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(Re)building a nation What do you do when the economic heart of your country is ripped out and scattered to the four winds? The only thing you can: rebuild.


ne of the abiding images from Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in the early 1990s and the subsequent conflict was that of retreating Iraqi troops indiscriminately burning the Kuwaiti oilfields. Saddam’s army set fire to over 700 wells as part of a scorched earth policy after their expulsion by coalition forces, causing untold environmental as well as economic damage. Somewhere in the region of six million barrels of oil were lost each day over a period of 10 months, before privately contracted crews extinguished the fires at a total cost of US$1.5 billion to the Kuwaiti government. As an act of senseless destruction, the fires certainly provided a potent symbol of Kuwait’s economic woes. But the real loss was yet to be felt. Over the course of the occupation, more than half the population, foreigner and citizen alike, fled the country to avoid the atrocities being committed by Saddam’s troops. And while some of those returned after the war, many more did not – including a large proportion of experienced non-nationals and other key members of the economy. So how do you recover from losing the best part of an entire generation of skills, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit? Rollout an ambitious reconstruction programme designed specifically to nurture long-term economic sustainability and rebuild the country as a trade and knowledge hub, of course. Last year it was announced that the Kuwaiti government has set aside a total of US$108 billion to develop new ports and cities, with railway systems, seaports, airports, new industrial zones and investments in the power, water, oil, technology, health and education sectors all high on the agenda. The centrepiece of this vision is the stunning Madinat Al Hareer development, designed by re-

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nowned architect Eric Kuhne. Up to 700,000 people could be housed in the US$94 billion, 25-year project on completion, while it is estimated that around 450,000 new jobs will be created. “We’re not just putting up buildings, we’re putting up businesses; we’re not just building structures, we’re building educational programmes and health programmes and communities and changing the future of an entire culture,” explains Kuhne in our interview on page 28. It’s an element that architects, planners and developers across the region – from established markets like the UAE and Qatar to emerging ones such as Syria, Libya and Morocco – are increasingly emphasising in their projects: the social aspect of architecture and infrastructure builds. Indeed, perhaps it’s time to develop a new model for measuring the societal impact of big projects, in the same way we currently model projected financial returns and environmental impacts. After all, the ultimate measure of success for any such project is its ability to perform a useful societal function and empower its users to live better. Kuwait certainly has such a vision. Turning that dream into reality is where the real work starts.

“Sustainability is a big focus for us. Anyone who believes that being eco-conscious is a trend or a fad doesn’t understand longevity or sustainability” Abdul Majeed Al Fahim, Chairman of Dubai Pearl, p68

“Contractors here are increasingly moving into areas where there is work – Saudi, Qatar and Syria, even Egypt. Those will be big targets for us” Tom Barry, CEO of Arabtec, p48

Ben Thompson Managing Editor

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Reaching for the stars

28 Resolving construction disputes With the effects of the recession continuing to bite, Arabtec CEO Tom Barry argues that firms need a new approach to dispute resolution: oldschool negotiating skills

48 68 Back on track

MENA Infrastructure speaks to Eric Kuhne, architect at Kuwait’s groundbreaking Madinat al Hareer development, about the dizzying heights he is preparing to scale and his plans for what is set to be the world’s tallest building

38 Counting the cost of accountability Al Habtoor Leighton CEO Laurie Voyer explains why a safe site is a productive site

52 Tomorrow’s world: a master plan MENA Infrastructure talks to Hilson Moran’s Matt Kitson to find out about his new masterplanning tool for sustainable community living

58 Fuelling Bahrain’s boom Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs, HE Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, talks about plans for 2011 and their impact on the infrastructure sector


Investing in the future MENA Infrastructure takes a look at the region’s most promising new markets for 2011

Dubai Pearl’s Chairman Abdul Majeed Ismail Al Fahim explains the reasons behind the redesigned masterplan, and why sustainability and luxury need not be exclusive concepts


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Industry Insight

Sectional Features

104 Peer Fischer Siemens AG 108 Joss Dare Ashurst 112 Jana Hochmanova Czech Air Navigation Institute 122 Per Olav Ramstad Jotun Paints 126 Alexander Risch Hoffmann Mineral


42 Bridging the skills gap in overhead lifting Geoff Holden, Chief Executive of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), addresses a key concern for construction workers

56 DP World embraces carbon management The Dubai-based port operator has implemented a revolutionary tool to provide accurate carbon reporting across 50 marine terminals around the world

74 Cooling solutions market heating up Can the world’s best-kept energy secret provide the answer to the region’s cooling woes?

80 Modernising the grid The advent of smart grid technologies could prove key to balancing supply with demand, says HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer of DEWA

100 Crossing over MENA Infrastructure takes a look at the challenges posed by projects that cross between nations

106 Abu Dhabi on course for smarter roads A new intelligent transport system promises to improve the safety and efficiency of the emirate’s road network. But will it be enough?

114 A view from the top MENA Infrastructure takes a look at the latest offering from the portfolio of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill: Dubai’s Rolex Tower

128 Returning to our roots AECOM’s Romi Sebastian argues for a more logical, controlled and cultural approach to construction in the Gulf


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Executive Interview



36 Joakim Almqvist Volvo 72 Thomas Michel Robonaut 102 Peter Harris AD Engineering 118 Barry Bell Wagner Fire Safety

Ask the Expert 46 Ahmed El-Aassar Gannett Fleming 64 Ian Mackay Petrotechnics 78 Richard Menezes Utico 86 Terry Povall EC Harris 120 Ray Lucas Phoenix Fire Protection 124 Las Kirmaier Heubach GmbH

Next Big Thing 44 Armin Lehmann Lenzen Hebe-und Fordertechnik GmbH 84 Jantje Johnson OrangeBoat

Troubleshooter 62 Bill Trefanenko Enbridge Technology Inc 66 Floris Schulze KEMA

Project Focus 110 Jürgen Wenz WOHR + BAUER

131 Cleaning the Gulf 134 Oman’s marinas 136 The Gulf ’s role in Hollywood

138 On the road again 140 36 hours in Cairo 142 Agenda

Photo Finish


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The NG Oil & Gas MENA Summit 12 - 14 April 2011 The Meydan Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE The NGO Summit is a three-day critical information gathering of the most influential and important executives from across the region. The NGO Summit is an opportunity to debate, benchmark and learn from other industry leaders.

A Controlled, Professional and Focused Environment It is a C-level event reserved for 100 participants that includes expert workshops, facilitated roundtables, peer-to-peer networking, and coordinated technology meetings.

A Proven Format This inspired and professional format has been used by over 100 executives as a rewarding platform for discussion and learning.

MENA Infrastructure GDS Publishing, Queen Square House 18-21 Queen Square, Bristol, BS1 4NH Tel: +44 117 9214000 E-mail: Legal Information The advertising and articles appearing within this publication reflect the opinions and attitudes of their respective authors and not necessarily those of the publisher or editors. We are not to be held accountable for unsolicited manuscripts, transparencies or photographs. All material within this magazine is ©2011 MENA Infra.

Chairman/Publisher Spencer Green CEO Oliver Smart Finance Director Jamie Cantillon Content Director Kelly Grant Design Director James West Managing Editor Ben Thompson Editor Lucy Douglas Contributors Ian Clover, Lorna Davies, Nicholas Pryke, Sharon Stephenson Print Director Andrew Hobson Associate Designers Dan Clayton, Élise Gilbert, Michael Hall, Crystal Mather, Cliff Newman, Catherine Wilson Online Editor Jana Grune Project Director Thomas Gabriel Project Manager Thomas Mayne Sales Executives Paul Steventon Production Director Lauren Heal Production Coordinators Renata Okrajni, Aimee Whitehead VP North America Jason Green Operations Director Ben Kelly IT Director Karen Boparoy Marketing Director John Funnell

Subscription Enquiries +44 117 9214000, General Enquiries (Please put the magazine name in the subject line) Letters to the Editor

Find Out More – Contact NGO +44 (0)117 915 4745

GDS International GDS Publishing, Queen Square House 18-21 QueenSquare, Bristol, BS1 4NH Tel: +44 117 9214000 E-mail: CREDITS.indd 12

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Qatar wins World Cup bid, but it’s only the beginning


he world waited with baited breath on December 2nd, 2010, for football’s governing body FIFA to announce the hosts of the World Cups 2018 and 2022. Some 11 countries all competed for the coveted honour of hosting the two events, one of the most renowned in the sporting calendar, and the winning bids came from Russia and Qatar, respectively. Indeed, Qatar seemed an unlikely choice for the prize; with the desert climate posing difficult conditions for the players, and up against heavyweights such as the Untied States, many thought that Qatar’s bid would fail to succeed with FIFA’s exclusive committee of members. But nonetheless, the GCC state’s bid was enough to secure them the contract to host the tournament in 2022. Though receiving some heavy criticism around the world, Qatar’s success has been hailed both within the Gulf and internationally as a victory for the Arab world, and for smaller nations looking to assert their presence as an emerging football destination. FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who made the announcement of the winners in Zurich, said: “We go to new lands… The Middle East and Arabic world have been waiting for a long time so I’m a happy president talking about the development of football.” For Qatari footballers, the success will guarantee a spot in the World Cup Finals tournament in 2022, a feat


S&P estimates Qatar’s world cup infrastructure expenditure at US$64bn

they have yet to achieve. However the real winners of the bid will be the developers and contractors commissioned to build the infrastructure, stadia and the estimated 55,000 hotel rooms necessary to accommodate the scores of people that will flock to the tiny Gulf state for the event. Winning the bid was just one step; the challenge now is to make sure the planned developments are ready in time. And indeed, this in itself is a very real challenge. India demonstrated in late 2010 how over-ambitious plans can leave such an event in tatters, when their mammoth projects for the Commonwealth Games remained unfinished as the event started. Qatar’s planned stadia, though of the predictably impressive specification one has come to expect from Gulf megaprojects, will require tremendous power input as well as comprehensive transport infrastructure. According to authorities in Qatar, the country’s tourism sector plans to expand its three and four-star hotel market in order to provide accommodation to the variety of income groups that will attend the World Cup. Ahmed Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Qatari Tourism Authority (QTA), revealed in an interview in late 2010 that “we expect about 40 hotels to open in the next 12 months.” Apart from the Olympics, this event is unrivalled in its ability to boost the host nation’s tourism sector. The most recent tournament hosts, South Africa in 2010,

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welcomed over a quarter of a million more visitors during June and July than it did in the same months the previous year. And for Qatar, the fastest growing economy in the world in recent years, sitting on an enviable resource wealth, this presents a prime opportunity to diversify the booming economy and develop a globally competitive business environment. The QTA had announced earlier this year that it planned to invest some US$20 billion in tourism developments until 2013; now the success in the World Cup bid has led to calls for the Qatar tourism market to reach 90,000 rooms by the time of the tournament 11 years from now, predominantly in the three and four-star sector. It is also calling on cruise ships to help alleviate the pressure put on hotels during the World Cup weeks. The World Cup is not just expected to boost interest in Qatar itself. Many feel that the event will spark interest among a new tourism demographic in the Gulf region as a whole. “This will be the World Cup of the Middle East,” claimed Managing Director at Seven Tides Mike Scully. Popular tourism destinations in the region such as the UAE are expected to see an increase in tourist traffic as a result of the tournament generating interest in the region. Similarly, developers from both across the region and local to Qatar have been leveraging the growth opportunities available since the plans to host the event were outlined in 2009. Qatar has been pushing for massive infrastructure development in recent years, and it is estimated that the next five years will see a US$25 billion rail network come online as well as a US$7 billion metro line in Doha, a US$11 billion airport development, a US$5.5 billion new deep-water port and some US$20 billion worth of new road developments. Dubai’s Arabtec is one such company well positioned to capitalise on the opportunities that have been presented by Qatar’s success in the bid. “Our timing in Qatar was right so we can definitely contribute to the boom that is required,” explains CFO Ziad Makhzoumi. “There will be other companies that are interested in coming to Qatar but they will be new to the market there and will not have the advantage of the infrastructure build that we already have.” Material providers are in popular demand thanks to the development of infrastructure projects, and firms such as Qatar National Cement and Industries Qatar have seen profits rise in recent months due to an increased demand for steel and cement. In answer to critics who have claimed the country has the wrong climate to host such an event, Qatar is working on 12 air-conditioned stadia for the tournament. Such projects will require a significant additional power capacity, which would be costly and mean a notable increase in carbon emissions during the event. Still, Irish company Mercury Engineering, already benefiting from a presence in the Qatar market, has designed a zero-emissions cooling system for the Doha 2022 Showcase Stadium that could be used for all stadia during the tournament in order to solve the challenges posed by the country’s climate.


The architectural concept behind the Umm Slal stadium takes it’s inspiration from a nearby beautiful old fort.

The architecture of the Doha Port stadium references its location by creating a shape reminiscent of a marine animal.

The shape of the proposed Al-Shamal stadium was derived from the traditional ‘dhow’, the local fishing boats of the Arabian Gulf.

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USA A recent report published by America 2050 has evaluated the potential routes of a high-speed rail network, based on a line’s ability to attract customers. The report examined data such as population density, existing rail transit networks and concentration of jobs. The report indicated that the routes with the highest potential demand for high-speed rail systems were New York to Washington DC; Chicago to Milwaukee; Los Angeles to San Diego; Tampa to Orlando to Miami; Dallas to Houston; Atlanta to Birmingham; Portland to Seattle; and Denver – Pueblo.

Colombia Colombia, the world’s fifth largest coal exporter, suffered a blow in January as 50 cars carrying the fuel from Glencore’s Prodeco unit derailed. Some 3000 tonnes of coal was affected by the derailment of the cars owned by Prodeco, one of the largest coal export companies in Colombia. The final cause of the derailment has yet to be established but officials have said it could have been caused by a problem with a switch on one of the wheels. The line has now returned to its full capacity, running a total of 24 trains every day, each carrying some 6000 tonnes of coal.


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Japan The Japanese government has hinted that some US$6.4 billion will be invested in green energy technologies up until Q1 2012. Around US1.9 billion will come from the government itself while the rest would be provided by the nation’s most prolific companies, including Toshiba Corp, Sharp Corp, Panasonic Corp, Fuji Electric Holding and Toda Kogyo Corp. The investment would be pushed towards a variety of green technologies, including fuel efficient cars and solar panels. The investment is predicted to create some 10,000 jobs as firms expand their manufacturing infrastructure and production capacity, and in addition is expected to generate annual product demand worth US$22.9 billion.


Iraq Iraq will be inviting foreign firms in early March to submit bids to build container ships in order to help boost the nation’s trade output. At an estimated value of US$110 million, the 10 ships will stand as part of Iraq’s growing maritime fleet, which it has been re-building since 2009. Long years of war have left Iraq’s infrastructure in tatters but major investment in oil wealth has brought a promising opportunity for the Gulf nation to re-build itself.


Australia Australia’s Eastern Seaboard area, including the country’s largest city, has suffered from the most devastating and costly floods in the nation’s history. The floods began in the northeast, resource rich state of Queensland and have since spread south into Victoria, covering an area larger than South Africa. The estimated costs in Queensland alone are AU$10 billion and according to a Central Bank representative the floods would cut growth by one percent, or AU$13 billion.


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Project Focus: Airports


Emerging from times of austerity, transport infrastructure has been high on the agenda of GCC government officials looking to provide Gulf nations with a much-needed economic boost. The comprehensive rail network currently under construction across the region is set to provide improved connectivity between GCC states for both trade and commercial purposes, and ongoing road development projects are proving big business in the increasingly urbanised Gulf region. And alongside such projects, the aviation authorities of the Gulf are preparing for a boom in passengers and cargo from outside the region as well, with significant investment being pushed into the international airports in the GCC’s major cities. Prince Mohammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport Client: General Authority of Civil Aviation, Saudi Arabia Estimated Value: US$1.5 billion Description: The expansion of the Medina airport is the first GACA project developed under a publicprivate partnership, and is part of the authority’s plan to increase the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s capacity to around 80 million passengers a year by 2035. Investments in airport infrastructure around the kingdom will total US$10.5 billion, according to the plan. Schedule: Bids for the main construction contract are expected to be submitted in Q1 2011 and the project is estimated to be completed by Q1 2016.

