is the retail wharf. Taxis and buses will also arrive there. Upon arrival on the island almost all vehicles will go directly into a tunnel leading to a ‘basement’ area. Vehicles can directly access underground parking for each of the residential, retail or hospitality districts or emerge into open air at the far end of the island next to a conference centre and the hotel area. The tunnel goes under the main boulevard on the island that divides the residential area to the left hand side with the retail and entertainment district on the right. This will leave the boulevard relatively traffic free for residents and visitors to enjoy. “What we’re trying to discourage is a lot of vehicle movements along the top of the boulevard so that people can enjoy that space. We don’t want residents to come out of their apartments and be greeted by cars,” says Brian Schofield, Vice President of Projects at Meraas. Construction of all of the districts is around a year from being finished with the residences due for handover to owners in the first quarter of 2018. There are around 700 apartments spread across 10 buildings, all of which will have either views of the sea or the retail and entertainment district.

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// Cover Story

A GRT pod

Main contractors

Ain Dubai

Main Contractor: Hyundai E & C and Starneth Engineering Cost: AED 1bn ($272mn)


Main Contractor: Kier/ASGC joint venture Cost: AED 1.4bn


Main contractor: Multiplex Cost: AED 1.4bn


Main contractor: ALEC Cost: AED 1.2bn


Main Contractor: HLG Cost: AED 475mn Source: MEED


Schofield explains that recent heavy rains on the island’s unfinished roads made it tricky to drive so they were rolled and graded on a daily basis to make it safe and to avoid dust spreading across the site. After the transport hub you arrive at the terminal for Ain Dubai and the main plaza which is orientated around the base of the wheel with streets leading off it. With around 150 retail and food and beverage outlets spread over two floors, this will be the island’s main tourist destination with a similar feel of New York’s Time Square or Clarke Quay in Singapore thanks to multiple giant media screens, says Scholfield. Buildings are orientated to create airways for wind to blow through to produce an open air environment with enough of a breeze to make it comfortable. Huge “mushrooms”, which look a bit like giant umbrellas or artificial trees, will provide about 50 percent shade and a separate canopy has a shading effect as well. Ain Dubai capsules come through the middle of a building at the base of the wheel where passengers will

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hop on and off. Each of the wheel’s four stabilising legs is 126 metres long and thick enough to park 15 double decker buses nose to tail inside. The far left leg contains an elevator for maintenance within the structure. However the temperature inside gets so high that it requires 10 air-conditioning units just to keep temperatures to a manageable 50 degrees Celsius, Schofield says. Innovative new construction materials feature throughout the Bluewaters project. For example, the glass used for Ain Dubai’s passenger pods is similar to that used in fighter planes. The facades of the retail buildings contain as many as 200 different materials. “We’re always exploring new technologies and materials to make it different and vibrant,” Schofield says. But what really stands out from a construction standpoint is the size and scale of the whole project, not just Ain Dubai, and how complex it must have been to construct every component simultaneously. Each district has a separate contractor and coordinating their efforts was certainly a challenge, Schofield says.

“It’s not normal to build everything at once,” he says. “Normally you would start at the furthest end of the island and build your way out. But everything is going on at the same time here because we don’t want people to be living on a building site. “It takes a lot of effort, compromise and teamwork,” he adds. “We have regular weekly meetings. Many dedicated teams. Each main contractor has their own managers because things change depending on the delivery cycle. It’s incredibly complex.” The whole project is building to a conclusion in the first quarter of next year, though it looks as though the wheel will be completed sometime later. When that does finally happen, Dubai will have a new iconic landmark to add to Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa.


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construction business news me // April 2017 //


// Technology

The early adopters The region can learn from progress being made in telematics and construction technology in the US


ast month saw the return of both Conexpo and, closer to home, the Telematics Conference Middle East & Africa in Dubai. On the face of it these are two completely different shows in two very different regions, however they both tackled the subject of how to use telematics effectively. Conexpo featured the very latest in the technology as spawned by the US tech power houses but the region is home to its own roster of companies offering to make fleets more effective and their costs lower. Telematics and other asset monitoring solutions may not be as broadly adopted in the region as the US but their use growing faster in the Middle East and Africa than anywhere else. 38

By Matthew Treanor Bassam Alkassar founded Abu Dhabi-based FMS Tech to tackle, “some challenging problems affecting almost every business company related to road safety and the lack of adherence to regulation and improper driving.” Today FMS Tech has established itself as a major player, particularly in the oil & gas sector, in areas such as vehicle monitoring systems, telematics, connected vehicles, Machine-2-Machine, Asset and Fleet Management, and Vehicle Tracking. According to Alkassar a key success factor for the adoption of telematics solutions in the region is meeting the demand for high levels of service and information transparency in commercial fleets. Alkassar was joined at last year’s

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Telematics Conference Middle East & Africa by Volha Smirnova, chief marketing officer at Gurtam. Representing the Russian company, she offered an alternative outsider coming into a new market perspective, adding that any telematics company had to meet the challenges of “regional diversity, low stability, insufficient infrastructure and roads” when coming into the region. If the Middle East and Africa region is an emerging market, then the US is one that has matured and a useful indicator of what lies ahead. A new report published by GPS Insight indicates that under half of commercial fleets in the States are now using telematics. Out of the 6 sectors covered, the construction industry ranked only fourth with 59% of companies not

using the technology. The first placed utilities sector in comparison has an adoption rate of 78%. “The telematics industry continues to grow as commercial fleets are adopting the technology at a steady rate,” says GPS Insights. “Fleets across all industries are finding that telematics is providing insight they never had before which helps them reduce costs, reduce risk, and increase revenue. Most industry reports state that the adoption rate is somewhere between 30-40%. The findings of this report show that 44% of fleets are now using telematics, with the highest rates of adoption found within the western region of the US, fleets made up of 101-350 vehicles and operations in the utilities industry.” One of the top companies listed by fleet managers was Conexpo exhibitor Trimble, which owns construction technology provider, SITECH. John Taylor, COO of SITECH Gulf which distributes end-to-end machine control solutions for heavy machinery and service vehicles in the GCC told CBNME recently that he estimates that the region is six years behind developed markets: “The adoption of telematics by the industry has been slow in this region,” he said. That presents the region with an opportunity to learn from the experience of others as it progress towards greater implementation. Out of the lessons learned from those currently using telematics in the US according to

