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THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO THE REGION'S CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS An upsurge in Oman’s tourism sector pushes more infrastructure projects through the pipeline

Analysing the upcoming trends in building healthcare and the growing importance of having a healthy built environment

Examining the recent progress of companies looking to create a new generation of rail commuters

How buildings could be made more sustainable and save on massive energy spending through simple retrofits

contents 8 news 20 in person Campbell Gray, MD of


Faithful+Gould, talks about the challenges in hiring professionals in the Middle East market and sticking to health and safety codes, even if they are not enforced

26 analysis Countries in the GCC are

increasing investments in healthcare facilities, but still fall short of OECD bed capacity benchmarks. This feature examines the upcoming trends in the sector and the growing importance of having a healthy built environment

30 COUNTRY FOCUS A number of recent

milestones have propelled Oman’s tourism industry – from moving the weekend to building new international airports. In turn, this is spurring unprecedented private sector opportunities in related development and infrastructure projects, with an estimated value of $56bn to 2017

38 TAKE 10 Globally, there are

190 city metro systems located in 54 countries. Construction Business News ME rounds up its top 10

cover story



Line by line

The GCC has become a centre for light rail development as cities look to reduce strain on both the roads and the environment. Construction Business News ME explores the recent progress of companies looking to create a new generation of rail commuters

construction business news me AUGUST 2015 3


42 42 IN THE FIELD Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president of communicATION at Damac Properties, discusses the company’s first masterplan project and how it will be a sought-after destination in the region

46 REAL ESTATE Construction Business News ME analyses the current state of the residential market in UAE’s capital

48 PROJECT REVIEW As Cayan Group’s high-end project, CMC, in Riyadh officially

breaks ground, Construction Business News ME speaks with president and chairman Ahmed Alhatti

50 SUSTAINABILITY With the recent launch of Emirates Green Building Council’s

retrofit guidelines, this feature analyses how buildings could be made more sustainable and how companies could save on massive energy spending

54 Q&A Eng. Khaled Awad, chair and founder of Advanced Construction Technology Services talks about how international standards act as a collation of industry knowledge used as a reference for the construction industry in the Middle East

60 FACILITIES MANAGEMENT Multi-billion dollar construction projects lead to multi-

billion dollar FM contracts. But how should the facilities management sector evolve?



24 As CEO of one of the first energy management consultancies in the UAE, Samuel Lehain sheds light on how developers can reduce chiller costs

56 Shivram Mukherjee analyses the North Africa’s resources and its potential to embrace renewables

58 As architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms

prepare for upcoming BIM mandates, Louay Dahmash writes about the ways to transition your business into one that is BIMfriendly

62 Vasanth Kumar writes about how the uncontrolled appetite for higher revenue growth amidst volatile market conditions may pose serious risks to contractor

64 SAVE THE DATE 66 EDITOR’S PICK 4 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

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editor’s note Back on the rails

Stockton and Darlington Railway was the world’s first railway to carry cargo as well as passengers by steam locomotive engine. The railroad operated across 40km of track through Darlington in the North East of England. Even though there were other railways before Stockton and Darlington, it was the first to take people across the country. This invention, completed by Robert Stephenson and Co. was launched in September 1825 and has since changed the world. In the last 190 years, rail has transitioned to become a staple within the infrastructure of any city. Once used to carry passengers through long distances, now rail is used to serve rapid transit within cities through metros, subways, or trams. UITP’s 2014 report on world metro figures states that there are around 148 cities in the world that have developed a metro system, with the total number of lines ranging to approximately 540. Together they carry over 150 million passengers per day. The report also states that from 1970s to the millenium, there were approximately 25 new systems developed every decade. This has increased massively to about 45 cities since 2000. Most studies show a correlation between a growing population and the urbanisation which results in the need for rail systems. The world’s urban population was said to be around 54% in 2014 from 34% in 1960, according to World Health Organisation report. In addition, UN’s World Urbanization Prospects 2014 predicts that by 2050, 66% of the world’s population will be urban. Such

6 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

statistics show that the need for rapid transit is only going to increase as more and more people make their way to urban areas. The GCC in particular has a comparatively large urbanised space. UN Habitat report, The State of Arab Cities 2013, states that 70% of the population in the GCC live in urban areas. Such statistics put an overwhelming pressure on governments in the region to build necessary infrastructure to avoid congestion. According to the Middle East Rail Projects Report by terrapin, the region has a budget of over $250bn for various rail projects over the next decade, which will result in 67,000km of railway tracks throughout the region. With elaborate plans to start or expand rail projects, the regional government is having several systems in the pipeline ready to go. Countries in the region investing in rail include Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Bahrain and Qatar. Driven by the increase in population and the need for a more sustainable means to travel, governments are taking an active role in influencing the people to choose metro systems. In the UAE, for example, a 24% increase in petrol prices is said to push inhabitants to use the Dubai Metro. With all the effort taken by the regional governments to drive sustainability and transform the region, it seems to be only a matter of time before passenger and cargo rail systems will be operating region wide.

Not quite there yet

Could do better...

A little more colour?

Lorraine Bangera Editor



World’s largest mall achieves sustainability rating City Centre Mirdiff achieves global standard

DAIKIN completes the transition towards one brand Daikin, acquisitioned under McQuay International since 2006, completes its transition towards one brand. The company has also legally changed its name from Daikin McQuay Middle East FZE to Daikin Middle East and Africa FZE in July this year. “As of April 1 2015, we completed the transition and started using the Daikin brand for all our products and services,” said Michel Farah, product planning director at Daikin Middle East and Africa. “This represents a single source for all air conditioning product ranges for resi-

dential, commercial and industrial applications. We will continue developing energy efficient systems with the highest level of comfort and sustainability designed to meet customer and regulatory requirements.” “This is a very exciting and important change for our company. Completing the transition of our brand in this region will help us achieve our goals with continuous focus on investments in talent, technology and creating long term relationships with our customers,” said Yuji Miyata, chairperson of Daikin Middle East and Africa.

AIC uses IFS to simplify global operations

Infographics provided by Majid Al Futtaim and Mirdif City Centre 8 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

Saudi-based steel fabricator, Arabian International Company (AIC), has chosen IFS Applications to merge operations and provide a single view across the business. IFS develops and delivers business software for enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM) and enterprise service management (ESM). AIC admitted that it needs to replace its current mixture of improvised legacy systems with an integrated ERP which provides end to end solutions. The new system will not only increase operational efficiencies but also help manage its global operations in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, China, UK and other GCC countries. By implementing the latest IFS Applications 9, AIC Steel will benefit by having a single platform to support multinational and multicurrency operations with access to information in real-time. IFS Applications will manage HR, finance, procurement, manufacturing, planning and scheduling, fabrication, and maintenance for the company. The system will go live in the company’s main divisions within seven months, and the cover the rest of the divisions within a year. Wasim A. Attieh, president of AIC Steel said that one feature that stood out was IFS Lobby, which offers flexible and easily configured snapshot of business units and processes. “IFS Applications will consolidate all of our operations into one platform to easily manage our business requirements and streamline operations to support us now and in the future.”


London’s first fashion-branded residence tower Luxury real estate developer Dico UK Property Holdings Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Damac International Limited, announced the first of its fashion residences in London with a 50-storey, 360 unit project with interior designs by Versace in July. The lobby, amenities and interiors for each property will be expertly designed and fitted out by Versace Home. The tower, Aykon Nine Elms, will be located at the heart of London’s Nine Elms regeneration area adjacent to Battersea, and is due for completion in 2020. London continues to be one of the most sustainable real estate markets in the world, with solid year-on-year price growth circa 6% according to real estate advisory firm, JLL. Analysts expect house price inflation in the region of 5-7% in the coming years. “There is a huge appetite from our current global customer base for luxury property investments in London,” said Hussain Sajwani, chairperson of Damac. “Aykon Nine Elms presents an unrivalled opportunity for them to access the stable and established London market.”

AYKON Nine Elms will be the first private residence project of scale in London

10 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

R Hotels' proposed property at The Palm

R Hotels appoints ANC for Palm Jumeirah project R Hotels has appointed ANC Contracting LLC (ANC) as the main contractor and Erga Progress Engineering Consultancy as project consultant, for the second phase of construction of its new resort and spa on The Palm Jumeirah. Represented by Samir Arora, vice-president for operations, R Hotels sealed the deal with Engr. Ibrahim Abu Shamat, operations manager of ANC, and Eng. Joseph Sawaya, resident manager of Erga Progress. Arora said construction of the Palm Jumeirah hotel is on track for its completion in 2016. With the total investment of $136.2m, R Hotels’ new resort and spa at The Palm will include 253 rooms, a holistic wellness centre, two restaurants and family-friendly recreational facilities. It aimed to be the first 4-star and shariacompliant hotel in the upscale destination.

Salini Impregilo wins contracts in Qatar Last month, Salini Impregilo won a contract for the construction of primary urban infrastructures in Shamal, a residential area situated 100km from Doha. The project awarded by the Public Works Authority of Ashghal is worth approximately $329m and is part of the Framework Contract for Local Roads and Drainage Programme (LR&DP). The works is said to be completed within a 30 month time span. Salini Impregilo won a contract for the implementation of Package 01, which covers approximately 25% of the area to be developed, and which also includes

the roads and infrastructures of the AlZubara district in the western area, the northern area of the central district of Abu Al-Dholouf and the southern area of Al-Shamal, but also the planning and design of the microtunneling and of the water system for irrigating the green areas. The entire area for residential development measures 1,043 hectares and is connected to Doha through the North Road. The company was awarded contract right after being awarded the $845m for the Al Khor sport complex, where the FIFA 2022 World Cup will be played.

Tilal City to develop green space This July, Tilal Properties revealed 45% of the land within its upcoming project, Tilal City, will be dedicated to community facilities such as green spaces, jogging and bicycle tracks and six mosques, as well as education, retail and leisure areas. The project will include 11 education facilities including schools and early development centres for children. In addition there will be a number of mixed-use facilities to cater to all needs of the contemporary community, such as leisure centres, healthcare facilities and civil defence stations. The AED2.4bn scheme, designed by UAE-based architects Khatib & Alami, is Sharjah’s first master planned community. The project includes 1,855 plots of land offering UAE residents an opportunity to buy or lease land and develop properties and mixed use facilities. The 25 million sqft development is split into five zones (A-E), with designs in-line with international green building standards. Haysam Jazairi, business development executive director at Tilal Properties, said: “In order to create this first-of-its-kind development in Sharjah, we carried out in-depth analysis into regional communities and industries to establish buyers’ requirements. The research clearly showed that there is a huge demand for first-class community facilities and amenities. As such, we introduced the tactical split of retail and commercial versus residential properties in the city, which is a unique element of the masterplan.”

Tilal City masterplan

Affordable housing on Cityscape conference agenda this year

Government officials and senior real estate professionals all prepped for the Cityscape Global Conference

The upcoming Cityscape Global Conference in Dubai will focus on affordable housing, following the recent announcement of mandatory affordable housing quotas in all developments, by Dubai Municipality. Craig Plumb, Head of Research at JLL MENA, says that the current shortage in middle income housing is one of the greatest challenges in the region. He said: “With a shortage of housing for those families earning salaries around the UAE average, it is important that we address some of the best practice initiatives and developments that have been launched in the Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and continue

to implement them across the industry.” Affordable housing, the growing demand for quality facility management and the need to improve broker knowledge of Dubai regulations are the three themes scheduled for discussions at the new one-day conference, taking place on 7 September this year at the Conrad Hotel in Dubai, ahead of the Cityscape Global exhibition which runs from 8 to 10 September at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Running one day prior, the conference addresses the three factors while showcasing leading firms, as well as strategies now shaping urban development across Dubai and the greater region. construction business news me AUGUST 2015 11

NEWS GE Oil and Gas to provide advanced turbomachinery for TANAP project

GE Oil and Gas supports Turkey through latest deal GE Oil and Gas will provide turbomachinery for the Phase one of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP). The pipeline set to transport gas from Azerbaijan via Turkey to European energy markets is constructed in partnership between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, BOTAS, and BP. It will provide uninterrupted gas flow along with security and opportunity to diversify energy resources.

Need for smart supply chain solutions Industry experts observe a sustained growth in retail, oil and gas, automotive and logistics is fuelling demand for high quality materials handling products and services across the Middle East. Walid Daniel, managing director of SPAN Group, said to remain competitive, the regional materials handling industry must embrace new technology. According to him there are increasing demands in supply chain solutions as businesses seek new ways to stay competitive. “It would be better and faster with one goal in mind: satisfying consumers’ requirements.” He also said that this encourages the supply chain sector to enter the digital and smart age.

Utilisation of intelligent systems and IT solutions, along with warehouse automation are ways to meet these challenges. Frederic Zielinski, general manager of Swisslog Middle East, also stressed the growing importance of automation in the regional industry. He said the market dynamics are changing at an ever increasing rate and complexity, and the trend toward automation has gathered pace, as investment in technology is viewed as a long-term benefit. Most of the challenges and trends in the industry are said to be highlighted at the upcoming Materials Handling Middle East organised by Messe Frankfurt this September in Dubai.

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GE’s multi-million dollar contract provides critical systems referred to as “the heart of the pipeline”. The system will include aeroderivative gas turbine driven centrifugal compressor packages manufactured, packaged and tested by GE Oil and Gas in Italy, which will be ready for shipment in 2017. The deal supports the commissioning of phase one of TANAP scheduled to come online in 2018. Rami Qasem, president and CEO of GE Oil and Gas MENAT said that the deal demonstrates the company’s commitment to Turkey where GE has been driving several localisation initiatives as part of its $900m investment announced in 2012 in support of Turkey’s Vision 2023. He said that by working with TANAP, GE is not only supporting local economies through job creation and economic value but also strengthening the energy security of markets across Europe.

Rise of 3D building printing technology As the regional construction industry takes a leap towards modern technology, local companies must be on the watch out to pick the right products at the right time. Experts admit that 3D printing technology is one of those trends worth monitoring. 3D building printing technology has many advantages, including faster construction, lower labour costs and less waste production. Andrew Elias, group CEO of Kele Contracting, said that this method of construction will provide a very attractive solution to construction companies who wish to

extend their projects to remote areas where traditional construction techniques prove challenging. He said that if buildings are suited to the Middle Eastern climate and can withstand the environmental extremes, then this will herald the start of a new wave of innovative 3D printed low-rise buildings. He added: “I believe that the Saudi market in particular is among those with the most potential for this method of construction, due to the types and size of its developments, as well as the country’s landscape.”