King Abdulaziz International Airport, Phase 1 Client: General Authority of Civil Aviation, Saudi Arabia Estimated Value: US$1.5 billion Description: The project on the King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah has been divided into three phases, the first of which will see construction of a new terminal to replace the existing North and South terminal, 42 contact gates with bridges, a new control tower and a communications system. Schedule: Phase one is set to be completed by Q1 2012.

New Doha International Airport Client: Civil Aviation Authority, Qatar Estimated Value: US$11 billion Description: Covering a land area greater than 22 kilometres, Qatar’s new international airport has been designed to accommodate two million tonnes of cargo, 320,000 aircraft and 50 million foot passengers annually. The area around the site has been reserved for development of commercial projects such as hotels, offices and a free trade zone. Schedule: Begun back in 2004, the project is estimated to be completed in 2015.


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Abu Dhabi Airport Midfield Terminal Complex Client: Supervision Committee for Expansion of the Abu Dhabi International Airport Estimated Value: US$6.8 billion Description: The new terminal will have a capacity of 20 million passengers a year, with 45 gates initially and a projected 58 to cope with the growth that Abu Dhabi’s transport sector looks set to experiance in the coming years. The terminal will in addition hold some 25,000 square metres of commercial space, including retail outlets and food and beverage areas. Schedule: The project began back in Q2 2009 and is expected to be completed in Q2 2014.


Al Maktoum International Airport Client: Department of Civil Aviation, Dubai Estimated Value: US$8 billion Description: Al Maktoum International Airport is the official new name of Dubai World Central International Airport, and in typical Dubai fashion, the airport is set to be the biggest in the world. Once completed, the airport will boast an impressive six parallel runways, three passenger terminals with luxury facilities, a total of 12 million ton capacity in cargo terminals, as well as commercial developments and support and maintenance facilities. Schedule: The first phase of the project has been completed; the full project is estimated to end in 2020.

Muscat International Airport Client: Transport and Communications Ministry, Oman Estimated Value: US$1.2 billion Description: Though perhaps more modest that many of the other aviation developments under construction in the Gulf, the expansion of Muscat’s International Airport will see a new runway, a comprehensive taxiway system and various further developments to the civil infrastructure of the airport. Schedule: This first phase of the project is expected to be completed by Q3 2012.


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Starrport’s contribution to eco-reporting




tarrport is seeking to promote the innovative concept behind its more environmentally friendly airport in many different ways. Recently, it presented the core feature of inclined runways over the terminal to the Global Reporting Initiative. GRI is a network-based organisation that has pioneered the development of the world’s most widely used standards for sustainability reporting – also known as ecological footprint reporting. One of their founding partners is UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, and they cooperate with the United Nations Global Compact. The reporting framework is developed through a consensus-seeking process with participants drawn globally from business, civil society, labour and

professional institutions. Last year, more than 1400 organisations from 60 countries used the guidelines to produce their sustainability reports. To address a wide variety of branches, sectors can contribute their specific additions. The airport operators have developed their own supplement with relevant themes such as noise, emergency preparedness and impacts of operations on local communities. Their working group represents forward-thinking ecologically oriented stakeholders and includes the international airports of Athens, Mexico, Denver, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Munich, Frankfurt, Portland, San Diego, Toronto and Zurich. The proposed suggestions are now under review. The definitive version of these additions is targeted for early to mid 2011. Recyclus submitted the core Starrport concept of inclined runways. When approved, the opportunity to save half the fuel during landing and takeoff would be a part of sustainable reporting for airports. Sustainability issues impact more and more lives and businesses. Ecological reporting can hereby become a credible instrument for efficient measures in a degrading environment. This fits perfectly the trend towards increasingly greener infrastructures.

Hajj calls for major infrastructure investment


ovember saw the annual sacred Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca for some 2.5 million Muslims from across the MENA region and the world over. And with this event of monumental religious significance for so many people comes a prime development opportunity ripe

for the taking. As the Hajj began on 14th November last year, the Saudi Ministry for Municipal and Rural Affairs brought the US$1.8 billion Mecca Metro online for the first time. The line, which consists of 11 miles of track linking religious sites around Mecca and Medina, was contracted with the intention of relieving the mammoth crowds that gather for the Hajj every year; however many predict that such infrastructure development will serve to increase the numbers of people making the pilgrimage. Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz told a news conference during Hajj that, “In the past 10 years we’ve seen a big rise in pilgrims. This year the number of pilgrims will rise by 20 percent. Work to improve the level of services to pilgrims of the House of God is continuing.” In addition to the rail network, the government in Saudi Arabia is


investing in the expansion of the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. The first phase of the project is set for completion in 2012, and will increase the number of passengers travelling through the airport by an estimated 17 million annually. The new terminal will be 678,000 square metres and have 42 gates, according to reports from the Saudi Gazette. Transport infrastructure expansion is proving popular with hoteliers in the region, who see the increased numbers of visitors to the region as an opportunity to develop regional operations. “The arrivals we are seeing in 2010 are unprecedented in the history of Mecca,” Shuja Zaidi, VP of Projects in Saudi Arabia at Hilton Worldwide, told Bloomberg during Hajj. “You can image the numbers when the transportation projects are complete.” Luxury developments such as the Mecca Clock Royal Tower Hotel, which towers over the Grand Mosque, are becoming increasingly common in the region with pilgrims spending tens of thousands of dollars on their trips during Hajj, and companies such as Zaidi’s Hilton Worldwide and construction firm Saudi BinLadin Group are well positioned to capitalise on this growing market.

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Opticom priority control solutions at work


GCC states rank among the worst in the world for CO2 emissions


mid warnings that the MENA region is likely to be most susceptible to climate change, a recent report outlining the global rankings of CO2 emissions from energy use has indicated that Gulf nations are among the worst in the world. Research carried out by British risk analyst firm Maplecroft has produced the ranking, which cites the UAE as the highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and Saudi Arabia as the sixth highest. The index is intended to raise awareness of such issues and to help companies identify their risk exposures, as well as identify nations that may be subject to regulation of CO2 emissions in the future. The rankings are based on each country’s cumulative greenhouse gas emissions since 1900, on total national emissions and – most heavily – on current per capita emissions. According to Maplecroft, the poor performance of the UAE and Saudi Arabia was based predominantly on the countries’ mammoth reliance on fossil fuels and also for energy intensive water desalination plants. The report indicated that desalination accounts for 50 percent of all CO2 emissions in Saudi Arabia. A statement from the firm said that: “Maplecroft recognises that desalination is a positive way to address water security but high emissions underline the need to find more energy efficient innovations.” The UAE dropped 15 places from last year’s ranking, due to a huge 25 percent rise in total carbon output in the two years ending 2008 – the most recently available data – and a 20 percent increase in per capita emissions. Both UAE and Saudi Arabia are ranked as being at ‘extreme’ risk by the report. Kuwait, Qatar, Iran and Bahrain all ranked as ‘high’ risk nations, lying 12th, 17th 26th and 31st respectively in the index of 183 countries. Oman had the lowest rates of CO2 emissions of all the GCC member states and Afghanistan rated as the lowest of all MENA countries. “As the world moves towards a low carbon economy, more rigorous environmental policies may leave companies exposed to costly operating expenses and new investment requirements,” said Fiona Place, Head of Maps and Indices at Maplecroft. “Energy intensive sectors, such as the extractive sector and logistics, will be particularly vulnerable, but all areas of business need to monitor the associated risks.”


Congested intersections can mean frustrating or even dangerous delays for emergency vehicles, mass transit and VIP motorcades. Under normal operation all the vehicles approaching an intersection, including emergency vehicles, mass transit and VIP motorcades, are subject to the normal pacing of traffic lights. In an emergency, the time it takes for a emergency vehicle to arrive at its destination can often mean the difference between life and death. In the event of an evacuation, traffic congestion can lead to mass chaos. And if mass transit is no more efficient than driving a car, it is difficult for cities to convince drivers to give up their vehicles for buses and trains. When activated, the Opticom priority control system gives VIP motorcades, emergency vehicles and transit vehicles the green light so they can move through intersections quickly and safely. Opticom Priority Control Solutions combine in-vehicle and atintersections hardware with feature-rich software to give authrorised vehicles the green light. Providing a faster, safer passage through the intersection increases safety and improves on time performance for mass transit. Opticom systems have shown to reduce transit delays by to up 40 percent and reduce intersection crash rates by up to 70 percent. For more information, please visit

Critical vehicles delayed in traffic – is there a solution? When emergency response, fire, police, mass transit and VIP motorcade vehicles need to get to their destinations fast, moving quickly and safely through congested intersections is a critical priority. Communities all over the world face the common challenge of expanding populations, increasing vehicular traffic—and the resulting roadway congestion. The challenge is magnified for those critical agencies that must respond to emergencies or provide timely, reliable transit service. As a result, they must look to technology solutions that help maximise the effectiveness of their existing transportation systems. Global Traffic Technologies, LLC (GTT), formed in 2007 from 3M’s pioneering Intelligent Transportation Systems business, is the manufacturer of Opticom priority control systems, a proven solution that addresses this challenge for communities around the globe.

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‘Starchitect’ unveils museum design



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TOP TEN Though home to some of the most ostentatious, opulent and luxurious tourism developments in the world, the Gulf has yet to make this top 10. MENA Infrastructure takes a look at the most expensive hotel rooms in the world

10. The Bridge Suit at Atlantis Resort Paradise Island, Bahamas US$22,000 per night

9. Presidential Suite at Ritz Carlton Tokyo, Japan US$25,000 per night

8. Penthouse at The Setai Miami, USA US$30,000 per night

7. Villa La Cupola Suite at Westin Excelsior Roma, Italy US$31,000 per night

6. Presidential Suite at Hotel Cala di Volpe Sardinia, Italy US$34,000 per night

5. Ty Werner Penthouse at Four Seasons New York, USA US$35,000 per night


-based architectural firm Foster+Partners unveiled its final designs for Abu Dhabi’s Zayed National Museum last month. Conceived as a monument and memorial to the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding president of the UAE, the museum – on which construction work has already begun – will be the centrepiece of the Saadiyat Island Cultural District and will showcase the history, culture and more recently the social and economic transformation of the Emirates. Architecturally, the aim has been to combine a highly efficient, contemporary form with elements of traditional Arabic design and hospitality to create a museum that is sustainable, welcoming and culturally of its place. Celebrating Sheikh Zayed’s legacy and love of nature, the museum is set within a landscaped garden, based on a timeline of his life. “It has been a great privilege to work on the Zayed National Museum, to carry forward Sheikh Zayed’s vision and to communicate the dynamic character of a contemporary United Arab Emirates,” said Lord Foster at the unveiling ceremony, which was attended by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. “We have sought to establish a building that will be an exemplar of sustainable design, resonating with Sheikh Zayed’s love of nature and his wider heritage.” The display spaces are housed within a man-made, landscaped mound while the galleries are placed at the bases of five solar thermal towers, which heat up and act as thermal chimneys to draw cooling air currents naturally through the museum. Fresh air is captured at a low level and drawn through buried ground-cooling pipes and then released into the museum’s lobby. The heat at the top of the towers works to draw the air up vertically through the galleries due to the thermal stack effect. Air vents open at the top of the wing-shaped towers taking advantage of the negative pressure on the lee of the wing profile to draw the hot air out. Made of lightweight steel construction, the towers are sculpted aerodynamically to work like the feathers of a bird’s wing. The analogies with falcons and flight are deliberate and relate directly to Sheikh Zayed’s love of falconry – a theme further celebrated by a gallery devoted to the subject as part of a wider focus on conservation. These inner spaces open up to an outdoor arena for live displays with hunting birds. Balancing the lightweight steel structures with a more monumental interior experience, the galleries are anchored by a dramatic top-lit central lobby, which is dug into the earth to exploit its thermal properties and brings together shops, cafes, an auditorium and informal venues for performances of poetry and dance. Throughout, the treatment of light and shade draws on a tradition of discreet, carefully positioned openings, which capture and direct the region’s intense sunlight to illuminate and animate these interior spaces. Objects are displayed within niches and on stone plinths that rise seamlessly from the floor. The museum is the latest superstar-designed building to be unveiled for Saadiyat Island’s cultural district; a performing arts centre by Zaha Hadid, a Guggenheim by Frank Gehry, a branch of the Louvre museum by Jean Nouvel and a maritime museum by Tadao Ando are already underway.


4. Shahi Mahal Presidential Suite at Raj Palace Jaipur, India US$40,000 per night

3. Hugh Hefner Sky Villa at Palms Casino Resort Las Vegas, USA US$40,000 per night

2. Royal Villa at Grand Resort Legonissi Athens, Greece US$47,000 per night

1. Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel Geneva, Switzerland US$65,000 per night

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Sensor controller for advanced road systems


industries such as transportation, oil and gas, waste disposal and mining. With IRD’s high level of support and customer service, clients can always feel at ease knowing that their project will be carried out from start to completion with expert supervision and technical assistance. “Protecting the road infrastructure is an important focus of government and industry,” says Rish Malhotra, IRD’s International Business Manager. “With IRD’s 30 years of experience implementing WIM and ITS systems, products like the iSINC, and an unparalleled team of hardware and software developers, we can provide our customers with a system that works for them.” For more information, please visit


nternational Road Dynamics (IRD) Inc. has built a worldwide reputation for providing customers with innovative weight enforcement and toll systems. The Canadian-based company supplies proprietary vehicle weighing systems that protect roads from damage by heavy trucks, and electronic toll collection systems that are used to fund road construction. IRD has developed the iSINC, an electronic controller which has now become the heart of numerous systems worldwide and is the industry leader in reliability and flexibility. IRD responded to customers’ needs to increase the efficiency of their road network, while also recovering upfront infrastructure and recurring maintenance costs. IRD’s Intelligent Sensor Interface and Network Controller (iSINC) provides a method for integrating different intelligent transportation systems (ITS) such as mainline and ramp weighin-motion (WIM) sorters and electronic toll Collection (ETC) into their customers’ existing road infrastructure, saving them both time and money. The iSINC can be integrated into a larger system and will facilitate third party applications and functions. The iSINC controller is supplied with a developer’s kit, allowing the iSINC to be customised to a customer’s needs. In addition to toll systems the iSINC electronics can be used to control sensors in



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A visionary approach to power management


The Middle East surpassed 4 million 3G users in 2010 Through the use of innovative and smart technology, ComAp Systems can design, manufacture and install highly tailored power management packages that deliver a unique technical solution for each customer helping them benefit from greater flexibility, improved efficiency and easier system operation. For more information visit


unival group is a Germany based security solutions provider with a strong focus on blast protection technologies. Ballistic and blast protection has become a priority not only for governmental authorities but also for multi-national corporations moving into new markets. The current security rating of many countries requires a comprehensive risk consultancy in order to protect local staff and assets and to prevent imponderable damage. The unival consultancy team comprises senior security experts with long-term operational expertise in leading positions in both German and international federal authorities, who will support our clients on the spot. The assessment will also include preventive measures, special driving training and anti-stress training as well as a special focus on cultural and systemic awareness. For emergency response or preventative care to crisis scenarios, special trauma therapies and medevac services can be offered as part of our services. The unique service of unival group is based on a multi-level consultancy that includes risk and crisis management combined with the complementing unival multi-level product portfolio that adds explosive detection, night-vision, thermal imaging, counter monitoring, digital wideband jamming, physical protection including fleet management with armoured vehicles, access and construction security as well as personal protection. The customised consultancy modules are also accessible for small and medium sized companies as well as international NGOs that are especially vulnerable to terrorist or criminal attacks such as kidnapping or piracy. Special training courses are available in Germany or at client site.

STRABAG expands Libyan operations A consortium led by STRABAG has been awarded a new infrastructure contract in Libya worth US$138.5 million. It is the fi ft h large order for STRABAG in the region. The works comprise the rehabilitation of the coastal highway between Ras Ejdir and Garaboulli, as well as the construction of the Tripoli Western Access. In total, 103km of dual-carriage and 97km of single-carriage roadway will be built. Work began in December 2010 and is scheduled for completion in June 2013. STRABAG’s share is 60 percent (about US$82 million).