I would say one of the things that contractors give up when they rent is the intelligence that can be gained when you own a machine and are tracking it through telematics” GPS Insights , almost two-thirds (63%) of companies said making sure the product solves your business challenge was the main one. 59% of companies agreed that using a pilot or trial period would have been useful. Additionally, the three main considerations, those who are using telematics said, were post-sale service and support, price and that the technology would continually advance. The US construction rental industry is arguable one of the leading adopters of construction technology in the world and has introduced a host of new technologies, from tech on the equipment itself to how contractors request a unit and where they get it. “There are many rental companies out there and with the technology to

advertise services over many mediums, it becomes an advantage to the contractor. If they want to rent through an app or in person, all options are available,” Derek Betcher, rental marketing manager at Hitachi and John Deere says ahead of Conexpo. Building on this, in addition to reserving a rental, construction companies can also use technology to manage the entire rental process. Liam Stannard, CTO at Californiabased BigRentz points out how ease of use is a big attraction, saying it's about having a single point of contact for all their rental needs. “They can see and manage their many dozens of rentals in one spot, and see real time information about the status of each piece of equipment. It's incredibly easy to place new orders, manage historical and existing orders, handle invoices, and report any issues and more through a customer portal. We use text messages and emails to keep customers and their job site workers up-to-date with equipment delivery, pickup and the like,” Stannard states. Certainly, the equipment rental process is changing with the help of technology, but perhaps one of the greatest benefits of renting is the fact that contractors can “test drive” some of the new and emerging technologies on a piece of equipment. When it comes to experiencing new technology on the equipment, the experience can vary, according to Matt McLean, product manager, Volvo Construction Equipment. “I would say one of the things that contractors give up when they rent is the intelligence that can be gained when you own a machine and are tracking it through telematics—ways to reduce overall job site costs, gain productivity in your machine, track operator behaviour for training opportunities that can further those productivity gains, etc. There are obviously pluses and minuses to everything, but I would recommend that a contractor consider the long-term benefit when possible when they weigh cost-benefit analysis of renting

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// Technology

versus buying. Many manufacturers are offering telematics as part of a package with new machine purchases now, including Volvo, and the long-term value gained on a machine through this intelligence is incredibly impactful,” McLean says. Equipment is advancing very rapidly, and contractors can leverage some of these smarter technologies on the pieces of equipment they are renting. Betcher explains, “A contractor that is renting gets exposure to new tech on a new piece of equipment. Excavators with telematics are one example. Several players are figuring out how to utilise the tech when renting out the equipment. There is more expensive tech that can only be rented, the cost of ownership is too high. Self-diagnostics technology is helpful for the contractor. If there is a problem, they can relay what it is to the rental company. As a renter, the equipment being used just has to run. A lot of new tech is in the background, such as diagnostics, safety and tools, and they don’t experience it first-hand,” Betcher states. Carol Hagen, president of Hagen Business Systems, describes the US construction industry being midway in terms of its digital transformation. More than half of all commercial construction firms have at least made a partial transition to the cloud, digitised their plans and are using tablets on the job site, she says. Hagen sees a number of trends that will become mainstream in 2017, among them will be a second phase of digital transformation. “The trend to become more digitised will continue,” she says. “A digital transformation is more than turning everything into PDFs with digital signatures. It’s information flow and to that end, data collection of images, forms and direct input from mobile apps and devices, which will need to integrate with your accounting, operations, preconstruction, and HR (human resource) departments seamlessly.” Basic business process management may be flipped on its head, argues Hagen as forms are not as efficient as other collection inputs: “Daily reports, 40

Many manufacturers are offering telematics as part of a package with new machine purchases now and the long-term value gained on a machine through this intelligence is incredibly impactful” an aggregate of what a superintendent collects throughout the day, are auto-generated. HR onboarding and collecting information will be partially done by chatbots. Accounts payable and payments continue to be ripe for full automation. Hagen also predicts a wider adoption of virtual reality in construc-

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tion: “Collaborative workspaces will continue to transition from 2D to 3D and begin working in augmented reality. Virtual reality is mainstream for consumers, so clients will want to walk-through models virtually. This means headsets in both augmented and virtual reality in design and construction.” The US is also likely to see more devices performing data collection and more firms offering services to transform data into analytics and dashboards. “Drones, GPS (global positioning system), RFID (radio-frequency identification), accelerometers and 3D scanning all feed predictive analytics. The next step is cognitive computing, aka machine learning, which provides management with high-probability solutions to problems,” says Hagen. “Cognitive is the natural progression from a digital transformation. Once it’s digital it’s data. Take false collisions in BIM. A machine can learn these and then a human will only need to review a handful, instead of thousands in a model.” Hagen concludes: “The future is coming faster than you think.”

MAN ProfiDrive ̶ ®

the theoretical and practical solution to optimize a safe and economic driving style. Under MAN ProfiDrive®, you will find a comprehensive range of seminars: From initial vehicle introduction, an in-depth course on technology and safety systems, right up to economy training and driving safety training courses for both on-road and off-road applications. MAN offers practical seminars for commercial vehicle drivers that focus on the needs of the driver at the same time ensuring the needs of business owners are given the correct priority. For course booking, please contact your local dealer or email us at

// Commercial Vehicles

The time’s right for UD’s Croner Volvo’s Far East subsidiary launches a new truck for a new economy By Matthew Treanor


n 1935, the founder of UD Trucks (then called Nihan Diesel) Kenzo Adachi first coined what would become the company’s mantra of “building the truck that the world needs today” and the company will be hoping that the affordable quality of its new medium duty truck, the Croner, will find a market in today’s Middle East market. Increased fuel prices and squeezes to operational margins are focussing the minds of many companies that


work in or alongside the construction industry in the region. Consequently, capital expenses on new vehicles are getting tougher to justify. UD Trucks has spotted an opportunity at the nonpremium end of the truck market and believes that its latest vehicle launch will attract the attention of contractors in the construction market that want reliability and durability on a costconscious buyer’s budget. The medium-duty Croner is named after the Greek god of time Chronus,

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and both UD Trucks and Volvo are hoping that the truck’s, well, time has come. Volvo has invested hundreds of millions of dollars, including a $60 million-plus injection to upgrade its manufacturing capacity in Thailand, since acquiring UD Trucks a decade ago. While the Swedish company is prepared to allow UD flexibility in terms of its development as a business it is encouraging a progressive approach to markets across Asia and Africa, as well as the Middle East.

“The world is changing and we’ve recognised that we need to be adaptable…but it is not only about adapting, we need to change,” Jacques Michel, president, Volvo Group Trucks Asia & JVs Sales tells CBNME at the Croner’s official launch in Bangkok. “Not only is the world changing, but the economy is changing; the regulations are changing; the transport industry is changing. So it is very important that we work with all the people that manage those changes and see how we can help our customers.” The past year has seen the introduction of the heavy duty Quester truck in the region. While he says the company has been pleased with the feedback of the truck, he suggests that its launch was regrettably late given that the truck had been in other markets since 2013. However he tells CBNME that this will not be the case for the Croner which launches with the full range available at the same time as other regions because of UD’s strength in the segment here. “We have been in the medium duty segment for a long time but the backbone of international markets for UD is the Middle East and South Africa,” adds Michel. The Croner is an entirely new truck to replace the ageing Condor model, and is designed to compete in the medium duty segment against comparable recent vehicles from companies such as Hino and Isuzu within growth markets. The Croner has options at three gross vehicle weight (GVW) models from 11t up to 21t: the MKE, LKE and PKE; and their wheelbase variants. In total, 21 different basic configurations to suit specific demands of various industries are available. Additionally, air suspension on all variants is an option to protect customers’ cargo especially when travelling on rough road conditions. Nobuhiko Kishi, senior vice president of UD Brand and Product, has worked on the Croner for six years and tells CBNME that the 11t LKE as either a tipper trailer or concrete mixer

should be ideal for the region. “It’s very compact, 4-cylinder but with a high gross vehicle weight,” he says. “It’s an interesting combination that Japanese companies have not always had.” Kishi is clearly proud of the work that he and his team have put into the Croner. He argues that it offers the flexibility of smaller trucks with the strength of their big heavy duty cousins. Right down to the smallest parts, this is a truck designed to be reassuringly durable, he says. “After that you need to be able to meet customer expectations and that’s why we’ve done a very strong field test of 1.4 million kilometres.” The extended field test, explains Kishi, has seen the truck take to the

mountains of Peru, the difficult and often claustrophobic roads of Indonesia, as well as the deserts of the Middle East. It launches with UD confident it can deliver savings through running longer and with fewer problems than its older models and the competition. “If you take the engine – it has a service interval that is double that of the Condor,” interjects Michel. “So instead of coming to the workshop every two months and you run the same way than you go every four months. And if you put that into a full year, the customer can run that truck for two weeks more.” According to Kishi, Croner’s improved uptime stems from its reliability due to robust components such as its driveline and new chassis frame