Porto Arabia Towers Doha, Qatar

Mall of Qatar Doha, Qatar

Viva Bahriya Towers Doha, Qatar

Qatar National Museum Doha, Qatar

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Nakheel reports a net profit of AED2.83bn Nakheel announced a net profit of AED2.83bn in July for the first six months of 2015. The amount is an increase of nearly AED1bn or 53% compared to the 2014’s H1 net profit of AED1.85bn. An official from Nakheel said that the company’s growing retail, leasing and leisure businesses also contributed to the overall financial results. The developer continues to focus on completing various development projects currently under construction, as well as expanding its retail, hospitality and residential leasing projects

to further contribute to the growth in Dubai’s real estate market. Nakheel aims to further strengthen its overall financial position. Nakheel’s chairperson Ali Rashid Lootah said: “We will build on these results during the second half of this year, and remain committed to playing a key role in contributing positively and effectively to Dubai’s real estate sector. Our strategy of continuing to create more cash-generating assets will further boost our business and financial results in the coming years.”

Ahmad Al Naser, managing director of Drake and Scull Engineering

DSE Kuwait awarded AED218m contract Drake and Scull Engineering (DSE) Kuwait secured a MEP development contract worth AED218m for a major education institution which is scheduled to be completed in 2018. The contract also brings up Drake and Scull International’s total project awards in 2015 to AED1.57bn in value. Under the agreement, DSE will undertake construction, operation and maintenance of electrical works as well as the supply, installing, testing and commissioning and maintenance of all electrical works. Ahmad Al Naser, managing director of Drake and Scull Engineering, said that Kuwait remains one of DSE’s most strategically important markets in the Middle East. He said: “The country’s non-oil economic sectors, including real estate, have benefited from the government’s ambitious investments, continuing to grow in the medium term. With a growth in non-oil segments and expansion of the consumer sector, the Kuwait real estate sector is currently enjoying a growth upswing and DSE is confident of capitalising on this forward momentum by securing more large-scale projects in Kuwait in the near term.” 14 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

Nakheel’s Palm Jumeirah

UAE included in the top countries for LEED The UAE remains the Middle East's leader in green building construction and design This July, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that the UAE ranked eighth its annual ranking of the Top 10 Countries for LEED. The list ranks countries in terms of gross square metres and numbers of LEED projects to date. The announcement comes at a time of increased international focus on climate change mitigation in the lead up to the United Nation's COP21 climate negotiations this December. Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC said: “The UAE has become an increasingly important centre for the global green building movement, a development that will help provide greater environmental health and increased economic opportunity for its citizens and will hopefully help to inspire a robust green building market throughout the Middle East.”


Depa signs contracts worth AED719m Depa Limited has signed contracts worth AED719m* in the first half of 2015, with largescale projects like Madinat Jumeirah Extension and Dubai Opera. In Dubai, Depa Interiors won contracts worth AED87m, including landmark projects such as Emaar’s Dubai Opera in Downtown, the Madinat Jumeirah Extension and FF&E packages for the new Nikki Beach Resort,

developed by Meraas. Nadim Akhras, group CEO of Depa, said: “These new deals, especially the Dubai Opera and the Madinat Jumeirah, have given us a solid platform on which we will continue our strategy to build a balanced portfolio through geographical diversification whilst maintaining the highest standards of quality within the industry in our core home markets.”

* Out of the AED719m new projects signed in H1, AED275m contributed to the Backlog reported in the Q1 2015 trading statement

Imdaad launches ‘Coffee with CEO’ initiative

Imdaad's CEO, Jamal Abdullah Lootah

Imdaad hosted its first ‘Coffee with CEO,’ a newly launched initiative providing a platform for an up-closeand-personal interaction between CEO and the company employees. The initiative was launched to build a work environment that values, supports and empowers employees of all ranks and departments. Jamal Abdullah Lootah, CEO of Imdaad, said: “Our teams of creative, innovative and highly valued people are fundamental to our success. This is an opportunity for the management to show its gratitude to employees whose contributions and efforts bring Imdaad to new heights. We are confident that the initiative will be a success through strong cooperation of everyone. We hope to attain our objective of fostering a sense of belonging and close relationships within our organisation.”

Trial at the New Suez Canal project

Trial at the New Suez Canal project UAE-based National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC), has announced the completion of the New Suez Canal project following its successful trial run on July 25 this year. The trial included six container ships navigating the canal to ensure its readiness for fullfledged operations. The project set to transform the Egyptian economy, the new canal will allow the passage of larger vessels, reduce waiting period and open up new revenues streams for the economy. The National Marine Dredging Company led the Challenge Consortium that won the $1.5bn project. The consortium included three of world's largest marine dredging companies including Boskalis and Van Oord 16 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

from Netherlands and Jan de Nul from Belgium. The construction works of executed by the consortium involved digging of 35km of a new waterway to a depth of 24m and a width of 317m. Expressing his pride at the completion of the mega project in less than a year, Engineer Yasser Zaghloul, CEO, National Marine Dredging Company and chair of the Challenge Consortium said that the project would have a profound impact on the economic landscape of Egypt and its sustainable development process. “Our biggest challenge was to implement the project in a short time frame of less than a year that required dredging of 1.5 million cubic metres every day - a huge rate as per any industry norm.”

seabury report



Campbell Gray, managing director of Faithful+Gould, speaks with Lorraine Bangera about his in-house strategy to maintain a motivated staff. He also highlights the challenges in hiring professionals in the Middle East market and sticking to health and safety codes, even if they are not enforced


n the last two years Faithful+Gould has gone through an evolution,” says managing director Campbell Gray. The well-established company has turned around from what Gray calls a “bland maroon brand” to one with a fresher look and a clearer mission. The company has been focussed on shifting its overall vision to not only being an integrated project manager but also be the world’s best. MD for the last three years, Gray is responsible for the strategic growth in the Middle East office, with one of his key duties, the management of key clients. His first experience with the region had been in 1997, when he moved to Dubai for two years to work on then

mega project, the Burj Al Arab. In June 2011, he moved back to Dubai to support the then MD in direction strategy, however Gray ended up taking over the business from his predecessor in February 2012. After which he jokingly says that the company has been “highly successful”. Success, Gray says, is a bit of luck. The timing was key too. He acknowledges that the market had moved and started to pick up after a very quiet 2011. He says: “In many respects the financial crash in the Middle East in 2008, as horrific as it was, reset the dial.” Gray points out that a lot of clients are now demanding a global approach to integrated project management. He thinks it essential to work with clients closely and with a strategic point of view in order to help them the most.

The Royal Atlantis Resort, Dubai

Citywalk Development, Dubai

Climb to the top Active in the Middle East for over 18 years, Faithful+Gould is a subsidiary of the Atkins group and provides integrated project management, programme management and cost management consulting services across the property, transport and industry sectors. Earlier this year, Faithful+Gould won Construction Consultant/Surveyor of the Year at the 2015 Building Awards in London for the second time. Last year, the consultant won three top awards in project management and quantity surveying categories at the RICS Matrics Young Surveyor of the Year awards.

One of things that sets him apart, he says, is how he can see the end game in his head. “Faithful+Gould has followed a simple strategy of working closely with our clients,” says Gray. He thinks his past experience of being in the client’s seat has helped him form a well-rounded perspective; analysing a situation from all angles with the willingness to understand clients. Working with the family The perks of working at Faithful+Gould, according to Gray, are plentiful. Not only does the company encourage talent ability, it also takes several aspects into consideration such as training, family, and flexibility within the job. As new individuals join the company, Gray says that there is always a potential

to grow. “Even though Faithful+Gould has a structured programme, we do have a bit of flexibility.” When a person joins Faithful+Gould, they could be assured that there is a growth strategy in place to ensure they can derive maximum learning experience from their time with the company. He says that managing the people within the organisation is key to building an A-list company. He considers keeping his employees happy and motivated to be the key to have a healthy business. He says: “There are two things I am very passionate about, one is moving people from a job to a career and two is enabling our company to feel like a family.” “We call it the F&G family,” he adds. “What makes us so unique is that although we are part of a big company we operate like a small

and closely knit company.” Another important feature Gray points out about the company is the importance given to the employees’ families. He says that the company considers family as well as the individual themselves, which he thinks is fairly unique compared to other companies. He says: “We consider if it is the right move for everybody. When the family is happy, the person working for you is happy. “If we are planning to move an individual from our Los Angeles office to Dubai, there is a lot of room for slip ups.” He explains that if an individual is moving, it is fairly easy as they start right into the job and meet new people. Whereas when a family is moving, the children have to fit in, the partner has to be comfortable. “We try our best to make sure we construction business news me AUGUST 2015 21


could help with school admissions and club memberships to help the family fit into the new environment.” Challenges in hiring “One of the key challenges when it comes to hiring in the Middle East, which can be a little frustrating,” says Gray, “is how qualifications count more than ability.” “It is one major difference between the East and the West,” he admits. He says that he has come across several senior individuals in the industry who have been working on projects for over 20 years but won’t be accepted because they don’t have a degree. “Of course there is a minimum requirement when it comes to having the right qualification, but we don’t think it is all about qualification.” The company has been taking an active role in hiring GCC graduates and helping them transition through training programmes. Gray says: “Even though it is only Saudi Arabia and Oman that concentrate on initiatives like Saudisation and Omanisation, we are very focussed in Qatar and UAE in trying to hire local talent.” Though he admits that it is challenging as they are trying to balance local and western education. He observes that most individuals stay with the company for around three years. He says: “We are conscious that some of these individuals are going to be high net worth individuals who will only be around for two or three years. That then changes the approach of the individual when it comes to commitment. Although three years is quite common, it depends on the individual.” In terms of structure, something that sets Faithful+Gould apart from other companies is that it has less people on site. Gray says: “In a typical site there would be 40 junior professionals but we have 15 senior professionals. The fee structure would be the same, but it would be distributed differently among our professionals. We tend to employ more senior people than junior 22 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

NAPCO factory inAbu Oman Four Seasons Dhabi

because we like believe in quality over quantity.” Overcoming health and safety issues Another key concern in the regional construction industry is taking the right health and safety measures. Gray says that the region is improving, however there is still a lot to do. He says: “It is more challenging in Saudi Arabia and has been in Qatar, although Qatar is improving.” He also acknowledges that the UAE, Kuwait and Oman seem to be taking the Western approach to health and safety. The region has been under the radar when it comes to health and safety codes, and even though the death tolls have been plenty compared to the US or Singapore. Gray thinks that it is not as bad as people make it out to be, and could be im-

proved. He says: “There are bound to be issues when you have major projects and huge amount of labour who are largely unskilled.” In Faithful+Gould, every member of the staff in a project management role has the right to shut down a site if they think it is unsafe. Gray says that this does bother the clients but either way it is fundamental to the company’s strategy. “Clients don’t necessarily like it or support it. We have been taken off projects because of it but it’s the right thing to do.” He says that it is definitely hard to deal with, and it is not necessarily local firms who are causing a problem, there are international firms with regional offices who also do the same. He adds: “It is definitely a challenge but if we and some of our

Faithful+Gould’s high profile projects:

: King Abdul Aziz International Airport Saudi Arabia

• • • • • • •

King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Jumeirah Lake Towers in Dubai, UAE Four Seasons hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE Fairmont hotel in Abu Dhabi, UAE Shaza Kempinski Wave development in Muscat, Oman Qurum City Centre malls in Oman Doha Oasis, Qatar

Doha Oasis, Qatar

peers don’t start doing it then it could be tough to change later.” He says that there have been clients who have understood, especially as the world is changing its approach to safety. “Sometimes it helps give clients credibility for future projects.” Gray gives an example of an unfortunate incident with a project his company was working on with a local developer, and the client was the project manager. “There were two deaths,” he says. “And we leaned in to support the client in this difficult time even though we had nothing to do with it.” “What we are trying to do,” Gray says, “is develop this concept of

corporate responsibility.” He explains that what companies should intend to do is genuinely put the client’s needs first, instead of just blindly following a contract. Not only does this increase the potential for future projects with the client, but it also builds mutual trust and confidence which is essential for a positive work relationship. In the particular situation he talks about, the client later requested the Faithful+Gould team to write up health and safety procedures and processes not only for its projects but also the minimum requirements for its consultants and contractors. He adds: “You have to be proactive. You can’t just preach to people, you got to show it.”

The man behind the team Gray has worked with the company for 20 years, and says that the only reason he has stuck around for so long is because of the number of opportunities offered by the group. One of his favourite opportunities during his time with Faithful+Gould has been the opportunity to move to different countries. He admits that a lot of people have asked him why he has been in this company for so long. He jokes that he questions himself on a daily basis. “A lot of it was around variety and to a large degree flexibility offered by the company.” He says: “You should be able to do what you want to do, and as long as you can make money, people would want to stay.” When it comes to being successful as an individual. Gray says that there is always a bit of luck but equally there is a need to being flexible and adaptable himself. “I have had the flexibility with going anywhere the company wants me to go.” He adds: “When I moved to Dubai in 1997 to work on the Burj Al Arab project, I didn’t even know how much my salary was. That is something graduates need to learn: it is about the projects and the experience you get working on them more than anything else.” Advice is one thing, but when it comes to life lessons learned in the industry, Gray has only two observations, which have no doubt influenced everything. As he concludes: “My past experience has taught me: I am never done or finished. I can always improve and do better. Also I can’t sit still!” construction business news me AUGUST 2015 23


Cost-cutting simplified


he reduction of energy costs is a key concern for developers across the region, especially during the summer months when scorching temperatures and humidity levels reach an all-time high. With a sunny climate all year round, conserving resources, boosting efficiency and managing utility costs is high on the agenda of all developers and consumers – residential and commercial alike. With air conditioning accounting for 70% of energy consumption in the region, and the government’s commitment to making the UAE a global hub and successful model for the green economy and sustainable development, effective energy management is essential to reducing overall consumption costs and aligning with industry standards. With the aid of an energy management consultancy like Logic Utilities, owners and Owner Associations of both residential and commercial developments can ensure the fair distribution of chilled energy costs by installing and operating an accurate metering system and charging on actual consumption by each tenant/unit rather than a flat rate. This encourages tenants to be mindful of their air-conditioning usage, cut down unnecessary consumption and become accountable when it comes to the responsible usage of energy resources. When occupants become aware of their individual consumptions costs, their conservation efforts increase, resulting in the reduction of the overall utility bill and a 15-20% drop in the property’s overall chilled energy consumption. With the cost of cooling a building averaging at AED410,000 per year, a 20% decrease makes for considerable cost – not to mention energy – savings. Recent initiatives by district cooling providers have dramatically increased efficiency by reducing energy and water con-

24 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

sumption, with the installation of individual sub-meters in properties enabling real estate developers and Owners Associations to allocate chilled energy costs to owners and tenants in a fair and efficient manner, on the basis of consumption. Despite these efforts, consumers often complain of high utility bills. By adopting a number of simple tips, consumers and developers can make the most of their available resources, saving energy and cutting costs on their air-conditioning bills. Temperature control is imperative when looking to reduce overall costs. Installing a programmable thermostat is one of the smartest and cost effective solutions to reducing air-conditioning bills, resulting in cost savings of 5-15%. The more you turn your thermostat up in the warmer months, the more you save. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) recommends, especially during electrical peak hours between noon and 5pm that all consumers turn their air-conditioning up from 20°C to 24°C. Apart from cutting consumers’ utility bills, this action, if implemented collectively, saves not only 160,000 tonnes of emissions, but also 270m kWh per year, amounting to AED81m. Putting it into perspective, that energy is sufficient to supply 11,000 apartments with electricity for a period of one year. Another simple energy conserving and cost-cutting solution is to set the airconditioner’s fan speed on high, except on very humid days, when it should be set to low. Though seemingly counter intuitive, the slower air movement actually removes more moisture from the air, ensuring a more comfortable environment. Cooling fans also offer great benefits. While they don’t heat or cool the air, they help circulate it and assist in maintaining an even temperature, requiring less power and taking the strain off the cooling system.