COMPANY INDEX Q1 2011 Abu Dhabi Department of Transport 106 AD Engineering International 102, 103 AECOM 128 Al Basti & Muktha 38 Al Fahim Group 68 Al Habtoor Leighton Group 38, 68 Al Naboodah Contracting 38 Ammamm 99 Aquarius 13 Arabtec 48, 90 Ashurst 108, 109 Bahrain National Oil & Gas Authority 58 Bapco 58 BK Guilini 135 Bomag 41 BuildSafe UAE 38 Carbon Disclosure Project 56 ComAp 26, 97 Czech Air Navigation Institute (CANI) 112, 113 DEWA 80 DP World 56 Dutco Balfour Beatty 38 EC Harris 77, 86 Enbridge 21, 62, 63 Epn Consulting 57 Frost & Sullivan 100 Gannett Fleming 46, 47 Global Traffic Technology 22, 23 Greenstone Carbon Management 56 GS Engineering 58 Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company 58 Heubach GmbH 124, 125 Hilson Moran 52 Hoffmann Mineral 126, 127 Honeywell 117, 130, IBC Intrnational Road Dynamics 26, 93 Jotron 11 Jotun Paints 122, 123 KEMA 66, 67, 73 Lenzen Hebe-und Fordertechnik GmbH 44, 45 Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) 42 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Company 58 Mubadala 58 Murray & Roberts 38 Neste Oil 58 Nukote 51 OangeBoat 84, 85, OBC Occidental Petroleum 58 Oil and Gas Holding Company of Bahrain 58 Omnix International 68 Pearl Dubai FZ LLC 68 Petrotechnics 64, 65 Phonenix 120,121 Pure Water 81 Qatar Cool 74 Robonaut 72 SciCorp 8,87 Siemens AG IFC, 104, 105 Six Construct 38 SOM 114 Starrport 20, 35 Tatweer Petroleum 58 Technoment 58 The CarbonNeutral Company 56 Trojan UV 83 UDC 74 Unival 4, 26 Utico 78, 79 Volvo 2, 36, 37 Volvo Construction 33, 88 Wagner 6, 118, 119 WOHR + BAUER 110, 111


he generator control solutions now developed by ComAp Systems utilise the latest generation of ComAp control hardware and software that bring a new level of user interactivity and system flexibility for each application. At the centre of these significant developments is an increased modular approach to product design and software integration that gives customers the opportunity to build tailored and highly configurable solutions using a variety of detachable family components and modules. Each of the existing high specification ComAp control platforms – InteliGenNT, InteliSysNT and InteliMainNT – are now provided as a flexible toolkit featuring a modular BaseBox and a choice of different sized interactive attachable colour screens. These new innovative screen modules incorporate a large high-resolution colour TFT display for enhanced visibility combined with user-friendly intuitive active buttons to ensure users have access to more information in less time. And, a built in feature collects and stores previous performance data using the TRENDS monitoring software helping customers evaluate past events easily on one screen. The advantages are explained by ComAp Systems’ Mohammed Qaraqi. He says: “This unique and highly flexible concept helps us simplify installation, reduce set up time – particularly for multi-set synchronising – and enables us to streamline each customer project more effectively by installing exactly what the project demands.”

Unival group launches new “multi-level security consultancy”


21/01/2011 16:34


BUILDING THE DREAM Eric Kuhne has a vision: to re-position architecture as a form of diplomacy for the 21st century. And if his goal sounds lofty, that’s nothing compared to the heights he is preparing to scale at Kuwait’s groundbreaking Madinat al Hareer development, home to what is planned to be the world’s tallest building, the Mubarak al Kabir. By Ben Thompson


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s you’d expect from one of the world’s most feted architects, the principles of good design were instilled in Eric Kuhne from an early age. His father taught him to do perspective drawing when he was just seven years old, and architecture and civil engineering were constant topics of dinner table conversation in the family home. “At least once or twice a week, my mother would pull a book off the shelf and say, ‘Let’s explore the archaeology of such-and-such a place’,” he explains with a grin. “Before you knew it, the dining table would be covered with literature and the children’s stories of that culture along with these great map books, and we’d have this fantastic, broad-ranging conversation.” It was a schooling that taught the young Kuhne much about the importance of architecture in the development of a society – and also gave him an inspirational introduction to other cultures and the magical stories behind them. “My mom used to always say that books are windows to the world that you can hold in your hand, but you don’t truly experience different cultures until you go to those places and that culture holds you in its hand,” he explains. “We were raised with an absolute belief that the best parts of the world were yet to be explored by us, and that we had to get out there and see them.” It’s a perspective that has had a profound influence on his approach to architecture. “In America you’re raised with blinkers on to think that the American Way is the only way of doing things,” he says. “But the greatest gift I’ve had is that I’ve lived outside of the US for 20 years and been able to see my own country from Australian eyes and Southeast Asian eyes and Korean eyes and Chinese eyes and Kazakhstan and Russian and Middle Eastern eyes. And while the rest of the world loves the liberties and freedoms that have been hard-fought and won in America, different countries must find their own way to grow and protect those liberties and freedoms within their cultures, within their governmental systems, within their own contexts. There is not a single head of state that I’ve worked with (and I’ve worked with over a dozen) that doesn’t want to bring those precious ideals into their own country, but they want to do it on their own terms.” And for Kuhne at least, this is where architecture comes in: as a showcase of ideas, as a starting point for a conversation, as a form of diplomacy. “What we try to do is design a project – a waterfront, a building, a city – that will showcase how these cultures intersect with global beliefs. All of our work is based around that idea. So architecture is a new diplomacy for us. It’s not a job. It’s not a building. It’s the way you express yourself and teach the world about the beauty of your own civilization.” In this exclusive interview with MENA Infrastructure Managing Editor Ben Thompson, Kuhne outlines how his philosophy has helped shape one of the region’s most ambitious mega projects – that of Kuwait’s City of Silk development, Madinat al Hareer – and why a smarter, more collaborative approach to funding and development is needed in order to embrace the realities of 21st century project work.


You have said that money has never been more naïve than it is right now. So let’s start with your view of the current economic climate, and why the concept of ‘smarter’ money is essential to both the recovery and the industry itself. Eric Kuhne: In the past 10 years we witnessed some of the most unenlightened capital distribution ever with regards to project fi nancing. There was no respect for what the market could absorb, no respect for business planning, no understanding of aesthetics being a fundamental part of long-term value, it was all about smoke and mirrors. In fact, the best way to label the past decade is that it’s been the biggest casino operation in the history of the planet. And as a result, we’ve never seen a greater collapse in the history of the property industry than the one we’ve experienced in the past two years – people make reference to the Great Depression, but I think it’s far grander than that because it touches nations all around the world. What we need is a better approach to the way we think about fi nancing and capital distribution, particularly in our industry. Smart money builds great cities, not architects, and the more enlightened the capital, the grander the city. And as terrible as this crash has been, we’re now fi nding that the talent is fi nally getting aligned with the capital, and it’s starting to ask all the right questions. That’s a positive step. So you feel that in the last decade there’s been a disconnect between the people who provide the funding and the people with the smartest ideas? EK: Exactly. Boom economies never produce quality. They just produce quantity. We do our best work in bust economies because people have to be precise about what they invest in, how they put their business plan together, whether there’s a market that’ll support that, and how they can sustain the investment; in a boom economy it’s all about how much you can inflate the fake value of something before fl ipping it and selling it on. Property is meant to endure, it’s not meant to be a commodity or a poker chip. And what we’ve seen is that countries that have used property as a gambling technique have had the worst economic collapses while communities and nations in which property was seen as a long-term investment – whether because of tax laws or ministerial policies or good leadership or even cultural sensibilities – have come out relatively unscathed. Our belief is that you always stick with the basics. Is there a market that will support your ideas? Is there a business plan that you can apply to that market that will improve its long-term wealth creation and sustainability? If there is, then we can wrap great architecture around that. So is that a foundation stone for your approach to architecture? Having a firm business model in place as a real-world driver for the architecture? EK: Absolutely. And, by the way, we start designing the moment we start in a community. The first thing we do is we hit the bookstores. Then we go to the schools and we listen to the stories that are being told to children because

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in those stories is the genius of that civilisation being passed on to the next generation. So by the time we meet with the client, we’ve got a cultural map of their nation as much as we have a drawing that represents our ideas, and those two go hand-in-hand. It’s the polar opposite of the modernist movement. While modernism wants to erase the identity of nations and civilisations across the planet, we believe we can be inspired by the genius of the past, and we can build something new today that honours that past as well as teaches the world about the history of our own civilisation. Modernism doesn’t do that. Do you think having an outsider’s perspective – born and raised in the US, now resident in the UK, extensively travelled, working in countries all around the world – and bringing that to the projects you work on gives you a unique outlook? EK: I hope it’s not unique; I hope many people share it. But I’m surprised how many times we’re brought in to turn around projects that have gone in the wrong direction. A lot of contemporary leaderships have forsaken their own cultural history; look at the Commonwealth of Independent States, Central Asia, even China – those are all new governments, new leaderships, that came out of a completely different political ethos to those of the past and who basically said, “we’re gonna erase history and start again”. It’s very hard to counter that. But the past is so important to our understanding of the present; I never dreamed that I’d be speaking as a diplomat and an archaeologist and a sociologist in order to create pretty things, but on the other hand I can’t imagine a better thing to be doing. I love my work. I get to travel and explore these great cultures, and the stories are amazing. Obviously storytelling is an essential part of the process for you. Let’s talk a little bit about Madinat al Hareer and the storytelling process that went on there in terms of your conversations with the Emir of Kuwait. How did that meeting even come about? EK: His Excellency Sheikh Al-Sabah – who was prime minister when we started – asked the leadership of the private sector in Kuwait to build a series of new cities geared around transforming Kuwait into a knowledge economy; one of our clients at the time, Muhammed al Marzouk – we were doing a major retail-leisure destination for him in Kuwait – asked us to get involved. So I wrote a letter to Sheikh Al-Sabah that said, “All these other seven cities are fi ne, but would you consider an eighth one at the mouth of the Tigris-Euphrates river delta, rather than out in the middle of the desert?” He agreed, and so we were brought in, and in a matter of six weeks we had put together the sketch plan and started meeting with the ministers on a regular basis. They’re one of the brightest collection of minds that I’ve encountered anywhere in the world. And they saw their role as creating an entirely new entrepreneurial class in order to address the ‘lost generation’ – the society that had been chased away by the invasion in 1990 and not returned. So we identified education, health,


energy, information technology and the environment as the key economies for the Middle East going forward, and decided to organise the new cities around those industries. This was in 2005. How have global events since that time impacted on the development? EK: Kuwait has been caught by the same economic crush as everyone else, but we’ve learned to be patient in the Middle East. Th ings go quiet, and then the phone rings, and it’s all action. We’re still exploring some design ideas on the project, but mostly we’re just working through the planning process and the political process. It’s fair to say that the economy has slowed things down but it hasn’t stopped anything. My job is to keep the project alive internationally. I have the highest level of respect for the ministers. To see a group of elected leaders fight to recover from having their nation flattened and their population scattered around the world, and to come back and start to rebuild that nation and build a new entrepreneurial society, is a lesson that the world needs to see. Look at Korea: 50 years ago it was bombed flat, yet today it’s the 11th strongest economy in the world, and that’s the model we’re aspiring to in Kuwait. To what extent do you look to other cultures, people and work for inspiration? EK: I do it all the time. For example, I was given a copy of Ibn Khaldun’s Prologue by someone in the Emir’s office that has proven invaluable for my work on City of Silk. Ibn Khaldun was one of the greatest thinkers in the history of the world, and in that book he writes about his experience travelling all over the world, from India to Spain and Morocco, which is where he ended up – essentially, the silk and spice routes. And he wrote about what he experienced, and about why honouring the diversity of peoples’ rituals and belief systems is essential. The tolerance of beliefs that don’t agree with your own, plus the concept of agreeing on business principles so you can successfully work with each other – those are fundamental parts of his work that I’ve tried to apply to Madinat al Hareer, sitting as it does at the crossroads of the old silk route and with its aim of being a major commerce hub. I believe in building of and for our time. And I believe the search for form and symbols that represent our time are as essential as they were when they were building the great cathedrals or the pyramids or the Great Wall of China or anything else – but you have to do the hard work, you’ve got to go digging. You talked earlier on about the need to have demand as a starting point for any kind of project. I guess for Westerners, it seems hard to imagine the demand for eight brand-new cities in a country is there – especially when our views are coloured by stories of regional oversupply in the property sector. So where is the demand coming from? EK: That’s a really good point. When we started this, which was almost five years ago, Kuwait was doing three things. First of all, it was encouraging citizens that had moved out

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of the country to come home. They were saying, “We will pay you, we will give you land to build your home, to come back. We want you back so we can restore our culture.” The second thing was Kuwait was undergoing a massive immigration of blue-collar workers from countries around the region – Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India – and it had no place to put them. And the third thing – and this is what makes Kuwait different from a lot of the other nations in the Middle East – was that it saw itself as an economic catalyst for the development of the entire region rather than just a self-contained economy. So you have restoration of those that have left, you have empowerment of an immigrant workforce that’s becoming an emerging middle class, and you have ambitions to become a catalyst for surrounding economies. That’s where the demand is coming from. Can you tell us more about the vision for Madinat al Hareer as a means of meeting that demand? EK: Well, just the building of City of Silk alone will employ around 100,000 people over that 25-year period, so the actual construction process itself is one way of supporting a population. But what the various government ministers were obsessed with was the idea that once the city is built it would have a self-sustaining economy where those workers’ children can then be employed to power the new Kuwaiti economy. And so various economists and experts put together an economic analysis for the City of Silk, without which it would have just been a bunch of pretty pictures. And that showed that Kuwait had the capacity to train the children of the workers to become the new emerging middle class over the course of a generation. I get really excited about this because we’re not just putting up buildings, we’re putting up businesses; we’re not just building structures, we’re building educational programmes and health programmes and communities and changing the future of an entire culture. Architecture is just the package that wraps around all that. It can inform it, it can inspire it, it can touch hearts and souls, but it has to work and it has to endure. The world’s much more accessible today, with ease-oftravel and advances in technology making it a much smaller place. How is this informing your work? EK: In an information economy, the velocity of knowledge and the quality of content is spreading faster than anybody could have imagined, and we’re fi nding now that we’re setting up Facebook pages for each of our projects so that there can be a blog about that project that people can contribute to; we’re starting to think about Twitter as a potential communication tool; and we fi lm every project because video is great for experiencing a three-dimensional world properly. So our job is to try to figure out how to get the word out, and we’re just on the verge of setting up what’s going to be called the Civic Arts Forum, where we will post videos and start debates. There’s just not enough debate in this industry. Everyone thinks they need to keep their great ideas to themselves, and as a result lift ing the general level of debate is


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very hard. In property development, very few people read; they xerox and copy everything, but they don’t read. So we’re just really focused on getting our ideas out there – at least that way you can raise (and more effectively manage) expectations, which is important because getting an enlightened, professional team in place is essential on these projects. Who are you working with on City of Silk? EK: Atkins were the engineers. And project management is a really important piece – it wasn’t until our partners at Faithful+Gould actually mapped out the 25-year lifecycle of the project so that the economists could put a cost on infrastructure, calculate income from sales and projected income from work, and we could see how we were going to phase it, that the thing came to life. It was like an EKG. We had a pulse on a patient that was comatose, and all of a sudden, boom! all the indicators came to life. I guess it highlights the need for all of us to continue to learn from other people, to share, to collaborate – and obviously this is now an increasingly important part of the industry… EK: Absolutely. One of the problems is that the capital guys are generally seen as separate from the creative process, and so they bring a prejudice of failed projects to the project development side, which is generally restrictive. I feel they should see their responsibility as protecting the creative processes from failing, and if they knew what was being created they would participate in the board meetings and raise questions, as opposed to just reading the


reports and putting up obstacles. Greater collaboration is defi nitely needed. But fi nancial models are out of date. The intangibles that make a place, a city, a building, a project, a garden or a waterfront great have got to be measured. And that is why fi nancial people are important. Th is is what they do; work up formulas to measure the intangibles. At one point capital was an intangible until someone figured out how to calculate its return. So was carbon. Now we have to figure out how to measure social grace, or the ability to release human capital in a society. And imagine if we judged buildings by their ability to do that rather than just reduce the carbon footprint, for instance? We have to come up with new economic models to measure our work properly. I’m proud that design is in the boardroom – but to sit in that room, you have to honour those that you disagree with, and you also have to show that great design can solve what money can’t. That’s the magic. Each discipline – whether it be fi nance, marketing, engineering, project management, design – can speak a language, and they can solve irreconcilable differences; they just need to communicate better. There are many times where I’ve had asset managers and project managers say something will never happen, and I do a little sketch, and all of a sudden everybody gets what they want. And they’re great moments. Design has be part of the solution. It’s great to be part of those groups. And of course I bring stories to every job to get people to remember what they’re there for: they’re building something that captures the ethos of that civilisation, not just trying to make an investment return. „

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20/01/2011 13:24



ARABIAN DREAM Inside the Mubarak Al-Kabir, the tower inspired by 1001 Arabian Nights.

