Construction Business News ME - May 2024

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THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO THE REGION'S CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS FM CEO Spotlight BLOCKCHAIN The Future of Finance in Blockchainbased Real Estate DESIGN Rarest Masterpiece MAY 2024 | CBNME.COM CONSULTANTS Decoding Construction Industry Trends INDISPENSABLE



With a complete line-up of AWD and PWD versions and the the 16-speed HI-TRONIX automated gearbox, the IVECO T-WAY features a host of functionalities such as Rocking Mode, Off-road Mode, Creeping Mode and 4 reverse gears to tackle with ease the toughest off-road conditions. The new architecture of the EBS system, combined with disc brakes on all wheels, greatly improves the vehicle’s performance and the driver’s safety in the most demanding applications.


The new IVECO S-WAY, with a completely redesigned and reinforced cab, offers a wide choice of Euro III/V diesel engines, a delivering class-leading power from 360 HP to 560 HP Euro III / 570 HP Euro V and superior fuel-saving devices, such as anti-idling feature, Ecoswitch, Ecoroll and Smart Alternator. 12-speed HI-TRONIX automated transmission with the most advanced technology in its category, electronic clutch and best-in-class torque-to-weight ratio.


Cover Story Indispensable






Philip Hughes, Nuaire’s International & Industrial Sales Director, highlights the urgent need for innovative ventilation solutions to combat indoor air pollution, promoting health, property value, and sustainability


Roland Salameh, CEO of OCS APAC & ME, converses with Vibha Mehta about the transformative shifts in the FM industry…




Junaid Gulzar, CTO and Co-Founder of Windfall, discusses the convergence of blockchain and real estate finance...




BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi is the epitome of balance, harmony, and culture; it is timeless, immortal, and a masterpiece. BY ROMA ARORA




Select Group and Six Senses embark on a voyage of luxury by unveiling exquisite residences in the heart of Dubai Marina




Rafi Hattar, CCO at DataFlow Group, focuses on the company’s role as a valued ally to engineering regulatory bodies in the GCC




Marco Arcelli, CEO of ACWA Power, discusses with Vibha Mehta about spearheading the energy revolution to power the future




Illuminating Dubai’s real estate future with pioneering sustainability and innovation




Dr Hassam Chaudhry, Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University, Dubai, delves into how emerging technology will shape the industry...




In ultra-luxury real estate, secrecy is the ultimate luxury!



Wissam Younane


Rabih Najm

Group Publishing Director

Joaquim D'Costa


Vibha Mehta

Sales Manager

Alex Brown

Editorial Assistant Aya Zhang

Creative Lead Christian Harb

Editorial Design

Rizaldi Febrian

Marketing Executive Aaron Joshua Sinanbam

Videographer Alexander Bungas

Images used in Logistics News ME are credited when necessary. Attributed use of copyrighted images with permission. All images not credited courtesy Shutterstock.

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His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai reviewed the strategic plan of the Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects and approved designs for the new passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport. When fully operational, it will be the largest in the world. Set to be built at a cost of AED128 billion, the new terminal will ultimately enable the airport to handle a passenger capacity of 260 million annually.

The approval came during His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s visit to the Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, accompanied by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai and

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Sheikh Mohammed said: “Today, we approved the designs for the new passenger terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport and commencing construction of the building for AED 128 billion as part of Dubai Aviation Corporation’s strategy.

“Al Maktoum International Airport will enjoy the world’s largest capacity, reaching up to 260 million passengers. It will be five times the size of the current Dubai International Airport, and all operations at Dubai International Airport will be transferred to it in the coming years. The airport will accommodate 400 aircraft gates and feature five parallel runways. New aviation technologies will be employed for the first time in the aviation sector,” His Highness said.

“As we build an entire city around the airport in Dubai


South, demand for housing for a million people will follow. It will host the world’s leading companies in the logistics and air transport sectors,” His Highness added. “We are building a new project for future generations, ensuring continuous and stable development for our children and their children. Dubai will be the world’s airport, port, urban hub, and new global centre.”

Also accompanying HH Sheikh Mohammed during his visit were His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group; and His Excellency Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Office.

Master Plan Reviewed

Sheikh Mohammed reviewed the master plan for the Airport of the Future, which, upon full development, will emerge as the world’s largest airport, covering an expansive area of 70 square kilometres. The airport will have an ultimate capacity exceeding 260 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo annually.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed was briefed during the event on the critical airport’s design features and strategic implementation plan.

Commenting on the occasion, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed stated: “With the continuous support and blessings of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and in keeping with his vision for the Aviation industry in Dubai, we announce the commencement of the design and construction process for the new airport at Jebel Ali. The project’s first phase is expected to be ready within ten years, with a capacity to accommodate 150 million passengers annually.”

Addressing Anticipated Growth

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed emphasised, “The new airport, which will ultimately be over five times the size of Dubai International, will prepare the ground for the next 40 years of anticipated growth in Dubai’s aviation sector. It will respond to the Hub Airline’s ambitious plans regarding fleet acquisition and passenger growth. The airport will provide cutting-edge technologies, passenger facilities with unmatched service, and state-of-the-art aviation support facilities.

“Al Maktoum International (AMI) is planned in such a way as to represent a leap into the future. It will comprise five parallel runways with a quadruple independent operation, west and east processing terminals, four satellite concourses

with over 400 aircraft contact stands, an uninterrupted automated people mover system for passengers, and an integrated landside transport hub for roads, Metro, and city air transport.

While embracing sustainability, Al Maktoum International will strongly contribute to mitigating environmental emissions, aligning with the UAE’s vision for a sustainably built environment. Its integrated approach is targeted to leverage local resources and climatic conditions, achieving exemplary efficiency targets and sustainability goals. AMI aims to achieve a LEED Gold Certification.”

His Excellency Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation, highlighted the project’s economic benefits. “The development of this new airport will be an integral part of Dubai’s economy and a major contributor to the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33). It will generate estimated workforce and residential requirement for over a million people living and working in Dubai South (the metropolis), which has been under development and operation since 2007,” he said.

In a discussion on the sidelines, Her Excellency Suzanne Al Anani, CEO of Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, said: “Dubai spearheads again. With the determination to maintain its leading role in the aviation sector globally, this airport development will represent an entirely new approach to the concept of airports. The exponential acceleration of technologies and the abundance of knowledge in innovation will make us reinvent the passenger journey and experience.

“Connectivity and accessibility are also prioritised in coordination with our strategic partners, ensuring efficient public transportation links and a reduced reliance on private transport, which supports the reduction of the project’s carbon footprint.”



Located on the prestigious East Crescent of Palm Jumeirah, LUCE is set to be the new landmark that transforms the Palm Jumeirah skyline.

Taraf, the real estate division of UAE-headquartered investment holding group Yas Holding, has announced Al Ashram Contracting (L.L.C.) as the main contractor for LUCE, an exquisite residential development located at Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

Al Ashram Contracting (L.L.C.) has been working in the UAE for over 4 decades and has built a reputation as a trusted construction partner for key players in the nation’s private and public sectors. With a portfolio of over 100 infrastructure projects including residential and commercial developments, Al Ashram (L.L.C.) has a demonstrated track record of high-quality, innovation, and efficiency, ensuring long-term value for its clients and stakeholders.

The property offers a wide range of residential units, including spacious 2-, 3and 4-bedroom apartments with sea views, along with a duplex and penthouse apartments, all thoughtfully designed to provide residents with the ultimate in comfort and sophistication. Ahmad Shibel,

CEO of Taraf, said: “We are pleased to welcome aboard Al Ashram Contracting (L.L.C.) as the primary contractor for our iconic project, LUCE. As we transform our vision for LUCE into reality, we continually endeavour to work closely with industry-leading partners. Together, we will shape the future of luxury living by redefining the standards of residential properties.”

With its exceptional suite of state-ofthe-art amenities, LUCE shines a light on wellness and community, with each designed to promote relaxation and healthy living, brightening the life of residents. LUCE also boasts contemporary interiors, panoramic waterfront views, and private access

to a pristine white beach, promising an unmatched lifestyle in the heart of Palm Jumeirah.

LUCE’s design concept draws inspiration from the dynamic interplay found within Dubai’s desert dunes and seascapes. The architectural composition of the façade has organically evolved from the intricate patterns of sand and the rhythmic movement of waves, culminating in a design language that embodies these natural elements. At the heart of this concept lies a harmonious interaction between humanity and the environment, shaping a vertical oasis on Palm Jumeirah that seamlessly integrates with its surroundings.



National Housing Company announces a strategic partnership with Urbas Middle East Real Estate Company

The National Housing Company (NHC) is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Urbas Middle East Real Estate Company, a subsidiary of the esteemed Spanish Urbas group. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in the development of the Al-Fursan suburb, with the construction of 589 innovative residential units worth around SAR 1 billion. Spanning approximately 150,000 square meters, this project promises to set new standards in housing development.

The agreement was formalized in a ceremony attended by the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, Majid bin Abdullah Al-Hogail, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain to KSA, Jorge Hevia, the CEO of NHC, Mohammed bin Saleh Albuty, the President and CEO of Urbas, Juan Antonio Acedo Fernández, and the Executive Director of Urbas, Adolfo Guerrero. The event was hosted at the NHC headquarters, underlining the commitment of both parties to this ambitious project.

Al-Fursan, one of the region’s most significant urban development projects, is designed to align with

Saudi Arabia‘s Vision 2030. The suburb covers an area of 35 million square meters and will feature over 50,000 residential units, accommodating more than 250,000 residents. It has over 190 vital facilities, including educational, healthcare, and recreational services, all surrounded by more than 6 million square meters of green spaces. This extensive greenery is part of a broader initiative to enhance the living environment and contribute to the Saudi Green Initiative by planting over half a million trees.

Urbas Group, with its presence in over 20 countries and a portfolio of more than

30,000 residential units, brings a wealth of experience to this project. The established Urbas Middle East aims further to increase its operations in the Saudi Arabian market, reflecting the group’s commitment to expanding its global footprint.

In addition to this exciting new development, NHC has also reported the successful sale of 1,300 residential units in the first quarter of the year within Al-Fursan, generating a total value exceeding 1.5 billion Saudi riyals. This achievement underscores NHC’s dedication to creating vibrant, quality living spaces that meet and exceed modern residents’ expectations.



Aldar’s latest living concept, in collaboration with Dubai Holding, aims to encourage active lifestyles within a purposefully designed community

Aldar Properties (‘Aldar’), a leading real estate developer, investor, and manager, is proud to introduce Athlon, a revolutionary ‘active living’ concept in Dubai.

Meticulously designed with principles of active living throughout, Athlon is Dubai’s first and only concept intended for its residents’ everyday movement. Featuring world-class amenities and a dynamic programme of activities exclusively curated by wellness experts, the development redefines fitnessfocused living to ensure long-term well-being and a profound sense of community for all residents.

Athlon is the result of a strategic partnership between Aldar and Dubai Holding, a globally diversified investment company with a presence in 31 countries. This collaboration marks the second groundbreaking residential project in Dubai, following the success of Haven by Aldar, launched in late 2023.

Jonathan Emery, Chief Executive Officer of Aldar Development, said: “The unveiling of Athlon marks a definitive moment in our ambitious Dubai expansion strategy, building upon the tremendous success of Haven by Aldar. As we witness an unwavering demand for unparalleled residential developments in Dubai from local and international investors, we are confident that Athlon’s groundbreaking concept will captivate a diverse range of investors and homeowners, setting a new standard for active living in the region.”

Located in a highly desirable area beside Global Village, the lush and luxurious development is defined by the seamless connection of interactive green spaces—where athletic spaces merge with green walkways and vibrant parks—and features tailored activities to suit every age and interest.

Expertly planned around a captivating central park that forms the community’s beating heart, Athlon – inspired by the Greek word for ‘place of contest’ – features four additional, thoughtfully-designed parks – Adventure, Play, Wellness, and Valley – as well as a total of seven clubhouses, weaving dedicated zones for fitness and socialising throughout the community. The community features more than 10 kilometres of tracks, trails, and loops – with the cycling loop connected directly to Al Qudra’s iconic track – offering boundless opportunities to indulge in jogging, cycling, roller-skating, and functional training within the community.

From activities that push limits to those focused on wellbeing, sports, play, and gathering, the entire emotional and psychological spectrum of wellness has been carefully considered throughout Athlon to benefit its residents, visitors, and workers.

Experiences promoting movement, energy, clarity, flow, and balance can be found woven throughout the natural landscape, in addition to state-of-the-art amenities, including a vibrant café, rejuvenating massage rooms, luxurious jacuzzi, soothing sauna, serene yoga room, state-of-the-art gym, and an imaginative kids’ playroom.

Surrounding the parks, the residences, featuring 1,492 units ranging from three- to four-bedroom townhouses, three- to five-bedroom standard villas, and four- to six-bedroom premium villas, have been masterfully designed to maximise natural light and use colours and materials that enhance the sense of space and wellbeing.

Athlon is a testament to Aldar’s commitment to sustainability and its net-zero targets. The development will be built with a focus on efficient and low-carbon design principles, utilising locally sourced and low-carbon materials, and adopting responsible and green construction practices.

The development has achieved LEED Platinum precertification, incorporating energy-efficient and watersaving fixtures, electric vehicle charging facilities, smart waste disposal systems, and convenient access to public transportation. Athlon has also achieved a 2-star rating from Fitwel, the world’s leading certification system committed to building health for all. This further enhances the community’s social value by promoting health, well-being, and active lifestyles.



Located on an expansive plot in Business Bay, NABNI Development’s sales center will sprawl across 1,000 sq.m, setting a benchmark for luxury and sophistication in real estate sales.

NABNI Developments, the visionary real estate developer behind the most sought-after residential and commercial properties in Dubai, has begun construction on Waldorf Astoria Residences Dubai Downtown’s state-of-the-art Sales Experience Center.