As CEO of one of the first energy management consultancies in the UAE, Samuel Lehain sheds light on how developers can reduce chiller costs

Ceiling fans often come with two settings, clockwise and counterclockwise. The counterclockwise setting helps move the breeze around, facilitating in cooling the space, especially in the summer months. In the cooler months, the clockwise setting traps heat and warms the room. In instances when ceiling fans are not available, stand-alone fans, positioned correctly, can still aid in circulation. Detailed audits of your property will also provide specific recommendations for individual real estate developments, as no two are the same. A number of basic recommendations can help reduce costs including regular maintenance checks of your property infrastructure and systems. Other simple measures such as setting the air conditioning to 24 degrees will ensure optimal performance and reduce energy consumption. The key to cutting costs and increasing efficiency is being wise with your energy. It is important to note that while the installation of expensive equipment by district cooling companies and utility service providers assists with energy conservation in the long term, these efforts need to be complemented with the engagement of all stakeholders, including consumers. A change in attitude, raised awareness, education and the implementation of the right methods and tools to conserve energy does take effort, but with smart and simple solutions and by engaging the right provider, developers can enjoy drastically reduced consumption costs and achieve internal CSR initiatives by reducing their overall environmental impact. Samuel Lehain, CEO of Pure Logic Group, is an expert in construction project management with 25 years of experience. He holds a Master’s degree in Innovation, Leadership and Change from Salford University and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Building.

14 – 16 September, 2015 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The 8th edition of the International Exhibition for Intralogistics, Warehousing, Supply Chain, Ports, Port Equipment – Products & Services


Countries in the GCC are increasing investments in healthcare facilities, but still fall short of OECD bed capacity benchmarks. Lorraine Bangera examines the upcoming trends in the sector and the growing importance of having a healthy built environment


he built environment plays a major role in determining the health of an individual. Healthcare facilities are particularly under the spotlight when it comes to providing an ideal environment for patients. Carl McKenzie, healthcare director of AECOM, says that the built environment for a healthcare facility relates to creating an internal environment that maximises wellbeing and enhances the quality of life. He says: “We should note that the built environment for a healthcare facility is viewed by two different users, patients and healthcare staff. However a lot of work has been done in recent years related to evidence base reflection and patient wellbeing or recovery.” “Healthcare facilities are not immune to safety and security issues,” argues Waseem Taqqali, vice president of buildings at Schneider Electric. He explains how adequate measures must be put in place to not only ensure highest levels of security, but also comfort and convenience at the touch of a button. Taqqali says that healthcare facilities find it challenging to deliver quality patient care through state-of-theart safety and security measures without increasing usage of financial or energy resources. He says that hospitals are energy intensive buildings which are becoming more expensive to maintain as energy costs are on the rise, not to mention other costs like security protocols, human resources and regular maintenance. He adds: “Hospitals today have an added investment of IT as everything is connected by the cloud, and data storage has gone digital.” Taqqali says that smart systems are thus far better as they work constantly to mitigate the risks of accidents or system downtime.

26 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi developed by Aldar Properties

Building up healthcare McKenzie says that each healthcare facility will require the development of a supportive health system infrastructure. He says that a key trend has been the adoption of technologies to streamline healthcare systems. Such technologies include the adoption eVisits, digitalisation and electronic management of patient records. Taqqali says that Schneider Electric’s Building Management solutions (BMS) provide facilitywide transparency and monitoring options, including access to critical data to assist hospital staff in providing security and safety. “It also reduces long-term costs and operational expenditures which result from maintenance, equipment upgrades or failure of security measures.” He adds: “BMS also helps to reduce energy costs by providing a clear picture of energy consumption and managing its usage across the facility through a host of smart solutions.”

Carl McKenzie, healthcare director of AECOM

Waseem Taqqali, vice president of Buildings at Schneider Electric

Faizal Kottikollon, chairperson and founder of KEF Holdings

Rise of healthcare facilities in GCC As the population in the GCC rises, so does the need for quality healthcare. Faizal Kottikollon, chairperson and founder of KEF Holdings, says that GCC countries have seen a rise in cases of diabetes, obesity and other healthcare issues. construction business news me AUGUST 2015 27


Elements to improve patients’ health

Carl McKenzie, healthcare director of AECOM, considers improving the folMcKenzie says that the rising lowing elements in the built environdemand of healthcare services will ment governments that affects patients’ health: push across the GCC to implement new technologies, systems Lighting: Daylighting and lighting intensity can of care, and consider further partnerhave positive effects on people in general. Access ships with international to daylight in healthcare facilitieshealthcare seems to have a providers. significant impact on patients, with studies showGCC maring“The that bright lighthealthcare has a specificservices antidepressant ket, effect along with the medical tourism market, is anticipated to reach $69bn Control: Providing a patient with a choice by 2020,” says Kottikollon. to control environmental systems, such as the As healthcare and medical tourism position the bed;increases, the temperature air in the ofregion he through says that conditioning heating;Authority lights through(DHA) the use the Dubaiand Health of dimmer switches and natural light; and sounds is planning to build 22 hospitals and such as music and television. Privacy: Improved aims to attract 500,000 medical tourists privacy in waiting roomsthe andGCC, provisionKottikollon of singleby 2020. Among bed rooms via solid walls instead of curtains says that UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia are particularly “hefty investAcoustic: Improvedmaking acoustic conditions in the ments” in healthcare facilities. healthcare environment reduces stress on patients Hetotalks construction trying sleep, about reduces modular risks of conflicts and staff as a key solution to meet the growing errors needs of the region. He explains that Art: Certain types of “psychologically appropriate” artwork, including images with themes relating to waterscapes, natural landscapes, flowers and gardens, can reduce stress and improve outcomes including pain relief Views: Views of natural landscapes and active wilderness experiences have positive effects on human health and wellbeing Indoor quality: Meeting good code of practice guidelines related to ventilation, dust, odour, relative humidity, and air quality Design: The design of the patient room can contribute to reduced contact spread, less shape corners (easier to clean), materials surfaces that mitigate the propagation of contaminates

28 construction business news me JUNE 2015

Saudi German Hospital in Dubai developed by IHCC

as the population rapidly increases along with life expectancythe governments and private sectors are posed with the challenge to deliver superior quality facilities without being impacted by costs and time of construction. He says: “They cannot afford any business downtime. Modular constructions are a tremendous advantage here. With its smart and sustainable construction, it will mitigate risks and will also aid lesser populated areas in remote areas and doctors with efficiency and timely response.” He says modular construction is becoming synonymous with convenience and efficiency. “By using a modular, systematic approach to upgrade healthcare infrastructure, the region can battle common issues surrounding MEP connections, unhygienic sanitation facilities, outdated plumbing structures, and weather-sensitive construction material – to name a few.” The KEF-TAHPI partnership combines TAHPI’s expertise of soft modular design with KEF’s expertise in hard modular construction. By applying this model, hospital and clinic components can be carefully designed in the studio and then manufactured on a large scale in a facility dedicated to modular construction, such as the $350m facility at KEF’s 42 acre Industrial Park in Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu, India. Kottikollon says that this facility will soon be complemented by a robotics driven modular manufacturing facility unit in Jebel Ali, Dubai. Taking shape

at an investment of $100m, the production unit in Jebel Ali is scheduled for completion in first quarter of 2016. According to McKenzie, to encourage medical tourism, the UAE (specifically Dubai) has sought to bring in talented people and hospitals or clinics from around the globe that can provide specialised healthcare options. “We will see more established international healthcare provider’s developing facilities and operating in the region.” He says that the current state of healthcare infrastructure varies across the Middle East and has been steadily improving. However, it still lags behind Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) countries in terms of health professional workers and bed capacity per capita. “Overall, Gulf States spend on average 3% on healthcare, compared to 11% in OECD countries.” Taqqali says that currently the region is embarking on healthcare infrastructure building programmes. “For instance, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry for Health is executing five projects worth $500m toward building medical cities. Such investment will raise the supply and quality of healthcare infrastructure solutions and services in this region. “Last year, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) also spearheaded talks on integrated infrastructure and storage solutions in the healthcare sector as part of the ‘Dubai Smart Healthcare Model.’” Taqqali points out that according to a 2014 Alpen Capital report on the GCC healthcare sector, GCC coun-

AECOM working as lead consultants on upcoming project King Khalid Medical City in Dammam

How is a building a healthcare facility different from building a residential building? Carl McKenzie, healthcare director of AECOM, considers improving the following elements in the built environment that affects patients’ health:

tries rely on their governments for healthcare investments. He says: “The governments share in GCC healthcare spending is approximately 73%. Meanwhile, public health authorities in the region are committed to saving energy and controlling costs.” He adds: “The report also states that high oil prices have played an important role in the government‘s ability to fund healthcare spend.” McKenzie observes that though investment in GCC healthcare infrastructure has risen considerably in recent years, the pace of development is still behind the needs of a rapidly growing population and healthcare standards in other

developed economies. He says that Gulf States, such as the UAE, have a relatively young population, however sedentary lifestyles have led to disproportionately higher health issues compared to the rest of the world, therefore the demand on the health systems continues on an upward trend. He states: “One of the targets for the UAE will be to double its existing bed capacity of circa 13,500 hospital beds over the next few years. These ambitions indicate the potential for growth, where overall healthcare spending in the UAE is expected to increase 7% a year to reach $19.6bn by 2018, compared to its current level of $14bn.”

There are specific codes of practice for the planning, design, operation and performance of healthcare facilities related to the building fabric, structure and engineering systems, to facilitate clinical function, maintain processes and aid recovery

The structure must be resilient to take substantial loads and work to stringent vibration tolerances

Engineering systems and distribution to support operational functions cover a wide range of systems generally not encountered in other construction sectors i.e. medical gases, pneumatic tubing, clean air systems, the extent of BMS system, specialist lighting, electromagnetic radiation protection, surge protection, electronic security (baby tagging etc), patient entertainment, nurse call, access control, pure water systems, nuclear medicine drainage, to name a few

There are life safety systems that must be incorporated into a facility with mission critical performance

There are resilience and infrastructure provision that should be integrated so that the facility can operate as a ‘standalone’ entity should there be an interruption from authority infrastructure supplies i.e. emergency generators to mitigate for the loss of electrical power etc

The integration of medical equipment in terms of their operating environment, commissioning, maintenance and access for removal or replacement can involve significantly planning and future adaptation provision

Healthcare trends to watch out for: • Governments’ increasing investments in technological advancements and health awareness • Growth of smaller healthcare clinics • Investments in medical tourism

Prefabricated hospital room design by KEF-TAHPI

construction business news me JUNE 2015 29


Y ou should be here A number of recent milestones have propelled Oman’s tourism industry – from moving the weekend to building new international airports. In turn, this is spurring unprecedented private sector opportunities in related development and infrastructure projects, with an estimated value of $56bn to 2017. Melanie Mingas reports


n the GCC, the road away from hydro-carbons is well worn. From diversifying energy sources to introducing entirely new industries, all six member nations realise the finite nature of their economic authority and are working hard to spread their interests. Saudi Arabia boasts a network of manufacturing and educational cities; Qatar is preparing for 2022; and the UAE is growing at such a pace it is now branching out from its original diversification strategy, graduating from a global tourism hub to a regional business and finance centre. In Oman, final preparations are underway for the launch of a 25 year tourism strategy – the result of months of collaboration between industry stakeholders, which is set to increase job creation, private investment and, as a result, GDP through

30 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

community participation, growth of the SME sector and the development of human capital. Launching next month, the tourism strategy will run in tandem with the Oman 2020 ambitions, drawing unprecedented private sector input in the country’s physical and economic development. As yet, the scheme’s goals are not quantified, but the present picture shows a clear road map of where the Ministry of Tourism wants to be heading. Currently, travel and tourism contributes 3% to GDP, with arrivals in the range of 1.7m. Direct contributions were predicted to rise to 10.2% in 2014, ranking Oman in the top three of all 184 countries monitored by the World Travel and Tourism Council. Forecasts predict tourism arrivals will increase a staggering 10% com-

pared to 2014 and there are now solid plans to establish the country’s own low-cost carrier to add to the 30 airlines which currently hold landing rights. The quantum leap in progress is supported by a number of factors; the alignment of weekends with GCC neighbours, the rise in economy airlines and the boom in mid-market hotels. But the sleepy Sultanate will require much more to achieve its ambitions; first and foremost a robust and confident private sector-led construction industry. International Quality and Procurement Center (IQPC) reports a total project value of $56bn between now and 2017, inclusive of the highly anticipated railway and Al Batinah Expressway. Direct tourism infrastructure projects alone are currently valued

From top: Nizwa, Oman; Oman Coast Landscape

at $3.3bn, inclusive of two new international airports and more than 5,000 hotel rooms to be operated by local and international brands. Expansion plans for Muscat International and Salalah International Airport will increase capacity to 12 million and one million passengers a year, respectively. In Muscat, further expansions planned in three subse-

quent phases will ultimately boost the airport’s capacity to 24, 36 and 48 million passengers as demand permits. David Sobey, managing director at PPMC, explains: “The Sultanate is witnessing economic growth in light of government plans for diversification, industrialisation and privatisation and a growing economy is expected to translate into a higher GDP per capita,

in turn strengthening the spending power of the population. The construction market’s key drivers are population growth, economic growth, increased focus on the tourism sector and infrastructure development.” Reinventing a classic The construction sector has already enjoyed strong growth with BMI Reconstruction business news me AUGUST 2015 31