30-STOREY VILLAGES: The tower is made up of seven 30-storey villages stacked atop one another. Each of the three blades of each village contains elevator banks serving the low/medium/ high-rise lifts. There are apartments, offices and hotels in each village. GRAND DESIGNS The vision for Madinat al Hareer is to create a new city on the Arabian Gulf that will become a centrepiece of the Arabic world: a crossroads of the new Silk Routes, a gateway to Central Asia and a rich centre for the heritage and genius of Arabic culture stretching back over 2000 years. The so-called ‘City of Silk’ is a proposed 250 km2 (62,000-acre) planned urban area in Subiya, Kuwait, an area just opposite Kuwait City that will be divided into four main districts: Educational City, Finance City, Leisure City and Ecological City. Upon construction it is set to include the world’s tallest building Burj Mubarak al Kabir, a natural desert reservation of two square kilometres, a duty-free area located beside a new airport, a large business centre, conference areas, Olympic stadia, athletic areas and areas that concentrate on media, health, education and industry. The city will also include numerous tourist attractions, hotels, spas and public gardens. Planned to be built in individual phases with construction set to be completed within 25 years, the development will cost an estimated US$94 billion. The complex is planned to be linked to Kuwait City by a 23.5-kilometre long bridge that should decrease driving times between Kuwait City and Madinat al Hareer to just 17 minutes rather than the usual one-and-a-half-hour drive around Kuwait Bay. Up to 700,000 people could be housed in the city complex and it is estimated that up to 450,000 new jobs will be created.


CONGRESS OF FAITHS: Atop the central core, an interdenominational hall caps the Mubarak al Kabir. The highest inhabitable floor is 1001 metres above street-level. CORE FLOORS: Free of all but the highest elevators, the central core occupies the seventh village above 204 floors and has exclusive residential apartments commanding the farthest views from the tower. CRYSTAL MOSQUE: Islam, the youngest of the Abrahamic faiths, is represented by the Crystal Mosque atop the sixth village. Oriented towards the Tigris and Euphrates delta, this looks deep into the heart of the birthplace of the monotheistic religions. TWIN ANTENNAE: Two-metres in diametre, each is large enough to allow for a person to walk out to the end where the environmental, communication and navigation equipment is for the tower. CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL: On top of the middle blade, at 170 floors, the Christian Cathedral sits looking west towards Rome, Canterbury and Athens. The vaulted interior space is open to all and incorporates stained-glass as part of the sun shade. CRYSTAL SYNAGOGUE: On the lower blade, topping the 136th floor and symbolising the beginning of the monotheistic faiths, the synagogue looks out towards the Arabian Gulf. EXPRESS ELEVATOR CORE: All the express elevators are in the triangular core and run from the ground to the top of the tower, along with all the primary utility services. BLADE ZIPPERS: Each blade has a central ‘zipper’ that includes scenic elevators running along the outside of the blades. Sky lounges are provided for everyone’s use looking out over the Middle East and Arabian Gulf. SKY GARDENS: On the interstitial floors between each of the seven villages are the sky gardens. Four stories tall, the height allows for sun to reach deep into the interior space to support winter garden plants. The sky gardens also serve as village squares. VILLAGE SQUARES: These are the village centres, complete with retail, leisure, entertainment, education, health care, emergency services, cultural facilities and maintenance centres for the entire tower. CORE STRUCTURE: The structure is based on three overlapping blades that pinwheel about a triangular core. The blades contain all the space for residents and offices, while the triangular core contains the express elevators that stop seven times – once at each sky garden – in their ascent to the top.

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19/01/2011 11:53



Connecting with CareTrack Volvo’s telematics system CareTrack has just been introduced into the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. MENA Infrastructure talks to Joakim Almqvist, Vice President of Customer Support at Volvo, to find out what benefits this brings to customers in the Middle East. operating reports about how it is being used. As such, changes can be made to operating patterns to improve operator efficiency, reduce fuel consumption or train equipment operators. CareTrack enables customers to optimise their machine for increased productivity and alerts them when it needs servicing – reducing downtime. When a machine does need servicing, often service personnel fi nd it hard to locate the machine, particularly on a large job site. But, CareTrack prevents this problem by sending signals with its exact location, enabling service personnel to quickly locate the machine. This same system allows customers to programme precise work areas for the machine, so it won’t operate outside specific coordinates on hazardous job sites. If the machine does venture outside this area, the customer is alerted.

You have just overseen the implementation of CareTrack in the UAE and Qatar. What is CareTrack and what makes it different to other systems already on the market? Joakim Almqvist. CareTrack is Volvo’s telematics system, fitted as standard inside all new larger Volvo machines (in markets where CareTrack is available). The system transmits information about the machine’s performance via GSM/GPRS or satellite – depending on the technique available in the market – to a database that Volvo uses to process it. Information about how many hours the machine has been in operation, when it needs to be serviced and its exact location are displayed on the CareTrack web page – enabling customers to monitor their fleet remotely. CareTrack is different to other telematics systems already on the market because it provides more information about the machine’s status, so the customer and dealer can do more machine analysis, troubleshooting and diagnostics. How will this system benefit customers in the Middle East? JA. It will change the way customers manage their Volvo equipment in the Middle East. For example, recording machine operating times on site manually is tedious, time consuming and often inaccurate. CareTrack allows machine data to be viewed on a special customer website – automatically updated from the machine every day. So customers can view the history of their machine and print

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Joakim Almqvist is Volvo Construction Equipment’s Vice President of Customer Support in Region International, covering the Middle East, Turkey, Africa, South America, Oceania and Russia. He joined Volvo CE in 1997 and moved into his current role in 2008. Today Almqvist is responsible for ensuring efficient customer support to Volvo customers and dealers.

What difference will this make to the Middle Eastern market? JA. CareTrack has been available in Qatar and the UAE since May 2010 and, although it is still early days for the system, we are already seeing the benefits for dealers and customers in these markets. Support from the dealer is broader and faster. If there is a problem with the machine, the dealer can remotely download relevant machine data, analyse it and offer recommended solutions. Dealers are offering CareTrack in an integrated service contract and as a custom-made service, so customers can decide the level of service they want from the dealer. One of our customers in Qatar, QPMC, already has 24 new machines with CareTrack. How can customers get CareTrack and what is the future for this system in the Middle East? JA. CareTrack is standard on all larger new machines, in markets where the system is activated, including a three years subscription. Older machines, sold since 2005, can also be fitted with CareTrack. Telematics is the future of machine ownership and service. The application offers customers a great opportunity for building work patterns, based on easy access of data. CareTrack has a host of customer benefits: reducing downtime and optimising the use of the fleet and we already have plans to open it up to other markets in the Middle East, with planned launches in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon next year. „

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VOLVO AD.indd 1

19/01/2011 12:20



Counting the cost of accountability

LAURIE VOYER ED P38-40.indd 38

Al Habtoor Leighton CEO Laurie Voyer explains why a safe site is a productive site.

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afety is a growing concern for the Middle East’s construction fi rms – and following a spate of high-profi le accidents at sites across the region over the summer, the industry is being forced to respond. In one four-week period alone earlier this year, two Bangladeshi workers were killed when a slab of concrete fell on top of them at a construction site in Abu Dhabi, three workers died on a site in Sharjah after the scaffolding they were working on collapsed, four others were killed at Ansar Mall in Sharjah after their maintenance cradle failed, while a man died in Bahrain when he fell from the third floor of a building under construction in Hoora. Such tragedies have forced the industry to take a long hard look at itself – and the conclusion is that more must be done. “The accidents reflect bad safety practices, a lack of effective management and complacency about safety within organisations,” said Peter Neville, spokesperson for BuildSafe UAE, at the time. “In some cases, training standards are not that high, in others there are enormous issues with competence, supervision and general safety awareness. Workers are too often being asked to carry out tasks that they are either not qualified to do or not confident doing, and they are not properly supervised.” Indeed, according to research released earlier this year, around 85 percent of on-site accidents and lost time injuries are behavioural – and as such, project managers, crew chiefs and foremen clearly have an important role to play in ensuring workers follow safety guidelines. But for the right culture to be maintained on-site, increasingly it is falling to senior management to set the tone and embed a safety culture throughout the entire organisation. Dubai-based Al Habtoor Leighton (HLG) is one firm that has decided to take a stronger stand against safety complacency within the industry. “Health and safety is paramount in our business,” says Chief Executive Laurie Voyer. “It’s a key factor in the decisions that we make and we would like to think that moving forward it will become a key point of differentiation from our competitors.” One of the growing issues is the increasing complexity of the projects fi rms such as HLG are working on. “Jobs change from day-to-day and week-to-week, and it’s important that we guide our people through that journey in as safe a manner as possible,” he says. “We need to be able to educate our workers to deal with the risks that come about with particular tasks, and also with the changing environment – whether that be from shift work to daytime work, or from job to job.” And, as Voyer points out, it’s not just about issuing protective clothing and equipment or having the right signage in place on site. “It’s about changing behaviour and making sure that our workers understand the risks they’re challenged with and the tasks that they are asked to perform,” he says. “For that we are prepared to remunerate them appropriately and to make sure they have the right levels of accommodation. We are keen to make sure that they are well looked after.”

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Indeed, there are many factors that drive a safetyfocused culture but Voyer believes the most important is that the board and senior management understand the importance of safety – both to the health of workers and the long-term health of the company. “Without this, it won’t ever materialise at the job level,” he says. “Accountability was not something that was widely accepted in our business up until about 6-12 months ago, but it’s a sign of how quickly attitudes are changing that our employees and our supervisors understand that they have to be ac-

Laurie Voyer

Build Safe UAE The BuildSafe UAE (BSU) initiative was set up in 2007 to identify and promote agreed health, safety and welfare standards for the benefit of all workers in the UAE’s construction industry. One of the organisation’s set goals is to champion the cause of worker welfare in the industry through a project called BuildSafe UAE Worker Champions. The aim of the worker champions group – initially a BuildSafe UAEinspired collaboration between Al Basti & Muktha, Al Habtoor Leighton Group, Murray & Roberts, Al Naboodah Contracting, Dutco Balfour Beatty and Six Construct formed as a six-month pilot – is to promote and create best practices in the member companies’ respective businesses by working closely with the Build Safe initiative to ensure that it is in tune with the needs and perspectives of workers. In addition to their respective discipline work, the worker champions will work with managers to support their respective businesses workers, activities and facilities in order to promote fewer and fewer accidents. Champions have also been asked to discuss how health, safety and worker welfare on site could be improved, provide feedback to management and BSU on a regular basis and identify how BSU information could be made more effective to improve the outcome of the initiative. By driving safety from the workforce up through the management, it is hoped that construction safety issues will be addressed and rectified. By engaging the workforce positively and collaborating with them a culture to improve the performance of companies who successfully engage with their workforces and constantly maintain good performance records.

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countable for the things they do on our sites. They have to be accountable for the planning that occurs on our sites, and they have to be accountable for safety too, because we manage such a large number of people on each of our worksites.” As a result, Voyer and his team have tried hard – through a mixture of mandates, metrics and education – to make safety a key management priority. “We’ve made it part of the culture of the business, but we’re also making it more of a moral obligation on the part of our principals, our shareholders, our customers and the people who work with our business. We want to make it clear that we must be committed to making HLG a safe business, with safe attitudes and safe measures on our sites.” Th is has not always been the case within the industry, as the earlier examples unfortunately demonstrate, and HLG has certainly not been exempt from criticism. However, Voyer plans to use the experiences of the past to improve the fi rm’s approach to safety in the future. “We’re on a journey of continuous improvement in terms of how we want to take our safety culture forward,” he says. “It’s about communicating our successes, communicating the policies that we have, as well as looking at the issues that concern us and the areas where we want to eliminate poor practices.” HLG runs its own training centre dedicated to educating employees as to the value of safety, has several safety committees and holds so-called ‘toolbox sessions’ for workers and managers to drive the next level of change into the organisation. The company also requires senior managers to carry out regular audits of their projects in order to report back to the board with regards to the progress being made in terms of improving the safety culture. The benefits of a strong safety culture are multiple, he explains. “We’ve seen between 20-30 percent improvement in productivity on our sites as a result of a focus on safety. When there’s a lot more pride in the site, a lot more concern about what we do, we’ve seen a reduction in defect of work, seen a reduction in wastage and we’ve seen a reduction in the total man-hours needed to perform the tasks across the site. Plus, the sites are more pleasant to work on.” The fi nal challenge is ensuring client engagement and awareness as to the importance of safety. “I know some of our clients probably don’t care so much about the levels of safety on our sites, but I think it is increasingly becoming a trend amongst our more discerning clients. Certainly some of the projects that we’ve been involved in where there are international brands involved require a much greater focus on safety. They are looking for a different safety climate on their sites than we may have traditionally faced in this region. And we need them to understand that we will deliver them a project to international safety standards.” “Clients are increasingly asking more of us these days in regards to quality, timeliness of completion, cost of contracts, etc.,” concludes Voyer. “As such, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be taking the high moral ground in return, especially with regards to producing our product safely. We owe it to ourselves, to the clients and to the workers themselves.” „

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Case study: Dutco Balfour Beatty At Dutco Balfour Beatty there was already a health, safety and worker welfare programme in place before the company signed up to the BuildSafe UAE Worker Champions initiative. “We had focused on the idea of using a worker champion to portray the image of safety amongst our workforce and we were busy putting the guy in training when the BSU campaign came along. As such, we decided to get involved and put that person into the initiative,” explains Steven van der Vyver, HSE and Quality Manager at Dutco Balfour Beatty. The company chose the Al Ali Multi Complex & Novotel Hotel in Barsha, Dubai, as its pilot project site. Health and safety challenges at the site include working at height with plot area restrictions and ensuring the competence of the workforce, with the aim to promote safety by making the project zero harm by 2012. “We found that our chosen project would be too big for one champion alone, so we decided to get the workers to decide on another three people that they would like to see as their representatives and we put these three into the programme as well. We decided that it should come from the worker – they should be part and parcel of the selection process so that they know they will be represented by someone they have chosen – and hoped this would improve operations on site,” says van der Vyver. “It makes the worker feel important too. They feel that it’s not just coming from management, that management are pushing everything on the safety officer, but that the workforce has a voice as well.” Van der Vyver explains that the project site has been divided into seven areas, which is further broken down into five zones. “If we find two to three people not wearing safety glasses in a zone, the zone scores a zero if they don’t comply and we treat the entire zone as non-compliant.” He goes on to explain that operations at the firm have so far improved immensely. “Normally we would have someone in safety speak to the workers and it will have an effect for a while, but it's soon forgotten. But when they have people working alongside them that are reporting on site conditions on a weekly basis, they tend to think more. No doubt it's had a profound impact on our business – less accidents, fewer cases of onsite conditions violations occurring and greater productivity and morale.”

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BOMAG AD.indd 1

19/01/2011 10:56



GAP Bridging the skills in overhead lifting Geoff Holden, Chief Executive of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), addresses a key concern for construction workers.


ight across the world, awareness of the potential risk to health and safety posed by overhead lift ing is growing. In the Middle East and North Africa, concern is even more acute, given the importance of industries heavily reliant on lift ing such as construction, mining and the oil and gas sector. Some readers may recall the traffic chaos caused in Dubai back in 2008 when the gantry of a mobile crane working on the metro collapsed across a main road. Tragically, this was just one of a series of crane-related accidents in the region, a number of which have resulted in deaths or serious injuries. Indeed, worldwide, overhead lift ing remains a major cause of workplace fatalities. Addressing the challenges posed by overhead lift ing is a wide-ranging task. However, the starting point is simply the recognition that it is a specialist discipline that requires specialist skills and experience. The vast majority of accidents can be traced back to human failings – typically including basic errors made by staff who lack the necessary training for the job in question. In part this is often because lift ing is a long-established, commonplace activity, and much of the equipment involved – such as slings, lift ing attachments and hoists – appears straightforward and easy to use, inspect and maintain. Given the continual pressure to meet deadlines, the temptation for staff to be given responsibility for lift ing-related jobs regardless of their skills or experience is obvious. Fortunately, a growing number of employers in the Middle East and North African region appreciate that safe (and indeed efficient) overhead lift ing demands a professional approach. But whilst this realisation is an important first step, translating good intentions into effective action is a major hurdle. For a start, overhead lift ing involves a number of distinct disciplines, ranging from planning, supervision and operation through to the inspection, maintenance, test and examination of the equipment involved. Furthermore, in common with many so-called traditional engineering disciplines, recent years have seen a shortfall in staff with skills and experience in this field. As a result, sourcing staff or suppliers with the requisite qualifications can be problematic, to say the least.