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// Commercial Vehicles

that are more durable and allow for a longer time between scheduled service intervals. “I can say that we have carefully selected the components and although medium duty usage is less than heavy duty trucks we have tried to keep really good durability and quality,” Kishi explains. Fuel is a high expenditure for fleet owners considering the number of trucks and journey they make. “Croner is one of our most fuel efficient trucks ever. It utilises the fuel needed efficiently without waste, thanks to the new GHE engine series, automatic transmission, a built-in fuel couch, and a more aerodynamic cab which reduces the coefficient of drag (CD) more significantly by 5%,” says Kishi. According to the Volvo Group Trucks Asia president Jacques Michel, UD believes that more time spent on the road and less time in the workshop is advantageous for customers and for its own attempts to stand out from the competition. “It is our aim for Croner to make every moment count, through maximising productivity and minimising downtime on every run our customers make,” says Michel. He is reticent to share details on pricing although he suggests that the cost will be more than the outgoing Condor equivalent. However, he is confident that, ultimately, the Croner offers a better return on investment than its predecessor. “You have more technology on this truck but there is more added value for the customer. Yes, there is a bit more cost, but you are much more fuel efficient,” says Michel. “The price is just one part of it but it is not the most important thing for a customer that can get financing. Over five years, the price isn’t the major impact, the most important impacts are the total cost of ownership and the running costs.” A concept called Gemba, which means place where value is created in Japanese, was repeated over and over to CBNME in Thailand. During devel44

UD Trucks’ driver efficiency tips Did you know there are certain techniques you can adopt very easily that – when added together – could help you save up to 30% in fuel consumption? UD Trucks is currently developing driver-training courses in order to help improve your fuel economy. Until then, try to follow these few simple steps. Planning your route Remember, the shortest route is not necessarily the most fuel-efficient! Scanning the road • A driver who keeps his/her eyes continuously moving will anticipate danger much earlier! • Look ahead as far as possible, see where the truck will be in 45 seconds • Check your mirrors often Keep moving How much fuel does it take to move a loaded truck from a standstill to cruising speed? So if safe to do so, try to keep your mass rolling. 0-65km/h = 0.54 litre 25-65km/h = 0.42 litre Rolling without resistance Did you know you use 1% more fuel for every 10% that a tyre is under inflated? • Tyre pressure has the greatest effect on rolling resistance • So check your tire pressure regularly and always with a pressure gauge

opment, teams of UD Trucks engineers and technicians scoured through data and customer feedback to understand how the trucks might be used and how business needs are changing. The final result from the pads in their Gemba is a truck engineered to help customers stay ahead of competition through the simple concept of saving time, says Michel. “Croner comes from the best of

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three worlds – UD Trucks’ strong Japanese heritage and craftsmanship, Volvo Group’s global technology and sourcing, and local manufacturing and customer support,” he adds. “Further to that, with UD Trucks’ Ultimate Dependability standard and Gemba spirit incorporated in every aspect, each component is the result of years of development and stringent stress testing – a true testament

How UD Trucks’ branding was turnaround “For most of its history, UD Trucks has been focused on producing trucks in Japan for the Japanese market, and on exporting from Japan to the rest of the world,” says Magnus Ahlqwist, account director, Valentin&Byhr. “While this has worked well for many years, the company now found itself in new markets, both in Asia and elsewhere.” “Along with aggressive European and Japanese rivals, new low-cost competitors from China and India had also entered the picture. Customers suddenly had a whole new set of choices with a wider price range, performance and total cost of ownership. When Valentin&Byhr began to work with UD Trucks, the company had long been passive as a brand. Both market and confidence were low. When the Volvo Group acquired UD Trucks, they wanted to re-position the UD Trucks brand and boost it with brand new values. “Our job was to position UD Trucks as a value brand and at the same time catch the transport industry's attention and imagination. We did it with the new brand promise "Going the extra mile" combined with an analogy about running. We used long distance runners to illustrate the trucks' abilities to go further, things like robustness and modern smart technology. But also by showing how the UD Trucks people always make the extra effort to satisfy their customers. By using this human approach in an industry focused on technology, we differentiated UD Trucks from the competition.”

to the Japanese hallmarks of quality.” Kishi adds: “As drivers spend a good amount of time on the road, we at UD Trucks leave nothing to chance, and that includes safety and drivability. With superior braking and handling features, Croner keeps customers’ drivers and their fleets in prime condition. “As for drivability, Croner’s automatic transmission option can be crucial for markets like South Africa where it

is facing serious driver shortage due to the strenuous demands on drivers, especially in long haul driving. Croner can help customers attract drivers as this option provides ease of drive and reduce fatigue for both experienced and inexperienced drivers. “Similarly, automatic transmission can be seen as a game changer for the truck industry in the Asia region as it helps lower cost and downtime, as

manual transmission is more susceptible to wear-and-tear especially to its clutch in a long run.” Like many of the other members of the UD Trucks team CBNME met in Thailand, Kishi has a barely concealed joy for their new truck – and it’s infectious. “I love trucks actually,” he says. “This is my second baby… after the Quester.”

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// Interview

Image is everything Harjinder Singh, chairman, Image Group of Companies says the firm is investing in its people in a challenging climate By Matthew Treanor


wning a fleet of more than 200 vehicles from MAN Truck and Bus Middle East, Harjinder Singh appreciates the support that enables his successful Image Group of Companies to be one of the UAE’s leading transportation and infrastructure contractors. “As a business owner, you always want peace of mind and the knowledge that your investment is secure,” he tells CBNME. “MAN gives me that and more. With every purchase, we know we are getting a truck that is efficient and safe.” 46

Image Group’s turnover exceeds $350 million per year and it is currently working on more than 200 projects in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. For over two decades, the company has forged a reputation as a player in the civil construction sector and recently provided the steel structure, civil work and all concrete work for a major theme park development in Dubai, as well as roadworks and pipelines for the emirate’s Al Maktoum Airport. As a group, Image has also worked with some of the leading developers in the UAE and includes among its

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partners some of the biggest names in both construction and transportation, such as GTC, Tristar construction company, Al Naboodah and NSCC International. He tells CBNME that the company is always focused on helping its many clients to be profitable while ensuring they get the maximum return on investment on projects. “Our success and pride resides in our dedication and perseverance ensuring that what we undertake is completed beyond the expectations set by our stakeholders,” he says proudly. “We are firmly grounded in a philoso-