Set to open in July 2024, the innovative Sales Experience Center will offer an unparalleled customer journey for those seeking to buy a luxurious new home in the heart of Dubai. The center will feature VIP valet parking, a sophisticated reception area, an elegant visitor’s lounge, a state-of-the-art coffee bar, a dedicated real estate brokers lounge, and an interactive scale model area.


Alsuwaidi, Chairman of NABNI Developments says: “NABNI Developments is redefining the real estate buying experience in Dubai. Waldorf Astoria Residences Dubai Downtown Sales Experience Center will set a benchmark for future real estate sales, where technology and luxury meet to offer unmatched customer journeys.”

The Sales Experience Center will integrate technology directly into the customer journey, offering visitors a fully interactive experience when buying their opulent Waldorf Astoria residence in the heart of Dubai. This includes a 3D interactive sales application, an interactive scale model, the latest in LED screen technology, and the most recent technologies for virtual communications.

The center will also include multimedia displays and a fully furnished mock-up of Waldorf Astoria Residences Dubai Downtown, showcasing the pinnacle of luxury living. The apartments will be

meticulously furnished with luxurious furniture and decor, handpicked exclusively from top designers around the world, alongside art pieces uniquely curated for the apartment, showcasing sophisticated standards of living.

“Our vision for the Sales Experience Center is to create a space that embodies the luxurious essence of the Waldorf Astoria brand. Each element is chosen to offer clients a glimpse into the unparalleled lifestyle they can expect at Waldorf Astoria Residences Dubai Downtown,” continues Badr Alsuwaidi, CEO of NABNI Developments.



Philip Hughes, Nuaire’s International & Industrial Sales Director, highlights the urgent need for innovative ventilation solutions to combat indoor air pollution, promoting health, property value, and sustainability

When air pollution is mentioned, one typically imagines smog-filled cities congested with exhaust fumes and hazardous industrial gases. However, a silently deadlier threat exists - the air we breathe indoors.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 90% of people worldwide breathe polluted air. Surprisingly, for many, the source of this pollution may be closer to home than expected—literally. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor environments can contain 2 to 5 times more pollutants than outdoor environments, and in some extreme cases, even up to 100 times higher.

Regardless of the type of building, be it residential or commercial, indoor pollutants can originate from various sources. For example, enclosed spaces can become damp or humid, which breeds bacteria that pollute the air. Although the GCC is an arid region, humidity levels can exceed over 90%, particularly during summer, contributing to indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns.

A further source of indoor air pollutants is the gases in the air, and the most dangerous are unseen and scentless. One example of this is radon gas. This colourless, odourless radioactive gas forms when naturally occurring uranium in rocks and soil decays, rising through the ground into the air and homes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer. In addition to lung cancer, extensive exposure to radon can exacerbate respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and may trigger symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

Smoking, cooking, aerosols, and pet hair are common culprits that further degrade indoor air quality. Over time, these pollutants become trapped in our indoor environments, resulting in numerous health problems. Headaches, fatigue, and a general feeling of unwellness can affect productivity and overall well-being. Individuals with pre-existing health conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases or respiratory disorders, may experience worsened symptoms when exposed to indoor air pollutants.

Poor indoor air quality can significantly diminish the quality of life for occupants, potentially exposing business owners to increased liability and reducing property resale value. Recognizing the importance of healthy indoor air, property owners benefit in two ways: first, by safeguarding the health and well-being of occupants, and second, by upholding the reputation of their building or project.

Compromised indoor air quality leading to resident illness raises concerns and deters potential residents from


considering the property. Prioritising safe indoor air quality and adopting solutions aligned with regional sustainability goals give building owners an added advantage in preserving their property’s reputation and attracting residents. Aligning with regional objectives can further enhance the desirability of a building project; for example, within the UAE’s strategic agenda for the National Air Quality Agenda 2031, a key objective is to improve indoor air quality and reduce health risks associated with exposure. Therefore, improved indoor air quality not only benefits occupants but also positively impacts the reputation of the building.

In my experience with Nuaire, positive input ventilation (PIV) is one of the most effective methods for maintaining healthy indoor air quality and ensuring sustainability. This time-tested ventilation strategy has become a global industry staple since it was first invented by Nuaire over 50 years ago.

As PIV (Positive Input Ventilation) is a low-energy ventilation method, it is highly efficient with low power consumption - as low as 3 watts per hour. Extremely effective against condensation dampness, PIV units draw in fresh air, gently diffusing at ceiling level to create positive pressure within the space. By providing a continuous supply of fresh, filtered air into the house, PIV units reduce humidity levels and force out air pollutants, thereby improving indoor air quality and helping to minimise the entry of harmful radon gas. Nuaire’s Drimaster-Eco range, for example, is a PIV unit that features large-surface G4 filters capable of

capturing pollen, traffic particulates and other external pollutants before they enter the home.

Moreover, since the PIV unit is a low-energy ventilation solution, it’s an energy-efficient solution that allows for alignment with sustainability initiatives within the region. Additionally, achieving quality and safety certifications can help contribute to green building certification, such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate or WELL, a certification grounded in a body of medical research that explores the connection between the buildings and the health and wellness of its occupants. As the region continues to drive sustainability forward, demand for energy-efficient products will likely grow. It’s only time before green legislation comes into play and all manufacturers will begin to adapt their offering to deliver more high-performing, energy-efficient ventilation systems.

Ultimately, investing in high-quality, reliable products and enduring systems is not just a financial decision; it’s a strategic move with numerous benefits for property owners. Beyond boosting ROI, such investments in ventilation solutions protect reputations and, crucially, prioritise the safety and well-being of occupants. Prioritising indoor air quality with top-performing ventilation systems is essential for creating healthier, safer, and more comfortable indoor environments. From a broader perspective, ensuring clean indoor air through safe and sustainable solutions promotes a healthier planet for current and future generations.



Bachar Gebran, WalkThru’s Founder and Managing Director, focuses on the power of collaboration in the construction industry…

Collaboration is all about working well together. And as Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” While this might seem obvious as an idea, some industries, notably Construction, have always struggled to put it into action. Despite being among the top 20 fastestgrowing industries in the world, it ranks amongst the lowest in terms of efficiency rates. This can be directly linked to the current challenges in how construction teams

communicate and collaborate.

True collaboration in the Middle East construction industry is unusual because we continue to stick to the “old and familiar ways of working”.

The client hires the designer, the designer hires the contractor, and the contractor hires the supplier. There is a power hierarchy and a linear flow of information. The teams often work in silos, and there is a top-down approach to the way we conduct business. Another challenge faced by the industry is the lack of trust. Many clients fear that collaboration between designers and contractors could imply that they are in cahoots

and deals are happening under the table, even if that is not necessarily the case.

For example, many entities in the country—within the Oil and gas industry—successfully employ a collaborative model for their designand-build projects. In more mature construction markets, collaboration has proven its benefits beyond doubt. These include sticking to timelines, avoiding duplication, rework, and waste, better quality standards, improved safety, increased productivity, and keeping projects within budget.


Given these desirable benefits, does it not make sense to create a sea change in how we operate as an industry? This will mean bringing people, tools and processes together to create a system that will work seamlessly. In my opinion, here are four essential guidelines that will enable this shift to a more collaborative culture:

Use Technology as an Enabler

Construction is one of the least digitized sectors globally. Despite the size and growth potential of the market, IT spending could be much higher. The reasons for that are many. First off, builders need to be more flexible and tech-savvy. They are happy working with more traditional methods such as Excel spreadsheets, email and WhatsApp. Unfortunately, these tools don’t offer

project status visibility in real-time. There is also resistance to change and an unfounded fear of job security. Under these circumstances, leaders of construction firms have to step up, change the work culture through employee buy-in and move towards adopting cloud-based construction software that ideally operates under a single and unified platform. This will ensure that teams can access comprehensive, inclusive, realtime data – the crucial element that will make or break a project.

Set up Proper Communication Channels

Miscommunication is the number one cause of project errors and failures. Setting up proper communication channels will mean setting the ground rules and systems and making time for structured and regular communication.

It may seem like a no-brainer to talk about clear, frequent, and recorded communications, but they are harder to implement unless all teams work towards the same vision. This is why it is also equally important to engage all the key players early on in the project and set up a system that enables collaboration from the get-go.

Effective communication is also a two-way street. There is an attitude in the industry that communication is about following instructions from C-level professionals when there is no hierarchy when it comes to solving challenges on-site, as hands-on experience holds value in itself. Collaboration means respect and clarity and fostering both top-down and bottom-up communications.

Choose The Right Partners

There is an old Arab proverb that says, “Give your bread dough to the baker even if he eats half of it.” While this suggests the importance of working with experts, it is often overlooked in a cost-sensitive market such as ours, leading to disastrous outcomes. This practice of skimping costs will have to change to achieve excellence in this industry. It is always better to partner with specialists because, in the long run, the investment will pay off with proper solutions, minimized errors, faster delivery and better quality. To do this, construction companies need to filter their partners right from engineers to suppliers and geotechnical experts and now, with the region facing the brunt of the climate crisis, waterproofing experts, too!

Build Trust

If you cannot trust a contractor, don’t go into a contract with them. A contract is a partnership based on trust and not a document that outlines how you will solve issues when you go to court.

Trust can only be built over time through track record, maintaining client transparency, valuing relationships, and not being solely economically driven. The result has to matter equally, if not more, than monetary gains.

BACHAR GEBRAN, WalkThru’s Founder and Managing Director


Roland Salameh, CEO of OCS APAC & ME, converses with Vibha Mehta about the transformative shifts in the FM industry…

Roland Salameh embarked on his Facilities Management (FM) journey in 2020 as the CEO of Asia at Atalian in Singapore. Following the merger of Atalian and OCS under private equity in 2023, he assumed the position of CEO for Asia-Pacific (APAC) and the

Middle East (ME), overseeing a workforce exceeding 80,000 individuals across 12 nations.

Challenges & Opportunities

In the Middle East, the FM services sector faces unique challenges and dynamic opportunities. Sustainability is a big one, requiring energy efficiency and digital integration. The rise of smart buildings

necessitates the adoption of IoT and AI, but challenges will persist, including skilled labour shortages, budgetary constraints, and inefficient data management.

The industry’s rapid expansion is met with a strong emphasis on costeffectiveness, often resulting in quality compromises—a reflection of the


prevailing market’s price sensitivity. When decisions prioritize price over all else, the crucial aspects of sustainability and ESG in FM are frequently neglected. These elements aren’t merely ethical imperatives but are vital for ensuring sustained success. While cost remains a significant factor, OCS maintains that ethical practices and long-term viability coexist harmoniously with fiscal responsibility.

“I am confident that OCS, drawing from our 124-year heritage of innovation, is in a great position to address these challenges,” says Roland Salameh, CEO of OCS APAC & ME. “Our global presence and crosssector experience enable us to craft solutions that marry local relevance with international best practices, ensuring operational excellence and ethical practices that set industry benchmarks.”

Burgeoning infrastructure projects in the region drive the need for comprehensive FM services, surpassing those in more established markets. Leveraging its extensive global sector knowledge and sustainability endeavours, OCS provides culturally sensitive, environmentally friendly services that align with its TRUE values: Trust, Respect, Unity, and Empowerment. These values are a compass for an ethical, values-centred approach, enabling clients to prioritise outstanding service and principled business conduct and designate OCS as their preferred FM collaborator.

Technological advancement and integration offer another avenue for growth for OCS. Roland emphasizes, “We employ IoT for real-time insights,

AI for predictive analytics, AR for enhanced interactive diagnostics, VR for operational training, and data analysis for optimization—fueling efficiency across the board.”

The region’s rapid growth presents ample opportunities, particularly for OCS, which can quickly scale up technology and workforce across sectors. With a rising focus on ESG principles, OCS prioritises environmental stewardship and community well-being through robust policies. Moreover, economic diversification and Public-Private Partnerships offer significant avenues for OCS to leverage its sector expertise, solidifying its role as an industry innovator.

Technological Transformation Technology is revolutionizing facility management in the region, focusing on predictive maintenance to prolong asset life and reduce downtime, which is crucial for

client operations. IoT drives this transformation, predicting equipment failures and monitoring environmental conditions and usage patterns in real time, including occupancy and foot traffic. OCS leverages this technology to enhance prediction models and solutions for clients, optimizing the deployment of human and robotic services. This proactive approach improves hard and soft service management, shifting from reactive to proactive solutions.

“Our data centre clients depend on uninterrupted service, achieved through our approach on proactive maintenance and stringent condition management. We can take those technologies and migrate them elsewhere in the world, including the ME market,” shares Roland.

The transition from Building Management Systems (BMS) to


Building Information Modeling (BIM) showcases the industry’s evolution, improving maintenance and data management from facility inception to operation. OCS has utilized Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) solutions worldwide for many years. This integration enables customers to merge energy management with FM solutions, streamlining soft services for cost efficiency and offering value-added solutions. They are very interested in investing in technology solutions, and they are actively looking for acquisitions within the region to add to their expertise.


Sustainability trends in FM are transforming the industry globally. There’s a growing focus on energy efficiency and renewable, with facilities adopting energy-saving systems like solar panels and wind turbines. Smart building technologies optimise operations and energy consumption using IoT devices and data analytics. Sustainable procurement is also rising, prioritizing eco-friendly materials, and engaging with suppliers committed to sustainability across their supply chains. Improving indoor environmental quality is also increasingly becoming a priority, enhancing air quality and natural light to benefit occupant health and productivity while choosing materials that emit fewer pollutants.

Another primary aim is decreasing carbon footprints, with efforts to measure and reduce facility emissions. Sustainable maintenance practices, including using green cleaning products and efficient equipment maintenance, are also becoming prevalent. OCS is actively participating in an ESG consultation process to minimize their worldwide carbon footprint.

“We have a comprehensive global ESG policy that encompasses all employees, locations, and suppliers, detailing our dedication to minimizing our environmental impact, fostering staff and community well-being, and ensuring robust corporate governance along with a commitment to continuous

improvement,” adds Roland.