Th is skills gap goes a long way to explaining the dramatic growth in LEEA membership over recent years, particularly from companies and organisations based outside the UK. The LEEA is perhaps best known for its Diploma examination, the most widely recognised qualification for engineers intending to test and examine overhead lifting equipment. In terms of maintaining the safety and legality of overhead lifting operations, the importance of this qualification should not be underestimated; ensuring that equipment remains fit for purpose is clearly fundamental to any safe lifting programme. In many countries, health and safety legislation demands periodic thorough examination of overhead lifting equipment by a ‘competent’ person. Certainly this is the case in the UK, where the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) have been in force since 1998. Crucially, in countries where no such lift ingspecific regulations exist, many multinational companies have chosen to adopt LOLER as best practice. Taken by hundreds of students in numerous different countries every year, the Diploma examination is supported by both distance learning courses and practical training sessions held either at the LEEA’s purpose-built facilities in the UK or member premises around the world. These are now open to individuals as well as employees of member companies. Significantly, the approved codes of practice that accompany LOLER define competence as a mix of theoretical skills and practical experience. However, there is no formal registration scheme for engineers that meet the criteria. To

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help employers identify engineers that are genuinely competent, the LEEA now issues a ‘TEAM’ identity card and logbook to those that have passed the Diploma examination. In terms of ensuring safety, the test, examination and maintenance of lifting equipment is only part of the story. It is equally important that those responsible for planning and supervising lifts and operating equipment are effectively trained. Indeed, most overhead lifting accidents are the result of failings in one or more of these areas. And although in many cases the same individual will be responsible for all these tasks, it is important to recognise that each requires a different set of skills. There is generally no shortage of commercial companies offering courses in these fields, but experience suggests that many lack the rigour necessary to make a real impact on the skills of students and therefore the standard of lifting operations. To help address this particular problem, the LEEA recently launched an accreditation scheme for member companies that offer training in the operation and management of lifting equipment. Only companies that meet a rigorous set of independently audited criteria, including the qualifications and experience of the trainers, the standard of training facilities, and the quality of student assessment, are entitled to display the LEEA Authorised Training Centre logo. In all aspects of health and safety, the ‘human factor’ is generally considered paramount. Effective risk assessment, proper planning and appropriate supervision, and the use of appropriately qualified staff are rightly considered vital


across a wide range of workplace activities. Ensuring that work equipment remains fit for purpose is another high priority. For overhead lifting in the Middle East and North Africa, a number of factors further emphasise the importance of these issues. The conditions experienced in the offshore oil and gas industry, for example, are notoriously tough on lifting equipment. Similarly, construction is characterised by extremely high lifts, often in close proximity to staff or the public. A particularly acute shortage of staff is another of the challenges that many employers face. However, the growing demand for the training and accreditation provided by the LEEA demonstrates that there is a genuine commitment to filling this skills gap. If this is maintained, and employers insist on using only appropriately qualified staff, then they undoubtedly stand to reap the social and economic rewards that result from safe and efficient overhead lifting operations. „ For further information, please contact Geoff Holden, Chief Executive of the LEEA, on +44 (0)1480 432801 or

About the LEEA Established in 1944, the LEEA has over 380 member companies worldwide and campaigns vigorously for higher standards of safety within the lifting industry. In addition to providing members with training and expert technical advice, the association works closely with organisations such as the Health and Safety Executive in the preparation of regulations and British, European and International standards. Member companies include those involved in the design, manufacture, hire, repair, refurbishment, test, examination, verification and use of lifting equipment. Applicants are subject to an initial technical audit before full membership is granted, and then to a continuing programme of assessments. Further details on the activities of the LEEA and a full list of members can be found at:

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Long-living connections – in every respect That is the philosophy of Lenzen Hebe- und Fördertechnik GmbH. CEO Armin Lehmann speaks to MENA Infrastructure about what his firm can bring to the competitive Gulf market.


elcome to our world of lift ing, moving and lashing appliances. You can use our experience, which we’ve got in more than 20 years of service for our clients. The basic component of our work is our professional competence. Mr. Armin Lehmann, CEO, has been working in this branch for more than 30 years. He was a member of the working group “lift ing slings” in the German Standard Organisation “DIN” for about 10 years – experiences for your profit. Our range of products includes flat webbing belts and round slings predominantly made of polyester, but also available in alternative materials like polyamide or polypropylene and Kevlar. Our steel products are steel wire ropes in standard constructions as well as special wire ropes for cranes with the international, well-known brands Teufelberger and Diepa or our own brand. Furthermore we deliver lift ing slings, mechanically spliced and endless “grommet”. Naturally, we also work with stainless steel wire ropes for lift ing appliances or architectonic structures. High alloy chains grade 80 and 100 and all the lift ing appliances such as shackles, hooks or turnbuckles can be delivered on short term. Our load handling attachments are load beams, lift ing magnets, lever and chain hoists as well as hand hydraulic pallet trucks and special appliances. To keep your cargo on the truck you can use our cargo lashing systems like ratchet lashings or chains. You need some tools for your warehouse? We deal with KS-Tools – accredited manufacturer of tools for the production of Mercedes Benz. Our quality management system acredited to ISO 9001 is certified by DEKRA. Long-living business relations with long-living products: that is what we are looking for. If you are searching for the same, please don’t feel hesitate to get in contact with us. Moving goods requires a high level of competence and safety. 

For further information please contact Mr. Armin Lehmann started his career in 1979 in a leadin=g company of lifting devices in Germany. In 1987 he changed to a Finnish producer for lifting belts and round-slings as sales manager. In 1989 he went back to his former company as sales manager. For about 10 years Mr. Lehmann was engaged in the German organisation “DIN”, when the rules for lifting devices have changed to European norms “EN”. Since 2004 he’s been the Executive Director and since 2007 the CEO of Lenzen Hebe-und Fördertechnik GmbH, a leading company for lifting devices in the region and since fi ve years a well known partner in several European countries.

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LENZEN AD.indd 1

19/01/2011 11:40



Achieving consensus: addressing noise issues when planning for mass transit Transit innovations and expansions are a central part of constructing more livable communities, but the potential for increased noise is often a major concern. How can technology be used to win the support of community stakeholders and decision makers? By Dr. Ahmed El-Aassar.


hen a change is planned for a community, it is easy for stakeholders to make inaccurate assumptions. Early and ongoing public involvement allows organisations to be aware of potential issues, problems and impacts, and it allows for comprehensive discussions to address the public’s concerns. Generally, the public welcomes infrastructure improvements, but the potential for increased noise is often met with opposition. During a transit alternative analysis of the 85-mile, 28-city, South Florida East Coast Corridor in the United States, multiple transit and transportation technologies were evaluated. The planning process required extensive public outreach to address community and decision-maker concerns, ranging from environmental impacts, station locations and transit alternatives. For one controversial component – the sound impact – the client required an innovative solution to convey transit sound samples. In response to this need, Gannett Fleming designed a powerful technology tool called ‘Sounds of Transit’ to present information about noise in the environment. Using this tool, Gannett Fleming developed a library of recorded and calibrated sound levels collected from transit and rail sites with similar corridor characteristics. Th is fi rst-of-its-kind audio-visual tool was used to clearly and accurately convey the impact of actual sound levels to the public and decision -makers. One feature of the program that was particularly suited for community interaction was the ability to modify the

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distance from the listener to the source with appropriate distance attenuation. Th is made it possible to deliver transit comparisons tailored to individual locations. In addition, the listener can experience the transit vehicle passing by inside or outside. The user can even set the volume on a radio or television programme to a comfortable listening level to appreciate the relative disturbance potential of the passing events. For the fi rst time, communities in the path of infrastructure improvements can accurately experience the auditory effect of a proposed project by using ‘Sounds of Transit’. A key feature of this original solution is that it conveys sound information in a format that requires no special technical knowledge of noise management strategies. There is global potential for this precedent-setting technology as it is a powerful, scalable tool that can be customised for any type of infrastructure improvement where noise concerns exist, such as high-speed rail, highways, airports and military operations. In the Middle East, where development of new transportation systems is underway, the ‘Sounds of Transit’ application could help agencies and communities to make informed choices related to sound. Another future application for ‘Sounds of Transit’ is to apply 3D noise mapping, a technique that uses specific map locations to illustrate sound scenarios. By selecting a location on a map, a user could experience aurally and visually how real audio of a particular transportation mode will sound at any given specific location. 3D noise mapping could be implemented on a large scale to include all existing and alternative transportation modes within a city. Th is tool can be utilised without difficulty at locations throughout the world and has been designed to be independent of both the language in which presentations are made and the noise metric systems being illustrated. ‘Sounds of Transit’ makes complex abstract sound scenarios very simple for users in a single realistic demonstration. It is intuitive, using standard point and click conventions. For public workshops, no special equipment is required other than a computer, a quality audio system and a data projector. Because the program works from a database, additional information can be added and custom programs can quickly be developed to address many different situations by simply adding more sound and audio samples to the database. „

Dr. Ahmed El-Aassar serves as a Project Manager for noise and air quality projects with Gannett Fleming, Inc. He develops and implements all phases of acoustical analyses, including noise monitoring, impact and mitigation analyses and noise barrier design. El-Aassar also designed the innovative audiovisual tool ‘Sounds of Transit’ for use during public involvement meetings.

21/01/2011 15:08


19/01/2011 11:29



RESOLVING CONSTRUCTION DISPUTES With the effects of the recession continuing to bite, Arabtec CEO Tom Barry argues that firms need a new approach to dispute resolution: old-school negotiating skills.


he last few years have been tough for construction contractors; even the biggest have been feeling the pinch. And in terms of the Middle East, few are bigger than UAE-based Arabtec. Its logo is plastered on sites and equipment across the region, and over the last few years the fi rm has worked on some of the biggest and most iconic building developments in the region – including the Burj al Arab and Emirates Palace hotels, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. High-rises, hotels and commercial buildings: you name it, Arabtec has probably worked on it. But despite its considerable size and substantial pedigree, even Arabtec has not been immune to some of the industry’s most common problems over the last few years – namely non-payment and other contractual breaches. “Resolving construction disputes through mediation, arbitration or litigation has become a very topical subject over the last few years, especially since the crash at the end of 2008,” admits Thomas Barry, the company’s straight-talking CEO. “The fi nancial crisis has brought about an escalation in these types of challenges. There are many more disputes on the table now between contractors and clients because of breaches of contract as a result of delayed payments, inability to pay, etc. and that is having a negative impact on the whole industry.” Of course, there were disputes and contractual issues before the onset of the fi nancial crisis. In fact, says Barry, since the construction boom started in the early 2000s there have been a growing number of issues that have


ended up in negotiation, mediation, arbitration or even litigation, largely due to breaches of contract in respect to payment issues. For one thing, the magnitude of the projects themselves is bigger. “There’s a lot more at stake,” he says. “The issues become bigger in terms of value. I remember when we thought a huge project was US$150 million and we were celebrating for a week. Now, US$1.5 billion projects have become commonplace, and any variation in scope or delivery might have a huge impact in terms of value.” Th is, combined with the pressure of the downturn, has led to a change in the way both contractors and clients are approaching such problems – which is compounding the issue even further. “It’s just the order of the day now: people are prepared to let disputes go to some form of mediation, adjudication or arbitration rather than just sit around the table and employ some common sense in order to resolve it,” he says. “It’s not like the old days, where disputes would be resolved over a cup of coffee. The two parties would just get together, talk over their differences and be prepared to compromise – and most likely they’d get a solution.” Indeed, Barry believes that a return to a more amicable way of solving potential problems would go a long way towards reducing some of the headaches the industry currently faces. “Very few construction projects get completed without some issue or contractual disagreement cropping up along the way,” he says. “Th is can be of a minor nature or it can be of a very serious nature; the point is that many of these issues can be dealt with before they become a dis-

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“I strongly recommend that we try and go back to the old way of doing things and sort any issues out over a cup of coffee or through direct negotiation.”


pute. In fact, we should all try and ensure that they’re dealt with before they become a dispute.” The benefits of direct negotiation are numerous. For one thing, such an approach maintains and improves existing relationships between all the parties involved on a project. For another, it saves significantly on the time and costs involved in alternative methods of dispute resolution such as conciliation, arbitration or litigation. “Arbitration is a very costly and lengthy process,” says Barry. “It can involve you having to appoint a trained specialist. You’ll probably need local lawyers and maybe your own in-house counsel as well. Your staff will have to be involved in preparing documentation and then they’ll have to appear at the hearing as witnesses and be interrogated, which can be pretty stressful. Then, of course, there’s the cost of the arbitrators themselves. It’s no fun and defi nitely to be avoided where possible.” Litigation is even worse, and as such it is no wonder that conciliation – which involves bringing the two opposing sides together to reach a compromise in an attempt to avoid taking the case to trial – is the fastest growing form of alternative dispute resolution. “I don’t believe clients or contractors ever want to have to resort to arbitration or litigation,” says Barry. “In such cases, the lawyers are the only winners. I strongly recommend that we try and go back to the old way of doing things and sort any issues out over a cup of coffee or through direct negotiation.” Even better still is the concept of ironing out all potential areas for concern before work is even started. “Prior to 2008 we started to see a tendency for some cli-

ents to engage the contractor at an early stage, and it’s something that we in Arabtec certainly advocate,” says Barry. “Unfortunately, when the fi nancial crisis hit that seemed to go out the window. We would certainly favour meeting with clients at the pre-construction stage so that we can talk together and agree upon issues relating to contract clauses, evaluate the engineering process and the programme of work. In my opinion, it would eliminate a lot of disputes and complications further down the road if that happened more often.” Ultimately, Barry believes a more collaborative approach from the start – one that continues throughout the lifespan of the project – represents the future. “I think if we can get back to those win-win type of relationships then the clients will see the benefit of that because they’ll get a far smoother, better quality, better delivered project and it’ll be a happier bunch of people all the way through,” he says. “A more collaborative approach is defi nitely the future. It’s just the timing of when we might start to see people returning to that kind of approach that is going to be interesting.” Barry hopes that along with an improvement in industry relationships, 2011 will also see Arabtec expanding further into the Gulf region. Already, the New Year has brought an award for two projects in the UAE worth a combined US$170 million. The company will provide enabling, structural and MEP work as well as fit-out and landscaping for two residential towers in Abu Dhabi as well as staff accommodation in Fujairah. The fi rst tower will consist of three basement levels, a ground floor, five podium floors and 40 residential floors;

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the second tower will have two level basements, a ground floor, five podium floors and 35 floors on top. The total built up area for the two-year project is 90,000 square metres and represents a contract worth US$150 million. The company will also design and build staff accommodation in Ishwais in Fujairah, the eastern-most emirate. The building will be 16 floors high with two podiums and a basement over a built-up area of 14,000 square metres. It will take 16 months to complete and is worth around US$20 million. And while the UAE remains an important market, Barry explains that the projects represent just the start of an aggressive expansion plan across the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia a key focus, along with Syria and Egypt. “At Arabtec we will continue to focus on Abu Dhabi, as there are still a lot of projects there,” he says. “Some may be a bit slow to come to fruition, and margins will be tight because of competition from other local contractors looking for work there. As such our major focus will be Saudi Arabia. They’ll be spending around US$400 billion over the next few years to improve residential areas, hospitals, schools, rail.” In October the company recently secured

a US$1.33 billion contract from Saudi Binladen to build 5000 villas, which includes a residential project in the Eastern Province. “The Egypt and Syrian markets will also be important for us. There are some big projects in Damascus. In Egypt they tend to carry out some large projects, so those will be big targets for us as well,” he says, adding that he is also upbeat about the market in Qatar. Indeed, Arabtec is bidding for around US$8.17 billion of work outside its local markets, and sees relationship building – and amicable dispute resolution early in the contract process – as key to developing that growth further. “Contractors here are increasingly moving into areas where there is work – in Saudi and Qatar and Syria, in our case even Egypt,” he concludes. “I hope that this tendency towards contract breaches and disputes doesn’t follow the work such that we’re going to be forever embroiled in dispute resolutions or arguments as to who’s right and who’s wrong and what our rights are versus those of the client. Th is will not be good for the industry. I hope in the end that common sense will prevail.” „

Dispute resolution: the alternatives Negotiation: Here, compromise is the order of the day. Both parties get together across a table to discuss the issues and how best to resolve them to mutual satisfaction. Negotiation can take the form of an informal chat or a more formal discussion where claims and documentation are shared; either way, if the two parties are unwilling to make concessions then an agreement is unlikely to be reached. Mediation: In mediation, a neutral individual attempts to assist the parties to find a compromise acceptable to both. It’s a popular way of resolving problems amicably. However, although it is relatively inexpensive the mediator has no power to impose a decision; the mediator is only there to identify the issues and to facilitate the parties reaching an agreement themselves. Adjudication: Adjudication is a more serious form of mediation. It involves the two parties agreeing to a third-party adjudicator who is presented with all the claims, documentation and technical submissions for analysis, and who then makes a decision based on


the evidence presented. For adjudication to work, the parties must agree to be bound by the final decision of the adjudicator. Arbitration: Arbitration involves a hearing but takes place out of court. The two sides select an impartial arbitration panel, usually made up of three people: each side appoints one person, and those two then appoint the third. Both sides present evidence and testimony, and the panel then makes a decision. The arbitrator’s decision is usually final and courts rarely re-examine – although if the decision is contested you may have to take it to court to get it enforced. Litigation: Litigation happens when a lawsuit is brought before a court of law suitably empowered to hear the case and to make a resolution and judgment on it. Such solutions are seen as a last resort as they are extremely expensive and involve lawyers, court officials, court procedures, witness statements, cross-examination, extensive documentation, expert testimony – and a whole lot of time and effort.