COUNTRY FOCUS Muscat, capital of Oman

search reporting increases of 8.5% in 2014 and forecasts of 6.7% for 2015. Much of the country’s development to date has been public sector initiated and government bankrolled to secure the necessary infrastructure such a sparsely populated country with difficult terrain requires. But there is one company leading the way when it comes to tourism investment. Omagine LLC is an entertainment, leisure and hospitality company headquartered in New York City with a subsidiary office in Muscat. Its Omagine project will create a $2.5bn mixed-use tourism and real-estate project and has investors falling over themselves for a piece of the 245 acre prime beachfront development. Located only six miles from Muscat International Airport, it sounds like the ambitious glitz seen in such projects as Ras Al Khaimah’s $1bn Al Marjan “party island” project, or Dubai’s latest shoreline development, Blue Waters. But that doesn’t mean Oman’s sleepy historical charm is being wiped out; Oman isn’t planning to become “an-

other Dubai”. Omagine promises to be different with the developer assuring “traditionally designed residential and commercial components”. “The tourism components are thematically imbued with cultur-

ally aware and scientifically accurate entertainment experiences. All of our developments are historically faithful to their surroundings. The tourism elements tend to emphasise the great art, music, culture, science and phi-

Oman: The top 10 tourism projects 1 $840m

Saraya Holdings - Saraya Bandar Jissah Resort

2 $560m

Omran - Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre

3 $468m

Al Futtaim Group - Mall of Oman



Omran - Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre: Package 3



Omran - Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre: Package 2



Muriya Tourism Development Company - Salalah Beach Resort



Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) - Muscat City Hotels: W Hotel



Al Habtoor Group - Al Habtoor City (Westin, St Regis and W Hotels)



Marriott International - Ritz-Carlton - The Muscat Reserve



Omran / Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company - Ras Al-Hadd Resort: Phase 4

32 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

Case study: Oman Rail Owner: Oman Railway Company (ORC) Budget: $15.5bn Progress: EPC stage Oman’s national railway network comprises 2,244km of track with 35km of tunnels, 40km of bridges, 50 terminals and eight marshalling yards. The network, which will connect the ports of Sohar, Duqm and Salalah, will comprise a double non-electrified track carrying both freight (120km/h max speed) and passenger (220km/h max speed) traffic. Three consortia – Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA), Técnicas Reunidas and Parsons International – have been shortlisted for the Project Management Consultancy (PMC) contract, which has yet to be awarded. ORC’s EPC tender for the 207km Phase 1 stretch between Sohar and Buraimi has attracted 18 bidders. The construction contract is expected to be awarded by mid-2015. Part of the GCC pan-Gulf rail network – a $25bn railway network that will stretch over 2,117km, over six countries – the network doesn’t just boost logistics and trade between Oman’s new ports and GCC neighbours, but will also help to serve the needs of the growing population, which is expected to increase by 2.4m to 2040, according a 2014 report by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

losophy of the world – the great ideas - while simultaneously being hip, stylish, trendy and very 21st century,” a statement reads. It’s a theme present in many of Oman’s plans. So keen is the country to build on its past, rather than over it, the Ministry of Heritage has even established itself as a best practice leader, imparting restoration and heritage advice to other Middle Eastern countries and, as a result, providing opportunity for niche sectors of the construction industry. New Oman In light of falling oil prices, not to mention’s Oman’s original ambition to stabilise its economy, measured development and sustainable growth are key. Fahad al Ismaili, executive director, Tibiaan Properties, advises: “The government dependency on oil income is a major concern for the near future. Therefore, making the necessary arrangements to boost global trade, manufacturing, exports and tourism should be made immediately, before it is too late. “Creating proper free zones to al-

Spending by sector Mixed-use













Hospitality & Leisure




low 100% ownership of an enterprise, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no minimum capital investment, no corporate or personal tax and no need for a local partner will be a great first step towards income diversity.” Echoing Ismaili’s observations, Sobey agrees that tourism is only a small part of the equation with precast housing, port development and liquidity in the banking sector all playing a part (see graphic). “Rapid urbanisation, increased disposable incomes, ease of availability of housing loans, and low interest rates are driving construction activity in Oman with an increase of capital investment, as a percentage of the GDP, in the construction indus-


try. The increase is expected to be channelled towards meeting the high construction demand across the region,” he says. Against this backdrop, Oman is dependent upon the private sector to execute its ambitions as BMI Research predicts the country’s budget will fall into deficit this year. On the plus side, Oman has one of the most robust PPP models in the region, almost guaranteed help from its neighbours and sovereign wealth funds to fall back on. The combination of long-term economic development strategies and reduced oil prices – far from sounding a warning alarm – could in fact create the perfect storm. construction business news me AUGUST 2015 33


The GCC has become a centre for light rail development as cities look to reduce strain on both the roads and the environment. Stuart Matthews explores the recent progress of companies looking to create a new generation of rail commuters


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he GCC countries have witnessed some of the fastest population growth rates in the world over the last decade. Crucially more than 70% of the Gulf populations live in urban areas, with both Kuwait and Qatar experiencing nearly 100% urbanisation, according to UN Habitat. Between 2005 and 2010 Dubai saw annual population growth rates in excess of 4%, while Riyadh was not far behind knocking around 3%. These surges in growth, spurred by economic development and accompanying opportunities put enormous pressure on transport infrastructure in Gulf cities and some still struggle with their daily commute. Regional municipalities have long recognised the need to shift people on to public transport if their cities are not to end up in a semi-permanent gridlock. Understanding this has seen bus and taxi fleets boosted, nurtured the growth of private driver enterprises such as Uber and Careem and led to the emergence of significant light rail projects in the densest of urban centres around the Gulf.

Dubai led the way, in part because it had to. Rapid expansion of the city and its population meant the Dubai Metro was a much welcomed addition to the city’s transport options when it first opened back in 2009. Two lines - Red and Green - are operational and accounted for some 531 million passenger trips in 2014, a year which also saw public transport’s share of the city’s passenger traffic rise to 14%, from just 6% in 2006. While other lines have been on the drawing board since the project was first announced the one likely to see action soonest is the extension of the Red Line designed to accommodate additional traffic to the site of Expo 2020. Known as Route 2020, the extension will add 15km to the line starting at Nakheel Harbour and Tower station and including 4km of underground line. The plan got the seal of approval from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai in April and construction will also include seven new stations, two of which will be underground. “The construction of the Route 2020 project conforms to the strategic vision

Rail engineer

Julian Hill, Atkin’s managing director for rail in the Middle East highlights the complexities of the region’s multi-package rail developments What prompted you to set up rail team in the Middle East after your experience on the Dubai Metro? We had such a good team here, I looked around the Middle East and I could see what was happening with urbanisation. Cities were getting more congested and had to offer another means of transportation; it didn’t take much to work out that metros were going to be a big offering here in the future. How do you manage the scope and scale of the ongoing projects? We mobilise a team to be in the office with contractors so we can respond quickly. They feed information back to design centres here in Dubai, or it could be in Hong Kong, India or the UK. It’s the same with all of our projects. We have a strong team on Doha’s Gold Line for example, where we have 100 people in the contractor’s office. There are regular meetings with the client and contractors to coordinate and agree design. Clients set requirements for a project and they would be the same across all packages, but they get interpreted very differently so there can be inconsistencies, which is a challenge and that’s why the clients out here then have to have very strong project management consultants to support them. Their job is

of the Dubai Government for achieving sustainable development, and developing a world-class infrastructure and services,” said Mattar Al Tayer, chairperson and executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) at the time of the announcement. “The RTA has mapped out an integrated plan for roads and transport projects to serve Expo highlighted by the Route 2020 project.” The extension will boost Dubai’s total metro lines to 90km and encompass a number of densely populated residential areas. Requests for proposal are expected at the end of July and will likely have to be submitted by September. The demand timeframe for the extension to be up and running, with its deadline fixed to meet the surge in passenger numbers generated by Expo 2020 Dubai, means interested parties are anticipating an award to be announced in January of next year. Names familiar from the construction of the first two lines are likely to be prominent among the bidders. Qatar Another city with a fixed deadline to

to make sure design procurement is all in accordance with each other, delivered to the same standards. It’s extremely complex and requires a lot of skilled engineers and labour to bring together. What’s different about these kind of projects in a Middle East context? When you look around the Middle East they do procure these major metro jobs a bit differently. They will often look for a civil contractor and systems provider to team up and submit a combined offering for the project. That has some advantages and disadvantages. Obviously the client doesn't get the preferred contractor with preferred systems provider, but it does mitigate them dealing with the interface between civils and the systems. If you procure them separately, like they are doing on the Makkah Metro, you have to have a strong project man team in place to manage the interface. Where do the challenges lie, given the number of metro projects currently under development in the region? Challenges for the consultants include getting good quality engineers into the region and working on these projects. We want to be able to deliver projects at a quality the contractor expects from Atkins. With the metro projects happening on a global level, getting good engineers here and mobilising staff is a challenge for all consultants. construction business news me AUGUST 2015 35


Panama Metropolis Image provided by Alstom

“The RTA has mapped out an integrated plan for roads and transport projects to serve Expo highlighted by the Route 2020 project.” - Mattar Al Tayer, chairperson and executive director of the RTA measure its progress by is Doha. The Qatari capital will play host to the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and is a city much in need of the relief a functional light rail system will bring to traffic. This need has seen the country allocate a large portion of its 2014-2015 national budget, more than $20bn for infrastructure-related projects, according to Alpen Capital’s GCC Construction Industry report, released in June. The report notes that nearly $74.6bn worth of transport projects in Qatar are currently in planning or under construction and key among these is the $40m Qatar integrated rail project. Overseen by Qatar Rail three major projects make up the integrated network: the Doha Metro, the Lusail Light Rail Transit (LRT) network, and the Long Distance Passenger and Freight network, which will be connected to the wider GCC rail network. Doha Metro is a significant portion of this work and is currently one of the world’s largest active metro projects. In phase one three lines - Red, Green and Gold - are being developed, with 36 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

an ultimate completion date of 2026 for phase two elements. Doha Metro’s first phase is underway now and has an expected completion date of 2019, putting it in place well before the city plays host to world football. This first phase will see the construction of some 35 stations and more than 100km of track will be laid, mostly underground. The second phase will see around a further 50 stations developed and making the network 150km long. This second phase will be notable for the increase in amount of track either at ground level or elevated, as the project moves out of the city’s densely packed central areas. The project’s most recent milestone was the breakthrough of one of the nine tunnel boring machines (TBM) working the Red Line route into what will become Msheireb station. The TBM named Al Mayeda, was launched at Al Corniche station in November 2014 and made the breakthrough at Msheireb in June after having dug

2.3km of tunnel. The TBM will now be taken back to the Corniche station again before heading off in the other direction to Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre station. “During the past year, we have achieved significant developments on the Doha Metro project thanks to the joint efforts of the company and its contractors,” said Hamad Ibrahim Al Bishri, Deputy CEO of Qatar Rail in a statement. “While the excavation phase is making good progress at all stations under the supervision of our skilled team, we are happy to celebrate a new successful breakthrough here at Msheireb.” Al Mayeda is one of 21 TBMs assigned for the Doha Metro project. Qatar Rail says all of its TBMs are currently operational, and on track to complete the tunnelling by 2017. So far 30km of tunnel has been completed out of a total of 113km. The project has many milestones to come and is likely to continue to produce big numbers along the way. Riyadh Despite the size of the Doha Metro project, observers may be more inclined to look to Saudi Arabia to see the future potential of light rail projects in the region. The Riyadh Metro stole headlines when contracts were announced in 2013, but it is not the only city with rail plans in the pipeline. Saudi municipalities have also pencilled in metro maps for the cities of Dammam, Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah. With five major metro projects under way or on the drawing boards the country is set to draw on global rail expertise for up to the next decade; especially when these projects have the major high-speed links and elements of the GCC rail network added to them. With a project cost estimated at $23bn Riyadh Metro is certainly the most valuable of the planned projects and may also be one of the earliest to finish. In July the first tunnel excavation for the project got under way when the consortium led by Bechtel began tunnelling for Line 1 of the network. The Bechtel-led consortium,

Urban mobility

Vincent Prou, GCC managing director for Alstom Transport explains some of the key challenges the rail provider faces in getting the Middle East on the move What are challenges does Alstom tackle to design and deliver a metro system? Alstom’s goal is to provide the mobility solution that addresses its customers’ needs. In order to do this, during the project definition phases Alstom sets out to fully comprehend customer requirements. Through this direct interaction, Alstom is able to offer the right solution or come up with innovative ones when the solution is not available off the shelf. This is, for example, how Alstom came up with Axonis, a metro system that is driverless, quick to build and that can operate elevated, on the ground and underground, limiting city footprint and disturbances during construction. Without that direct interaction with customers, designing and managing a project could be more challenging.