They collaborate with clients to track and reduce their carbon footprint through technological innovation, offering guidance on environmental impact mitigation strategies. Correspondingly, their operations align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, addressing various global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, and environmental degradation. Globally, they even commit to achieving net-zero emissions for Scope 1 and 2 by 2040 and full scope by 2050, aligning with the UAE’s net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

Talent Development And Training

OCS’s most valuable asset is its people.

“The OCS Academy is our global initiative offering equal learning and development opportunities in tech, data, and engineering, enhancing datadriven decision-making and boosting business efficiency. This empowers both clients and colleagues with an array of qualifications for professional growth,” continues Roland.

The growth and scale of their business enable them to provide more opportunities for their people.

He adds, “We are investing in best-in-field HR technologies to track and support

our colleague’s growth, ensuring they have access to quality learning and development at every stage of their career.”

Furthermore, OCS recognize outstanding performance and commitment to core values through the OCS ‘TRUE Stars’ initiative, acknowledging the achievements of individuals and teams across the company. They prioritize internal promotions and offer clear career advancement paths, emphasizing talent development from within over external hiring. This includes facilitating workforce mobility between Asia Pacific and the Middle East, enhancing skill development, and bolstering the skilled labour pool in the Middle East.

Currently, the company is exploring internships across the Middle East to develop a versatile, globally experienced workforce. Managers mentor staff to enhance skills and leadership, reflecting social responsibility and fostering ‘TRUE’ societal values. Also, commitment extends to community welfare, evident in recent charitable events like a sports fundraiser for children with cancer.

Competitive Advantage

OCS stands out from competitors with its broad global presence, central to its identity. The company’s vast talent


pool demonstrates its ability to deploy advanced systems and expertise worldwide, particularly in the rapidly expanding Middle Eastern region. This capability involves transferring talent and sharing innovative practices and insights from diverse sectors such as aviation, data centres, education, and healthcare to deliver impactful services promptly.

“Our wide sector experience enables us to tailor solutions to the unique demands of each market, offering a level of customization and true understanding that sets us apart. We serve facilities at every stage of maturity, showcasing our comprehensive expertise; plus, we pride ourselves on self-delivering most of our solutions, ensuring direct quality and consistency,” highlights Roland.

By merging global perspectives with local implementation, they ensure that their services are effective and culturally and regionally sensitive, a vital factor for lasting success and client contentment.

On a global scale, its priority is the safety and well-being of its employees. To achieve this, they have implemented several initiatives:

• Colleague Engagement Visits: Led by management, these visits promote open dialogue and safety awareness among their frontline staff. This initiative has fostered a strong safety culture, encouraging incident reporting and transparent communication. Knowledge-sharing forums have further reinforced this culture, increasing engagement, incident reporting, and proactive safety decision-making.

• Safety Site Inspections: This rigorous evaluation program ensures compliance with safety standards. Through this initiative, they have strengthened safety measures, training, and incident reporting processes. Results have been

significant, surpassing their annual inspection goal by 11% in 2023. Alongside a notable reduction in workplace incidents and accidents, this program enhances legal compliance and employee trust in safety procedures.

Down The Line

Over the next five years, OCS plans to grow in the Middle East through organic expansion and strategic mergers and acquisitions. They will leverage their global reach to attract top talent, refine systems with best practices, and rapidly expand operations through established partnerships. OCS seeks to strengthen relationships with existing customers, aiming to become strategic partners by tailoring solutions to their evolving needs. They will also expand market presence through strategic mergers and acquisitions, targeting companies in the integrated FM sector that share their values and goals.

“My focus as a leader is to align APAC and the Middle East to our ‘One Team, One Region’ philosophy. I want to dismantle silos, promote cross-border collaboration and unify the team towards common goals and enhance regional collaboration,” explains Roland. “We will emphasize on enhancing communication across teams, standardizing processes for greater efficiency, and adopting best practices that not only optimize resources but also facilitate cultural cohesion — ultimately forging a singular, integrated organizational identity.”

Cultivating regional talent is paramount, with the OCS Academy playing a crucial role in skill development and career progression, ensuring our workforce remains at the forefront of industry expertise and innovation. “We aim to become a very large presence in the Middle East, so watch this space!” concludes Roland.



Junaid Gulzar, CTO and Co-Founder of Windfall, discusses the convergence of blockchain and real estate finance...


The intersection of blockchain technology and real estate finance is catalyzing a revolution to overhaul traditional practices and unveil new vistas in the property market. With its profound impact on payments, remittances, and foreign exchange, blockchain is reshaping the landscape of real estate transactions.

Blockchain disruption has also reverberated the real estate market. Historically, conducting substantial asset transactions like real estate exclusively through digital means was rare. Traditional real estate deals unfolded offline, necessitating in-person engagements with numerous stakeholders. However, blockchain has introduced avenues to reshape this landscape. Through the emergence of smart contracts on blockchain platforms, assets such as real estate can now undergo tokenization and trade akin to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

As we stand at the cusp of this transformative era, it is imperative to explore blockchain-based finance’s potential, challenges, and implications for real estate.

Embracing Innovation

Blockchain technology has emerged as a disruptive force across various industries, and its application in real estate holds immense promise. By leveraging blockchain, we can streamline property transactions, enhance transparency, and democratize access to real estate investments. Tokenization, digitizing assets, and representing ownership through blockchain-based tokens is a game-changer. It allows fractional ownership, enabling investors to diversify their portfolios and participate in previously out-of-reach high-value properties.

Insights into the Real World Assets

Real-world crypto assets involve digitizing physical assets or conventional financial instruments on the blockchain. This innovative approach enables the representation of ownership or investment in assets through digital means, enhancing efficiency and security.

Real estate, among other assets, is a significant landscape component. Tokenizing real estate allows for fractional ownership, increased liquidity, and broader access to investment opportunities in properties worldwide. Complemented by features like smart contracts, blockchain technology underpins this transformative shift in the real estate industry.

Democratizing Access

One of the most compelling aspects of blockchain-based real estate finance is its potential to democratize access to property investments. Historically, real estate has been an exclusive domain, accessible only to affluent individuals and institutional investors. However, with tokenization, fractional ownership, and the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms, retail investors can now participate in real estate markets with minimal barriers to entry. This democratization of access fosters financial inclusion and creates new avenues for wealth generation and portfolio diversification.

Efficiency and Transparency

Blockchain technology introduces


unprecedented levels of efficiency and transparency to real estate transactions. Smart contracts, self-executing agreements encoded on the blockchain, automate property transfers, rental agreements, and payment processes. This automation reduces the need for intermediaries, streamlines workflows, and minimizes the risk of errors or fraud. Moreover, the immutable nature of blockchain ensures a transparent and auditable record of ownership and transaction history, instilling trust and confidence among stakeholders.

Navigating Challenges

While the potential benefits of blockchainbased real estate finance are vast, challenges remain on the path to widespread adoption. Regulatory uncertainty, interoperability issues, and data privacy and security concerns are some hurdles that must be addressed. Moreover, resistance from traditional players in the real estate industry, such as banks and regulatory bodies, may slow down the pace of innovation. However, these challenges can be overcome as regulatory frameworks evolve and industry stakeholders embrace blockchain technology.

Collaboration and Innovation

Realizing the full potential of blockchainbased finance in real estate requires collaboration and innovation across the industry. Collaboration between technology providers, real estate developers, financial institutions, and regulatory authorities is essential to enabling blockchain adoption. Moreover, continuous innovation in blockchain protocols, tokenization platforms, and DeFi solutions will drive the evolution of real estate finance, unlocking new possibilities and creating value for stakeholders.

Future Outlook

The future of finance in blockchain-based real estate is filled with promise and potential. By embracing innovation, fostering collaboration, and navigating regulatory landscapes, we can unlock new opportunities and transform how properties are bought, sold, and managed. From democratizing access to real estate investments to enhancing efficiency and transparency in transactions, blockchain technology offers a glimpse into a future where finance and real estate converge in a seamless digital ecosystem. As we embark on this journey of evolution and transformation, let us embrace the opportunities that blockchain brings and pioneer the future of finance in real estate.


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BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi is the epitome of balance, harmony, and culture; it is timeless, immortal, and a masterpiece.


There’s a new wonder in the UAE, and it’s gaining global attention for all the right reasons. BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi is conveniently placed on two major highways, making it easily accessible to visitors from across the Emirates. Isolated from the chaos of metropolitan life the site brings out the potential of the plot to become a tranquil and spiritual retreat from the daily routine.

RSP was chosen as the principal architects and interior designers for the complex surrounding the temple, and RSP Creative Director Michael Magill was given the task of working his magic on this massive project. Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) designed the inner temple and partnered with RSP to design the exterior complex surrounding the temple, resulting in a masterwork that has left the globe in awe.

RSP’s Creative Director, Michael Magill, expresses his pride, “The BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi stands as a significant landmark, marking a historical moment in the Middle East and specifically in the UAE. We were fortunate to have been selected as the lead architects and interior designers for the complex around the temple. A symbol of unity and tolerance, echoing the UAE’s visionary 2019, theme of tolerance. By commemorating the vision of tolerance, it embodies the spirit of harmony between Islam and Hinduism, showcasing the esteemed values of inclusivity and appreciation.”

It was a challenging project, and Michael wanted to comprehend the feelings and intricacies, so RSP travelled to many global sites and immersed themselves in Hindu culture, customs, and spiritual experiences. The RSP team went on a spiritual journey, visiting Delhi’s Akshardham Mandir, the BAPS Monastery in Gujarat, the Sun Temple in Gujarat, and the Shri Swaminarayan temple in London, to learn more about the project they were about to embark on in Abu Dhabi.

Michael describes his journey with this project: “Our journey with the BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi began in 2018, when RSP won the design competition against international consultants. Our proposal focussed on a distinct design

approach- we envisioned a temple nestled amidst an oasis, surrounded by a majestic mountainous complex. This journey took us on a profound exploration across India, where we immersed ourselves in the rich heritage of iconic temples and monasteries. Drawing from this wealth of inspiration, we designed the Mandir complex as a cohesive narrative, inviting both devotees and tourists on a transformative journey into the sacred Hindu beliefs. Our concept aimed for seamless integration of this narrative throughout the entire complex, from the overall master plan, the facade up to the minutest interior details, ensuring an immersive experience for all who visit.”

RSP knew that they have to create something spectacular which is frozen in time and will transcend ideologies and space, becoming an immortal, unmoving stone amidst the shifting desert sand, providing the foundation to all those lost in the vast chaos of an everchanging world.

RSP drew inspiration from their field trip to design the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi, taking into account cultural influences and innovative ideas. The physical nature of the complex would be influenced by the monolithic nature of a traditional Hindu Temple. RSP was inspired to fuse this idea with the local desert

MICHAEL MAGILL, Creative Director, RSP

nature of the UAE by harmonising the architectural language between the local site and Hindu culture. Michael and the RSP team were inspired by the sacred rivers of India (Ganga, Saraswati, and Yamuna) and their significance in Hinduism, as well as the ghats that enhance the temple complex’s physical body. RSP incorporated Vastu principles to establish balance and harmony in the architectural design, influencing both the spiritual and mental aspects. RSP utilised the five senses and the significance of the number 7 in Hinduism to enhance the complex’s sensuous and spiritual experience, aiming for full enlightenment.

RSP’s spiritual oasis concept aimed to revitalise the land by drawing energy from nearby Mandirs, creating a life-enriching hotspot that will serve as the root of the Hindu Mandir. The temple complex reflects the sensation of a lost nomad encountering an oasis in the desert, resonating with its aura. Even the concept of ghats is critical in framing the rivers and exalting the sacred aspect of the temple, which RSP brilliantly incorporated into their design. Like most traditional Hindu temples, a shaded

walkway framing the sacred grounds of the temple gave rise to the concept of the parikrama. The long walkways with vertical louvres are abstractions that evoke the historical columns of the old walkways.

A diversified, minimalistic palette of whites, brass, timber, and concrete is employed as the foundational base of the interior pieces, creating a fantastic material play that engages the senses of touch and sight. These soft, earthy pastel colours evoke the feeling of elegance and refined simplicity that


reflects the opulent yet modest essence of Hinduism. They also refer to the striking imagery of a Hindu temple’s monolithic stone and intricately engraved golden bronze details.

The Mandir’s Amphitheatre is a highlight. As the day turns to night, the sunset’s rays reflect on the temple stone and surrounding waters, creating a tantalising crimson aura that captivates and stimulates visitors. The Mandir also has The VIP majlis offers breathtaking views of the Hindu temple, immersing visitors in its spiritual majesty. The majlis is designed in delicate tones of sand and pastel blues, creating a contrast with the surrounding views and drawing visitors’ attention to the temple’s attractive appearance.

Michael further explains: “In addition to serving as a place of worship and meditation, we designed the BAPS Hindu Mandir Abu Dhabi to include a range of facilities catering to the needs of both devotees and visitors. Beyond its sacred and worship areas, the complex includes an education center, providing opportunities for learning and enlightenment. It also includes accommodation for the sadhus, ensuring a nurturing environment for

spiritual practitioners. For tourists and non-Hindu visitors, the Mandir complex offers a wealth of experiences, including exhibition and gallery spaces showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Hinduism, an outdoor amphitheater for hosting events with a capacity of up to 1,500 people, a state-of-the-art sports center, and convention halls capable of accommodating gatherings of up to 2,500 people. Additionally, an exclusive majlis is reserved for VIP guests, offering a bespoke experience that reflects the Mandir’s commitment to hospitality and inclusivity.”

This Mandir provides a wholesome experience to visitors, and there is an education centre. The education cluster’s classrooms provide a creative learning environment for both students and tourists.

Visitors may refuel themselves after their activities in the food court, which offers a range of food options. The food court’s design resembles a desert garden, connecting the inside and external scenery. The desert garden style incorporates sand tones, soft light wood finishes, and inside vegetation to create a living environment. The combination of simple materials and landscaping produces a contemporary mood while relaxing the acoustics. Accent colours add a fresh and unique sense.