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NUKOTE AD.indd 1

19/01/2011 11:44



Hilson Moron.indd 52

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British engineers Hilson Moran have developed a strong portfolio of sustainable projects in recent years, but for the firm’s Director of Sustainability, Matt Kitson, that is not enough. He speaks to MENA Infrastructure about his revolutionary framework for sustainable masterplanning and his vision for designing the Middle East’s communities of the future.


ilson Moran’s influence on the built world is far-reaching; its projects can be seen across the Middle East, ranging from luxurious residential, to innovative office space, to efficient transport infrastructure. Now the practice’s unique Sustainable Building Environment Tool (SuBET) is helping to shape the future of ambitious new masterplans in the Middle East, from the spectacular Yas North development in Abu Dhabi, to the visionary new King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) in Saudi Arabia, which is leading innovation into the future applications of renewable energy. Matt Kitson is fresh from his latest trip to Abu Dhabi, where the Hilson Moran team are finalising a sustainable masterplan report for the Urban Planning Council (UPC) on the proposed design of the Yas North Masterplan; a vast development stretching over 25 square kilometres and encompassing 32 kilometres of waterfront on the North East side of Abu Dhabi’s mainland. It is the first time that the concepts of estidama and the Pearl Communities process have been applied to a full masterplan. Meaning ‘sustainability’ in Arabic, estidama is the first programme of its kind tailored to the Middle East region, and is Abu Dhabi’s contribution to the global discussion on how to create more sustainable communities, cities and global enterprises. Within this ground breaking area, Hilson Moran’s role in the project was to work with all the stakeholders to advise and guide the project team – including the client Aldar, the premier property development, investment and management company in Abu Dhabi, and masterplanners Broadway Malyan – through the Pearl Communities process. Matt Kitson says, “It is important that the sustainability goals for the Yas North Masterplan are defined as early as possible within the design and project scoping stage. We believe that this is the only way to successfully manage, execute and achieve the challenging goal of a sustainable masterplan of this size. “As different contractors and suppliers bid for different stages of this scheme, the project team will inevitably change and evolve. Yet throughout the development programme, the report will help project team members to retain the focus on the masterplan’s original concept and aspirations.” Matt Kitson adds, “ALDAR positively grasped the principles of Pearl Communities and used the SuBET process as a framework for design and to develop strategies for ecology and waste management, rather than simply approaching

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the review as a tick box exercise. The result, we are confident, is a better masterplan for all.” What is particularly interesting about this masterplan is the way that the recent economic turmoil has actually refocused attention on designing for the communities who will live within the area, rather than for the investors who will be buying up valuable chunks of real estate. No longer assuming that properties’ values will provide a rapid return on investment and can be sold on at a handsome profit, developers are taking a longer term view of the viability of a scheme. “Pearl Communities helps developers to do that by providing a more integrated approach to community planning,” says Kitson, “rather than perpetuating the segregated development that was seen prior to the recession, in which separate zones were typically created for different activities – education, commercial, residential etc. Th is is a great step forward for the region, as it promises to create integrated neighbourhoods where people genuinely want to live, work and play.” SuBET is also being applied to the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) in Saudi Arabia, which aims to create a community and a research hub for future energy. The biggest oil exporter in the world, with an economy that is highly dependent on it (more than 80 percent of its total revenue share comes from oil), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recognised that it needs to achieve a more sustainable energy economy. Saudi Arabia has experienced staggering growth in its consumption of energy and water due to population growth, increase in the GDP, and the government’s capital expenditure in flagship development projects and economic growth programmes. But this could mean that it will need an additional five million barrels a day in less than 20 years, which will wipe out half of the Kingdom’s export revenue. As a result, KACARE has been envisioned as a sciencedriven city in charge of the planning and implementation of this government strategy aimed at boosting national energy research, development, demonstration, deployment and education, and developing a new government energy policy framework that creates commercially attractive solutions. It has been tasked with developing a showcase of energy efficiency projects; improving the standards of living and quality of life within the city and the Kingdom; and supporting sustainable economic growth through scientific innovation and research in energy technologies and expansion of green jobs in the medical, agricultural, industrial, and mining fields.

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Below: SuBET offers a framework for masterplanning that focuses on place making for our future cities, while at the same time making sure that aspects such as energy, waste, social and cultural impacts are not over looked.

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Hilson Moran used the principles of SuBET once again to develop its concept masterplan solution for KACARE. As part of Norwegian architect Snohetta’s project team, Hilson Moran provided advice on water and waste considerations. Typically in the Middle East, sustainability studies tend to focus on water, energy and waste. But by using SuBET, Hilson Moran was able to widen this out and look at issues such as transport infrastructure, which are key to the long term sustainability and health of communities. Transport in the Middle East is traditionally by car, but now planners are starting to look at improving the transport infrastructure – from the major airport and rail links, to resolving the requirements at the micro level of communities through the provision of buses and cycle links. “It is refreshing to see transport being planned properly, rather than reactively once development has begun, as this helps to ensure that the transport infrastructure is integrated successfully,” says Kitson. Another key principle in the masterplan solution proposed for KACARE is modular development, which is important to cope with the future population growth and contraction that can also occur during the life time of a city. A successful masterplan should be neither too big from the start (and therefore uneconomical to implement) or too small (and subsequently unable to cope with a growing population). A lot of masterplans go wrong by trying to deliver everything on day one and failing to predict the requirements once the community starts to grow. This widening of focus typifies Hilson Moran’s emphasis on considering the wider community as part of the masterplanning process; an ideal that has been key in the development of SuBET. “The rationale behind it was ‘how do you create communities where people want to live?’” explains Kitson. “SuBET offers a framework for masterplan-

ning that focuses on place making for our future cities, while at the same time making sure that aspects such as energy, waste, social and cultural impacts are not over looked.”

The new way SuBET incorporates all considerations beyond simply the physical impacts of a development, and marks an evolution in the role of industry professionals. Kitson highlights a notable advantage of such a system compared to the sustainability standards in place today, such as the LEED or BREEAM systems. While these regulations provide a helpful standard for buildings that developers can endeavour to meet in order to improve efficiency features of a building, Kitson explains there is the potential for the gratuitous addition of such features in order to meet the standards. “Poorly implemented solutions can become even less helpful than doing nothing,” he says, “as they damage the credibilty of renewable solutions. Sustainable masterplanning requires a 360 degree assessment of a proposed scheme; not simply bolting on technological solutions, but designing in sustainability from the outset.” SuBET was developed by Hilson Moran, in conjunction with Dr Huam Al Waer, Director of the Sustainability Research Group at the University of Dundee, and Emeritus Professor Dereck Clements-Croome. While it sets out to provide a framework of standards for a development’s sustainability, it goes much further than other certification frameworks used in the industry, allowing for a more subjective analysis of a project. “It’s not about certification,” Kitson explains. “It’s the thought process that’s important. LEED and BREEAM both pre-set what is deemed to be a good thing. However, SuBET allows the stakeholders to decide what is most important and facilitates the development of a sustainable masterplanning design.” Taking three years to fully develop, the SuBET framework marked a significant investment of time and innovation, but one that looks set to pay off. Kitson highlights that the repsonse from Hilson Moran’s clients and project partners has been positive, with many users of the tool describing it as the “next generation way of thinking” when it comes to developing the built environment. Kitson goes on to explain that the framework takes into account all aspects of a project, from its environmental effects to its social and economic impacts, and incorporates the specific considerations of each development, such as regional planning issues or national impact of the project. He emphasises the benefits of implementing a masterplanning framework to look at the whole picture of the development rather than using a set of efficiency certification standards. “Sustainable masterplanning means moving beyond a narrow building-centric view of design and energy efficiency ratings,” he says, “to considering the huge number of socio-economic and cultural factors that also have an impact on the long term sustainability of communities and the environments in which we live, work and play.” He points out that when it comes to project planning, environmental considerations such as land use, water

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“For architects, engineers, planners and developers, sustainable masterplanning means moving beyond the familiar territories of their own disciplines and towards a more multi-disciplinary approach ”

c conservation or energy efficciency have well-established parameters for sustainabilp iity, whereas considerations lless readily quantifiable, such as social diversity and cultural identity, have largely remained unaccounted for in such standardisation frameworks. “[Long term sustainability] could incorporate a whole spectrum of measures,” he explains, “from encouraging a greater diversity of commercial and retail centres and creating employment opportunities near transport facilities, to a more innovative use of space and consideration of land use between adjacent plots, together with concentrated areas for specific facilities such as schools and shops.” One of SuBET’s unique benefits, both for the industry professionals implementing it and the prospective residents of the communities, is its subjectivity. “It does not provide a standard solution,” explains Kitson. “There needn’t be a uniformed or harmonised approach to masterplanning, because every country’s priorities will differ according to the climate, culture and population.” Taking into account all these characteristics that affect a built environment, he highlights how the tool’s flexible framework approach can be adapted to incorporate different countries’ requirements in terms of land, culture and climate. “SuBET enables us to analyse the many different indicators of sustainability at the very inception of a project,” he explains, “and to assess a proposed masterplan using bespoke weightings for environmental stewardship, economic growth and socio-cultural impact, according to the particular development’s and country’s priorities.”

Community spirit “The social and economic impacts of a development are closely intertwined,” Kitson goes on to say, and points out one of the primary challenges that the industry professionals will face in order to successfully utilise such frameworks. “[They will] require a more lateral level of thinking than just a straight-forward environmental assessment of the development could ever achieve,” he says. “Good quality, high density developments can in fact help create more viable neighbourhoods capable of supporting local services. While smaller, denser developments may be an acceptable tradeoff where other amenity advantages are improved, housing densities need to be graded appropriately to maximise local accessibility and prevent overcrowding.” In addition to encouraging this new way of thinking, Kitson hopes that his masterplanning framework will result in greater flexibility among professionals in the industry. This flexibility, he explains, is necessary to the development of a wholly sustainable masterplan as it will allow professionals to fully realise the various factors that combine to

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create such a plan. “For architects, engineers, planners and developers,” he explains, “sustainable masterplanning means moving beyond the familiar territories of their own disciplines and towards a more multi-disciplinary approach to consultation and engagement within the entire project team and with wider stakeholders at the earliest possible stages of planning.” Kitson’s socio-economic masterplanning undoubtedly represents a revolution in metropolitan design, incorporating factors commonly overlooked in the development of larger residential areas. He outlines some of the factors that he feels should be taken into consideration. “In terms of social diversity,” he explains, “we need to ensure that masterplanning includes detailed consideration of the adjacency of work, leisure and living spaces.” This marks just one step in Kitson’s plans to create a unified community. “Community cohesion means finding a way to develop a collective pride and participation in community life,” he explains, and goes on to highlight that while these sociological issues may not seem to fall under the jurisdiction of those in the construction industry, architects and planners can help significantly to creating a unified community. “[Community cohesion] may involve enhancing the visual characteristics of a development to evoke greater cultural and spiritual responses, while contributing to the quality of local life,” he explains. “This may mean considering the height, setback, sizes and materials used in developments to provide continuity while injecting personality and character, or encouraging greater community interaction through an increased focus on recreation and leisure activities.” These plans seem so simple in theory; creating wholesome and united communities by ensuring straight and well-lit connecting roads or a common infrastructure aesthetic appear so obvious it is seems ludicrous that they had not been made standard planning requirements across the board. But Kitson’s masterplanning framework does not stop here. In an attempt to simultaneously reduce carbon emissions in his sustainable communities and improve the health of its residents, he highlights the need to implement a comprehensive transport infrastructure. “Proximity and access to frequent public transport helps reduce the reliance on car transport,” he says, warning that such networks need to be carefully planned to reflect future growth expectations. “Promoting systems to reduce congestion can also assist in lowering vehicle pollution linked to poor public health. Even simple measures can encourage people to get moving, such as limiting off-street car parking, providing cycle paths and safe street lighting.” Ultimately, Kitson explains, the success of sustainable masterplanning frameworks such as this will depend upon a complete change of mindset from both national governments and the industry professionals who build the cities. “Long term sustainability demands the creation of safer, more vibrant and inclusive communities that offer a wide range of opportunities for jobs, leisure, culture and activity. Such areas are more adaptable to change in the long term and offer better prospects overall for economic growth.” „

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DP World embraces carbon management The Dubai-based port operator has implemented a revolutionary tool to provide accurate carbon reporting across 50 marine terminals around the world.


n line with its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint significantly across its 50 marine terminals across the world, DP World has become the first global port operator to roll out Greenstone Carbon Management and The CarbonNeutral Company’s carbon management and reduction solution, which has been newly developed for the ports and marine sector. The move comes as part of the global operator’s initiatives begun in 2008 to reduce its carbon emissions by 27 percent over five years. Measuring and managing emissions is crucial to that effort and while DP World has invested in data collection systems at its terminals, in 2010 it commissioned Greenstone to further develop data gathering processes and set-up Greenstone’s Acco2unt carbon management solution tailored to DP World’s methodology, which is firmly based on the principles of the leading international standard – the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard. Greenstone and DP World also delivered a training programme for terminals to upload their data and analyse their performance on an ongoing basis. Charles Haine, Global Environment Manager at DP World, has been leading the carbon reduction effort. “90 percent of goods are currently shipped by sea and our terminals play a crucial role in the supply chain,” he explains. “In order to meet our industry-leading environmental targets, we needed to fully understand the impact of our business activities. We recognise that our ability to monitor our carbon emissions will help drive continuous improvement in our sustainability efforts. Due to the complex nature of our diverse business operations, we looked for a professional

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and cost efficient solution that was easy to use but allowed us to aggregate data from a wide variety of sources.” Adopting Acco2unt will help DP World drive the ethos of continual improvement in documenting its carbon footprint. It complements other recent successes in the journey to adopt a low-carbon approach such as being the first international operator to disclose its emissions publicly in the Carbon Disclosure Project. “The implementation of Greenstone’s Acco2unt software gives us a comprehensive reporting framework with a clear breakdown of our emissions which, in turn, allows us to compare performance across the business and drive continual improvement,” Haine adds. “The beauty of the soft ware is that we have tailored it to be able to report on the global portfolio while at the same time making it practical for individual terminals to get feedback on their performance. There’s no doubt that Greenstone’s soft ware has automated much of the manual process, which can be prone to human error, and will enable us to develop targeted reduction projects with greater focus, transparency and efficiency.” Matthew de Villiers, Chief Executive Officer at Greenstone, sees carbon reduction as a key challenge for companies everywhere. “Businesses around the world are facing a significant increase in the administrative burden and complexity of measuring and reporting carbon emissions,” he says. “We are delighted that DP World is already seeing results from using Acco2unt and is leading the way in carbon management within the marine terminal industry.” „

DP World is one of the largest marine terminal operators in the world, with 50 terminals and 11 new developments and expansion plans across 31 countries. Its dedicated, experienced and professional team of nearly 30,000 people serves customers in some of the most dynamic economies in the world. DP World aims to enhance customers’ supply chain efficiency by effectively managing container, bulk and other terminal cargo. The company constantly invests in terminal infrastructure, facilities and people, working closely with customers and business partners to provide quality services today and tomorrow, when and where customers need them. In taking this customer-centric approach, DP World is building on the established relationships and superior level of service demonstrated at its flagship Jebel Ali facility in Dubai, which has been voted ‘Best Seaport in the Middle East’ for 16 consecutive years. In 2009, DP World handled more than 43.4 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEU) across its portfolio from the Americas to Asia. With a pipeline of expansion and development projects in key growth markets, including India, China and the Middle East, capacity is expected to rise to around 95 million TEU over the next 10 years, in line with market demand.