MAN advice for keeping vehicles safe

As a business owner, you always want peace of mind and the knowledge that your investment is secure. MAN gives me that and more. With every purchase, we know we are getting a truck that is efficient and safe.” phy of mutual understanding and open collaboration.” He adds that the partnership with MAN makes a vital contribution to Image’s continuing efforts to deliver the highest quality of service to its partners. “With MAN we know that they will be there for us when we need help,” he says. “Effectively they help me to concentrate on running my business smoothly.” During a more challenging economic climate in the Middle East, Singh explains that (despite recent gains) the relatively low price of oil has helped

An unsafe vehicle can’t be operated safely even by the best trained driver, advises MAN Truck & Bus Middle East. It is not only the driver that plays a very important role in road safety but the vehicle condition has a significant contribution to ensuring safe and reliable transport operations. Only when the different safety features of a truck or bus are working correctly can they support the driver in critical situations. MAN trucks are equipped with several safety features, such as the EBS (Electronic Brake System), which is a standard on all MAN vehicles. The EBS system includes the features of ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System), ESP (Electronic Stability Program) and the ASR (Anti Spin Regulation). In addition further electronic safety systems such as the lane guard system, emergency brake assistant are also available. These functions are there to support the driver operating the vehicle safely in normal operations and specifically assist when the driver is presented with a critical situation. In case of a malfunction on a safety system, the driver will be informed via the dashboard. In such cases, the nearest authorised workshop should be contacted to advise on further action the driver should take. Trained staff can then advise the driver over the telephone if the vehicle is still safe to operate. It is also important the fault codes which are indicated on the dashboard and the diagnosis computer are understood correctly as a wrong diagnosis can lead to a wrong repair and can influence the vehicles road worthiness. Repairs which are not in line with the manufacturer’s standards might void the vehicle’s entire warranty and MAN authorised workshops fulfill a certain standard which is set and monitored by the manufacturer. The company strongly recommends that vehicle owners take their vehicles at these workshops to ensure safe and road-worthy condition are maintained. They are equipped with the necessary equipment to make the correct diagnosis and repairs. For some repairs, special tools are needed which are only available at

MAN partner workshops. Staff are always trained on the newest updates which are introduced on MAN trucks and buses with many technicians and electricians trained on specific systems. Factory support can identify difficulties via an online platform, while a team of experts based in the Middle East also visit workshops on short notice to support a diagnosis. It may look it easy to exchange certain parts but MAN ensures that the correct parts are used for a specific vehicle. The exchange of control units can especially cause problems, as they are personalised to the vehicle and must be programmed when changing to ensure correct operation. Control units purchased second hand on the local market and fitted to vehicles might rectify a fault temporarily but in the long term can create more problems and be more costly, as every control unit also is programmed with different parameters. MAN has seen many failures which have been created by a wrong diagnosis and improper repairs by non-authorised workshops have led to an unsafe condition of the vehicle and increased downtime. Workshops are not allowed to carry out any temporary repairs if repairs might affect the road worthiness of the vehicle. In its authorised workshops only MAN genuine spare parts (a 12-month warranty is given on most parts) are used and fitted to ensure a high quality standard. MAN can also ensure a proper and safe operation of the brake system. During repairs, the brake function is tested with a roller tester before releasing the vehicle back onto the open road. The brake tester is also able to see any irregularities on the brake system and are able to test and match a tractor head trailer combination; this ensures a correct brake force distribution to the entire combination. If the brake force distribution of the train combination isn’t correct, it can lead to the wheels locking and make the vehicle more difficult to control especially in critical situations.

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// Interview

create a difficult construction market. He adds that the transportation arm of the group has also seen fuel costs rise. Being able to operate a fleet that is efficient with optimal uptime has therefore become more critical than ever for Image Global. While the group owns an extensive inventory of bulldozers, excavators, wheel loaders, graders for road work, boom loaders and cranes, he knows that he can rely on his MAN-built fleet of TGA and TGS trucks. 48

“The mileage is fantastic and as the fuel consumption is economical it makes me successful,” he says. “MAN has helped to ensure the successful running of this business because of the fuel economy of its trucks, their robustness and the services that support them. MAN’s trucks also goes on- and off-road which makes them more flexible and better than other brands.” Singh furthermore reserves special praise for MAN’s dealer in the UAE, Darwish Bin Ahmed & Sons Co LLC:

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“The workshop and after sales support is very good thanks to them. It’s been a long-term relationship over a period of time.” Hailing originally from the city of Hosairpur in the Punjab region of India, Singh first landed in the UAE in 1982, and soon set about building a small construction business that decades later would become a major player in both construction and transportation that operates across two continents.

Safety features are good for a successful business, there are less accidents, and it helps the driver to be cautious”

Singh’s business’ stature within the pre-boom years in the UAE grew impressively on the back of a reputation for delivering time and time again for its clients. By 1995, Singh was ready to incorporate the flagship and core civil construction operation of Image Contracting CO LLC, with other ancillary functions including a comprehensive suite of building, industrial, infrastructure works, general construction and top-tier support services, into the Image Group of Companies. The

group later added the Image General Transport company to handle its huge fleet of vehicle and equipment. From the start, Singh says he wanted to invest in people, particularly from his homeland: “The idea was idea was to help people and bring labourers from India and give them jobs.” He adds that group holds itself “to rigorous and exceptional” health and safety standards, “we have delivered each assignment on time and within or below budget targets. With a

quality order book, seized through applying rigorous project selection processes, we continue to achieve a consistent and successful growth strategy even through challenging market conditions.” Image Global continues to invest time and money into its workforce; carrying on Singh’s long-held belief in the importance of investing into people’s careers and lives. He has learned that safety is a crucial element of running a successful business that wants to protect its workers and its reputation for delivery on schedule. He tells that CBNME that he provides training for employees through MAN’s training centre and that all the drivers take tests before they start driving based on the German’s auto maker’s comprehensive ProfiDrive training programme. If anyone needs help, they will find support, he says, before adding: “That’s the culture of the company.” Despite already owning a large MAN-based fleet of tipper trailers, flat beds and bulk cement trucks, Singh suggests that the company is prepared to turn once again to the German company to replace its ageing vehicles. The priority, he adds, will be fuel consumption and safety. “I am expecting a more powerful truck in 2017 with safety features and fuel consumption to be good,” says Singh. “Safety features are good for a successful business, there are less accidents, and it helps the driver to be cautious.”