Tramway maintenance centre depot in Reims, France Image provided by Alstom

What makes metros in the Middle East different? Most cities build metro networks in stages, or build one or two lines at a time. In the Middle East region, there are ambitious transport projects as a result of substantial economic growth, population increases, congestion, pollution and industrialisation. The authorities tend to build several lines simultaneously and require their projects to be built within a set deadline, which may be a challenge for the contractors building the system. Alstom is able to deliver performance-based projects, on time and sometimes before the contractual date, as was the case for the Dubai tram. Another challenge is the tough climatic conditions. Transport solutions need to resist high temperatures, humidity and sun. This is the case in the UAE where Citadis trams are operating in the city of Dubai. The system is designed to resist the severe environmental conditions, including temperatures above 50°C, humidity reaching 100% and the sandy and corrosive atmosphere. Other Citadis trams are operating well in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. What are the main characteristics of the metro systems in the Middle East? The Middle East and Africa is the region with the highest level of integrated rail urban transport, accounting for 80% of its total rail projects. Undeniably, when led as an integrated system, projects require only one tender procedure, a single contract to manage the project and a single entity to commit to the full performance requests. This greatly simplifies the organisation on the customer’s side. Project financing is also easier to secure. Another trend, is that metros tend to be automatic and driverless. Alstom’s Urbalis gives operators precise control in the movement of their trains, allowing them to run on the line at higher frequencies and speeds in total safety. Urbalis can largely improve capacity, efficiency, reliability, safety of metro lines and reduce operating costs for operators.

includes Saudi company, Almabani General Contractors, Middle Eastbased Consolidated Contractors Company, and Germany’s Siemens AG, and is responsible for the $10bn contract for Lines 1 and 2 of the project. “Sending our team’s first tunnel boring machine on its underground voyage is a significant step for all,” said Amjad Bangash, Bechtel’s director on the project in a statement. As the TBM makes progress it will reach speeds of up to 100 metres per week as it cuts a hole beneath the city, with an anticipated completion date sometime in mid-2016. In total, seven tunnel boring machines will be deployed by the Bechtel-led team to dig and construct more than 35km of tunnels for its portion of the project. July also saw movement on the

metro destined for Makkah, where the annual surge in population fuelled by the pilgrimage seasons places huge strain on existing transport networks. Spain's Isolux Corsan is part of a consortium appointed as preferred bidder to build lines B and C of the Makkah Metro, with an overall budget of more than $2.5bn. While only the two lines awarded to the Isolux Corsan JV - which also includes Turkish company Kolin Insaat Turizm Sanayi ve Ticaret and the Arab Haif company - are to be built



The NUMBER OF passenger trips ON DUBAI METRO in 2014

during the first phase, Makkah Metro will eventually include four lines and integrate with the existing Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah line, originally built in 2010 to carry pilgrims between the city’s holy sites. Earlier this year the metro’s developer signed a $390m deal with the Saudi Electric Company to connect and supply electricity to the project, which is scheduled to start next year with a tentative completion date of 2019. With regional projects of this scale likely to be on going for nearly a decade the Gulf has the potential to become a centre for rail expertise. This status can only improve if plans on the region’s drawing boards start to come to fruition and more passenger miles are clocked up on existing networks. Gulf inhabitants have yet to universally embrace public transport, but nothing is more likely to make them do it than modern metro systems and heavy traffic construction business news me AUGUST 2015 37


TRACK IT FORWARD Out of the 190 city metro systems located in 54 countries across the world. Construction Business News ME rounds up its favourite 10

The world famous New York City Subway was built in 1904 and rapidly expanded from 28 stations to 468, most completed by 1940. Today it is one of the oldest and most used public transport systems in the Western world, running 24 hours every day. In 2014 alone the system delivered more than 1.75 billion rides, averaging 5.6 million daily rides on weekends and a combined 5.9 million on weekends, across 1,355km of public and non-revenue track. Essential for tourists and natives, the busiest station


Paris Metropolitan

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New York City Subway

is Times Square/42nd Street with a little over 62 million rides in 2014. 191 Street Manhattan is the deepest station, built 54m underground. The good news is the city’s second subway is due for completion by the end of 2016 and will serve 200,000 commuters daily. The less encouraging news is that the line was first suggested in 1929, with construction eventually beginning in 2014. Nevertheless, the $4.45bn project will run for 13.67km on a two track line, with 16 new underground stations.

Perhaps one of the most romantic looking public transport systems from street level, the Paris Metropolitan first opened in 1900 for the Paris Expo, making it the fourth oldest system in Europe. The Parisian claim on public transport doesn’t end there; Metropolitan has been widely shortened to metro and is today used to name city transport networks in 55 countries. Paris has become the sixth most used metro system in the world, transporting more than 1.5 billion people per year and comprising 300 stations across 16 lines, to cover an area measuring 10km by 10km. On a daily basis the trains travel 965,600km, which is equivalent to 24 times around the world. It is estimated to serve six out of 10 Parisians. The idea of Parisian culture is deeply imbued in the system, with each stop themed around historical figures, providing another clue to riders about the history of the city. Parisian style also plays a part; Louis Vuitton designed a handbag in homage to the deepest station, Abbesses.

Due to celebrate its centenary in 2019 the Metro de Madrid is one of the fastest growing networks in the world and has the most escalators of any underground transport system, with 1,698. The network has 301 stations on 12 lines plus one branch line, stretching 294km, of which approximately 92% is underground. In 2007 the Light Metro (Metro Ligero) opened, connecting underground stations through a network of over ground trams. The extension made Madrid Metro the second largest network in Europe after London. Interestingly, unlike the roads in the Spanish capital, all metro tracks run on the left hand side. All the stations have their own unique features and some are even big enough to hold large gatherings and events. Arganzuela-Planetario has an astronomy theme; Carpetana doubles as a museum and Goya is decorated with the work of famous Spanish artist Francisco de Goya.


Madrid Metro


Probably one of the most fascinating underground transit systems in the world, the London Underground is today used as part of the mass transit system for London’s eight million residents, but its history is far more engrossing. It originally started life as an underground tunnel network for steam trains before electrified trains were introduced. It was used as bomb shelters during World War II and the Central Line was even converted into a fighter aircraft factory that stretched for over two miles inclusive of its own railway system; the existence of which remained an official secret of the British Government until the 1980s. The first map of the London underground combined the line routes with over-ground landmarks, however riders found the concept far too confusing and eventually the grid concept was rolled out, based on the original electrical map of the network, signifying where each line meets and extends to.

London Underground

The largest metro system in the world since 2013, the Shanghai metro is also one of the youngest, opening as a single line in 1995 and rapidly growing to sprawl 468km of track with 303 stations. It’s also the first such system in China to provide a cross-provincial service. It makes sense considering Shanghai is China’s largest city with a population 20 million. In 2013, the metro clocked up 2.5 billion rides. Four lines were under construction at the end of 2014 and construction of nine further lines began this year. The entire project is due to be completed in 2025 when the network will comprise 877km of track over 22 lines.

Shanghai Metro


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TAKE 10 Unlike its cousin in Shanghai, the Beijing Subway is older than the systems of Washington DC, Hong Kong and San Francisco, opening in October 1969. Yet it wasn’t until 2002 that Beijing got to grips with underground rail transit and embarked on a significant expansion scheme. Counting 17 operational lines and 232 stations in 2014, the Beijing Public Transportation Company announced that by 2020, the total track length will have grown from 465km to 1,050km. The number of stations will also double, with the expansion of current lines and the opening of a half dozen new lines.

Beijing Subway The expansions are desperately needed. Last year Beijing Metro clinched the title of world’s busiest metro from the city of Moscow


Stockholm Metro

The world’s first driverless metro system, Dubai Metro is also one of the youngest. Inaugurated in September 2009, it spans two lines, the Red and Green, which cover 52.1km and 22.5km respectively. 137,759,258 million passengers travelled on Dubai Metro in 2013, with the total number of rides exceeding the 500 million threshold in 2014. Each train is designed to carry up to 643 passengers in five cabins. Even more significant it’s the first metro in the Middle East, as well as being the longest driverless network in the world, and even offers a Gold Class option for those who prefer the idea of travelling with the masses in style. Sadly, the cultural utilisation of metro station names as adopted by Paris and London was lost on Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority and instead of such charming monikers as Elephant and Castle, local businesses are able to buy and name stations after themselves.

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when 10.27 million people were counted as passengers in one day. Four new lines went into operation only two months before the record.

It may not be the world’s longest metro, but the Stockholm Subway is known as the world’s longest art gallery at 110km. With almost all the 110 stations decorated with paintings, mosaics, installations and engravings the “museum” features 150 artists. It’s also a great way to travel. The idea first came about in 1941 but some of the first lines were operated with trams, instead of trains. The oldest lines were inaugurated in 1951 and 53, and most of the stations today are located above ground, rather than under. An extension project was announced in 2013, with work due to begin in 2016 and completion currently scheduled for 2020.

Dubai Metro


The only fully underground metro network in Canada, Montreal Metro or Métro de Montréal, was inaugurated in 1966 and originally consisted of 26 stations on three separate lines. The network now has 68 stations on four lines totalling 69.2km of track. Said to be inspired by the Paris Metro, the system uses a similar signage style to its European counterpart but its completion ahead of the Montreal Expo World Fair in 1967, was coincidental. However line extensions were planned ahead of the 1976 Olympics. Current expansion plans fall under a 2020 development strategy for the city, and will see extensions of the blue line reaching towards the borough of Anjou and the Orange Line towards Bois-Franc. Montreal’s transport chiefs have ordered 342 new trains for the network, which will also have flat screen televisions.

Montreal Metro



Prague Underground With 61 stations along 65km of track, the Prague Underground is much deeper than other systems around the world due to the soil quality, meaning users have to descend via daunting lengths of escalator, the longest of which is 87.02m, at the Namesti Miru station on Line A. Marking 37 years since its opening this month, it now

has three lines and plans exist for a fourth. Adding a little star quality to mass transit, announcements on the network were recorded by Czech Radio presenters Světlana Lavičková and Tomáš Černý and recent European Parliament candidate for the Republic Party Eva Jurinová.

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Raising a master

space Construction Business News ME visits the site of Akoya by Damac and speaks with Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president of corporate communication and investor relations at Damac, about progress on Dubai’s first masterplanned development since 2008 and the first community to be built by a private company

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koya by Damac, located off Umm Suqeim Road in Dubai, is about a 30-minute drive away from Downtown Dubai. This, according to senior vice president of corporate communications and investor relations at Damac Niall McLoughlin, is one of the key reasons the company sought out the location; to build a destination within itself. When we entered the development, through grand gates, branded with the project name it felt like a little town on its own. The site visit felt more like finding an oasis in the desert, rested in the middle of sand plains was a majestic community of 42 million sqft. The masterplan looked greener than expected, with a golf course spanning across most of the area. The golf community has made great progress since its high-profile launch two years ago, with the first residents set to make it their home later this year. The $6bn community is said to be the most luxurious development in

Golf course at Akoya is %95 completed

the region, with high-end branded real estate, luxury mansions and villas, serviced living concepts, the Trump International Golf Course, a 4.3 million sqft private park and entertainment-themed retail walks. The community is said to be on schedule with many projects within the masterplan completing earlier than expected. Main contractors have reportedly made a notable progress on-site with more than 2,600 villas and 18 apartment buildings at various stages of construction and the first substation – which will provide 75% of power to the development will be completed and handed over by 2019. The Trump International Golf Club on the other hand is 95% complete with the club house more than one fifth finished. The project has also already been named the ‘Best Golf Development in the World’ at the International Property Awards ceremony in London. In the first year of development, the construction site was visited by

iconic businessman and now US presidential candidate - Donald J. Trump, who believes that the project will be a “huge success”. “Never before has there been such a varied mix of real estate, retail and lifestyle options all in one location,” adds McLoughlin. “The community will have a modern feel and the villas will be constructed following contemporary architecture, rather than arabesque.” The community will soon add international schools, mosques, clinics and spas along with the highly anticipated ‘Drive at Akoya’ – a retail, dining and entertainment strip. The Drive is similar in length to 'The Walk' at Jumeirah Beach Residences (JBR) and reflective of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, The Croisette or Champs Elysees in Paris and will include high-end food and beverage, retail shopping and serene locations to meet friends. The shopping strip also includes four dedicated areas with entertainment for the whole family, including a golf putting

Niall McLoughlin, senior VP of corporate communication and investor relations at Damac

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IN THE FIELD The construction site at Akoya by Damac

green, an outdoor ice-skating rink, an interactive kids play area and a large outdoor cinema screen. McLoughlin says: “The entire community, once completed, will have over 80,000 residences. Initially before the launching, we have questioned ourselves where will all these people living in Akoya go for entertainment. The only closest prime centre was the Mall of the Emirates. So that’s why we tried to create a destination within Akoya, so that the residents will not have to leave their community to be entertained.” He adds: “We have thought so much about how we could make it a destination for tourists as well. We intend for Akoya to be a place for people to visit and not just live.” Progress at the master development “We are delighted with the progress made at Akoya by Damac and look forward to welcoming the first residents of this exciting project later this year,” says McLoughlin. “The master development has certainly been challenging in size, scale and speed of delivery, but we have been delighted with the speed and quality of progress to date.” The Damac team talk about how even though the project spells luxury, the focus has been the buyers. McLoughlin says that the idea to build an out of city masterplanned community was inspired by buyers’ demand. Research was conducted firsthand 44 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

Upcoming Akoya Drive

“Around 18 months ago this was just a blank canvas, we came in with these 450 people and were able to transform it into this.” - Niall McLoughlin

by Damac’s 600 salespeople who communicated customer feedback. “The needs of the market were then shaped into a product that is innovative, modern and market driven,” says McLoughlin. “Our team was able to lay all the groundwork rather quickly to launch in August 2013. Since then we have been successful not only on the construction side but also commercially.” He says: “We have 2,000 employees dedicated and working for Damac, out of which 450 are in our project delivery team. No other organisation in the market has that. We have such a strong in-house team.” “Around 18 months ago this was just a blank canvas, we came in with

Villas under construction in Akoya by Damac

The construction site at Akoya by Damac

these 450 people and were able to transform it into this.” He says that the company initially went to the Dubai Government, and at the time were listed in London. “Our financials were out there, our balance sheet was very strong and our track record at that time had 12000 units delivered. We were a proven entity, we could deliver and we had proven that,” says McLoughlin. “We asked the government for a plot of land to become a master developer, they have never done that before. Previously only government entities have been permitted to build communities on this scale, but we are the first private company to become a master developer.”