So, if you wish to feel spiritually connected to India’s holy rivers and ghats, the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi will bring peace and blessing to your heart and soul.



Select Group and Six Senses embark on a voyage of luxury by unveiling exquisite residences in the heart of Dubai Marina

Select Group, the visionary force behind some of Dubai’s most iconic developments, is thrilled to unveil the grand inauguration of Six Senses Residences Dubai Marina. This landmark achievement heralds a new era of luxurious living in the heart of the city’s vibrant skyline. It is a testament to Select Group’s unwavering commitment to redefining urban lifestyles with unparalleled sophistication and grandeur. The development’s unique selling points include its prime location in Dubai Marina, its world-class amenities, and its innovative design features.

Nestled amidst the captivating landscape of Dubai Marina, Six Senses Residences emerges as an epitome of architectural brilliance, poised to elevate the standards

of luxury living to unprecedented heights. This illustrious residential tower is not merely a building; it’s a towering testament to elegance, artistry, and innovation.

Distinguished by its towering stature, Six Senses Residences Dubai Marina is destined to ascend to the pinnacle of architectural eminence, poised to claim the coveted title of the world’s tallest residential tower, soaring majestically to a breathtaking height of 517 meters. Its awe-inspiring silhouette will redefine the Dubai Marina skyline, casting a spellbinding aura of grandiosity and sophistication that captivates the imagination of onlookers far and wide.

As the sun sets against the backdrop of the Arabian Gulf, Six Senses Residences Dubai Marina will illuminate the skyline


with its radiant allure, beckoning discerning residents to embark on a journey of opulence and refinement. Each residence within this architectural marvel is meticulously crafted to exude an aura of exclusivity and splendour, offering an unparalleled fusion of comfort, style, and sophistication. This is not just a home, it’s a testament to your discerning taste and privileged lifestyle.

This architectural masterpiece, crafted by the visionary team at Select Group, represents the epitome of lavish living, offering residents a sanctuary where dreams unfold into reality. From opulent interiors adorned with the finest craftsmanship to cutting-edge amenities and breathtaking views of the dynamic cityscape, Six Senses Residences Dubai Marina sets a new standard for luxury living. It’s more than just a place to reside; it’s a haven where every instant is a tribute to elegance and refinement.

This extraordinary development is a testament to the successful collaboration between Select Group and Six Senses. It builds upon the legacy of the acclaimed Six Senses Residences, The Palm, Dubai. The brand’s debut standalone residential venture marks a new era of urban opulence, redefining luxury living with unmatched grace and style.

The ultra-luxury 122-storey development embodies the essence of urban sophistication. It offers residents an unparalleled wellness and lifestyle experience amidst stunning panoramic views of Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Harbour Beachfront, Emirates Golf Course, Dubai Marina, Blue Waters, and Ain Dubai.

Six Senses Residences Dubai Marina sets a fresh standard in residential well-being, boasting avantgarde fitness centres, serene longevity zones, and lush

communal spaces on its 109th-floor Skydeck. Here, residents are treated to a realm of health and vitality, where cardio, strength, and functional gyms mingle with virtual cycling and boxing studios while infinity pools and ice baths beckon relaxation. From salt rooms to sound healing sanctuaries, this haven caters to every facet of rejuvenation, culminating in a longevity clinic offering a holistic array of revitalizing services. This is not just a residence, it’s a lifestyle that will invigorate your senses and elevate your well-being.

Six Senses Residences Dubai Marina presents 251 residences in a captivating array of unit typologies and sizes, ranging from two- to four-bedroom deluxe residences, half-floor penthouses, duplexes, and triplex Sky Mansions. Each residence is a testament to meticulous design, promoting sustainability, wellbeing, and happiness. The interior design is a fusion of biophilia and classical feng shui, creating a unique living environment that will intrigue even the most discerning buyers and investors.

Regarding the launch, Rahail Aslam, Group CEO at Select Group, commented, “With the development of Six Senses Residences Dubai Marina, we aim to redefine luxury living with a central emphasis on the holistic well-being of our residents. Our commitment to excellence resonates throughout every aspect of the project, from its ultra-luxurious design to its carefully selected range of amenities, offering residents an unmatched lifestyle experience.”

Under the architectural guidance of the globally acclaimed team at WSP Middle East and Woods Bagot, accompanied by the interior design by Mitchell & Eades and supported with the health and wellness design strategies by Energy & Space, Six Senses Residences Dubai Marina emerges as a distinguished architectural masterpiece, set to establish a new global standard in residential wellness. The development is currently at 25% completion and is scheduled for handover in 2028, providing potential buyers and investors with a clear timeline of the project.



Rafi Hattar, CCO at DataFlow Group, focuses on the company’s role as a valued ally to engineering regulatory bodies in the GCC


1. Background information about Rafi Hattar and the DataFlow Group.

As the DataFlow Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, Rafi Hattar brings over 25 years of experience in sales, business development, and strategic leadership within the technology sector. Responsible for leading the Commercial division at DataFlow, Rafi establishes vital strategic priorities that drive the company’s global growth and success. With a degree in electrical engineering and an MBA from the University of Leicester, Rafi’s impressive career highlights include key leadership positions within prominent engineering software firms. Since joining DataFlow in 2019, Rafi has significantly contributed to the company’s success, shaping the future of business within many geographies and industries, including the engineering sector.

The DataFlow Group, established in 2007, is a leading global authority in verification, equivalency, and immigration compliance solutions dedicated to enhancing global

mobility. Our products and services, trusted by government regulators, ministries and authorities, are synonymous with quality, accuracy and reliability. With an in-house workforce exceeding 1,000 professionals spanning multiple geographies, we ensure unparalleled support for global workforce mobility across more than 200 countries and territories, reinforcing our position as the trusted provider of verification solutions worldwide.

We pioneered the concept of ‘primary source verification (PSV)’, a rigorous screening method, setting the standard for a meticulous verification process that upholds the utmost quality and document integrity. Since then, innovation within the industry has continued with the introduction of technologydriven verification products and services, ensuring we remain at the forefront of advancement and offer best-in-class services to our clients.

2. How does the company contribute to the GCC region’s construction industry?

Since 2013, DataFlow has been a trusted partner for engineering regulators in the GCC, playing a crucial role in ensuring that engineering qualifications meet and exceed the region’s rigorous standards. Our commitment to excellence is evident in our meticulous verification and equivalency processes, which are backed by secure digital platforms and adhere to international standards such as UK-ENIC and US-AACRAO. By maintaining the integrity of engineering credentials and preventing fraud, DataFlow upholds the reputation of engineers and elevates the standard of the engineering profession across the GCC, contributing significantly to the region’s construction industry.

DataFlow’s impact extends beyond verification processes to encompass streamlining qualification procedures within the GCC’s construction industry. Through our digital platforms, we standardise, classify, and equivalise data from schools, colleges, and universities. This not only enhances the efficiency of degree verification, comparability, and recognition processes but also fosters a more competent and uniformly qualified workforce. By promoting a shared understanding of competencies and qualifications, DataFlow helps to cultivate a culture of excellence within the engineering sector, which is essential for the success of collaborative projects within the region.

DataFlow’s efforts contribute to the global reputation of the GCC construction industry. By equating degrees to local standards and mitigating the risk of fraudulent qualifications, we help attract top engineering talent worldwide. This influx of talent enriches the industry, fostering innovation and excellence. As a result of our longstanding


partnerships with GCC engineering regulators, we remain committed to shaping the industry’s future, ensuring that qualifications are recognised, standards are upheld, and excellence prevails. Our vision is to inspire a future where the engineering sector thrives on the foundation of trust and excellence.

3. Regarding digital transformation and technology, what is DataFlow adopting to enhance its overall performance?

In its dedication to reshaping the verification landscape, DataFlow adopts cutting-edge technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) to streamline all processes while ensuring the integrity of the data for applicants worldwide.

Global migration often entails navigating bureaucratic processes and red tape, consuming valuable time and resources. However, by leveraging emerging technologies, DataFlow revolutionises this experience by offering a streamlined solution. Using blockchain, DataFlow has created tamper-proof, secure, trusted verification records, instilling confidence in the authenticity of

credentials. Meanwhile, AI and ML technologies simplify verification procedures, improving accuracy and reducing turnaround times.

Dataflow’s platforms and portals also integrate with prominent global regulatory bodies to ensure secure, fast and reliable licensing services, including integrations with the engineering societies in the region.

4. Are there any sustainable/ CSR practices the company is implementing? If yes, what are they?

At DataFlow, we believe in making a real difference in society through our CSR strategy, which is deeply aligned with our mission of Protecting Communities. We are committed to creating a positive impact globally through our four focused CSR pillars - education, environment, healthcare, and community development. DataFlow collaborates with agencies across critical geographies to deliver positive outcomes and drive change in these focus areas.

Whether it is through our association with the Heart to Heart Foundation in India, where we provide life-saving surgeries for underprivileged children,

our active on-ground support directly to cancer patients in Egypt or our Safe Water Donation Program, which provides clean drinking water for thousands of children in India, our goal is to create real, tangible value.

These are just some of the CSR initiatives we drive. It’s important to highlight that the culture of inclusive engagement fostered throughout DataFlow’s global offices aids the success of all our CSR initiatives.

Employees are encouraged to contribute their ideas and insights, which helps ensure that these efforts reflect the diverse needs and values of our communities.

5. How are the solutions provided by DataFlow beneficial for engineers and construction professionals?

DataFlow serves as a steadfast pillar of support for engineers and construction professionals on a global scale, facilitating the movement of qualified talent to the region. By streamlining the often complex and time-consuming qualification, verification, and recognition processes, DataFlow empowers professionals to navigate their careers with greater ease and efficiency.

With our depth of industry experience and relentless commitment to innovation, DataFlow is a reliable partner for professionals throughout their careers. This commitment drives us to continuously evolve alongside technological advancements and embrace emerging trends, ensuring that our solutions remain at the forefront of enhancing global mobility.

DataFlow’s commitment to excellence and adoption of the latest technologies ensures that professionals are equipped with solutions that not only benefit their current endeavours but will continue to enhance their career trajectories in the ever-evolving landscape of the engineering and construction sectors.


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Marco Arcelli, CEO of ACWA Power, discusses with Vibha Mehta about spearheading the energy revolution to power the future

ACWA Power is setting ambitious targets for its future growth, aiming for an annual share of $1.8-2 billion in new projects over the next six years. The company has experienced remarkable expansion, with the total cost of installed projects growing by over 600% to $15.8 billion between 2022 and 2023. ACWA Power has significantly improved desalination efficiency, reducing power consumption by 87% over the past decade.

Emphasizing innovation, the company continuously explores new technologies and collaborates with suppliers to develop cutting-edge solutions. With a presence in 13 countries, ACWA Power plans to expand its footprint to 20 countries and triple its assets to $250 billion by 2030, focusing on critical regions, including Saudi Arabia, the Middle East & Africa, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia.

Tell us about ACWA Power’s mission, vision, and values. We aim to provide reliable and cost-effective power and desalinated water while upholding responsibility and sustainability. We are committed to leveraging the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector to support social development and economic growth in nations. Safety is our foremost priority, and we strive to safeguard the well-being of our employees, partners, and communities. Environmental sustainability is a key focus, and we seek sustainable solutions to protect the environment for future generations.

We value respect, professionalism, and collaboration, fostering an inclusive and supportive work environment

where individuals can thrive and contribute. Integrity and transparency are central to our operations and decisionmaking processes.

ACWA Power operates in 12 countries in different regions of the world. What challenges or opportunities might this bring to the company?

With an urgent need to expedite the energy transition, we aim for an annual investment of $1.8-2 billion in new projects over the next six years. In less than three months of 2024, we’ve nearly matched the total project cost 2023, reaching $12.7 billion. ACWA Power is experiencing exponential growth; between 2022 and 2023, our project costs surged by over 600% to $15.8 billion. We’re swiftly ramping up capital


deployment in Saudi Arabia, with new project costs skyrocketing from $830 million to $15.1 billion in 2023. Moreover, our efforts in water desalination have led to an impressive 87% reduction in power consumption over the past decade.

ACWA Power operates the largest reverse osmosis plant, Rabigh 3, capable of desalinating water equivalent to 240 Olympic-sized swimming pools daily. Currently, we are constructing an even larger facility, Taweelah, which is expected to be 51% larger than Rabigh 3. Our focus on innovation ensures efficiency and affordability, reflected in the world’s lowest desalination tariff. Additionally, we’ve pioneered the world’s first utility-scale solar PV desalination hybrid plant. Amid challenges, our primary focus is on human resources, emphasizing internal development to meet the demands of scaling up operations.

How do you ensure the company reaches its global footprint and has continuous growth and success worldwide?

ACWA Power exemplifies the success of Vision 2030, with our growth trajectory accelerating significantly over the past two decades, particularly in the last four to five years coinciding with Vision 2030’s inception. While we previously closed three or four financial deals annually, last year, we closed 12, and this year, nearly 20. Our project construction has also remarkably increased from four or five projects per year to 20.

A key driver of this growth is our partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), tasked with delivering 70% of the country’s renewable energy program. This success has not only led to opportunities domestically but has also opened doors internationally,

marking a profound transformation. Our commitment to innovation has enabled us to achieve the industry’s lowest energy and water tariffs, garnering interest from governments worldwide.

Our goal is to maintain leadership by enhancing local content. We are investing over $8 billion in capital expenditures for local content in our current pipeline until 2027. We remain committed to being an independent power producer and leveraging our role as an enabler. For every dollar we invest, we mobilize $10, attracting technology, investors, and financing worldwide. Ultimately, our focus on development hinges on innovation as a critical driver for technical solutions, structuring, and optimization.

One of ACWA Power’s central values is sustainability and protecting the environment for generations to come. What are the sustainable practices the company is implementing to achieve that? Our framework demonstrates how our strategic objectives align with Saudi Vision 2030 and selected United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We aim to promote the private sector’s innovation and

entrepreneurship, providing reliable and sustainable electricity and desalinated water to foster social development and economic growth.