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// Macinery

Genavco opens new facility To celebrate the last 50 years in the region and a growing customer base, Genavco opened a new facility in Abu Dhabi

General Navigation and Commerce Company (Genavco), a member of UAE-based Juma Al Majid Group, recently opened its new facility in Musaffah in Abu Dhabi. The opening of the new flagship facility also marks the year-round celebration of serving the company’s customer base over the last 50 years. 50

The facility, with a total built-up area of 2,822 sqm, comprises Isuzu and heavy equipment showroom, service facility, spare parts sales counter, and BP Quick Lube facility. The showroom will display the extensive range of Isuzu fleet, along with the selected heavy equipment products. The 1,045 sqm service facility, with 13

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service bays and dedicated VIP waiting area, will offer futuristic customer service experience. The new facility is strategically located in M9, Musaffah Industrial Area, and adjacent to Bin Hamoudah – Chevrolet Body Shop. Speaking about the new facility, Eng Khaled Issa, chief operating of-

ficer of Juma Al Majid Group, said: “We anticipate that Abu Dhabi, being the capital of the UAE, will witness a lot of projects in the next few years. To complement that, we want to have a solid presence in the capital and, hence invested in this new facility. We have an old facility in the emirate, but this is a new one to serve our customers better. We also have facilities in Dubai, Sharjah, and Ras Al Khaimah as well.” Issa also mentioned that the company is looking to open a new facility in the Al Quoz area of Dubai by the end of 2017. “2016 was a good year, and we anticipate 2017 to be similar. We hope that in the second half of 2017, things will start to improve again all the way up to 2020. “There are extreme important solutions being put in place to make sure that the economy of the GCC countries is independent of oil prices. When oil prices go down, consumer confidence gets affected and there is a decline in the number of projects. I think now most of the governments have put in

Eng Khaled Issa, COO Juma Al Majid Group

structured plans to help the countries have a sustainable growth.” Producer of mobile aerial work platforms, JLG Industries, has been a partner with Genavco for the past 30 years. Enrico Marighella, distribution manager ME, JLG Industries, said: “We

have been with Genavco for 30 years now, I would say Genavco is the most reliable dealer in the GCC. They enjoy a solid foundation and the business with them has been good as they are growing year-on-year. “The business is tough now, but with their help, we are achieving very good results. Our 2017 strategies would be based on the new resources on board, the new launches from JLG, and the new schemes dedicated to the distribution network. We are expanding, present in all markets, and we are looking for emerging markets.” Focussing on a customer-centric strategy for 2017, Issa concluded: “We are more of a heavy equipment supplier, so the most important thing for us is to meet with our suppliers, and show them the investment that Genavco is making in the region. To solidify our position for a customercentric strategy, we make sure that the right product and service is present. We are confident that with our partners in UAE, we will exceed our customer satisfaction.”

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// Commercial Vehicles

Action Hero Mercedes-Benz and EMC team up to celebrate the Actros truck’s 20th anniversary in the region By Matthew Treanor


n the new Actros 3844 S 6x4, Mercedes-Benz Trucks MENA and its authorised distributor in the emirate of Abu Dhabi with Emirates Motor Company (EMC) have found a fitting and smart way to celebrate the Actros’ 20 years of service in the Middle East. At a special media launch event recently held in Endurance City, the two partners provided a live demonstration of the new Actros 3844 S 6x4 tractorhead model. It was also a great opportunity to get an overview of its stateof-the-art equipment and innovative safety systems from a visiting team of professional Mercedes-Benz driver trainers from Germany and the Training and Product Management team of Daimler Commercial Vehicles MENA. 52

After two decades of slogging up and down the roads while dutifully getting its hands dirty on construction sites and oil and gas fields across the region, the Actros has earned the right to have its own so-called 20 Years Edition. It has been given a carbon black metallic coloured exterior makeover with a striking silver stripe that has the 20 Years Actros emblem emblazoned on it. It also has chromed air-horns on top of the cab and an LED-illuminated Mercedes-Benz star on the front. “The launch of the 20 Years Actros Edition is yet another milestone in the success story of our iconic flagship truck in the MENA region,” says Roland Schneider, president & CEO of Daimler Commercial Vehicles.

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Mercedes-Benz and EMC have packed in a highly fuel-efficient 6-cylinder engine (Euro 3) which boasts 435 hp and 2,100 Nm of torque, into the heavyduty truck. It also comes with Mercedes PowerShift, a 16-speed automated gearbox that provides specific driving for most traffic situations. According to the German auto-maker the set-up benefits greatly from the reliable and efficient power transfer from the twinplate clutch to the two driven rear axles. The truck is easy and convenient to drive, claims Mercedes-Benz, helping the driver’s level of concentration. Further specifications on the engineering aspects of the trucks include a powerful engine and transmission cooling system, air intake on the upper

side of the cab and a tandem air cleaner that Mercedes-Benz claims will “provide outstanding robustness and reliability” even under the MENA region’s extreme climate conditions. The L-Cab used on the 20 Years Actros Edition is also spacious with an engine tunnel that only reaches 130mm in height and a headroom in the cab of 1.4m. The roomy interior is surprising given the amount of technology EMC and Mercedes-Benz have managed to fit in the truck. The Bluetooth radio enables hands-free use of a mobile phone whilst driving. The truck comes with the Mercedes’ FleetBoard telematics system installed which provides not only vehicle tracking, trip recording and professional fleet management, but also continuous analysis and rating of driver and vehicle performance. A driver airbag heads the list of safety features. The Telligent Proximity Control automatically adjusts the speed of the truck according to the traffic situation, constantly analysing the distance of vehicles driving in front of it. Additionally, if a sudden obstacle appears, such as a vehicle changing lanes, the driver is warned both visually and audibly. Meanwhile, the Telligent Lane Assistant features a digital camera behind the screen, detecting the vehicle position in relation to the left-hand and right-hand lane markings. When activated, the system helps the driver to stay in lane by giving audible warning signals when accidentally leaving the traffic lane. An additional front mirror increases the visible area in front of the truck, helping to recognise pedestrians or obstacles quickly. Mercedes-Benz has been developing many of its safety systems for more than 50 years and many feature on this special edition version of the Actros. Besides the now-standard electronically-controlled Telligent braking system, Anti-lock braking system (ABS) and the Acceleration skid control (ASR), the truck is also equipped with the optional Active Brake Assist. This system operates using three radar beams to constantly scan an area of 1-200m ahead of the truck. Drivers are given both a

Specifications Power: 2,100Nm 6-cyl Engine Power: 435 hp Wheelbase: 3.3m GVW: 38t Axle config: 6x4

visual and audible alert by the system when it detects a potential collision with a moving obstacle. Depending on the severity of the situation, the system will react with a partial braking manoeuvre and, if necessary, even initiates an emergency braking to standstill, says Mercedes-Benz, thus helping to avoid dangerous rear-end collisions, particularly in heavy traffic. In its way the 20 Years Actros Edition is also a celebration of Mercedes-Benz’ ground-breaking work in commercial

vehicles. It is both a truck to admire and a showroom on wheels for both Mercedes-Benz and EMC. “The model’s state-of-the-art safety features and the highly fuel-efficient drivetrain underline the technological leadership of Mercedes-Benz Trucks,” says Schneider. “The Actros provides the ideal product solution for customers seeking the highest safety and efficiency standards.” All features of the Actros 20 Years Edition are available from the Mercedes-Benz Trucks factory in Woerth/ Germany, and can be ordered through the authorised distributors across the MENA region. Professional driver training is offered by Mercedes-Benz and its distributors to instruct fleet managers and drivers on how to operate the truck and its features focusing on maximum safety and efficiency.

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// Take 10

Take 10: SAUDI MEGA PROJECTS The Kingdom is still seeing big investments despite the slow down.