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19/01/2011 11:05




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Despite moves to diversify away from a dependence on hydrocarbons, the oil and gas sector remains key to the strength of the Bahraini economy. MENA Infrastructure speaks to HE Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, Bahraini Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs and Chairman of the National Oil and Gas Authority, about plans for 2011 – and their impact on the infrastructure sector.


ahrain enjoys a strong and diverse economy. Unlike many of its Gulf neighbours, Bahrain’s economy is not reliant upon the oil industry, having successfully diversified away from a dependence on oil; and although oil does play an important part in the country’s economy – oil and gas revenues make up over 80 percent of government revenues – Bahrain also has an increasingly important financial services industry, and acts as a fi nancial centre for the Middle East and North Africa region. Refining, aluminium production and tourism are also significant contributors to the country’s gross domestic product. But nonetheless, the oil and gas sector has traditionally been a big driver for the Bahraini economy – and remains an important driver for much of the infrastructure development currently taking place within the tiny island-state. And according to HE Dr. Abdul Hussain bin Ali Mirza, Bahraini Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs and Chairman of the National Oil and Gas Authority, investing in infrastructure project work remains a key part of the country’s long-range planning. “When the National Oil and Gas Authority was established in 2005, we set our long-term strategy,” he explains. “It is well known that chief executives of major companies who lose their jobs largely do so not because they did not plan, but because they did not implement the plan successfully. Since setting our plan we have focused on its successful implementation to achieve our long-term goals, and consequently we have not veered from our investment programme.” In the upstream sector this involves the development of the domestic on-shore oil field and Khuff gas field, a project initiated by the formation of Tatweer Petroleum, a joint venture between Occidental Petroleum from the USA, Mubadala from the UAE, and the Oil and Gas Holding Company of Bahrain. “Tatweer started operations in December 2009 and has already arrested the decline in crude oil production,” says Ali Mirza. “Investment during 2011 will involve three drilling rigs, drilling some 125 new development oil wells and numerous work-over rigs working full-time to increase the crude oil production. The aim is to increase production by exploiting zones of heavy crude that hitherto have been uneconomical to produce. The investment for this development is of the order of US$15 million over the life of the development and supply contract, which is 20 years.” The downstream sector has also been very active. The Low Sulphur Diesel Project (LSDP), commissioned in 2007, provides the capability to manufacture over 100kbpd of ultra-low sulphur diesel. “Th is enables us to meet the diesel

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specifications of any region of the world, thus diversifying our geographic markets,” says Ali Mirza. “At a cost of over US$700 million, the project has been extremely successful fi nancially.” The success of the LSDP was then followed in 2009 by the commissioning of the Refi nery Gas Desulphurisation Project (RGDP), a US$140 million environmental project that reduced the SOx emissions from the refi nery to those of a Californian refi nery. “The two projects – one profit-driven, one environment-driven – show that our values within the Bahrain oil industry are not just towards profit, since we believe that long-term sustainability depends on caring for all stakeholders – particularly the local community,” says Ali Mirza. As a continuation of this strategy, the country is currently building a catalytic de-waxer plant that will enable it to manufacture Group III ultra-high viscosity index lubricating base oils. Th is project, at a cost of US$430 million, will be commissioned in the fi rst half of 2011 and is a joint venture between Bahrain Oil and Gas Holding Company, Bapco and Neste Oil of Finland. It will also broaden the product range and meet the specifications of the most demanding markets in the world. “We are diversifying products and markets, we are manufacturing the highest quality, we are protecting the environment, and we are extending our planning horizons,” says Ali Mirza. “We are already thinking about the refi nery configuration required by 2020 and this will involve an expansion of crude capacity and construction of upgrading process units such that we reduce the yield of low-value products.” Further environmental investment includes a wastewater treatment plant, which is in the design stage. Additionally, the Ministry will be supporting the National Strategy and the Vision 2030 by making gas available to support new industry and the expansion of current industries, and this strategy will include the construction of an LNG terminal by the end of 2014. Such projects are certainly helping to drive growth in the construction/engineering sector. “Having set a vision for the future, and adhering to its implementation despite the global economic recession, we are providing a constant workflow to the engineering and construction industry,” says Ali Mirza. “Our investment was not curtailed by the recession. We are engaging both local contractors and reputable international contractors in our investments, which are creating wealth for Bahrain and sustainable work for the contracting industry.” Ali Mirza believes this is an outstanding achievement for a small country like Bahrain – but one that has only been

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possible as a result of the clear focus, vision and support of its political leadership, who he says are not only fiscally responsible but also socially responsible and economically driven. “The Vision 2030 sets out the aspirations for Bahrain’s economy, government and society in accordance with the guiding principles of sustainability, competitiveness and fairness,” he explains. “Following this development path will result in a better standard of living for all in Bahrain, and send a clear message to the engineering and construction industry that Bahrain is business-friendly.” Another key project is the 70-mile crude oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia to Bahrain that was originally due to be completed this year. The so-called A-B pipeline is part of Bahrain’s refi nery masterplan and will enable the country to increase its refi ning capacity. “Refi neries close to developed markets will close if they are not economically viable and the manufacturing capacity will be taken up by new, efficient, competitive refi nery capacity in the Middle East,” says Ali Mirza. “Bahrain plans to be part of this paradigm shift and the new A-B pipeline will have a capacity of 350kbpd, which is more than 100kbpd greater than the existing pipeline built over 50 years ago.” The pipeline is important for Bahrain; refi ning of crude oil has taken place in this country for nearly 80 years and is a strategic industry for the country, thus increasing the capacity of the refi nery will enable it to be highly competitive in a core competency. The new pipeline will play a key role in transporting the crude oil required – but nevertheless, its construction has been dogged by delays. “In terms of the status of the project, it is essential for safety and security reasons that the routing of the new pipeline has to be carefully considered,” explains Ali Mirza. “After all, this will be a strategic lifeline for Bahrain for the next 50 years. Once all parties are in agreement with the routing and design of the line, the project will be finalised.” The project is typical of how oil revenues are being used to further develop many of Bahrain’s critical infrastructure networks – from energy to transportation to water to telecommunications. “Anyone who has visited Bahrain

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regularly in recent years can see that massive infrastructure investments have been taking place,” admits Ali Mirza. For instance, in the transportation sector the Sitra causeway has been completely re-built into a multi-lane highway with flyovers and underpasses to ensure speedy traffic flow. Similarly the development of the Shaikh Salman Highway in Isa Town will improve traffic flow and remove a bottleneck for people travelling to work in Manama. Meanwhile in the power sector, the construction of the largest power station in Bahrain at Al Dur was completed last year and the plant commission just a few months ago. “NOGA is responsible for ensuring the availability of gas for industrial and infrastructure development and in 2007 we invested US$200 million to ensure gas was available for the new power plant,” says Ali Mirza. “The development of the Khuff gas field plus other current gas initiatives by NOGA will provide the energy to ensure that power and water demand through to the mid 2020s is met.” It’s part of a concerted effort to make sure Bahrain is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Last year NOGA signed an agreement with Masdar to develop ways to cut carbon emissions in the oil and gas industry, displaying a rare commitment to sustainability in the oil and gas sector. Indeed, Dr Ali Mirza believes the engineering community has an important role to play in promoting more environmentally friendly projects. “We signed an agreement with Masdar to cut carbon emissions during 2009, and this was immediately followed up with a major carbon dioxide project at Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC) plant site in Sitra,” confi rms Dr Ali Mirza. “GPIC is the fi rst petrochemicals company in the Middle East to have such an environmentally friendly technology designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” Constructed in co-operation with Technoment of Italy and Japanese giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Company, he feels this is a clear example of how the engineering community can bring new technology and ideas to Bahrain. “If they are consistent with our business values we will embrace them and turn them into reality,” he says. “The door is open for the engineering and contracting industry to

“Our investment was not curtailed by the recession. We are engaging both local contractors and reputable international contractors in our investments, which are creating wealth for Bahrain”

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work with Bahraini companies to reduce energy consumption and to create a cleaner environment.” It could yet prove to be a lucrative partnership for both Bahrain and the construction sector, particularly given that the industry has suffered more than most as a result of the economic downturn while Bahrain has weathered the storm relatively well. “The global recession has affected countries and industries worldwide to one extent or another; Bahrain is no exception, but whereas the developed western countries actually went into recession, Bahrain merely experienced a small reduction in the growth rate,” explains Ali Mirza. Indeed, growth in the economy has remained positive throughout the global downturn, and this strong economic position has been borne out by the overwhelming interest in government bonds issued by the Ministry of Finance. “The government has been very astute and careful in guiding the nation through this difficult time, and we have taken this into account with our investment in the oil and gas industry,” he continues. “It would be inaccurate to say that there has been no change in our plans; some change is inevitable. However, I am proud to say that the change has been minor and it has taken the form of small adjustments to completion dates. We are still following through on our project commitments. As I said earlier we are currently constructing a lube base oil plant, which has been ongoing for the last three years, and we have just signed an agreement with the EPC contracting company GS Engineering from Korea to build a new wastewater treatment plant at the refi nery.” Vision 2030’s objective is to shift Bahrain’s economy from an oil-driven economy to a global competitive economy predominantly based on fi nance, tourism and industry,

and as such the Economic Development Board has worked in close cooperation with partners across government to develop the National Economic Strategy 2009-2014. The strategy has three guiding principles: to strengthen the private sector and change the balance between private and public sector employment; to aim for diversification and innovation in a sustainable knowledge-based economy, independent of oil to the best extent possible; and to ensure appropriate skill-building in the Bahrain labour market to match the shift in focus. Ali Mirza believes that delivering on the aspirations of the Vision 2030 will create opportunities for new business investment, the innovative development of existing industries, and the development of a workforce that is renowned for its productivity. “Within the next decade we will see greater development in transportation infrastructure as the country meets the expectations of its citizens at the same time as reducing our impact on the environment,” he says. “Within the next decade we will see a greater diversification of industries, and the establishment of a wide variety of light industry not dependent on subsidized fuel. And also within the next decade, the young, educated and developing workforce of Bahrain will be available to meet the growing demands for skill, knowledge and dedication.” Clearly, the opportunities for investors, industries and contractors are going to be plentiful as Bahrain takes another step forward. “There is a saying ‘If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there’,” concludes Dr Ali Mirza. “The Government of Bahrain has clearly defi ned the future; we know where we are going, and we hope the engineering industry will be available to help us get there.” „

Economic stability “Bahrain’s relative economic stability is reflected by the generally steady historical upgrade in its sovereign rating by international rating agencies. In December 2009, the international rating agencies, Standard & Poors and Fitch, reaffirmed their outlook on Bahrain’s long-term foreign currency sovereign debt as A (Stable). The same rating agencies assigned a rating of A (Stable) to Bahrain’s long-term local currency sovereign debt. “Indeed, in recent years, the financial services sector has been the single largest contributor to Bahrain’s GDP, reflecting the high growth in the sector. In 2009, the financial services sector remained the largest contributor to Bahrain’s GDP (contributing 25.1 percent to Bahrain’s real GDP). In line with the objectives of Vision 2030, contributions to the economy from manufacturing (15.3 percent. of GDP in 2009), mining and quarrying, including oil and gas (13.2 percent of GDP in 2009), government services (14.8 percent of GDP in 2009), transport and communications (8.8 percent of GDP in 2009) and real estate and business activities (8.7 percent of GDP in 2009) continue to increase. “The GDP numbers indicate a diverse economy and in 2009 the oil industry contribution to the public finance revenues was 83 percent, so in this respect the oil and gas industry is still vital to the economy of Bahrain.”

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An open flow of information Yousuf from Oman writes: “Our pipeline operations personnel are looking for additional training, and we also need to gain further expertise in international best-practices for operating pipelines, but we want this to come from a provider that has hands-on expertise in pipeline operations so that we can benefit from their knowledge and experience. Is there a company out there that, like us, is a pipeline operator and is willing to offer their expertise to other pipeline operators?” Bill Trefanenko explains why Enbridge Technology Inc. is one of the few pipeline operators currently offering consulting services.

Bill Trefanenko. It’s extremely rare these days for a pipeline operator to provide consulting services within the industry. But, as we like to say, Enbridge is different. Enbridge Technology Inc. (ETI) draws on more than 60 years of expertise gained by our parent company, Enbridge Inc., to offer operations training and advisory services – and provide solutions for the world’s oil and gas pipeline industry. Our philosophy, frankly, is what sets Enbridge apart from our competition. Enbridge owns and operates the longest crude oil and liquids pipelines system in the world – over 22,000 kilometres long – and Enbridge is also a very open company. Through six decades of growth we have experienced and successfully responded to nearly every situation and event that a pipeline operator might encounter. Like any successful company, we have had to be adaptable and flexible to changing circumstances and evolving technology. At ETI one of the things we tell our clients is that because we’re happy to share our more than 60 years of hard-won expertise and experience, they can get out ahead of the challenges that we have encountered over the years. At ETI, we also draw on Enbridge’s strength in numbers to provide our consulting services. Enbridge boasts nearly 6500 employees worldwide, providing ETI an enviable resource network. As the consulting arm of Enbridge Inc., ETI collaborates with clients to identify operational challenges, makes objective recommendations based on industry best practices, provides resources, and designs plans for longterm support. As such, ETI enjoys a collegial relationship

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with Enbridge Inc., pulling resources from the parent company as necessary. And thanks to this unique arrangement, our clients not only benefit from leading-edge knowledge that comes straight from the field – they also get that knowledge when they need it. ETI offers its pipeline clients a wide array of operations training. Our instructor-led liquid pipelines and gas transmission training programmes range from control centre and field operations to electrical/mechanical maintenance, and corrosion control. We also offer instructor-led professional development programmes for technical and administrative support staff. And our Operations Performance Support System (OPSS) provides our clients with valuable training material, procedures, documents and historical examination results that are available online, just a click away. ETI also provides a full range of regulatory Operator Qualification (OQ) programmes for operations and maintenance staff. Many of these programmes are designed to meet or exceed the requirements of regulators such as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Pipeline Safety. Subject areas include any operations or maintenance task that is performed on a pipeline or pipeline facility that could affect the integrity of the pipeline if not performed correctly, such as cathodic protection, measuring corrosion in the field, and working with apumps, compressors and valves. ETI also excels in an advisory capacity. We’ll help companies in the commissioning of pipelines. We also lend a hand in conducting feasibility and hydraulic studies, and help operators with open seasons to determine market and shipper interest and demand. ETI also develops operation and maintenance procedures, pipeline integrity management programmes, health, safety and environment processes, and emergency response plans for companies in the industry. While many companies in the pipeline industry focus on their own backyard, Enbridge maintains a global perspective. In fact, in addition to our technical expertise one of ETI’s strengths is a strong commitment to understanding and working with other cultures and a focus on learning how business is done in other countries and putting that information to work for our clients. „

Bill Trefanenko, Director, International Operations at Enbridge Inc., has more than 30 years of experience in the oil and gas pipeline industry, ranging from engineering design to project management to operations, integrity, maintenance, and rehabilitation.