City escape Akoya by Damac is the first major master development to be announced after Dubai’s economic recovery following the financial crash in 2008. The team at Damac believe that it is proof of a strong market and helps reinstate faith in the emirate’s resurgence. McLoughlin says that currently the real estate market is very mature, with intelligent buyers. He explains that immediately after the recovery there was rapid expansion until 2014. However like any market, the rate of acceleration slows down eventually to a more steady growth. “We are now in a single digit growth, and customers see transactional

values dropping and assume the market is fluctuating.” With rent prices decreasing in parts of Dubai, McLoughlin says that this should not be confused with a weak market. He says that most projects launched in areas like Business Bay and Downtown Dubai have higher rate. He says: “The price of land down there is quite expensive, it is in the middle of the city.” He says that with price per square foot reaching AED2,000 along with the limited amount of space available, Damac decided to look beyond the city. He says: “There was no space for a masterplan of this scale in Business Bay, for example, so we bought land outside of Dubai, in the suburbs.” Choosing this location has reduced the developer’s cost which helps in selling the same amount of land for less. McLoughlin says: “People wrongly assume this change in price signals a drop in the market, when in actuality they are buying a different product as it is in a different location. If they were buying something like this in the main city it would be more expensive.” He adds: “There is a demand in the market today that wasn’t there before, it is for value housing, and I mean by value housing isn’t specifically affordable housing because that could be subjective.” Damac’s decision to deliver value housing, he says, has been based on market response. “Yes, the transactional price has come down, that does not mean that the other product has fallen. That does however mean that there is a new pricing.” He says: “We think the project really talks to those buyers looking to set up home in Dubai in a safe and peaceful environment while at the same time, being part of a high-end district.” The first projects in Akoya by Damac will open later this year, with the full community open and operational in 2019. construction business news me AUGUST 2015 45


Construction Business News ME analyses the current state of the residential market in UAE’s capital

Steady demands Abu Dhabi’s skyline


he residential market in Abu Dhabi has been reportedly positive for the first half of this year, with a recently launched report by Asteco stating the market has had a 6% rise in the last quarter. General manager of Asteco Abu Dhabi Jerry Oates says that this turnaround of events could be because of the gradual stabilisation of sales prices over the last six months, which gives way for positive long-term prospects for landlords. The report observes that the sales prices for apartments and villas have remained steady. Asteco also predicts an increase in rental rates over the next few months in the absence of any major handover of new villa stock before 2017. Recent decree issues by HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, aimed at regulating and improving transparency in the local real estate sector will further boost market, acting as a catalyst for increased investor demand. “This as yet un-enacted legislation will effectively protect investor interests in uncompleted projects, as it requires that brokers and developers be fully licensed. When it comes into effect it will further cement the reputation of the emirate as a credible long term investment haven,” says Oates. David Dudley, international director and head of Abu Dhabi office at JLL MENA, says: “We still expect demand growth to continue, but at a slower pace.” He explains that the softening of demand is a result of the decline in oil prices, which has directly affected Abu

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Dhabi’s dominant petro-chemicals sector, and also lead to a reduction in domestic government spending as it re-prioritises its projects, and a decline in investor sentiment. He adds: “Employment creation and residential demand growth will continue to be sustained from projects commenced while oil prices were high – with projects such as the airport and Etihad expansion having an economic multiplier effect.” He says that the extent to which conditions remain stable over the next year or so very much depends on the government’s spending plans. “With an increasing cost of living and a reduction in demand, we are currently at a ‘tipping point’, with market stability very much dependent on the government continuing to invest in to major new infrastructure and economic development projects.” According to Bayut’s Market Report 2015 Abu Dhabi states that the reduction in government spending expected this year following the decline in oil prices, could have slowed down the pace of demand growth, but this has not happened during the first half of the current year. In contrast, the short-term supply of units in the market was generally constrained, leading to relatively stable market conditions. From an economic angle, the property market of the capital remained resilient despite the ongoing decline of oil prices. The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) approved 22 new projects during the first three months of 2015, thus shrugging off all concerns of weaker oil prices affecting the property market.


Construction takes off at


As Cayan Group’s high-end project, CMC, in Riyadh officially breaks ground, Construction Business News ME speaks with president and chairperson Ahmed Alhatti


Did yoU know?

The Group’s most prestigious project, Cayan Tower in Dubai, was officially declared as the globe’s tallest twisted tower standing at 307m high by the Guinness World Records 2015

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Upcoming CMC in Riyadh

n July 2015, real estate developer Cayan Group commenced the breaking ground of its most recent project, CMC in Saudi Arabia. Initially launched as CM1, it was officially unveiled at Cayan Group’s launch party in April 2015 where Alain Robert, a French climber popularly known as Spiderman, set a Guinness World Record by climbing the Group’s twisted Cayan Tower. CMC is intended to be a high-end business centre with retail shops, along with 10 floors for rental and ownership purposes of corporate administrative upscale offices equipped with the latest technologies. The project also considers overall environmental impact as well the health and well-being of its occupants. Cayan will be working alongside Saudi Arabian financial services company, Mefic Capital, to deliver this project. Once built, the project is said to become the headquarters for both Mefic Capital and Cayan Group. Ahmed Alhatti, president and chairperson of Cayan Group, says that the project is strategically located on the King Fahd Road in Riyadh. “The city has the strongest economy in the region with one of the highest business growth rate.” The Saudi market in general is doing really well, says the chairman. According to him, the government is giving high attention to the real estate sector as the local demand rises in the market. As demand for real estate rises in Saudi Arabia, the government takes an active role in maintaining the demand. Alhatti says that as the market matures and has more international players, there will be more opportunities and room for growth. Commenting on the upcoming head office building, he says that it is a perfect model of a multi-use integrated commercial complex, which includes luxury offices and distinctive facilities such as a screen and a high-tech fitness centre among others.



retrofits With the recent launch of Emirates Green Building Council’s retrofit guidelines, Lorraine Bangera analyses how buildings could be made more sustainable and how the UAE could save AED1bn


n June earlier this year, Emirates Green Building Council (EmiratesGBC) launched its Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings to serve as a guide for UAE industry professionals and building end-users. The guidelines have been created in conformance with the UAE’s sustainability agenda, as part of its National Agenda 2021 and in line with local sustainable strategies such as the Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy and Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. Saeed Al Abbar, chairperson of EmiratesGBC, says the guide was created with the help of the council’s members and was endorsed by the Ministry of Public Works and the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy (DSCE). The guidelines consist of a set of instructions and best practices that will provide building owners, operators and end-users the knowledge

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needed to understand and implement successful retrofit projects. The solutions provided immediate and longterm reductions and/or efficiency in energy and water use, improvements in indoor air quality, and effective waste management, with subsequent lowering of utility and labour costs for building owners. CEO of Etihad Energy Services, Stephane Le Gentil praises the initiative and says this is the first time in the UAE that there are detailed explanations on how buildings can be retrofitted efficiently. He says: “These guidelines give thorough descriptions and are sorted from ‘low cost no cost’ options to high cost options allowing all interested parties to decide what can be done according to the budget they have available.” He also thinks that these guidelines will contribute to make building ret-

rofits more known and effective both for building owners and construction companies and will encourage new companies from the construction sector to enter this new big market. Reducing excessive energy consumption As the green revolution has hit the construction sector in the past five years, Dubai particularly has embraced the change. One example would be the recently implemented Green Building Codes that mandate both public and private developers to comply with stringent green building requirements. One of the key questions, however, has been how to improve the sustainability aspects of existing buildings. Experts admit that through retrofits the region can take a major step towards sustainability and cut back on its carbon footprint.

According to estimates there are about 1,20,000 buildings in Dubai alone out of which 30,000 have been identified as having high energy saving potential.” “

v Shivram Mukherjee, senior consultant of First Climate

Saeed Al Abbar, chairman of Emirates Green Building Council

-Shivram Mukherjee Technical Guidelines for Retrofitting Existing Buildings

Stephane Le Gentil, CEO of Etihad Energy Services

Al Abbar says that 80% of the energy produced in the UAE is consumed by buildings alone. Out of that consumption rate, nearly 60 to 70% is used to cool indoor spaces. The rest is used primarily for lighting and other features. Marcos Bish, managing director of Summertown Interiors says that green retrofitting plays a crucial part in ensuring existing buildings are able to meet modern sustainability standards. “At Summertown Interiors the retrofit of our head offices along with the adoption of eco-friendly gestures enabled us to achieve building lighting energy savings of 58%, and water reduction of 32%.” When we talk about consumption, the UAE in particular has always topped the global consumer list. It holds the world record for highest water consumption with average per

capita consumption of 500 litres a day, around 82% above the global average. Bish says that by applying a few water saving devices, the average consumption of water could be reduced to less than 300 litres a day. Experts admit that through retrofitting alone, a city could have massive energy savings. Le Gentil says that through retrofitting the existing buildings, a DSCE study identified that by 2030 Dubai could save 1.7TWh of electricity and 5.6 billion gallons of water each year. “In monetary terms, this would equate to around AED1bn saved on energy each year.” Al Abbar says that on an average a retrofit project can bring in at least 15 to 20% in savings, with typically short investment cycles. This is proof in itself that making buildings sustainable has far reaching benefits and implications that go beyond the building and

Emirates GBC’s Technical Guidelines provide an organised collection of economically viable methods that will equip existing building owners in the UAE or in the region with the necessary tools to achieve sustainable and comfortable buildings. Main chapters include Energy, Water, Indoor Air Quality, Materials and Waste, Innovation and Management.

spill over to benefit society, government, and a city. Shivram Mukherjee, senior consultant of First Climate, highlights the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) statistics quoting a 28% cost saving can be achieved through energy efficient retrofitting. He says: “According to estimates there are about 1,20,000 buildings in Dubai alone out of which 30,000 have been identified as having high energy saving potential. We can safely assume that almost 25 to 30% energy could be saved through various energy saving measures and various other energy efficiency improvement programmes.” The benefit of retrofit “Retrofitting means that we are changing old energy inefficient equipment in a building by new highly energy efficient equipment,” says Le Gentil. construction business news me AUGUST 2015 51


He explains how a retrofit project begins with an audit to evaluate efficiency and performance of existing equipment installed in a building while also identifying the possible new equipment that can replace them to gain efficiency. “For example the lighting infrastructure of the building will be assessed and if old technologies such as incandescent lights or CFL lights are used, these will be replaced by high efficiency LED lights.” “By doing so,” he says, “every time the lights are on, they will save a lot of energy compared to the older lights that were installed before. And we are doing this on all equipment that consumes electricity and water such as chillers, motors, pumps, taps, etc.” Al Abbar says that the initial audit can be simple walkthrough analyses conducted to determine the baseline EmiratesGBC Chairman and contributors usage of resources or more detailed of the Technical Guidelines analysis which look at building energy systems in detail to determine energy consumption. typically within a few months of unAfter the audit, Al Abbar says that dertaking a retrofit.” the retrofit process can either be simBish says that inside the building, ple, such as switching off lights when the installation of energy-wise lighting not in use, installing motion sensors systems, water-saving fixtures and and/or new efficient fixtures, or it can thermostats to regulate AC systems are be a deeper retrofit which requires an the basis of a retrofitting project. upgrade, overhaul, or new installation He adds: “Green retrofits can inteof more efficient HVAC or Building grate the reuse of existing materials Automation Systems. such as wall panelling, flooring and Apart from green furniture to give them benefits, Al Abbar a new lease of life. says that the benWhen we completed efits of retrofitting a the LEED-Platinum building are many, rated interior for The and some of them Change Initiative, a THE AMOUNT Of can be achieved Dubai-based store ENERGY PRODUCED quite easily and in offering sustainable IN THE COUNTRY THAT buildings use a short period of products and organic According to Dubai time. “For example, food, we reused many Municipality just through low of the existing matericost measures alone als such as marble such as improving flooring as wall tiling operational efficienor wooden flooring as cies, there can be wall cladding.” savings of 10 to Mukherjee says that THE cost-savings up to this figure that 15%. We can also the end goal should can be achieved highlight that one of be to create a highthrough energy the key benefits of performance building efficient retrofitting, According to the a building retrofit is by applying the inteInternational Energy cost savings, which grated, whole-building Agency can be achieved design process, to the





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project during the planning or charrette phase that ensures all key design objectives are met. He says that when deciding on a retrofit, consider upgrading for accessibility, safety and security at the same time. Al Abbar says that by implementing best practices and basic retrofit, the operational efficiency of buildings could be improved which positively affects occupant comfort and safety level, as well as increased building longevity. awareness or mandate? It is difficult to push sustainable measures forward without regulations. Organisations like the EmiratesGBC have a long standing reputation as an effective communication and networking platform, bringing together all stakeholders in the sustainable construction industry. These organisations play a significant role in spreading awareness about sustainable measures among industry leaders. Al Abbar says: “Through our events, seminars, focus days, and workshops, we provide year round forums for dialogue that foster the crucial exchange of ideas, challenges and best practices which influence construction stakeholders on how they can

Retrofitting solutions Marcos Bish, managing director of Summertown Interiors, shares a few effective retrofitting techniques: Lighting Maximise access to natural daylight for as many occupants as possible is an effective option to reduce consumption of electricity through artificial lighting. This also offers a healthier living and working environment. In order to capture as much as daylight as possible, architects and designers generally opt for the installation of large glass partitions and windows, especially in the workspace. A few cost-effective retrofits can save a staggering 85% of lighting electricity demand, according to the Centre for Building Performance and Diagnostics at Carnegie Mellon University, USA. This can be achieved through the installation of LED light fixtures, energy-saving light bulbs, daylight sensors to ensure lights only come on when required, and motion detection sensors to ensure spaces are lit only when occupied.

improve their methods and align them with governmental requirements and environmental needs.” One such event is the EmiratesGBC’s Focus Day, a quarterly event, themed around an important industry topic such as sustainable retrofitting. Al Abbar says that there is always room for improvement. “As proven during the recent EmiratesGBC Focus event, industry stakeholders always benefit from learning from each other, so providing a platform where they can share how they have overcome their challenges or devised ways to work more efficiently is at the forefront of our overall strategy; most of our initiatives are to create awareness and promote change towards a greener UAE.” He says that sharing best practices plays a pivotal role in improving any given industry, as it increases awareness of solutions that have worked best in the past and allows for dynamic discussions where improvements to those solutions can be found and implemented in the future. Al Abbar says that while energy efficiency has always enjoyed a stable market niche in the UAE, regulations acting upon the solutions are what

Water According to the Federal Water and Electricity Authority (FEWA), a UAE resident uses 550 litres of water a day compared to the international average of 170 to 300 litres. The installation of low-flow taps and dual-flush toilets along with the adoption of best practices could significantly address the issue of water over-consumption in the country. When assessing a building’s water consumption, it is also important to consider the irrigation systems of outdoor landscaped areas. Solutions such as programmable landscaping drip irrigation systems that can be automatically activated at night time or in the early morning to reduce water evaporation, can save significant amounts of water. Outdoor landscaped areas can also be reworked to ensure vegetation is suited to the climate. Air conditioning Installing programmable thermostats can help regulate and measure indoor temperature, and ultimately reduce the energy usage with shorter heating and cooling cycles for AC systems. For even more cost savings, monitoring systems can be connected to thermostats to analyse the energy usage. Building structure The structure of the building itself can be rethought and reworked to offer large glass windows that maximise the access to daylight, while avoiding midday sun exposure so as not to increase the heat load on the building. Installing monitoring systems such as utility submetering devices to detect leaks and energy-intensive devices, as well as installing water-saving irrigation systems for outdoor landscaped areas are cost-effective ways to green a building. As an interiors company focused on sustainable projects, we tap into these solutions regularly to leverage the efficiency of our green fit-out projects.

have really taken the energy efficiency market to the forefront; influencing the industry to modify the long standing and inefficient business as usual model. He says: “In the future, it is expected that energy audits will become part of regulation for certain building sectors, based on their energy usage and square footage; and with upcoming benchmarks and building labelling schemes, it is likely that more and more building owners will want to prioritise energy efficiency to leverage their place in the market.” Bish adds that although it is not

mandatory, LEED certifications have gained popularity in the region as well. He says that more of them are likely to be sought in the next few years, especially if the UAE Government removes energy subsidies. “The UAE leads the charge with over 800 registered LEED-accredited building projects among the 1,250 listed in the Middle East.” He says: “We are happy to see retrofitting and green building gain momentum in the country. We expect that the regulations will play a key role in the next few years to give a mandatory status to the LEED certifications.” construction business news me AUGUST 2015 53