1 Jeddah Tower Jeddah Tower (formerly Kingdom Tower) will stand almost 1km high and comprise of 252 floors with a gross floor area of 245,000 square meters. It will include offices, a 200-room Four Seasons Hotel, 121 serviced apartments and 360 residential apartments. It will also have several sky lobbies and the world's highest observation floors located on the top floors, at 660 meters high, enabling visitors to view the city of Jeddah. The project is valued $1.8bn and due for completion by March 2020.


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Abraj Kudai Development

Consisting of 12 towers standing between 30 to 40 floors sitting on top of a large podium and three basement floors, the Abraj Kudai Development in Mecca will have approximately 10,150 residential units and hotel rooms. The project is valued $3.5bn and is due for completion by the end of 2017.


Holy Haram Mosque

The $17.2bn expansion plans of the Holy Haram Mosque will cover an area of 456,000 square meters to accommodate the 1.2 million worshippers who visit the Holy site every year. To be completed by May 2019, the development by the Ministry of Municipalities & Rural Affairs is scheduled in three main sections: new buildings, courtyards, and tunnels.

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// Take 10

4 Prophets Mosque The Prophets Mosque in Medina is undergoing a $6.7bn expansion, with completion estimated by the end of 2017. The project will be spread over an area of 1,020,500 square meters while the building itself will occupy an area of 614,800 square meters.

5 Dahiyat Al Fursan The Dahiyat Al Fursan housing development will create 100,000 houses and other infrastructure works in the capital, Riyadh. The project includes construction of apartments, townhouses, education buildings, commercial buildings, and research & development centers. Dahiyat Al Fursan is expected to be completed by March 2020 at a cost of around $20bn.


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Mall of Saudi

UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim is developing the Mall of Saudi at a cost of around $3.2bn. The project is spread over an area of 866,000 square meters including indoor snow parks and 300,000 square meters of shops, restaurants, entertainment areas, residential units, offices, show rooms space, luxury hotels, and serviced apartment buildings. Mall of Saudi is expected to open its doors in March 2022.

7 The Avenues Another retail project, The Avenues, will involve construction of a 1.7 million square meter shopping mall. Developed by Shumool Real Estate, the $1.9bn project will also include two residential towers, a pair of hotel towers, a medical tower and office units.

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// Take 10


Riyadh Metro

Currently under construction, The Riyadh Metro project boasts 6 lines with a combined length of 176 km. With 81 stations along its route, the network will span across the surrounding regions and integrate many neighborhoods. Valued at $24.3bn its completion date is set for December 2020.

9 Jazan Oil Refinery Saudi Aramco is targeting completion of the Jazan Oil Refinery located in Jazan Economic City by the end of the year. Once finished, the $7bn facility will have the capacity to process up to 400,000 barrels per day of crude oil and 75,000 barrels of gasoline.


Fadhili Gas Plant

Valued at $6.6bn with completion due in December 2018, Saudi Aramco’s gas plant will have a capacity of 15 billion standard cubic feet per day (BSCFD) of non-associated gas. It will also include the onshore Khursaniyah upstream facility, the Fadhili downstream pipelines, a residential camp, a 380 KV substation and industrial support facilities at the new gas plant.


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// Supplier News


Dubai Airports chooses Aconex software


ubai Airports Corporation will use Aconex software to manage virtually all small

to medium-sized construction projects over the next five years at its two airports – Dubai International

(DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC). Through 2021, Dubai Airports expects to undertake more than a hundred smaller infrastructure projects with minimal to no impact on passenger and cargo traffic. Coordination and collaboration among many stakeholders is essential to on-time delivery, passenger experience and increasing airport capacity. Lawrence Vincent-Edwards, Dubai Airports Development Director, said: “Aconex ensures that everybody receives the informa-

tion at the same time and allows us to track the receipt of information. We can see where the flow of information is being held up and monitor performance such as response times for requests for information (RFIs) and document reviews.” DXB is the world’s number one airport for international passengers, handling over 83 million in 2016. DWC, which initiated cargo operations in 2010, is currently ranked the 19th busiest hub for international freight traffic by Airports Council International.

Cavotec wins $18mn Dubai airport order Cavotec has won a EUR 17.5mn ($18.4mn) breakthrough order for its Pre-Conditioned Air (PCA) and 400Hz power technologies for Dubai’s Al Maktoum International. The firm and contractor A&P Group of Companies will supply, install, test and commission PCA and 400Hz systems, including underground services, for more than 60 remote aircraft parking positions at Al Maktoum. Deliveries are due to start in the second quarter of this year, with the first phase of commissioning planned for the

third quarter, Cavotec said in a statement. The project consists of a large number of Multiple Aircraft Ramp System (MARS) stands, where the supplied equipment will service all types of aircraft, including the Airbus A380. The supply deal for the remote apron project is part of the first phase expansion of Al Maktoum International which is destined to eventually have a capacity to handle 200 million passengers per year.


Dubai Parks and Resorts receives GENIE boom lifts Dubai Parks and Resorts has taken delivery of the Middle East’s first GENIE Z™60/37DC boom lift. Nishad Abdulla, Assistant Fleet Manager, Dubai Parks and Resorts signed for the three new ‘all-electric’ articulating boom lifts. “Thanks to its excellent range of motion, versatile, quiet, clean performance and four-wheel drive abilities, this new Genie model is an excel60

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lent and cost-effective alternative to separate diesel and electric powered units. For us, the Z-60/37DC boom definitely ticks all the right boxes.” Sharing many similarities in terms of all terrain capabilities and components with the popular Genie Z-62/40 boom lift, the new Genie Z-60/37DC boom provides more performance in a compact unit than any other 20 m (66ft) electric powered boom on the market.


Wilo breaks ground on new JAFZA facility

German pump specialist, Wilo, has laid the foundation stone for its new facility in the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), Dubai. The investment in the Dubai economic hub will allow the company meet the growing requirements of the market, the Dortmund-based firm said. The 8,000 sqm complex will have its own assembly line and also feature office space, showrooms, a logistics centre, and dedicated training rooms. Carsten Krumm, COO of Wilo SE, said: “The role of the city as a platform and logistics hub for trade in the Middle East, Dubai’s efficient infrastructure by land, sea and air and the long-term economic stability offered by this country were the crucial factors tipping the balance in favour of investing here. The construction is scheduled for completion in early 2018.” The training rooms, the so-called Wilo-Academy, will offer dealers, engineers, installations, and consumers a perfect location for attending training sessions for the various applications of Wilo products.


Clima Uno starts work on Dubai factory

HVAC specialist Clima Uno has started construction work on a new purposebuilt facility in Dubai Investment Park that will quadruple the company’s production. The factory will manufacture air handling units, fan coil units, energy recovery ventilators and ecology units of European grade to cater to the needs

of local and regional HVAC contractors. The project is slated for completion in the fourth quarter of 2017 and can be expanded if needed. Navin Valrani, CEO of Clima Uno, said: “This is a key milestone in the history of Clima Uno. The brand received a very positive response from the market in recent years, which compelled us to invest in this state-of-the-art facility. With the increased production capacity, we hope to serve our clients more efficiently and at a faster pace.” He added: “There are a number of competitive products on the market, but few can promise what our brand offers: European quality in a locally made, competitively priced product. Our air handling units are Eurovent-certified. In fact, each component used to create these units is certified by international, independent third-party certification bodies such as AHRI, Eurovent and UL.”