ACWA Power’s growth strategy aims to triple its assets under management to $250 billion by 2030, positioning it as a global leader in renewables and green hydrogen while maintaining its leadership in water desalination. We will also focus on developing flexible generation to support the growth of emerging economies.

We will prioritise reducing and eliminating operational emissions in line with our commitment to achieving net zero emissions. While some plants may still be operational in 2050, their capacity utilization is expected to be minimal, with most operating as peakload facilities only.

As a leader in power technology, we’re committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. To reduce CO2 emissions from our flexible generation fleet, we’re exploring solutions like fuel switching, carbon capture and storage (CCS), and carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS).

2023 we added 7.1 GW of renewable capacity, doubling our flexible


generation additions. This increase in renewable generation has reduced our portfolio’s emission intensity by 6% compared to 2020.

One of the significant factors in the industry is technology and innovation. What does ACWA Power do in terms of these?

ACWA Power prioritizes innovation, collaborating with various partners to explore new technologies. Our focus includes advanced robotics to enhance operational efficiency. We actively engage in Saudi Arabia’s research agenda through partnerships with entities like the Ministry of Energy’s Energy Innovation Programme and the Research Development and Investment Authority. Additionally, we partner with organizations like Fraunhofer to develop solutions such as reducing soiling on solar panels.

Our progression has continued, with bids in Morocco dropping below 15 US cents and culminating in Dubai’s CSPPV hybrid plant, the world’s largest, reaching 7.2 US cents. This trajectory

showcases ACWA Power’s capabilities in driving down costs and highlights our significant contribution to reducing water and power costs and making renewable energy competitive with fossil power.

I want to emphasize that this innovation has brought value to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has significantly transformed the renewable energy landscape by seamlessly integrating energy storage to convert it into baseload power. This has resulted in a cost-effective solution compared to traditional fossil power plants.

In the next few years, what are the key goals and priorities for ACWA Power?

Over the past five years, ACWA Power has made substantial strides in the renewable energy sector, akin to Germany’s achievements in both renewable and conventional energy. Our energy capacity additions between 2018 and 2023 amounted to one-fifth of the European Union’s additions.

In 2023, ACWA Power secured contracts to generate more energy than the UK and France’s combined output. Our renewable energy expansions surpass the combined efforts of the UK and France, encompassing both renewable and conventional sources. Over the past five years, our renewable energy additions outstrip the total energy capacity enhancements in the UK by seven-fold, even considering traditional energy sources.

These accomplishments underscore our commitment to driving advancements in renewable energy, solidifying our position as a critical player in the global energy landscape. In 2023, we witnessed significant achievements, including adding over 10 GW of power and 1.4 million cubic meters of water desalination to our portfolio. This marked a 20% increase in our power capacity. Our total investment is 317.62 billion Saudi riyals ($84.7 billion), with $15 billion worth of assets added in 2023 alone.

We achieved financial closures in twelve projects totaling 59.1 billion Saudi riyals ($15.75 billion), including the record-setting green hydrogen project NEOM, which cost $8.5 billion. ACWA Power’s vision is to lead the global energy transition, aiming to triple its assets to $250 billion by 2030 and expand its presence to 20 countries.

We strategically focus on Saudi Arabia, the Middle East & Africa, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. Our recent agreement with Senegal’s Ministry of Water for a pioneering desalination plant demonstrates our commitment to innovation and sustainability. Additionally, we are exploring opportunities for strategic consolidation in Africa and Southeast Asia, with plans for entry into the Chinese market on the horizon.


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Illuminating Dubai’s real estate future with pioneering sustainability and innovation

Dubai stands out as a shining example of innovation and progress in the ever-evolving urban development landscape. The city has been at the forefront of the smart city revolution since its smart city initiative was introduced in 2013. This initiative has been a cornerstone of Dubai’s commitment to utilizing cutting-edge information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance the quality of life of its

residents and visitors. At the core of Dubai’s smart city vision lies a strong emphasis on sustainability and the well-being of its citizens, guiding every aspect of development to minimize environmental impact and maximize operational efficiency.

The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure is pivotal in driving Dubai’s smart city initiative. The UAE has established itself as a global leader in sustainable urban development by ensuring that

strategies align with the nation’s overarching goals. Significant events like EXPO 2020 have served as platforms for collaboration and innovation and showcasing sustainable practices. For instance, the EXPO 2020 site was powered by solar energy, setting a remarkable example for large-scale events worldwide. Additionally, the UAE’s hosting of COP28 further emphasized its commitment to fostering global dialogue and action towards a more sustainable future.

Under the visionary leadership of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s Smart City initiative was launched in 2013. This transformative initiative has not only reshaped the urban landscape but also provided a unique opportunity to create innovative, sustainable spaces that cater to the evolving needs of our customers. Embracing smart technologies and sustainable practices enhances our customers’ quality of life and aligns with our commitment to building a greener, more efficient future for all,” says Ramjee Iyer, Chairman & Managing Director of Acube Developments.

From Dubai’s iconic skyscrapers to Abu Dhabi’s cultural vibrancy, these cities integrate sophisticated infrastructure, IoT sensors, and data analytics to optimize resource management, streamline transportation systems, and foster a culture of innovation. Renewable energy initiatives such as solar power feature prominently across the landscape, while smart grids ensure efficient energy distribution. Robust digital ecosystems empower residents with seamless access to government services and facilitate real-time communication, creating a connected and engaged community.

“The Dubai real estate market is known for its dynamism and innovation, and several fundamental trends are shaping its landscape. Firstly, there


is a significant movement towards sustainability and eco-friendly living, with more developers integrating green technologies and practices into their projects. This aligns with Dubai’s long-term sustainability vision and attracts local and international buyers’ conscious of environmental impact,” shares Hassan Hijazi, Chief Financial Officer, AMWAJ Development.

He continues, “Another prominent trend is incorporating smart technology in homes and communities. The demand for smart living solutions is rising from advanced security systems to IoT-enabled appliances, reflecting Dubai’s position as a techforward city.”

In the commercial real estate sector, there is a notable shift towards tech-focused spaces designed to support connectivity and efficiency. Companies actively seek environments that promote productivity and collaboration, driving demand for smart infrastructure. These spaces enhance operational efficiency and contribute to a more dynamic and vibrant urban landscape, fostering a conducive environment for businesses to thrive. Despite the numerous benefits of advancements in smart cities, challenges persist,

particularly in ensuring their long-term sustainability.

“The Dubai real estate market is known for its dynamism and innovation, and several fundamental trends are shaping its landscape. Firstly, there is a significant movement towards sustainability and eco-friendly living, with more developers integrating green technologies and practices into their projects. This aligns with Dubai’s long-term vision for sustainability and attracts local and international buyers who are conscious of environmental impact,” adds Hassan Hijazi, Chief Financial Officer, AMWAJ Development.

He continues, “Another prominent trend is incorporating innovative technology in homes and communities. The demand for intelligent living solutions is rising from advanced security systems to IoT-enabled appliances, reflecting Dubai’s position as a tech-forward city.”

Residential preferences have evolved in response to the smart city revolution, with homebuyers and tenants prioritizing properties equipped with smart home technologies. Features such as automation and energy management offer convenience, security, and energy savings, shaping Dubai’s residential real estate market. Communities designed with a focus on sustainability and quality of life have proven highly attractive to residents and investors, contributing to the city’s flourishing real estate sector.

Looking towards the future, the outlook for smart cities in Dubai is brimming with exciting possibilities. Population management will be critical as cities grapple with urbanization and demographic shifts. “Sustainable development will continue to be a key focus, with an ongoing emphasis on reducing carbon footprints and preserving natural resources. The construction industry is adapting to accommodate the smart city

trend, with developers implementing innovative techniques to provide tailored experiences for consumers within a smart city environment,” explains Mr Iyer, Chairman & Managing Director of Acube Developments.

Integrating smart city initiatives and sustainability practices in Dubai is revolutionizing the construction industry. The focus on innovative technologies and eco-friendly designs has elevated the quality of our developments and streamlined construction processes. We wholeheartedly recognize the immense potential that smart city initiatives and sustainability hold for creating more resilient, efficient, and liveable urban environments.

In conclusion, Dubai’s path to smart city status is a testament to its unwavering commitment to sustainability and innovation. With robust leadership and infrastructure, Dubai’s real estate market is poised for significant growth. As the construction industry embraces smart city initiatives, Dubai’s future shines with promise, offering a vibrant and sustainable environment for residents and businesses to thrive. This steadfast commitment to progress instils confidence in the city’s future.

HASSAN HIJAZI, Chief Financial Officer, AMWAJ Development
RAMJEE IYER, Chairman & Managing Director, Acube Developments

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CONSULTANTS Decoding Construction Industry Trends INDISPENSABLE

In the fast-paced construction sector, staying updated on emerging trends and innovations is essential for success. Consultants are instrumental in this regard, providing expertise, insights, and analysis that assist stakeholders in navigating the constantly evolving construction terrain.

One pivotal role of consultants is their strategic analysis of trends. By vigilantly monitoring market dynamics, economic indicators, and regulatory shifts, consultants can identify emerging trends with potential impacts on construction projects. Whether it’s the adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) or the increasing focus on sustainable construction practices, consultants aid clients in anticipating and adjusting to these trends ahead of time. Furthermore, consultants bring specialized knowledge and experience across various aspects of the construction field. This expertise allows them to offer valuable insights into industry-specific trends, such as advancements in construction materials, innovative project delivery methods, or updates in building codes and regulations. By leveraging their expertise, consultants empower clients to make informed decisions that

align with industry standards and emerging practices.

Moreover, consultants are instrumental in the transformative process of technology adoption in the construction sector. Given the swift evolution of digital tools, software platforms, and automation solutions, maintaining technological competitiveness is paramount for construction companies. Consultants support clients in navigating this intricate technological landscape by assessing various options, suggesting appropriate solutions, and guiding implementation strategies.

For instance, consultants may aid clients in implementing cloud-based project management platforms to enhance collaboration and communication among project stakeholders. Likewise, consultants may offer advice on incorporating drones and uncrewed aerial vehicles (UAVs) for site surveying and progress monitoring, thereby improving efficiency and safety at construction sites.

Furthermore, consultants play a pivotal role in championing sustainability in the construction industry. With increasing

environmental concerns, there’s a growing demand for sustainable building practices and green solutions. Consultants assist clients in assessing the ecological impact of their projects, identifying opportunities for energy efficiency and resource conservation, and navigating green building certification processes.

Through sustainability assessments and lifecycle analyses, consultants help clients reduce their environmental footprint and improve the long-term sustainability of their projects. Whether it involves designing energy-efficient buildings, implementing renewable energy systems, or optimizing waste management practices, consultants are instrumental in advancing sustainability goals in the construction sector.

In summary, consultants are vital in analyzing construction industry trends. Through trend analysis, technology integration, sustainability efforts, and risk management, they offer invaluable expertise, empowering clients to navigate the construction market effectively. As the industry evolves, consultant guidance remains crucial for innovation, efficiency, and sustainable construction projects.




/ KPM Engineering

In recent years, the industry has made significant progress in many areas, and three of these areas that we see progressing the most are sustainability, modular and prefabricated construction, and automation.

At KPM, our unwavering commitment to sustainability drives us to constantly seek innovative design solutions. We strive to improve efficiency and quality while reducing the impact of building construction on the environment. Our inhouse team is dedicated to providing expertise and guidance on constructability and modern methods of construction. We understand that with the current construction boom in the region and the global drive to reduce carbon emissions, it is more essential than ever that the construction industry modernises the way we build. The growth of modular off-site manufacturing is evidence that this is happening, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this movement.

Modular construction offers benefits on a range of fronts, including reduced waste, transportation, labour, and energy performance due to improved quality of construction, reduced cost and time, and reduced reliance on low-skilled

labour. The social impact of modular construction can also not be underestimated, as it is ideally suited to low-cost housing developments.

While modular construction has been widely used in other regions, the timing is now right for the Middle East market to embrace it on a much larger scale. We understand the challenges that have previously slowed progress in this area, such as the lack of an established supply chain for full-scale modular construction. However, this is changing fast. There are now a number of modular manufacturers across the region, particularly in KSA. At KPM, we are able to leverage our network of contacts and relationships with these manufacturers to collaborate during the early stages of a project. This ensures the solutions we propose are suitable for off-site manufacture. As a result of the benefits outlined, it is apparent that off-site manufacture and modular construction align very well with the visions for the future outlined by the different nations across the GCC. We are confident that this market sector will continue to grow, and we are well-positioned to lead the way.

In the realm of sustainability, we recognise the urgent need for solutions that not only mitigate environmental impact but also enhance occupant comfort and well-being. As such, sustainability remains a cornerstone of our strategy for growth. We are dedicated to providing the best, most responsible service to our clients. We see tremendous potential for positive change to minimise waste, conserve resources, and create buildings that are truly regenerative in nature. From the selection of materials to the design of systems and components, our team is committed to embracing circularity at every stage of the project lifecycle, ensuring our clients receive the highest quality service.

Another market trend where we are well positioned to leverage ourselves is through automation in the design process. We have invested in our in-house automation team, and they are continually developing scripts and plug-ins to streamline our BIM processes and workflows, drive efficiency in our delivery of projects and improve upon the quality of our product. In addition, our team has been focused on advancing our digital twin capabilities, using our offices as a test bed for introducing intelligent technologies to provide live feed and obtained data to demonstrate where the technology and our understanding can benefit their business objectives. This is now a powerful tool we can use to show potential clients the real benefits of creating a digital twin to help them better understand how their facilities are operating and where improvements in energy performance and usage can be made.

In summary, we understand how the industry is developing for the better and believe we are well positioned to provide our clients with solutions that use advanced technologies to minimise our impact on the environment.