Raising the bar Could you tell us about what role the American Concrete Institute (ACI) plays in setting international standards? ACI is the world authority and global resource on concrete construction. It produces the building code for concrete construction, which is the primary reference of all construction projects in the world. ACI has more than 200 technical committees producing specifications, guidelines and technical reports on various construction topics. It has more than 18,000 members worldwide and runs certification programmes for concrete professionals in the US and worldwide. What are your plans for the institution as newly appointed vice president? My current role as vice president for the ACI will allow me to highlight the 54 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

Eng. Khaled Awad, chairman and founder of Advanced Construction Technology Services and newly appointed vice president of the American Concrete Institute speaks with Construction Business News ME about how international standards act as a collation of industry knowledge used as a reference for the construction industry in the Middle East role and importance that ACI can and should play internationally. It is evident that the centre of gravity of global construction has shifted to the East. Associations and institutes similar to ACI should be able to capture the knowledge generated from the large “breakthrough� construction projects in our region, Asia and other areas in the world and disseminate it globally. What are your views on the current quality standards in the construction industry in the region? It is not bold to say that the GCC region leads the world in specifying and enforcing high quality standards in construction, particularly when it comes to concrete. The fact that three of the tallest buildings in the world (Makkah Clock Tower, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah) are all in the GCC is a clear testimony of the advancement this region has seen. If the construction industry were not implementing the most stringent standards in quality, such buildings as

“Customers tend to trust companies that seek certifications for its employees and management team since meeting the standards assures that all the company’s activities are properly managed and controlled.” well as the other massive infrastructure projects would not be able to be executed. Advanced Construction Technology Services (ACTS) support a number of international organisations and standards. What role do these international standards play in the regional construction industry? Being the representative of IHS Standards Expert, ASTM International, British Standards Institution (BSI), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) and other global standards development organisations, ACTS has become the region's one-stop provider of international codes and standards that aim to advance material and service knowledge in the region. These standards are the products and compilation of industry knowledge, and therefore are the necessary references for construction, as well as other industries. How far off is the regional industry from meeting the benchmark set by international organisations? This depends largely on the owners and engineers, and how they prioritise quality. In large projects, quality is not an unintended consequence, it is a moving target. In other projects, mostly small residential and housing ones, where cost or time pressures prevail adherence to standards takes the backseat. Still, in general, the quality of construction in the region is advancing. How popular are the ACI certifications in the Middle East? Do you think the recognition of these certifications are growing in the region? ACTS is the local sponsoring group in the Middle East for ACI Certification, and we are seeing how ACI

certification is in high demand and is becoming a mandatory requirement for many projects. It is the only recognised people’s credential in concrete construction and therefore it has become an indispensable tool for improving quality in concrete construction. Do you think there is a tendency to seek certification without really understanding true excellence? There is always this tendency but the majority of people attempting certification seek professional development and advancement of knowledge. It is important to mention that the certification comprises written and performance exams and these are not a walk-in, they demand thorough understanding of standards. The average pass rate is 70% therefore independently of the reason, the ultimate outcome is better understanding and increased knowledge for the candidate. Alternatively, does gaining certifications enable a company to achieve excellence? Customers tend to trust companies that seek certifications for its employees and management team since meeting the standards assures that all the company’s activities are properly managed and controlled. Excellence is about people and certification is a cornerstone toward professional improvement and overall quality. Faizal E. Kottikollon, Chairman of KEF Holding

Most industry experts in the region have observed that knowledge sharing is quite good in the Middle East as opposed to the West where the market is fiercely competitive. Do you think that’s true? And why? It depends on the industry and the corporate culture around it. The competitive landscape in the West is fierce. This explains why companies put thick barriers for trade secrets and proprietary knowledge. The predominant culture in Middle East region is that we are still an importer of knowledge and a recipient of external technology as locally developed intellectual property is limited. How could we increase knowledge sharing in the region? ACTS’ mission is to propagate technical awareness by conducting certification programmes, training courses, seminars, workshops, and conferences in the region. Future Concrete, has become the concrete industry’s most sought after conference in the region for such exchanges. It is the premier learning event for the construction industry, attended by local and international industry experts who discuss the latest concrete technology. The conference attracts contractors, consultants, architects, suppliers and manufacturers, concrete technologists, and even students for the discussion of all matters related to concrete and the development of solutions to local problems. construction business news me AUGUST 2015 55


Greening North Africa


orth Africa is at the crossroads of sustainable development as it searches for the right policy mixes, programmes, strategies and appropriate institutional mechanisms to improve quality of life. Progress towards achieving sustainable development will ultimately lead to the attainment of the international and regional development goals and targets. As a result it is imperative to continuously assess the progress of Africa on the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The continent is endowed with rich and diverse renewable and nonrenewable natural resources, yet its people remain among the poorest in the world. Improving the welfare of people requires sustainable development. A development which is not only supported with peace and stability, but also utilises human, institutional and organisational capacities to address immediate challenges, such as poverty and diseases. Land Based Resources The focus on land-based resources is justified by two main factors: the overwhelming reliance of African economies on natural resources, and the role of conflict. Land-based primary products dominate the export market, with minimal value addition to the African economies. In order for the continent to achieve sustainable development, natural resources should be exploited to contribute significantly to the wellbeing of the majority of the population. This implies increasing the value addition of land-based resources, and for achieving sustainable development

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Shivram Mukherjee analyses the North Africa’s resources and its potential to embrace renewables in Africa. Land-based resources such as diamonds and oil are often linked to conflict in the continent. Many parts of Africa have experienced periods of long and protracted conflicts that have displaced millions of people and deprived them from the basic needs for survival. Managing land-based resources so as to ensure peace and stability are important conditions for achieving sustainable development. A renewable future for rural Africa Africa’s large agricultural sector and rural economy will continue to play an essential role in its economic growth. Currently, large parts of rural Africa face specific energy challenges including lack of access to electricity and clean cooking facilities as well as low population densities and the distance to national grids. If current African development trends continue, almost 600 million people in rural areas will still lack access to electricity in 2030, and an even larger number will lack access to clean cooking facilities. Bringing power to isolated communities is essential, not only to improve the quality of individual lives, but to kick-start businesses and industries. Distributed renewable energy technologies can contribute to meeting this challenge.

Road to Sustainable Future If current growth rates are maintained Africa’s GDP will increase seven-fold by 2050. Providing full electricity access to all Africans will require at least a doubling of total electricity production by 2030 from current levels. The continent’s vast untapped renewable energy resources can supply the majority of this future energy demand and are suited to supply both concentrated, high-load urban centres and remote, dispersed rural areas. Investing in renewable energy in Africa makes good business sense. With world-class solar and hydropower resources, complemented by bioenergy, wind, geothermal and marine resources in some regions, Africa has the opportunity to leapfrog to modern renewable energy. Renewable energy technologies are now the most economical solution for off-grid and mini-grid electrification in remote areas, as well as for grid extension in some cases of centralised grid supply with good renewable resources. Notably, on average, solar photovoltaic module costs have fallen by more than 60% over the last two years to below $1/Watt. African governments are embracing renewable energy to fuel the sustainable growth of their economies. A number

of recent ministerial declarations attest to the strong political commitment and far-sighted vision of African decisionmakers, which are being articulated through dedicated regional and national institutions and plans. Renewable resources are plentiful, demand is growing, technology costs are falling and the political will has never been stronger. The moment is right for a rapid scale-up of renewable energy in Africa. Governments must provide leadership to create the enabling framework for private investors in Africa’s energy sector. Streamlining and standardising procedures is an essential element of successful public policies to promote a sound business environment. In the power sector, improving the governance structure, operational performance and financial viability of national utilities is an important pre-condition to deploy renewable energy at scale. Local entrepreneurs will be essential for African countries to have electricity access and modern cooking for all by 2030. They already help in meeting both urban and rural demand for energy products and services. Renewable energy champions should be encouraged by governments and their business models should be promoted and replicated. The potential markets are

huge, for example, residential solar heat appliances and solar PV panels can improve energy services for millions of African customers. Expanding regional grid integration and power trade can unlock economies of scale and connect abundant and low-cost renewable energy resources to urban poles of growth. Power trade at full potential can save African countries an estimated $2bn in annual costs of power system operation and development. Regional planning, harmonisation of standards and procedures, equitable commercial terms and coordination at power pools level are all essential elements of successful regional integration. Off-grid solutions are of particular importance in Africa and deserve dedicated public policies and innovative financing mechanisms to accelerate their deployment. While they represent a small portion of total demand, they enable productive uses and increase incomes. They are crucial to reach universal access by 2030, which can improve the living conditions of millions in remote areas of Africa. The availability of local financing plays a decisive role in the development of local markets. Commercial banks and financial intermediaries need to be better informed about

renewable energy technologies and project profiles. Public financing, either from African governments, international or regional development banks, can be leveraged to reduce financial risk perception by commercial banks. Ambitious regional grid integration projects such as the East and Southern Africa Clean Energy Corridor have the potential to significantly transform the African energy landscape. Such projects must be backed by strong political commitment and a sound technical rationale. Emerging examples show that public-private partnerships, enabled by sound policies and government leadership, can mobilise significant levels of financing.

Shivram Mukherjee, is a senior consultant with First Climate (India) Private Limited and has been has been associated with Climate Change Sustainability Services since 2011. He holds a B.Tech Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Energy Management. He has worked with Dubai Municipality (as a Consultant) for a Green House Gas Abatement Project registered under the Clean Development Mechanism for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Solar panels in Cairo, Egypt

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Steps to BIM As architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms prepare for upcoming BIM mandates, Louay Dahmash writes about the ways to transition your business into one that is BIM-friendly


ver the last decade, Building Information Modelling (BIM) has transformed design and construction projects, helping to drive time and cost from the building process. Governments around the world have noticed the advantages of BIM, and are increasingly mandating its use on public projects. For instance, by 2016 public projects in the UK will require fully collaborative 3D BIM. Other countries, including Brazil, China, Korea, Singapore, and the US, have issued similar BIM mandates of varying scope, and the European Union recently issued a directive to its 28 member states recommending the use of BIM on public projects. Here in the UAE, Dubai Municipality was the first to decide and mandate the use of BIM for architectural and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works for all buildings 40 stories or higher; facilities or buildings that are 300,000 sq ft or larger; all hospitals, universities and other similarly specialised buildings and all buildings that are being delivered by or through an international party. The announcement also states that the decision to

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mandate BIM is based on the (proven) ability of BIM tools and workflows in improving construction quality, enabling collaboration between project participants across project phases, lowering cost and reducing time. It’s not just governments looking to BIM, however. As the public sector mandates BIM, private industry has shown more interest in working with BIM-ready teams. Increasingly, lead contractors mandate BIM on particular projects – even in countries where government mandates are not yet in the works. For example, Qatar Rail awarded the BIM services contract to Autodesk. Under the terms of the agreement, Autodesk will provide BIM implementation, consultancy and advisory services to Qatar Rail, which is responsible for the design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the entire rail network and systems within Qatar. Private industry wants to realise the benefits of BIM on projects, and it’s easy to understand why. BIM helps project teams explore designs before they’re built. The intelligent, 3D models and data that drive the BIM process make critical aspects of projects, such as coordination, communication, and collaboration, easier. Better visualisation of projects speeds up approvals. The proactive sustainability analysis BIM enables also helps teams to reduce the environmental impact of projects. Making the move All over the world, design and construction firms that have yet to adopt BIM are planning their move. Many of these firms worry that their ability to compete will suffer if they don’t transition sooner rather than later. But some firms are also concerned that adopting BIM will prove difficult and disruptive. This could be holding them back—or leading them to over-plan their moves. At Autodesk, we’ve talked to many firms about how they successfully adopted BIM. While there’s no one right way, we’ve identified 10 common steps that help to both accelerate the process and reduce the disruption that can accompany change.

10 steps to BIM Step 1 Get to know BIM. Designate one or two people at the firm to learn more about how BIM will affect the way your team works. For instance, in the 2D world, many firms leave the details to the later stages of the design process. With BIM, many design details need to be worked out much earlier. Step 2 Communicate the change to your people. High-level firm leaders should take a leading role in letting people know the firm is definitely transitioning to BIM. The message is “we are moving to BIM because it’s critical to our future” not “we’re trying BIM.” Be sure to communicate the anticipated benefits of BIM for your firm and clients. It will be easier to rally the team around a compelling future vision than by talking too much about mandates. Step 3 Account for software and hardware needs. BIM isn’t software; it’s a collaborative process that relies on intelligent 3D models. But you’ll need software to create those models. Take the time to explore available software, and consider whether your current hardware has sufficient processing power. Some older, less powerful hardware may need to be transitioned to team members outside the design department. Step 4 Develop a change in management plan. This plan should document at a high level how your team anticipates BIM changing established workflows, who needs training and when they’ll get it, and how you’ll support people when they have questions and issues. Support is probably the most important; organisational change happens faster and more successfully when you help people adopt new ways of working. Step 5 Start a pilot programme, and provide training to the pilot team. For most firms, it makes sense to run a BIM pilot. If you do dozens of small projects each year, you might consider completing one pilot and capturing lessons learned before running several more pilot projects. A firm with just a few massive multiyear projects might prefer to capture lessons learnt from an initial pilot as it happens, while also initiating all new projects in BIM. Step 6 Document preferred processes. As your pilot project (or projects) progress, have

the team document BIM processes. Consider your preferred outputs and how your team needs to do BIM to support them. It’s tempting to try to create standards during or before running a pilot. But your ideas about standards will evolve as you use BIM. Starting with standards could slow your team down and complicate the BIM adoption process unnecessarily. Step 7 Cultivate BIM champions. You’ll find that some people in your firm are excited about BIM—perhaps they even learnt about BIM as part of their education or while working at another firm. Try to put BIM champions on every pilot project, and provide them with the additional training and support they need to help teammates adopt BIM. Step 8 Train and transition other teams. It is important to provide training to people who are about to begin a BIM project. A common mistake is to train the whole firm at once, but then transition to BIM project by project over the course of a year or two. People on later projects will have forgotten much of what they learned in training. Step 9 Integrate with other models. You’ll see the most benefits from BIM when you share models with other firms which are also working in BIM. Many firms find that integrating models into a single, shared model accelerates the coordination process and opens the door to a new level of collaboration. Step 10 Expand and innovate with BIM. As you use BIM, you’ll find that it enables new visualisation, coordination, and analysis capabilities. Look for ways to turn these new capabilities into value—and new service offerings—for clients. Communicate the value of BIM to current and potential clients in your marketing, and let them know you’re at the ready to meet the requirements of looming BIM mandates. Start Today Refer to the steps above to get started, but don’t view them as rigid suggestions. Follow the steps in the order that makes the most sense for the types of projects you do. Many steps will overlap, and you may decide to skip or alter some. When facing a mandate, the important things are to get started with an adoption plan firm leaders support—and keep focussed on your goal even if you need to modify the plan along the way.