Danfoss opens new office in Saudi Arabia

Danfoss, a Danish manufacturer of high-efficiency electronic and mechanical components and controls for air-conditioning, heating, refrigeration, industrial, and water systems, has launched its first technical support office in Saudi Arabia. Serving clients in Saudi Arabia for over 50 years, the company is now expanding its presence in the region with an office in Jeddah that will provide customer support. “To be further investing in expanding our footprint in the Middle East is a very exciting time for us at Danfoss,” said Levent Taşkın, Danfoss president of the Turkey, Middle East and Africa Region.

“Saudi Arabia is a key market and having an official presence in the region will not only further cement our position as a market leader, but will also provide our clients with the unparalleled customer service and technical support that Danfoss proudly delivers through a local office.” Danfoss has been working on a number of projects in the kingdom including airports, seaports, hospitals, and financial districts to increase the energy efficiency of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) sector, as well as refrigeration and other industrial systems.

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// Supplier News


Thales wins Dubai Metro signalling contract Dubai Metro



hales has been selected to deliver signalling systems for the upgrade and extension of Dubai Metro’s Red Line to the Expo 2020 site. Expolink, a consortium comprised of Alstom, ACCIONA and Gulermak, penned a EUR 2.6bn ($2.77bn) contract last year with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to design and build the Red Line extension and upgrade existing systems. Thales will provide stateof-the-art driverless train sig-

nalling technology as well as integrated supervision, telecommunications, passengers’ services, security and fare collection systems, it said in a statement. The French company’s ground transportation solutions have been in service on the Dubai metro for the last seven years. Thales has been selected again to improve urban mobility, provide the latest enhancements to the solutions already in service and equip 50 new trains provided by Expolink consortium.

FLSmidth receives cement plant order in Egypt FLSmidth has been awarded an order from El Sewedy Cement Company for engineering, procurement and supply of equipment for the expansion of a cement production line in Ain Soukhna in Suez Governorate in Egypt. “This order reflects the strong relations we have had with one of the biggest industry groups in Egypt for almost a decade. Working closely with El Sewedy Cement Company, we assist

them in improving productivity and operational excellence,” said Group Executive Vice President, Cement Division, Per Mejnert Kristensen. “Our contribution underlines FLSmidth’s strength as the leading supplier of the most productive and energy-efficient equipment and technology available in the market today,” The order will be fully executed by Q4 2018, the company said without revealing the value of the deal.

Alstom delivers first Riyadh Metro trainset Alstom has handed over the first of the 69 metro trainsets it will supply for lines 4, 5 and 6 of the Riyadh Metro system which is currently under construction. Composed of two cars each, the trainset is 36 meter-long and is able to accommodate up to 231 passengers. Production of the trainsets is on track and Alstom expects to deliver all units by the end of 2018, it said in a statement. Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) launched in 2013 the project to build a metro


network that would stretch to 176 km-long and include six lines and 85 stations. Alstom, as part of the Fast consortium, is in charge of supplying a full integrated metro system for lines 4, 5 and 6 (or Yellow, Green, and Purple lines). The FAST consortium includes FCC (leader), Samsung, Alstom, Strukton and Freyssinet Saudi Arabia. The overall contract value for the consortium is EUR 5.8bn ($6.14bn) while Alstom’s share in the contract amounts to more than EUR 1.2bn.

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KONE wins big order for Riyadh Metro

KONE Corporation has won the order to supply 418 elevators and escalators for the line 3 of Riyadh Metro in the capital of Saudi Arabia which is commissioned by Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA). The Finland-based firm will equip Riyadh’s metro line 3 which is the longest out of the 6 lines in the project stretching along a 41km spread across 22 stations. Line 3 is expected to be in operation by the end of this decade. The order will comprise 262 KONE escalators and 156 KONE elevators of which 96 will be scenic. The solutions will be equipped with KONE E-Link monitoring systems. “Riyadh is at the center of fast-paced infrastructure developments with the city’s metro being one of the world’s biggest infrastructure projects. We’re extremely proud to be partnering on this project and help fulfill the demands of the growing commuter base,” said Pierre Liautaud, Executive Vice President for KONE South Europe, Middle East and Africa.


Cost of paint and coatings shoots up

The cost of raw materials used for manufacturing coatings have escalated significantly over the past 12 months, forcing companies like Jotun to increase prices for marine, protective and powder coatings. Materials like, epoxy, titanium dioxide and copper have risen in price by more than 20 percent over the last year, zinc metal prices have increased by more than half and polyester resins

have increased substantially. Positive economic figures from China, USA, Japan and EU has led to higher demand for some raw materials, at the same time as the supply-side has faced challenges, the company said. “We saw this trend and strived to avoid a situation where prices on our products should be affected. But when the costs of key components continue to increase significantly over time, it leaves us with no other option but to raise the prices on our affected products”, says Geir Boe, Group Executive Vice President in Jotun Performance Coatings. “We have tried to postpone price adjustments, and we are working closely with our suppliers with an effort to reduce the effect for our customers. However, at this moment we don’t see how we can absorb the cost increase anymore. We do believe that our customers will understand the situation.”

Elematic supplies Acotec technology to RAK Precast

Elematic, a manufacturer of precast concrete plants and production lines for walls, floors, frames and foundations, is supplying an Acotec PRO line for the production of non-load bearing interior precast wall panels to RAK Precast. By adapting this new technology, RAK Precast becomes the first Acotec wall panel producer in the UAE. Furthermore, the company invests in the newly introduced ELiSLAB, the world’s most efficient tool for structural calculations of hollow core slabs.

The capacity of the plant is 100 m2 per hour whilst the production line covers the entire process from concrete batching all the way to storage yard management and beyond. The line will be installed in RAK Precast Dubai factory located in Dubai Industrial City, DIC. With their two existing factories and a comprehensive production capacity of up to 1,200 m3 per day, RAK Precast is currently one of the biggest producers of concrete precast products in UAE.

construction business news me // April 2017 //


Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan,

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 2017 is the home of real estate investment.