Construction activity within the Emirates continues to be elevated, with a strong pipeline of development opportunities. However, projects are under pressure from rising costs, a stretched supply chain, and growing regulatory expectations around the environment. It’s crucial that we, as an industry, address and navigate these trends effectively to achieve sustainable growth and success.

The scale of investment across the country is significant and has driven an expansion in the construction sector, reflecting a positive overall economic picture. In April, the International Monetary Fund forecasted that the country’s real GDP would grow by 3.5 per cent in 2024 and accelerate to 4.2 per cent through 2025.

The construction industry is shouldering a great deal of responsibility for ensuring this investment comes to fruition. The sector has capitalised on opportunities such as increased demand for upscale residential properties, office and retail space investments, industrial facility expansion, and infrastructure projects catering to the growing tourism sector.

A strong pipeline of government-backed projects, including the success of Expo 2020 Dubai and COP28, have asserted the UAE’s continued importance as a global destination. These are matched by a commitment to pioneering infrastructure to support the country’s growing population and demand from tourism - most notably with landmark public projects like the expansion of Al-Maktoum International Airport, which is set to become the world’s largest hub by 2030.

Resilience to accommodate this growth is also at the forefront of my mind. The announcement of the Deep Tunnels Portfolio programme – at a suggested cost of AED80bn+, is the latest phase of investment to transform Dubai’s wastewater infrastructure. Abu Dhabi’s capital is also undergoing significant infrastructure developments such as upgrading roads, implementing a light rail transit system, and redeveloping Mina Zayed port.

However, alongside these opportunities come challenges to delivering construction as planned, including a tightening pool of contractors and inflationary pressures. Strategic procurement strategies and cost-control measures are crucial to mitigate risks and ensure project success. We can navigate these challenges by fostering collaborative, solid partnerships with suppliers and subcontractors and delivering projects on time and within budget.

The role of private finance is not just important, it’s integral. Public-private partnerships represent a cornerstone of the UAE’s approach to addressing affordable housing needs. By leveraging our expertise and resources in collaboration


with government entities and other stakeholders, we can deliver high-quality, cost-effective solutions that meet the nation’s housing requirements while generating value for shareholders. This collaborative approach underscores the value we place on each stakeholder’s contribution, making them feel valued and integral to our operations. Ultimately, navigating the pressures caused by a growing economy relies on thinking differently and innovation lies at the heart of the UAE’s strategy for sustainable growth. By embracing cutting-edge technologies such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), drones, virtual reality, and AI, we as an industry can enhance efficiency and quality in construction, gaining a competitive edge in the market. This commitment to innovation should inspire and excite our audience about the future possibilities and potential of our industry.

We are committed to guiding our company through these transformative times, ensuring we harness the full potential of the UAE’s growth trends. By participating in major infrastructure projects, diversifying our portfolios, embracing technology, and prioritising sustainability, we can position ourselves for success in a dynamic and evolving market landscape.

In summary, the construction industry has an immense opportunity to drive growth and embrace innovation. To stay ahead of the curve, we must continue to leverage insights and strategic foresight to strategise and shape the future of in-country construction.


In the dynamic construction industry, staying abreast of current trends is paramount for companies seeking to remain competitive and sustainable.

One prevailing trend is the growing emphasis on environmental responsibility, prompting firms to adopt innovative approaches to minimize their carbon footprint and repurpose existing assets. I don’t want to refer to sustainability as a trend as it’s no longer friendly – it’s a must. Indeed, the real estate sector is harnessing the whole breadth of the sustainability landscape, including CO2 benchmarking, to reshape the built environment and meet the demands of an increasingly ecoconscious world. We thankfully see ESG on the C-Suite agenda and work with our regional and international clients to support them in their


sustainable finance frameworks and decarbonisation pathways.

CO2 Benchmarking

I mention the use of CO2 benchmarking tools to measure environmental impact, as it’s an area that Ramboll has placed increasing focus on. These tools provide companies with valuable data to quantify and mitigate their carbon emissions. Utilising CO2 benchmarking tools to measure the environmental impact of a structure or building is paramount in reducing a project’s carbon footprint and optimising sustainable design.

At Ramboll, we are at the forefront of sustainable design and advisory. For this, we have innovated collaborative tools that enable a systematic approach to quantifying and assessing the carbon footprint

associated with every stage of a building’s lifecycle. We recently launched CO2mpare, a carbon analysis benchmark database with more than 130 building projects across six countries that enables building industry actors and governments to compare and benchmark their carbon reduction strategies. The benchmark tool, the first international open-access database of its kind, was launched in March 2024.

By employing CO2 benchmarking, architects, engineers, and developers gain valuable insights into their projects’ key drivers of carbon emissions. We can identify materials with high embodied carbon content, energy-intensive construction techniques, or inefficient operational systems contributing to elevated emissions. With this data,


stakeholders can make informed decisions to optimise design choices, select low-carbon materials, integrate energy-efficient technologies, and implement sustainable building practices.

The trend is not so much sustainability, but buildings in the Middle East are evolving into greener, more environmentally friendly structures, minimising their carbon footprint through continuous refinement in the drive towards a net-zero and regenerative built environment.

Sustainability Dialogues

Fostering sustainability dialogues is crucial for guiding clients to make informed choices in building projects. These dialogues provide a platform for architects, engineers, and developers to discuss the environmental implications of design decisions and construction practices. By engaging in open conversations and sustainability dialogues, we gain a deeper understanding of how choices can influence a building’s carbon footprint and overall environmental performance.

Individuals spend 90% of their time in buildings. At Ramboll, we work closely with our clients to map the end-user journey and better understand the pain points. Our approach ranges from pioneering the façade to exploring MEP systems to designing 15-minute city master plans that improve the physical and mental well-being of occupants while aligning with the 1.5C climate science.

One of the dialogues that we need to encourage and that is becoming increasingly important in each building’s conversation is the implementation of transformational design principles. The transformational design offers a powerful approach to repurposing and reimagining existing assets, addressing the challenge of stranded assets in

the built environment. By applying transformational design, architects and developers can breathe new life into underutilised or obsolete buildings, transforming them into vibrant, sustainable spaces that meet the evolving needs of communities and occupants.

Building Transformation

Prioritising building renovation and transformation now plays a vital role in decarbonising the construction sector. Renovating existing buildings not only reduces carbon emissions and waste compared to building new ones but can also be more cost-effective and attractive to tenants. In April this year, Ramboll launched our Renovation and Transformation Assessment Guide. The Guide provides practical advice to help assess the business case for renovation and insights on how to mitigate risk and maximise rewards.

Transformational design goes beyond traditional renovation or adaptive reuse by embracing innovative strategies to enhance environmental performance and social value. This approach prioritises principles such as circularity, resilience, and inclusivity, aiming to create spaces that are not only environmentally sustainable but also adaptable, equitable, and responsive to changing user needs.

6 Falak is an example of a new commercial development in Dubai Internet City that will deliver a cutting-edge class-A office building and enhance the local market offering. But in reality, it’s not entirely “new”. During the COVIDinduced downturn in the Middle East real estate market, the construction of the existing project that began in 2016 was put on hold. It has been sitting half-complete

until 2022, when the project was acquired by Sweid & Sweid, who engaged Ramboll as the sustainability consultant to ensure that, rather than demolishing the structure and starting again, the existing building would be given the chance to realise its potential. Knocking the structure down and starting again would have been the least carbon-efficient option.

By repurposing existing assets through transformational design, stakeholders can mitigate the environmental impact of new construction while unlocking the inherent value of underutilised resources. This approach not only reduces carbon emissions and waste but also contributes to the revitalisation of urban areas, fostering economic development and community engagement.

Call them ‘trends’ or, more accurately, ‘must-haves’, but these three elements—CO2 benchmarking, sustainability dialogues, and the implementation of transformational design principles—are reshaping our industry and allowing us to address the challenge of stranded assets while advancing the transition towards a more resilient, regenerative built environment. They are creating spaces that inspire, innovate, and endure for generations to come.


The pace and scale of construction in the Middle East are hugely impressive over the coming years. From an ambitious pipeline of giga projects to major infrastructure and housing schemes, these projects will create significant social, economic, and environmental benefits. However, successful delivery puts pressure on resources, including highly skilled professionals from across the full spectrum of the construction industry. As a global engineering, management and development consultancy, being agile for our clients is critical to our success, which means bringing the right expertise together.

That’s happening successfully in Saudi Arabia and the UAE in response to the massive demand for talent there, but the pool of engineers available is limited. The talent coming from further afield does impact project costs.

With an intense focus on reducing capital expenditure during the construction phase of projects, this presents a real challenge. Fortunately, we have invested heavily in digital innovation. Process automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and data management all have a significant role in optimising the design and planning of these complex projects.

We have a long-term partnership with Microsoft to see how AI can best be used within our business. We already deliver many AI services to clients via our digital platform, Moata, and we are increasingly looking at Generative AI and its potential to free up our people’s time to focus on developing more creative and innovative solutions for our clients.

Part of maintaining and growing the pool of engineering talent is ensuring those at the early stages of their careers see the profession as an exciting long-term prospect. With so many opportunities open to people, our industry needs to keep showing the impact we are having and the part we play in shaping a better world. That’s why we pride ourselves on creating a nurturing work environment that attracts talent and allows it to thrive.

One of the other exciting trends we are seeing across the region is the ambition for countries to invest in highquality, climate-resilient buildings and infrastructure. The big challenge is the speed at which our industry can embrace new processes, materials and ways of working.

The disruption and damage caused by extreme weather across the Middle East recently highlighted the pressing need to build smarter to protect critical transport, homes, and businesses from future climate risks. Climate targets, regulations, and new industry standards from governments play a key role in changing behaviour.

As a business, we recognise the need to lead from the front on carbon management. PAS 2080, the world’s first standard on carbon management in infrastructure, was developed with the British Standards Institution by Mott MacDonald and Arup.

We have also pioneered prefabrication techniques, such as design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) and other modern construction methods. Projects such as the Musaimeer Pumping Station and Outfall Tunnel in Qatar demonstrate how adopting innovative construction techniques, such as DfMA, and a clear sustainability strategy can deliver critical infrastructure on time and on a budget that protects long-term urban development and economic growth.

Countries, including the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have made a clear shift in recent years towards broadening their economic base for lasting prosperity. The construction industry has a huge role to play, and by working closely together on these shared challenges, we are well-placed to realise this ambition.






For almost seventy years, the construction industry remained unchanged from its industrial roots until about 15 years ago when the advent of digitalisation and increasing awareness about climate change forced the wider industry to reimagine itself with the sizeable and rapidly developing benefits of the digital age. As an outcome, the past decade has been one of the most exciting periods of development, not only in terms of what is possible but how projects are being delivered.

In the GCC, we are amid a fascinating metamorphosis, developing mega projects on a scale never seen before while redefining how we work. As an outcome, collaboration has become an early-stage requirement for most projects, a feat made possible through various digital tools and platforms that deliver high-performance design solutions for the built environment.

AtkinsRéalis, a leader in construction industry innovation, has revolutionized collaboration, departing from isolated workflows. This transformation has optimized design processes, improved stakeholder communication, reduced costs, spurred innovation, and ultimately, increased client satisfaction. Our hyper-collaborative approach ensures realtime communication, early contractor involvement, integrated workflows, and cutting-edge technologies for optimal project outcomes.

Recent advancements in technology are transforming our industry, with BIM, automation, and generative AI leading the way towards enhanced technical assurance and streamlined solutions during planning and design. Generative AI particularly shows promise in improving workflows, expediting ideation, and promoting data-driven design. However, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate AI’s applicability across the value chain and its practical implementation.

As a company fully committed to sustainable urban master planning, AtkinsRéalis’ work on Riyadh’s New Murabba and The Mukaab is not only the most challenging project to date but the embodiment of the humancentric design, where technology has been leveraged to deliver usability, functionality, and an integration with nature never before seen within an urban environment. Set to become a “gateway to another world,” The New Murabba will be a human-first downtown, which includes access to greenery and amenities within five mins, with The Mukaab as the indisputable centrepiece. Comprised

of a mixed-use megastructure of 400x400x400 metres, The Mukaab will become Riyadh’s tallest building and a global destination for immersive entertainment, hospitality, lifestyle, retail, culture, commercial and recreational activities.

Beyond its concept, scale, and ability to develop it in the most efficient way possible, we are arguably most proud of our project sustainability commitments. Our focus encompasses our material selection and understanding the project’s complete lifecycle – this means a 360-degree approach that includes the building’s operational emissions and how each element can be reduced as part of our wider industry journey to net zero. Our commitment to sustainability is not just a buzzword, but a tangible effort to reduce our environmental footprint and contribute to a greener future. As a result, we’ve advocated for modern construction methods, including prefabrication and modularisation techniques that streamline project delivery. This has also significantly helped in logistical coordination, a fundamental requirement when building a city within an existing town. Additionally, the use of green materials can help minimise the environmental footprint.

Undoubtedly, the GCC’s leadership in the global construction industry is a result of the sheer volume of skilled and experienced professionals working in harmony to deliver a common goal. This, coupled with a regional leadership that embraces new technologies and upholds an unwavering commitment to creating high-quality, liveable urban environments, has led to a sea change in the industry. Open-source sharing, enhanced transparency, and extensive collaboration foster climate-resilient designs, delivering community-centric projects while honoring nature. GCC’s leadership isn’t just a title; it propels industry change, fostering innovation and sustainability.


The Construction industry has always been perceived as a crucial enabler of economic growth at both global and country levels thanks to its contribution to the GDP and its value in shaping public investment strategies within local markets. As an example, the GCC Construction market is expected to reach US$ 169.3 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach USD 216.80 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of greater than 5% during the forecast period (20242029) [Source: Mordor Intelligence industryreports].

With such a vital role and impact, the construction industry is rapidly evolving globally. Considerations are being made regarding advancements in construction techniques and tools, and the supply chain is subsequently set as a strategic goal to adapt to emerging trends and technologies.