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The right service Multi-billion dollar construction projects lead to multi-billion dollar FM contracts. But how should the facilities management sector evolve?


s the region shifts from an outdated approach of constructing and maintaining buildings to a more technologically advanced formula, the facilities management (FM) sector seems to be benefiting the most. The usually forgotten and undermined sector is now increasingly and rightly recognised as a key player in the overall lifecycle of a built asset. Earlier this year, FM trends were highlighted in the ninth annual FM Expo organised by dmg events at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The event’s senior project manager Jaafar Shubber, observed that customers demand FM contracts which enhance services and result in improved cost efficiencies. Guiseppe M.Matassi, Chief Financial Officer of ETA FM admits that the demand for technological advancement in FM services has definitely increased. 60 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

He says that there is plenty of opportunity to develop in this region. However, it gets tricky to find the balance and provide services that bring in technology without increasing the price. “Technological advancement, either way, is undoubtedly a good thing. Not only does it increase the profitability for the developer but also helps them to have better information through technological improvements.” With increasing demands for FM services, Jay Neel, senior manager of real estate at Noor Bank says that developers expect FM teams to be magicians. “That should not be the case.” He says that service providers ought to be an extension of the client. “Be an association rather than a service provider. It is important to consider working together in a team in order to maintain the assets well.” In order to work well in a team,

it is important to consider factors such as the relationship between the developer and FM team. Eng. Yaser Abdulla Al Nuaimi, FM manager of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA), observes that a successful team is one that has support, which takes time. This according to him could only be demonstrated through long-term relationships between the client and service provider, making long-term contracts are a lot better for team building. Growth of FM CEO of Imdaad Jamal Lootah observes that one of the key reasons regional and international FM companies are picking up momentum drastically is because of the opportunities created by the current boom in the GCC construction sector. According to Dubai Statistics Centre, in the first half of last year the con-

Construction sector in the UAE is expected to grow by 9.5% in 2015




UAE FM sector to be worth in 2015




to GDP from 2015 to 2021

Dubai Municipality stand in FM Expo 2015

struction sector contributed 7.89% to UAE’s GDP, while Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry predicts that the sector will make an 11% contribution to the GDP over the next six years. This of course will have a tremendous impact on UAE’s FM sector which is already said to be worth AED20m this year. Lootah says: “The current boom in the GCC’s construction sector has created lucrative opportunities for the regional and international FM companies. The UAE market is driven towards integrated FM solutions where companies offer informative, transparent and ultra-modern services to its clients.” The FM industry has been forecasted to grow at AED20bn per annum by 2016. This prediction stems from an AED155bn turnover in the construction industry this year, with increases in the construction of hospitality and aviation facilities in Dubai. The robust growth in development and building infrastructure for airports, roadways, parking, ports and railways have resulted in optimum demand for FM services. "The developing construction sector in the UAE is proactively bringing together several reputed companies raising awareness about their successful sustainable business practices. Cleaning services providers, in particular, play an important role in promoting sustainable and environmental responsibility in society,” commented Jayaraman Nair, chairman of VIS. The Middle East Facilities Management Association (MEFAM) says that 70% of the 50 to 60 FM companies in the UAE run the business without outsourcing. According to Omega Real Estate, the UAE FM industry is valued at $1.5bn with 60% of operations managed in-house or by small, inexperienced contractors. Hafeez Abdullah, chairperson of The H Holding Enterprise says that the FM industry began to pick momentum a decade ago, but only recently has the trend accelerated. He explains: “Under the present Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), firms are asked to pick five areas,

Growth in regional construction projects: Saudi Arabia Earlier this year, Ventures announced that construction contracts worth $52.8bn are to further boost the building sector in Saudi Arabia, which implies the FM sector – which is already worth an astonishing $100bn – will also flourish. Big names like UAE-based Imdaad are cashing in on the opportunities presented by the country that has committed to build over two million homes by 2023, by proposing innovative FM solutions. Qatar According to Ventures, building projects worth of $66.89bn were completed in Qatar last year giving the FM industry a notable boost. The industry itself is observed to be experiencing a year-onyear growth rate of almost 75%, showcasing a significant potential to further develop. Imdaad CEO Jamal Lootah said: “Qatar, in particular, has witnessed tremendous demand for speciality FM services in the last couple of years which will continue to grow exponentially as building and infrastructure projects near completion.”

or codes, which best describe their business operations. This initiative by RERA has helped those choosing the FM code to demonstrate that they engage in powerful FM activities.” Abdullah’s company launched an FM division after being encouraged by the UAE government's formal training courses for companies adopting the FM code. The courses were introduced by the government as an act to standardise the sector. Youssef Jammal, CEO of The H Holding Enterprise says: “This would bring better outcomes for the sector and will raise the standards of services provided. It will also boost competition and give further momentum to the industry.” “FM is subject to continuous innovation and development, and is under pressure to reduce costs and add value to the core business of the client. We have studied this very carefully and are ready to handle several projects at once backed with great resources,” says Jammal. construction business news me AUGUST 2015 61


Too big to fix:

Construction conundrums


hile economies worldwide are still grappling with the aftermath of a colossal financial crisis where confidence levels are on a roller coaster ride, the GCC is still perceived to be a safe haven for construction businesses. But it can equally spell disaster if breakneck revenue growth of any company is not properly aligned with prudent cash flow management. Just look at these numbers reported by some of the largest listed construction firms. Company X, a market leader in general contracting has doubled its projects backlog in past two years to AED25bn but the amount of money owed to it by its clients is almost AED10bn. Company Y, a leader in engineering services and subcontracting also had its project bookings grow to a staggering AED15bn but the receivables stand close to AED6bn. These disproportionate ratios have made the company’s cash balance shrink to alarmingly low levels, forcing them to seek bank loans despite the massive sum raised earlier through IPOs. Since project financing through bond markets is still in its infancy, banks will continue to play a major role

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Vasanth Kumar writes about how the uncontrolled appetite for higher revenue growth amidst volatile market conditions may pose serious risks to contractors

but they would be conservative in the wake of the 2008-9 financial crash. This could be seen in the 40% increase in construction loans issued by local banks. Things could further go wrong for contractors as a highly competitive market does not permit firms to secure newly booked huge project backlogs with decent margins. Making profit these days is like finding the needle in the haystack. This assumption is substantiated by the fact that Company X reported year-on-year net profit rises of a meager 10% despite doubling the revenue whilst company Y posted a huge 50% drop in profit. A similar scenario could unfold for other privately held contracting firms also; albeit on a relatively smaller scale. More and more firms are taking the illusionary path to grow simply too fast in a scenario wherein contract agreements are lopsided and the majority of developers are very slow in their payments to contractors. It’s obvious that already squeezed margins in newly secured projects may not be sustainable in the longterm, and will not generate adequate retained earnings for contractors to fund their operations and could take a serious hit leading to cash crunches and reputational damage. The current method of measuring

Vasanth Kumar, CEO of Al Malki Holding

corporate performance is based on the earnings, earnings growth and return on equity (ROE). Going forward, companies should change the way they look at growing their business. They have to generate real economic value in terms of Economic Value Added (EVA), as opposed to mere accounting value as measured by GAAP metrics. EVA measures a firm’s economic profit – it’s profit after subtracting full weighted average cost of capital, and after correcting accounting distortions. EVA will increase when costs are cut, assets are managed judiciously, and profitability grows the business over the full cost of the capital. The bottom line is: sitting on a risky business is like contracting when opportunities for steep revenue growth knock on the door. It’s vital that organisations have their robust financial management in place together with an adequate talent pool to successfully complete their committed project. If companies do better, it’s better for the community as a whole. It’s certainly better than trying to fix problems which could simply become too big to handle.

Vasanth Kumar is Group CEO and Board Member of Al Malki Holding in Qatar


Upcoming events Construction Business News ME picks the latest and most soughtafter exhibitions, conferences and seminars coming up this year in the construction industry

Cityscape Global

8-10 September Dubai World Trade Centre Cityscape Global has been running for years and has now become the key event to look forward to. It attracts real estate investors, developers, regional and city investment promotion authorities, architects, designers and other real estate professionals, who gather together to share thoughts and ideas and drive growth in the real estate markets around the world. It is an annual opportunity to build and maintain your presence across Middle East real estate markets.

Oman Fire and Security Expo

14-16 September Oman International Exhibition Centre, Muscat OFSEC 2015 will bring together local and international exhibitors who will showcase their solutions, specific transverse and latest technologies, cutting edge innovations, cost-effective products and services to meet the requirements of governments, businesses, industrial andcommercial entities, aviation, construction, infrastructure, transportation, manufacturing, oil and gas and utilities sectors. The exhibition will attract participation from a large number of exhibitors and representation from over 30 countries, with a slew of product and service launches, to the trade visitors and potential buyers from the region and beyond. The expo is aligned with the demand and supply of the market across the board of industries to share best practices, tackle challenges, and explore breakthrough methods for the integration of safety and security technologies.

Cityscape Egypt

16 - 19 September Cairo International Convention Centre Cityscape Egypt, the international property, investment and development event will again be a great opportunity for regional and international real estate industry to come together to network and to establish joint venture partnerships and to discuss the future of the real estate industry. The exhibition and conference is complemented by a lineup of networking events, giving investors and developers the opportunity to interact face-to-face. 64 construction business news me AUGUST 2015

Dubai World Trade Centre


14-16 September Dubai World Trade Centre GulfSol is an event dedicated to the solar industry, showcasing the very latest solar thermal and photovolatic technologies available in the Middle East region. This will be the second edition of GulfSol in Dubai which is currently organised by dmg Events. Visitors can take advantage of the workshops and also register as delegates in Global Solar Leaders’ Summit, a high level summit bringing together senior government officials and private sector stakeholders from across the region to discuss and debate the its solar future.

Light Middle East

6 - 8 October Dubai World Trade Centre Light Middle East is a trade fair for the region’s lighting design and technology industry. Last year’s event included 325 exhibitors from 27 countries showcasing a range of international brands. The three-day event offers a comprehensive interactive platform for manufacturers, architects, designers, consultants, engineers, construction companies, hospitality industry professionals, government officials and more. The Lighting Middle East Conference, held along with the exhibition, aims to be a platform for key leaders in the international and regional lighting industry to analyse innovative technologies, changing global trends and evolving regulations impacting the industry.

Materials Handling Middle East

14 - 16 September Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre This year’s Material Handlings Middle East will feature more than 150 brands from 17 countries. Currently in its eighth edition, the event will include prominent market leaders in materials handling, warehousing and lifting equipment, logistics and postal service providers. The dedicated trade show will focus on the rapid progress of automation across all sectors of the materials handling industry, and highlight significant solutions and innovations presented by participating exhibitors. This year will also feature the inaugural Warehousing and Materials Handling Conference, a two-day summit analysing key growth drivers and restraints, emerging trends and their impact on the regional materials handling industry.




This month, Construction Business News ME analyses the effects of heat stress on construction workers, the commended regional midday break initiative, and why such protective regulations are required to enforce humanitarian measures in the private sector


e all know it gets hot in the Middle East and heat stress among construction workers is one of the biggest mass health concerns in the region. Each year, higher and higher temperatures are recorded – not just in the Middle East – and the combined effect of climactic phenomenon as well as increasing levels of Co2 in the atmosphere look set to ensure that trend continues. But equally alarming is the fact that, in the face of ever oppressive temperatures, not only do midday working laws need to be enacted, a number of firms still choose to flounce them. Half way through the enforceable period, it has been reported that 11 firms operating in the UAE have fallen foul of regulations and 42 in Qatar. Data from other GCC countries has not been forthcoming, but reports will no doubt emerge as September 15, the last day of the ban, edges closer. Why such protective regulations are required to enforce humanitarian measures in the private sector remains unseen, but among the most cited business concerns are the pressures of tight

Heat stress symptoms Excessive sweating Lack of sweat Nausea Goose bumps Tightening muscles Dizziness.

Workers during their midday break using Portocool cooling units

profit margins, rising costs and demanding deadlines. Now in its 11th year, the UAE’s midday break regulation has benefitted millions of construction workers, with the local government making tangible progress in its enforcement. As of midJuly it was reported that 18 inspection teams had visited 1,544 sites in Abu Dhabi; 985 in Al Ain; 1,983 in Dubai; 1,361 in Sharjah; 1,068 in Ajman; 1,369 in Ras Al Khaimah; 1,381 in Umm Al Quwain; and 728 in Fujairah. Any violation to the rule is punished with a massive fine, amounting to AED5,000 per worker. Maher Al Obaid, assistant undersecretary for inspectional affairs, told local newspaper Gulf News that the ministry also promoted awareness by conducting 8,675 educational visits to labour camps and sites across the UAE between June 15 and 30. The ministry has distributed over 10,000 leaflets in ten different languages to reach as many workers as possible. Companies like Portacool LLC help the government initiatives by raising awareness about the dangers of heat stress. A manufacturer in the portable evaporative cooling industry, Portacool supplies units for cooling stations used by workers on various construction sites. “Heat related ailments can severely impact workers in terms of their health as well as their focus and overall productivity,” said Bob Mangiaforte, vice president of sales, Portacool, LLC. “Hot work environments also lead to a slower pace of work and make it necessary for workers to take more breaks.”

FACTS & FIGURES In the first month of the mid-day working ban, 18 inspection teams visited:

1,544 985 1,983 1,361 1,068 1,369 1,381 728

sites in Abu Dhabi sites in Al Ain sites in Dubai sites in Sharjah sites in Ajman sites in Ras Al Khaimah sites in Umm Al Quwain sites in Fujairah.

He explains that it has been well documented that the human body does not hold up well to high temperatures. When the body has to work in conditions of 35 to 50O C, the damage these temperatures cause to the body rise and this can lead to heat-stress related death. He says: “At the workplace, heat stress can lead to poor decision making. Combine that with dangerous work environments of heavy equipment and machinery, and the results can be disastrous.” The death toll reached 1,000 in June this year in Pakistan caused by the heat wave. We could all be assured that heat does in fact cause fatalities. Drawing from this knowledge, do we really need regulations imposed by the public sector in order to incorporate reasonable work conditions?

Display of historical artifacts inside Dubai Museum

66 construction business news me JUNE 2015

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Construction Business News ME August 2015  

Examining the recent progress of companies looking to create a new generation of rail commuters

Construction Business News ME August 2015  

Examining the recent progress of companies looking to create a new generation of rail commuters