Register now for FREE entry Official Arabic Newspaper

Regional TV News Partner

Research Partner

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Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces


ADNEC, UAE  +9714 336 5161 Business Publication

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Organised by

// Event Preview

Cityscape Abu Dhabi More Free Zones and transparency will spur growth of real estate sector. Improving the transparency of the market and creating free zones will be key to attracting foreign investment into the Abu Dhabi real estate sectors, say industry experts. With the growth of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in the Emirate increasing by 7 percent last year according to official statistics, the government is making extensive efforts to spur foreign investment. Supporting the creation of new investment environments will be one of the key topics debated at the Cityscape Abu Dhabi Conference, taking place on the first day of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which runs from 18-20 April at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). With more than 25 free zones in Dubai, compared to Abu Dhabi’s five, Craig Plumb, Head of Research at JLL and moderator at the conference, believes the concept of free zones needs to be developed further to enhance the capital’s residential, office, commercial and warehouse real estate sectors. “The concept of free zones is more advanced in Dubai and in order to redress this balance between the two emirates, Abu Dhabi needs to develop its existing free zones more aggressively and consider launching additional free zones for those industries that it seeks to promote under the 2030 vision,” said Plumb. “Free zones will attract additional investment and employment as they create hubs of similar activities and generate a simplified regulatory environment, with lower operating costs and greater freedoms.” He added: “Currently the market is going through a cycle, which is perfectly normal for any real estate industry worldwide. For buyers who are looking at the property sector as a long term investment now is the perfect time to buy. As the UAE market grows and matures the volatility of the sector will decline, making returns more stable and predictable, which in 66

For buyers who are looking at the property sector as a long term investment now is the perfect time to buy” itself will attract more investors.” The Cityscape Abu Dhabi conference, hosted in collaboration with JLL, will also explore emerging trends that are redefining investment opportunities in Abu Dhabi’s hospitality sector, with a particular focus on upcoming landmark projects that are creating new avenues for stakeholders and investors. Omar Al Busaidy, Abu Dhabi Experience Development Unit Head at Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority will deliver a key note speech and provide an exclusive insight into destination Abu Dhabi and how building new investment hotspots and creating long term management prospects is key to creating an attractive hub for local and international real estate investors. “Partnership with the private sector

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is one of the guiding principles in our tourism growth strategy, and the development of a set of distinct districts with clear value propositions for tourists across all three regions of the Emirate focusing on cultural, leisure and nature offerings has been identified as core deliverable to achieve this,” said Al Busaidy. David Dudley, Regional Director of JLL and headline speaker at the Cityscape Abu Dhabi Conference will reveal the recent performance of each real estate sector for the first quarter of 2017 and discuss the best investment opportunities with key industry players. “Abu Dhabi’s market experienced a very major upswing from 2013 to 2014, led by the residential sales market, with prime residential prices growing at 25% per annum, the pace of which was unsustainable,” Dudley said. “Investment opportunities remain, particularly for existing income producing assets – and we continue to see keen interest from investors taking a longer term view on the future growth potential. Cityscape Abu Dhabi will provide a platform for investors to find opportunities across all price points in the region, as well as the latest international developments, as more than 130 exhibitors from around the world come together to showcase their latest projects.

The 18th edition of the International Trade Fair for Tools, Hardware, Materials and Machinery

May 22 – 24, 2017 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Be empowered with all the tools of the trade • Power tools • Hand tools • Air tools • Measuring and detection tools • Hydraulic tools • Speciality tools

• Magnetic tools • Building hardware • Consumables • Construction and building materials • Machinery

Pre-register online now!

// Save the date

Save the date Mark your calendar






18-20 68

Middle East Road and Bridge Forum Dubai, UAE Middle East Road and Bridge Forum will gather heads of design, construction, projects, maintenance, asset management and safety from the transport infrastructure sector to address their challenges in achieving an increasingly cost-efficient, durable and safe transport network. Construction Innovation Forum St Regis Hotel Dubai, UAE Through a series of panel discussion and presentations, this one day event will focus on five of the hottest topics in the Middle East construction sector: Sustainability in Construction; Construction Technology; Fire Safety in the UAE; PPP in the Middle East; Fast Tracking Construction Projects. Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2017 Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center The UAE capital’s largest and most influential property exhibition is back. With hundreds of developments from Abu Dhabi and overseas being showcased, Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2017 is the home of real estate investment for the residential, retail, hospitality and commercial sectors.

// construction business news me // April 2017







Construction Innovation Awards Qatar Grand Hyatt Doha The Construction Innovation Awards will celebrate the individuals and companies keeping Qatar’s construction sector on an upward trajectory as the country continues to invest in its development ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Project Qatar 2017 Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre Project Qatar is Qatar's leading construction fair. In 2016 over 1,050 companies and brands from 38 countries exhibited at the show and even more participating companies are expected in 2017. The event provides a unique platform to network and generate new business opportunities in the Qatar construction sector. Urban Community Development Middle East Forum Dubai, UAE This two-day conference will provide a strategic overview of urban community developments whilst identifying strategies and solutions to develop sustainable, integrated communities that respond to end user needs as well as find the right solutions to develop cost-effective and high quality communities.

2017 10–12 OCTOBER








// Editor's pick

City of the Future

Dubai strongly positioned as financial, retail, construction, and transportation hub Dubai ranks first in A. T. Kearney’s latest report ‘Global Cities of the Future, a GCC Perspective’, developed for the World Government Summit 2017. The city is increasingly regarded as a global and regional leader in business activity, human capital, information exchange, and cultural experience. According to the global management consulting firm’s report, Dubai is one of the world’s top five cities for imports and exports, and serves as the major business trading hub in the GCC region. Home to the headquarters of Emirates airline and two international airports, Dubai is also a major destination for international tourism. The city scores high in human capital, with a variety of international schools and many foreign-born residents. The report also noted that recent changes in public sector administration will serve Dubai and the UAE well, with future-oriented and innovative concepts such as the Ministries of Happiness and Tolerance. The newly launched Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 aims to transform the city into a global platform for knowledge-based, sustainable, innovation-focused businesses. Foreign direct investment (FDI) continues to push the city’s business activities to global levels, while entrepreneurship and private investments are beginning to shape a culture of innovation. Michael Romkey, principal with A.T. Kearney and co-author of the report, said: “Dubai is a fantastic example of how a city plans ahead, building on its robust progress in many areas to position itself as a leading global city. It has a high growth potential among the cities in the GCC region across all dimensions and continues to capitalize on its current capabilities and position. Its current ranking in the market is a testament to what has already been done and the groundwork implemented for continued success.” On an international scale, New York, London and Paris remain unchallenged 70

Dubai is a fantastic example of how a city plans ahead, building on its robust progress in many areas to position itself as a leading global city” as the world’s most global cities, although the attractiveness of London as a global hub may change in the future given the Brexit vote. Meanwhile, the A.T. Kearney Global Cities Outlook identifies Melbourne, San Francisco and Geneva as cities that could make great leaps forward in the coming years, driven by changing policies and a shifting landscape. “At a greater scale and speed than ever before, cities face unprecedented growth of human and societal needs, and at the same time look to boost their economic productivity and competitiveness to increasingly stratospheric levels to be relevant and win in the global stage. Evidently no two cities are the

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same, and any city looking to play in this league must define its unique position and points of sustainable differentiation and competitive advantage,” added Mauricio Zuazua, partner with A.T. Kearney and co- author of the report. Since 2008, A. T. Kearney has been studying the factors that make a city truly global. These factors include whether the city has influence and power on the global landscape, shares ideas and values that impact other cities, and if the city is attracting capital and talent from around the world. The Global Cities of the Future report provides a unique assessment of the global engagement for major GCC cities, measuring how engaged each city is in five dimensions – business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and politics. Antoine Nasr, partner with A.T. Kearney and co-author of the report, stated: “As regional cities continue to build their global influence, we expect to see strategies founded on increased innovation and differentiation, such as Riyadh’s efforts to become a regional logistics hub for the Middle East. The approach we use to evaluate global cities of the future incorporates measures of both current performance and future potential of cities to attract and retain global capital, people and ideas alike.”

Construction Business News ME - April 2017  
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