Current Construction Industry Trends

Technology and Digitalization

Among the different key construction industry growth accelerators, technology adoption and digitalization have proven to be the most active, considering the trending Construction 4.0 practices and newly emerging Construction 5.0. Subsequently, the need for a more adaptive


/ KEO International Consultants

construction supply chain toward change at a project, program, and, more importantly, organizational level has increased.

While end-clients, developers, and owners are setting up the Digital delivery requirements

framework for the whole project lifecycle to serve as a contextual definition for the execution and deployment of such technologies by the project(s) delivery supply chain: design consultants, primary and general contractors, trade

contractors, vendors, solution, and service providers, etc.

Among the current technology trends, the following would certainly be shortlisted either as newly emerging practices and techniques or as an


advancement or digitalization efforts of existing construction delivery procedures:

• Information management and standardization through digitization and cloud collaboration services proliferation

• Migration from design and engineering-oriented BIM to digital delivery and stronger focus on additional BIM dimensions beyond 4D and 5D

• Proliferation of Visualization services such as VR and AR at both conceptual and realistic levels.

• Modular construction and Offsite manufacturing

• Robotics, Machine Control and UAVs

• IoT-enabled Digital Twin (with BIM-based deployment or pilot implementations mostly reaching maturity level 3 out of 5) supporting Smart Cities planning.

• Data Modeling and Visualization services enabled by Business Intelligence

• Reality Capture and Onsite Technology Portability

• Artificial Intelligence, especially in Engineering and Design activities serving automation, visual programming, generative, cognitive, and computational design applications.


Sustainability is being emphasized as a vital component within the construction industry and is integrated

as a ‘Normal of The Future’ practice in project delivery and stakeholders’ capability assessment as a scoring criterion at the pre-appointment stages. AEC organizations are adopting eco-friendly practices, incorporating green building materials with lower embodied carbon, and implementing energy-efficient technologies. Trending technologies, such as 6D BIM, 3D print, and machine Control, enable more sustainable design and construction of environmentally responsible projects.

Among other trending construction segments with high responsiveness to evolution and digitally enabled transformation, we can list the following:

• Innovative Digital Project Management and Lean construction

• Setting a new approach to Employee experience through custom Learning and Development plans.

• Innovative Organizational Business Management with companies deploying their own Digital strategies, plans, and teams and kicking off transformation journey as part of their operational growth plan.

Approach to Adoption

The approach to deploying and implementing the trending innovation by each organization relies on the scope and target set for it at a single project, program, or business and organizational level. At the same time, the pre-planning is a crucial success pillar before undertaking the deployment phases, either managed internally relying on existing or further improved team capabilities (Innovation, Strategy, Digital teams) or through securing third-party service providers’ support in the form of established partnerships.




/ MACE Group

Current construction trends focus on resilience, emphasizing sustainability and climate and economic impact resistance. Construction must take accountability and lead genuine solutions, with the sector contributing over 35% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate resilience

You only have to look at recent headlines to realise the importance of building infrastructure and developments which will handle future weather events. Climate change means it will only get hotter in the desert, but it will also bring unusual and challenging weather events, like the recent flooding in Dubai.

As an industry, we are trending toward resilient design for

our construction projects. This means encouraging and including more green space in development, providing provision for active travel, and even considering how to use natural resources—such as using water to cool and recycle heat to warm spaces.

We also need to consider how infrastructure can handle these new conditions. Pre-empting the need for water runoff solutions around property and transportation will help build resilience against sudden rain events, and including more tall landscaping will provide natural shading to help mitigate excess heat levels.

As a sector, we must continue to respond to the likely increasingly tricky and challenging climate events of the future. It is undoubtedly already a focus, but we should keep a keen interest in developing further.


Resilience through sustainability

As with all industries, construction has taken a deep look at its sustainability practices—and this is an area where we can make a significant impact. As we look to the future, I predict an even greater focus on responsible business practices regarding the physical building of development and infrastructure.

Sustainability focuses on two areas: materials and approach

An ever-increasing demand from occupiers for buildings to be more sustainable means that the materials being used are scrutinised much more than ever before.

Recycled steel and low-carbon materials are now commonplace for development.

We have already made significant progress in our approach to development. Methods such as offsite manufacturing improve quality while also slashing emissions by reducing site deliveries and waste. There will also be a continuing emphasis on reducing fossil fuel usage and increasing demand for buildings with lower carbon emissions.

The Middle East has always been synonymous with energy from hydrocarbons, but even that is beginning to change with an increased appetite for offshore wind power in parts of Oman and

Saudi Arabia, together with some of the world’s largest arrays of solar energy in the UAE.

Delivery Partner Model to help deliver resilience

Fast becoming the model of choice for major projects and programmes, clients worldwide enjoy the benefits of deploying the Delivery Partner Model. The ‘one team’ approach provides an end-to-end service offering to integrate services and boost stakeholder collaboration.

By partnering with clients, delivery partners can provide consistency, value for money, transparency, and a single point of responsibility—this also means that true resilience can be achieved.

Is bigger better?

Building design has long been the most noticeable trend in our industry. You can often determine a building’s age based on its visual appearance and architectural features. Modern construction is less obvious in terms of visual identity than in decades past. However, particularly in the Middle East, a trend has been toward being the most significant or grandest space.

Indeed, this trend continues in KSA, with some of the largest and most ambitious schemes currently being developed globally. In other locations, we

Some developments scale back in size, bulking, and massing, but the ambition and inspirational nature of what is built will remain synonymous with Middle Eastern development. Striking projects

like One Za’abeel, which we recently completed and awarded the Guinness World Record for the world’s most extended cantilevered building, will continue to push the boundaries of ambition.

While the size of schemes may be reduced, each unique development has a selling point. The key will always be to provide something that suits the end user’s needs.


As an industry, we must keep innovating. This is the only way we can keep up with new or enduring trends in the industry and demands from clients and occupiers.

Innovation always starts with data, as that is the only way to know the intricacies of the challenge we are trying to overcome. It is also the only way we can adjust methods or replicate success. The increasing need – and appetite - to capture information and store it for future use for the benefit of future developments is a critical trend I am thrilled to be a part of.


As always, building safety is the most critical part of our work. We do all we can to ensure our colleagues go home safe and well at the end of the working day. Our colleagues’ health, safety, and well-being are essential for job satisfaction, workforce retention and attraction, and the success of the projects we deliver worldwide.

Health and safety were less visible on sites in the past than they are now. As a sector, the drive for a safe and healthy workforce has seen quicker adoption of safer ways of working and significantly reduced workplace accidents. Recently, the focus has included a greater emphasis on mental health, another positive step for the industry.




Construction plays a significant role in the global economy and is in no small measure also affected by the largescale trends shaping our world. Past and present construction has always been closely linked to the development of humankind and its environment. Construction is evolving, influenced by materials, resources available, technologies developed, and the challenges facing people and society. Industry players have no choice but to keep up with the pace, and they are all striving today to bring their best solutions to these significant trends.

Climate emergency tops the list of challenges. Given demographic forecasts, the situation is likely to improve for a while. Hence, the construction industry is heavily involved in the growing need for adaptation and mitigation measures. We are witnessing a rise in the need for infrastructure and services that deal with disaster management. One example would include large infrastructures such as seawalls and dikes, or the development of centralized control rooms with hypervisors such as ‘Vigie Risk,’ a flood risk monitoring hypervisor developed by Egis.

In addition to adaptation, several mitigation initiatives have been undertaken in the construction sector to prevent and reduce emissions. Eco-design is one such initiative that considers environmental factors throughout the process. Among others, it favours the use of recycled, natural, and raw materials such as wood for their sustainable and mechanical properties. Another example would be adopting circular economy solutions such as ‘CycleUp,’ a digital platform for reusing construction materials developed by Egis with industry partners. Climate change mitigation measures have also driven the need for new mobility services and technologies such as access control services, urban air mobility and electric vehicles, all of which require new types of infrastructure.

Another impact of climate change on construction is the increased threat to health and safety. There is growing evidence that climate change is affecting air quality, extreme weather conditions, solar radiation, and vectorborne diseases - all of which can cause injury, illness, and mental health problems.

Digital innovation and technological progress are among the main factors

influencing the construction industry. They offer numerous opportunities to improve quality, increase efficiency, and reduce risk and costs. A few examples that have already been adopted but will continue to develop are BIM and 3D printing, as well as other modern construction methods (MMC). Generative AI-based solutions are another example, whose range of possibilities is wide open. They are used for modularization, controls and inspections, improved deliveries, and more. Increasing digitization also naturally drives up demand for telecoms, energy infrastructure, and data centres. Alongside the potential of this trend, there are increasingly threatening risks, such as cybersecurity, against which companies are bracing for.

In addition, the race to attract visitors continues to influence investments in sectors like hospitality, culture, heritage, and international venues, including sports competitions. Efforts to boost this sector in the Middle East have paid off, as the region was almost the only one to exceed its 2019 level of inbound visitors in 2023, which rose by 22%. The Al Seef heritage site in the United Arab Emirates, AlUla and Diriyah Gate in Saudi Arabia, and Souk Al-Mubarakiya in Kuwait are just a few examples where the old meets the new not only in design and architecture but also in construction techniques, reflecting the particularities of each country.

To address these challenges, the bill is hefty, prompting the need for greater cooperation among funds, banks, international financial institutions, governments, contractors, and other investors - both local and international. Financing models are getting more complex, requiring creativity and resources. After all, financing will be the toughest nut to crack in all this because, as the old saying goes, resources are scarce while needs are endless.



Using Bentley open applications for roadway and utility works accelerated the project schedule by 10% and saved INR 10 million in costs…

Modernizing Infrastructure for Smart City Initiative

Located 100 kilometres southwest of Ahmedabad, India, the Dholera Special Investment Region is being built close to the trading centres of Gujarat. It will be easily accessible from the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, making it a potential global trading and manufacturing hub, supporting economic development and quality of life for city residents and workers. Encompassing 920 square kilometres, the project is India’s first greenfield innovative city development, boasting smart infrastructure, utilities, connectivity, and technology. The region will have four-way connectivity via an express highway, a metro, a dedicated international airport, and a nearby port. It will be powered by electricity generated from renewable energy through a dedicated five-gigawatt solar park.

Larsen & Toubro is responsible for utility works spread over a 57-square kilometre area and delivery of 174.25 kilometres of highway network to provide efficient, intelligent, sustainable services and transportation.

The project required designing modern infrastructure to support smart city development, including modelling, and analyzing varying roadway alignments with utility services passing through various corridor parts.

“Services and utilities running within the roadway reserves include portable water, sewer, industrial effluent, and recycle water networks, as well as power duct, ICT duct, SCADA, and street lighting,” said Rajesh Kumar of L&T, head of digital at Larsen & Toubro. The client mandated BIM implementation as a massive smart city initiative throughout design, construction, and lifecycle maintenance and management.

Coordinating and Integrating Data and Stakeholders

Larsen & Toubro needed to ensure seamless integration of power and water utilities with the roadway works to meet the deliverables and BIM requirements. The team used CAD software applications during the initial project stages; however, the software needed to accommodate the voluminous data and presented data exchange issues. “At the beginning stage, we decided to

written by Oana Crisan. Edited by Vibha Mehta.

go with Autodesk software like Revit for modelling utilities [that stretched] 72 kilometres long and faced some issues with data transfer from the design model; [also,] handling the model with such a large number of the details is very difficult in that software,” said Kumar.

As a BIM-mandated project, the 3D model should carry its design data attribute over to the project BIM model to be used later during operations and maintenance. With seven different individual models having varying alignments and levels along the road length and data from various services and utilities, Larsen & Toubro needed a digital application to combine those models and data into a unified 3D BIM model.

Compounding the data coordination and integration issues, multiple disciplines and stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, and government agencies, must also be coordinated to reduce design and construction conflicts. “We have faced issues at the junction locations where we will get multiple clashes among the utility services. [These clashes] will be a huge issue at site-level execution,” said Dr Kumar. To streamline workflows, avoid clashes, and optimize execution, Larsen & Toubro realized that they needed a connected digital solution capable of integrating the entire project team, utility works, and roadway alignments and performing clash detection among the different design components.

Leveraging Open 3D Modeling Technology

Larsen & Toubro conducted the utility design and analysis using Bentley’s OpenFlows applications and used OpenRoads to model the various roadway alignments. Based on the subsurface utility design and analysis workflow, Larsen & Toubro exported the hydraulic design models into OpenRoads and all the design attributes, integrating them with the

roadway models to create the project BIM model. The solution provided a centralized digital environment that enabled Larsen & Toubro to simulate different scenarios, analyzing factors ranging from energy efficiency to environmental impact, ensuring sustainable, efficient designs.

Working in a collaborative BIM platform streamlined workflows and facilitated clash detection. “Bentley has helped with their clash detection feature and helped to resolve those clashes in the design stage itself, which has given a clear idea for the project team regarding the execution,” said Dr Kumar. Leveraging Bentley Open applications supported collaborative processes and data integration throughout the design stage and the project’s entire lifecycle through construction, maintenance, and management, meeting the clientmandated BIM requirements.

Driving Savings, Sustainability, and Lifecycle Management

Working in an open, centralized digital environment enhanced planning and design, automated previous manual modelling processes, and facilitated stakeholder collaboration and clash detection. It has also provided a digital representation of the assets that can be used for better city management and maintenance. “By using the subsurface utility design and analysis workflow [in OpenRoads], we have avoided manual modelling processes

and saved many resource hours of modelling,” said Kumar.

“With Bentley’s clash detection capability, we have resolved the clashes at the beginning stage of the design and thereby helped the project site team [with] clear execution.” The connected digital solution streamlined design and construction, mitigating risks, saving 1,000 work hours, and reducing costs by INR 10 million. Using Bentley’s BIM applications, Larsen & Toubro improved productivity by 25%, accelerating the project schedule by 10%.

Integrating BIM with the Internet of Things and other digital systems will enable real-time data collection and insight into the city’s infrastructure performance, facilitating intelligent transport systems that support smart city development and environmental and social sustainability. The Dholera project emphasizes the development of green spaces, incorporates renewable energy sources, and modernizes infrastructure, including roadway networks, utilities, and healthcare facilities. It will foster an eco-friendly culture, connectivity, and sustainable living. “The integration of smart technologies—such as efficient waste management systems, smart grids, and intelligent transportation systems—can enhance the city’s livability by improving convenience [and] safety while reducing resource consumption,” said Dr Kumar.



The rationale is that specific components are anticipated to malfunction before startup because of mechanical damage, manufacturing defects, or corrosion…

It is not uncommon for a new oil and gas construction project to cost anywhere from $10 million for a basic rig to upwards of $500 million for FPSO projects. Megaprojects with a $25 billion price tag may spend hundreds of millions on spares alone. At such high stakes, even a tiny buying or management change can significantly impact increasing or reducing project costs. Proper preservation and asset management with Cortec® VpCI® Technologies can add substantial monetary savings and smoother, safer startup and ongoing operations.

Forecasting of Oil and Gas Spares

According to Sonny Reeves (President of CGSI), who has worked on some of the most significant oil and gas development projects in the world, a typical oil and gas construction job will buy an additional 10% (on average) of spares in three different categories:

1. Construction spares

2. Startup/commissioning spares

3. Insurance and operating spares

The reason is that some components are expected to fail before startup due to mechanical damage,

manufacturing flaws, or corrosion. Discovering defective equipment during installation or startup could be disastrous without backup spares, especially in remote areas where the delivery lead time is excessive—even if replacement parts were readymade. Forecasting spares by 10%, 12%, or 15% extra is a normal part of risk management.

Reducing Excess Inventory by Spare Preservation

Since corrosion is a significant culprit for component failure, rust prevention can reduce the spares needed. Considering how quickly the cost of spares adds up, a little planning and some suitable preservation materials could have significant ROI.

Preservation of Construction Spares

Proper preservation must start with primary equipment to ensure that high-dollar—often custom—assets such as heat exchangers, fractionation towers, tanks, and modules will survive the transit and storage period without corrosion. Basic preservation materials such as CorroLogic® Fogging Fluid VpCI®-339 for internal void

Originally written by Julie Holmquist. Edited by Vibha Mehta.

space preservation, VpCI®-649 for hydro testing and layup, and MilCorr® VpCI® Shrink Film for external protection are relatively simple to apply and go a long way toward preserving assets in like-new condition so that fewer backups are needed at installation and commissioning.

Preservation of Startup Spares

Startup spares should be preserved along similar lines. Hydrotesting valves, pumps, and vessels with a good dose of VpCI®-649 will help protect against the residual moisture that inherently gets trapped inside during hydrostatic testing. Fogging of voids with Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitors is also beneficial because the protective vapours form a molecular corrosioninhibiting layer on metal surfaces until the enclosure is opened. VpCI® Films and Bags with UV resistance serve multiple functions by trapping these vapours inside a space, creating a durable barrier to wind and rain, and actively inhibiting corrosion through their embedded

rust preventative chemistry. Protective coatings such as VpCI®-391 are excellent for temporarily protecting exposed metal surfaces such as flange faces.

Preservation of Insurance and Operating Spares

Once the facility moves from startup to full operation, it will continue to require backups or “operational spares” to ensure continued uptime. As in other stages, good asset management and preservation of operational spares are critical to keeping parts corrosion-free and ready to install on short notice. This can also be good evidence of

a proactive safety management plan. In either case, Cortec® VpCI® fogging fluids, films, and coatings again provide an excellent path to preservation.

Optimizing Project Planning and Engineering

Preserving spares at all three stages and documenting the process is a growing trend in asset management with promising results. As Sonny Reeves pointed out regarding CGSI’s digital data preservation tool, “It is critical to not only take care of the assets throughout their life but to be able to provide detailed proof of care to stakeholders.”

This “proof of care” gives project owners a greater chance of reselling or transferring the spares to the next stage of the project rather than scrapping excess inventory and writing it off as a loss. It offers peace of mind and facilitates smooth operations. It can also mean significant savings up front by reducing the spares needed.



Dr Hassam Chaudhry, Associate Professor at Heriot-Watt University, Dubai, delves into how emerging technology will shape the industry...

In the last decade, drone technology has gone from a rare and intriguing theory to a must-have tool that saves money and empowers various industries. They are now standard equipment in construction, energy, and infrastructure fields. Construction companies, for instance, rely heavily on them throughout their projects. They

use them to map out sites digitally, enhancing planning, design, and operations. Drones also help keep track of project progress every step of the way. In 2023, the global construction drone market hit a whopping 6,161.9 Million USD. By 2032, the market is expected to increase rapidly to 20,453.4 Million USD, showcasing a significant growth rate (CAGR) of 14 per cent

from 2024 to 2032. This surge is fueled by several factors, including the ongoing expansion of infrastructure projects, increasing demand for cuttingedge construction methods, and the growing requirement for accurate and comprehensive site maps and surveys.

Drones have become beneficial equipment in the initial planning

Originally written by Dr Hassam Chaudhry. Edited by Vibha Mehta.

stages of construction projects. They can contribute to constructing more sustainable buildings while ensuring projects remain on schedule and within budget. Additionally, drones enhance the safety of construction sites, reduce costs, and save time. They efficiently capture precise data, track project progress, and calculate resource usage, which are critical aspects of building standards like the Pearl Building Rating System, a part of the Estidama initiative in Abu Dhabi that sets high standards for sustainable building design,

large distances, like roads, railways, or remote or challenging environments. Contractors can use the data to create detailed site maps, including 3D models, digital twins, and layout plans. Additionally, with drones, contractors can prepare an estimate of material requirements and identify risk areas within the project site. This allows for more accurate cost assessments, potentially reducing the need for large emergency budgets and opening up broader financing options.

a drone equipped with cameras and sensors could easily access the areas beneath and identify any structural issues or hazards without risking anyone’s safety. This can further prevent accidents and injuries, making the construction process much safer overall.

Additionally, drones enable contractors to monitor and map out repairs in real time, allowing them to plan remedial actions efficiently and minimise project completion delays. This use of drones not only saves on the expenses associated with additional support, which workers would typically need for monitoring inaccessible areas but also reduces the need for the workforce to review these areas manually. As a result, resources can be redirected to other project tasks, and the costs of additional monitoring equipment are also minimised.

construction, and operation. To meet these standards, construction companies in Abu Dhabi are now turning to drone technology.

Drones can streamline operations by minimising the size of teams needed for site visits, levelling the playing field for tenderers and encouraging more bids on projects that are otherwise too costly to survey comprehensively. It can continue to be invaluable for detailed planning before construction begins. This is especially true for projects covering

Drones offer contractors a valuable tool for quickly identifying errors, especially in challenging-to-reach spots like elevated sites or deep foundations where issues like honeycombing in concrete may occur. Contractors can address these issues and prevent excessive costs or irreparable mistakes by spotting these problems early. For instance, while constructing a bridge over a canal or river, instead of sending workers to inspect the underside of the bridge, which could be dangerous and time-consuming,

As more and more construction sites embrace drones for tasks like surveying, monitoring, and mapping, they are experiencing improved efficiency, safety, and precision. This not only saves costs but also ensures projects are completed on schedule. The construction drone industry is poised for substantial growth due to advancements in drone technology like AI and machine learning. Also, as sustainability and environmental regulations take centre stage, the demand for drones to monitor and ensure compliance in construction projects is expected to soar.



In ultra-luxury real estate, secrecy is the ultimate luxury!

Ben Locke, Chairman of Locke Lifestyle Properties, explains why client privacy is vital in high-value real estate purchases…

Any real estate broker worth its salt should respect and protect the privacy of its clients. This applies to all market segments but is especially true in the ultra-luxury space.

You may think I’m stating the obvious here, but you’d be surprised. Yes, most real estate brokers operating in established markets like the UAE exercise

discretion, but you don’t have to look too hard to find individuals and companies happy to use their wealthy customers as marketing tools.

At Locke Lifestyle Properties, we understand that client privacy isn’t just a courtesy; it’s symbolic of our customers’ trust in us. Here’s why…

Privacy As Standard Demand for ultra-luxury real estate is extremely high in the UAE right now – particularly in Dubai, which has been hailed as an international leader in this segment thanks to multiple sales of properties

Originally written by Ben Locke.
Edited by Vibha Mehta

priced above $10 million. The emirate is currently a magnet for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) worldwide, with Palm Jumeirah remaining the most sought-after location among luxury buyers.

Many HNWIs lead high-profile lives, leaving them vulnerable to intrusive attention – not to mention targets for scams, security threats or even harassment due to their wealth. As such, whether buying or selling, brokers must protect their clients’ privacy and security at every stage of the real estate investment journey. Locke Lifestyle Properties, for instance, begins every client relationship with discreet and confidential meetings, ensuring all information provided remains completely secure. We understand that your privacy is our responsibility, so details of your real estate plans will only be shared

with the relevant authorities on a need-to-know basis in line with statutory and regulatory requirements. We value your trust and see it as our duty to safeguard your privacy.

Why? Regarding ultra-luxury real estate transactions, discretion is not merely a preference but a necessity. The level of privacy afforded by the UAE is among the nation’s most significant selling points for celebrities and other high-profile property investors. Why would they jeopardise this by partnering with a broker that can’t wait to namedrop?

The Importance Of Professionalism

Our team understands that breaching client privacy, accidentally or intentionally, can result in widespread, long-lasting, and costly consequences. This is true in any field, but the stakes in ultra-luxury real estate are even higher.

There are various concerns associated with high-value property transactions, from confidentiality and asset protection to statutory and regulatory compliance. Having brokered deals for multiple HNWIs, our team appreciates the importance of protecting clients’ financial investments while delivering a secure and efficient service tailored to their specific needs.

Buyers and sellers have every right to set high standards for their real estate brokers, which is why Locke Lifestyle Properties is fully committed to exceeding clients’ expectations at every opportunity.

Long-Term Relationships

Whether you choose to enlist the services of Locke Lifestyle Properties or a different ultraluxury real estate firm, my advice is to prioritise trust over all other considerations. Check if your prospective broker uses secure communication channels, request details of its document handling processes and procedures, find out about the discreet viewing and aftersales support options on offer, and ask what additional measures it takes to ensure and enhance client privacy.

For example, Locke Lifestyle Properties offers private appointments through its bespoke viewing service, enabling clients to explore prospective homes without unwanted attention or interruptions. We also work closely with buyers to better understand their preferences and tastes, allowing our experienced advisors to provide personalised guidance and support throughout the property-buying process. Since we aim to establish long-term relationships with clients, we want their experience to be seamless, secure and discreet.

Ultimately, our value on privacy has enabled us to establish a reputation for prudence, vigilance and tact. At Locke Lifestyle Properties, we will always prioritise discretion over short-term profits. In my experience, most UAE-based real estate brokers hold similar values. Just be aware that this does not apply to everyone, and organisations that fail to protect your privacy should be avoided at all costs.

BEN LOCKE, Chairman of Locke Lifestyle Properties



Hasan’s is appointed as the new General Manager.

aimondi Cranes today announced the appointment of Wael Hasan as General Manager, Raimondi Middle East, effective immediately. Based in Dubai, UAE, Hasan will report directly to Raimondi Group CEO, Luigi Maggioni.

Hasan’s appointment aims to fortify Raimondi’s presence in the GCC region by enhancing its operational structure, and caters to the boost in demand for the company’s tower cranes in the MENA region.

“Having served as Raimondi’s Commercial Director of the Middle Eastern subsidiary for the past seven years, Wael Hasan brings a wealth of regional experience and expertise to the role. With his exceptional leadership skills and hands-on team guidance, a keen understanding of market dynamics, and strong relationships, Wael has played a pivotal role in developing one of Raimondi’s key markets,” said Luigi Maggioni, CEO, Raimondi Cranes Group.

Under Hasan’s regional management, Raimondi Middle East has significantly expanded its client base, cultivated a robust network of partners in GCC countries, while significantly increasing the on-ground brand presence, specifically in key booming construction markets including UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

His strategic approach has resulted in Raimondi

participating in some of the region’s most relevant and prestigious projects: The Seef, one of Qatar’s most awaited residential developments, Deira Mall, one of the largest shopping centres in Dubai, and East Village, a district of Aljada megacity in Sharjah. Over the past 36 months Raimondi Middle East has crossed the impressive milestone of deploying over 200 cranes regionally.

“As General Manager, Wael will spearhead Raimondi’s effort to further strengthen its foothold in the GCC market, capitalizing on emerging opportunities and addressing evolving customer needs. This role positions him as a catalyst for Raimondi’s expansion strategy in the Middle East, specifically in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and will build on the company’s strong standing in UAE,” Maggioni continued, adding that the company’s Saudi expansion plan will be shared in the coming months.

“I am thrilled to support the Group vision by leading Raimondi Middle East into this next phase. I’m committed to leveraging our strengths, particularly the full-circle customer service and technical support functions, to capitalize on opportunities and deliver unparalleled value to our customers,” said Hasan.

To further flesh out the Middle East team structure, Hasan has appointed a new Sales Director to lead the segment across the region. “The strategic appointment of Rinju Ravindran to the role of Sales Director comes in response to the surge in demand for heavy lifting equipment, fuelled by the rapid growth of infrastructure, residential, and mixed-use developments across the region,” commented Hasan. With a focus on leveraging market opportunities, strengthening client relationships and sourcing new customers, Ravindran will be reporting Wael Hasan in his role as General Manager.

Based between Riyadh and Dubai, Ravindran is a seasoned sector professional, armed with extensive experience from the heavy lifting industry. His career counts several sector relevant positions in companies from across the spectrum including manufacturing, fleet management, and more.

“Ravindran’s set of skills, market knowledge, and wellestablished network in the region will contribute toward achieving Raimondi Group vision of becoming the most responsive leader in heavy lifting solutions,” he concluded.


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