21/01/2011 15:08

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19/01/2011 11:28



Game changing safety performance Petrotechnics’ EVP Iain Mackay explains how integrated processes and technologies are changing frontline working effectiveness, delivering tangible efficiency benefits with improved safety performance as a byproduct.


hile billions of dollars are invested in technologies to optimise how work is planned and how production is achieved, there is currently very little investment in technology that assists frontline workers to execute the work in an efficient, consistent, compliant and safe manner. Organisations working in hazardous industries now realise that ‘work execution’, the space where identified, planned and scheduled work is performed, contains a high proportion of the inefficiencies and safety concerns that increase cost and risk. Many organisations rely on paper processes to manage frontline work. Much of the work is unplanned, reacting to local needs and changing priorities rather than the overall plan; studies show that in some industries less than 40 percent of the plan is achieved at the worksite in the period intended. To compound this, little governance is available at the corporate level to provide assurance that operations and maintenance work is conducted in a safe and compliant manner, be that corporate or regulator requirements. This dynamic environment presents challenges to frontline workers and supervisors; where are the work instructions associated with the job? What lessons have previously been learned? What pre-work is needed prior to commencement and what are the risks to the plant and personnel? Ensuring workers consistently apply best practices – whether these are rules, regulations, processes or lessons learned, not only provides safety and assurance benefits but also delivers efficiency gains: better ways of working and improving the corporate knowledge base and shorter execution time. Managing behaviours on industrial sites presents all operations with a challenge; how to build, deliver, develop and exercise best-practice amongst the frontline personnel. Driving from policy can lead to a tick box response; if policy is too vague then everyone complies, if policy is too prescriptive many organisations simply cannot comply with all the rules in the prescriptive way they have been written, and the policy’s impact erodes. Supporting processes with a system removes opportunities to subvert the process.

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This ‘systematised’ assurance can be achieved in a shorter timeframe than building workforce competence; process rigour is the quickest way of gaining control in areas where workforce competency and behaviours are a critical link in the execution of work. Instilling proactive behaviours in the workforce is highly dependent on people, but by using the framework of a process embodied in a system it is possible to engage the people in a new approach, with a much greater degree of overall control, providing a more solid foundation from which to address behaviours and competency. Many organisations are now realising the benefits of evolving paper systems, through “e-permitting”, to integrated safe systems of work (ISSOW) to provide clear, robust and consistent ways for frontline staff to plan and control work on the site safely and efficiently. Petrotechnics’ experience in delivering work execution solutions to 50,000 users in 20 countries demonstrates it’s ability to deliver compliant, best-practice solutions built on high reliability software into diverse environments with minimal workforce management of change. Petrotechnics’ Sentinel PRO fundamentally shifts the approach to planning and integration of all aspects of frontline work to give real control and assurance of work activities. Sentinel PRO overcomes the challenges presented by the unstructured and dynamic nature of operations, maintenance and associated activity through a unified business process, integrating permit to work, risk assessment and isolation management, delivering it to the frontline user in an intuitive graphical real-time software tool. Companies realise the hard benefits immediately following implementation, increasing achievement of planned work, a decrease in unplanned activities, delivering better maintenance of equipment and more effective utilisation of personnel. Payback has been repeatedly demonstrated within 12 months of implementation. In addition, many executives recognise the soft benefits; improved governance and assurance of hazardous sites, auditable records of work performed, clear oversight of plant condition, high visibility on work status and the ability to review individuals’ work histories. „

Iain Mackay is Executive Vice President of Petrotechnics Ltd, the market leading provider of frontline activity performance solutions for hazardous industries. Mackay is the driving force behind Petrotechnics’ unrivalled track record in delivering tangible efficiency and safety benefits to its extensive global client base.

21/01/2011 16:34


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Pulse-Chlorination: an environment-friendly technology to control biological fouling at cooling systems Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) producer Qatargas, writes: “Can you help us to combat macro fouling and micro fouling in our cooling water system and at the same time reduce chlorine usage in cooling seawater systems by three quarters without any adverse operational consequences?” Floris Schulze offers his advice for both mitigating fouling and meeting the discharge limit in cooling water systems at industrial plants. Floris Schulze. Many utilities and industrial companies around the globe encounter the same problem: how can one control biological fouling and, at the same time, operate in a cost-effective and environment-friendly way? This is a well-known dilemma that can be solved thanks to a new, highly sophisticated technology. At KEMA, a global energy consulting and testing andcertification firm with offices in more than 20 countries, we have developed Pulse-Chlorination (P-C), a tailor made chlorination method. It enables optimal antifouling treatment with a minimum use of chlorine. This technology enhances a cyclic mode of hypochlorite dosing (on/off dosing regime), based on the behavioural responses of the specific bivalve to chlorine, thereby taking advantage of this recovery period to delay the restart of P-C. By applying P-C, bivalves will have to switch their metabolic mode continuously between aerobic and anaerobic. In 2007, Pulse-Chlorination was implemented at the Qatargas LNG plant. The main target species to be controlled was the pearl oyster Pinctada radiata. After two years of operation and inspections of the cooling water system, it was concluded that Pulse-Chlorination has been very successful in both mitigating the biofouling and meeting the strict discharge limit. The processes have been running without problems and the cooling water system itself was very clean in comparison with the years before, when a continuous dosing was applied. Also, clear economical benefits for operating the electro chlorination plant at lower capacity have been recognised. The project carried out at Qatargas won an environmental award at the RECSO Offshore Arabia 2009 Conference. RECSO stands for Regional Clean Seas Organisation, a non-profit oil industry co-operative organisation functioning on the concept of mutual aid with the primary aim of protecting the marine environment in the Arabian Gulf. The Qatargas cooling seawater Pulse-Chlorination project won the ‘Excellence in Environmental Technology’ category. The project has enabled Qatargas to significantly reduce the amount of chlorine discharged to sea, thus minimising any potential impacts on marine life. Cool-

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ing seawater is used by a number of different industries and is vital for the cooling requirement of many modern industrial and power generation facilities within Qatar. In a statement, Qatargas said: “These awards have come as a result of our dedication and commitment towards environmental protection. Qatargas strongly believes that industrial development should go hand in hand with environmental sustainability and the various environmental initiatives undertaken by Qatargas prove that this is indeed possible.” In addition, Pulse-Chlorination was declared ‘Best Available Technique’ at the well-known “Desalination and the Gulf ” conference on December 6 and 7 in Bahrain. This declaration was based on independent research carried out by WorleyParsons, commissioned by the regulatory authority. Pulse-Chlorination has become the predominant technology not only in the Middle East, but also with many companies in the Far East, Australia and Europe. „

Floris Schulze, Managing Director of KEMA Middle East, has 16 years of professional experience in projects concerning applied and (advanced) stochastic modelling, data analysis, econometrics, (industrial) process control, environmentalinformatics, hydro-informatics and risk and maintenance management. As Managing Director of KEMA Middle East he is responsible for all KEMA activities in the Middle East.

21/01/2011 16:32

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After a rollercoaster couple of years, work on the Dubai Pearl is finally forging ahead. Here, Chairman Abdul Majeed Ismail Al Fahim explains the reasons behind the redesigned masterplan, and why sustainability and luxury need not be exclusive concepts.


ew currently active developments have environmentally, socially as well as economiexperienced as troubled a gestation as cally sustainable ideas, we wanted to create a the Dubai Pearl. The self-contained cityliving, breathing 24-hour city. So the number within-a-city, which sits near the coast one priority was to develop an environmenat the entrance to the Palm Jumeirah and reptally sensitive, intelligent design that represents resents one of the largest private developments a community-minded and fully-integrated in the world, was originally begun by Qatar’s mixed-use development rather than just a group Omnix International in 2003 before being taken of buildings.” over by a consortium led by the Al Fahim Group Dubai Pearl’s signature structures are its after work ground to a halt. A major project four separate 73-storey towers connected toredesign – which remarkably involved razing gether at the top to form one skyscraper rising the under-construction project to the 300 metres, while partnerground, despite the fact that work on ships with luxury brands such 6 million the original 53-storey structure had as Baccarat, Bellagio, MGM already reached the 14th floor – was to Grand and Sky Lofts are testaSales value of follow, before the emirate was rocked ment to the development’s loft y the Dubai Pearl by the global fi nancial slowdown and ambitions and belief in creating in US$ subsequent Dubai debt crisis that put a long-term value for its stakehost of projects on the back-burner and holders. However, just as eyeled to countless more being cancelled catching are the project’s green outright. credentials; promoting itself as a pedestrianIt’s certainly been a rollercoaster couple of friendly city, 56 percent of the total land mass is years. Yet despite these setbacks, the Dubai Pearl comprised of open space with around 45 percent project is fi nally back up and running and set to of the project area earmarked for landscaping. become Dubai’s most prestigious What is more, the main towers of the developaddress on its rescheduled complement are to be constructed to Leadership in tion in 2013. As Chairman of the Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold iconic development, Abdul Majeed standards – the second highest LEED accreditaPercentage Ismail Al Fahim drives the project’s tion, which rates the environmental friendliness of project long-term strategic objectives and, of buildings. earmarked for along with Chief Executive Santosh “At the Dubai Pearl a state-of-the-art energy landscaping Jospeh, has been a key figure in its management system is being implemented to revival. “We went for a change of reduce water consumption, electricity and gas design,” he says. “The new design usage,” says Al Fahim. “Facilities to encourage is more sustainable, the traffic impact is much recycling of paper, glass and food waste will better and value-creation for the major building be available across the site. Further environis much friendlier.” Under Al Fahim’s watchful mental features include solar power hot water eye, the new owners re-examined what could generation, a green roof, a heat recovery system make the six million square metre area work and a district cooling plant using high-efficiency best; the result is a project that is water-cooled chillers. So sustainboth unique and sustainable, in ability is a big focus for us.” every sense of the word. And that’s not all. Solar power Number of “Our challenge was to create collectors will store solar energy in construction a new community and to deliver a storage battery during the day in jobs that will be a unique design concept,” he exorder to provide power during the created by the plains in a discussion held at the dark nights. A unique glass that build recent Big 5 event in Dubai. “From conserves electricity and resists the start, when we were inviting external heat will be used for the the different groups of engineers to come up majority of the glazing to improve cooling and with a work-play-stay-live concept based on energy consumption. The use of motion sensors



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within the city; we want them to feel that Dubai Pearl is their home, that it is an integrated development that harnesses the best of the multicultural aspects of Dubai – including, of course, our own traditions as Emiratis. We are saying, ‘Th is is ours together’.” As part of this initiative, the Dubai Pearl has placed a big emphasis on supporting and funding the arts, including musical events, art galleries, fashion shows and the theatre, in line with Al Fahim’s belief that such events help bring communities together. In addition, its sponsorship of the Dubai International Film Festival has helped further raise the profi le of the development and bring it to the attention of a host of potential investors. Of course, there are challenges associated with building in Dubai right now – not least in terms of investor confidence and rumours of high default levels. The dive in the regional property market still casts a significant shadow over Dubai, and while property pre-sales at the Dubai Pearl currently top 500, reports of payment defaults among buyers of off-plan units across the Emirate have been wellin common areas will reduce electrical power sustainability,” he explains, before documented. Al Fahim concedes consumption. LEDs will be used extensively adding that creating a sustainable that such reports are a legitimate for lighting, while integrated energy meters development is as much about concern for developers across Number of will provide digital information on electricity, creating long-term value for both Dubai, but believes the approach additional air conditioning, chilled water consumption investors and residents as it is about being taken by his team is helping services jobs that and building information management. Water going green. to minimise any such risk. will be created usage reduction will be ensured through the For instance, Dubai Pearl will “There will inevitably be use of low-water-flow-rate fi xtures, while realso feature amenities designed periods of high and low activcycled gray water produced by the building will to enhance residents’ quality of life, such as ity throughout any construction process, but be used for irrigation. rooftop garden terraces, holistic wellness and the development remains on schedule and the “Anyone who believes that being ecosports centres, an urban beach club, theatres, initial handover is expected to commence by conscious is a trend or a fad doesn’t undera cinema complex, two kilometres of running the end of 2013,” he says. “Given the size and stand longevity or sustainability,” explains track, a library and art galleries. “Alongside scale of a development such as Dubai Pearl, it Al Fahim. “There is no point in embarking on environmental and fi nancial sustainability, is not unusual for some buyers to potentially projects that, because of their reliance on fossil which are of course critical to any developer in default on their payments during the course of fuels, for example, become too expensive to today’s climate, social sustainability is another the construction process. However, the Dubai manage and operate in the future. Dubai Pearl key focus of our project,” says Al Fahim. “If Pearl team has worked hard with any investor has been designed in terms of the sound prinyou are going to put a collection of buildings experiencing difficulties to manage this process ciples of economic, social and environmental together without addressing how they are going appropriately, to try and avoid this from hapsustainability as it makes good business sense. to work together, it’s not really going to be a pening wherever possible.” We are thus able to adapt to changing lifestyle long-term sustainable solution.” And while the last few years have been difdemands, where people have time restrictions Al Fahim’s vision is to create a space where ficult from an economic standpoint, Al Fahim and expect quality and style, but not at the exa diverse mix of people can live and grow into believes that his company’s focus on sound pense of convenience.” thriving and integrated communities; a place fundamentals and developing a truly sustainIndeed, given the development’s luxury where they can raise and educate their families able project will be key to its future success. branding, mixing opulence with efficiency and enjoy quality employment and recreation “The economic environment of the world has might seem something of a paraopportunities. “Dubai Pearl is changed over the last few years,” he concedes, dox; however, one of the points Al very much interested in and sup“but when you are working on a sustainable Fahim is keen to emphasise is that portive of putting these integrated project like Dubai Pearl you always need to sustainability and luxury need not communities together,” confi rms factor in the ups and downs of the economy. be mutually exclusive concepts. Al Fahim. “Dubai is a cosmopoliWe have prioritised a number of key areas in Total area of site “Quality and luxury do not have to tan place with over 200 different order to adapt to the economic scenario: a focus in square feet be compromised in the pursuit of nationalities working and living on steady progress in the construction and the

“Anyone who believes that being eco-conscious is a trend or a fad doesn’t understand longevity or sustainability”


20 million

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delivery of the project; flexible and tailor-made payment plans for our investors; close and transparent relations with our investors and partners; and an intensive campaign to raise awareness on all the project’s various components,” he continues.

Main construction at the site is being undertaken by the Al Habtoor Leighton Group, which was awarded the contract at the end of 2008, while work on the US$6 billion project began in June 2009. State-of-the-art construction technologies, materials and building tech-

Dubai’s jewel Overlooking the Palm Jumeirah in the heart of the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone, Dubai Pearl sets a new benchmark for sustainable urban communities in Dubai. In creating a 24 hour living, walkable community where people can work, play and live in one destination, the development will redefine the pulse of the city, providing premium offices, international retail and the highest quality dining and entertainment facilities. Dubai Pearl’s prime location will offer an unparalleled combination of freehold in the convenience of a free zone with luxury, energy efficient sustainability and state-of-the-art technology. It is hoped the development will ultimately provide a home for 9000 people and a workplace for 12,000, and it is expected to be completed in 2013 over three-phases. On-site infrastructure will be provided by Dubai Pearl, while off-site services will be provided by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Empower, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and the UAE telecom operator DU. Air conditioning, chilled water and all electromechanical requirements will all be handled by engineering services consultants Meinhardt. As Dubai Pearl is located in a mature urban area, the majority of utilities are already in place. Water supply and drainage system network operation centres for demand allocation are already available, as are electrical substations for load allocation. A study to look into how best to implement district cooling is currently underway. In addition to this, there will be a fully integrated road system to give buildings a street address and frontage. The development will be connected to public transport by bus and taxi as well as the Dubai Metro. All transport and road networks within the project are private, but fall under RTA jurisdiction.

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niques are being used, including high-strength concrete, steel trusses and hollow core slabs for the composite construction process of the iconic towers, and heavy lift ing techniques using jacking systems for lift ing the ‘sky palaces’ into place on top of the four towers. In fact, Al Fahim is extremely optimistic regarding where the market in Dubai is heading over the next few years. “Everything that made Dubai special in the eyes of the world is still here; no crime, no taxes, the best infrastructure, growing tourism and the rest,” he says. “Dubai is now also more affordable and property prices are very good value for money when compared to most other cities in the world. Dubai remains the hub of the greater region. Dubai International Airport is now ranked as one of the busiest in the world and is growing. There are very few cities in the world with the quality and quantity of fi rst class infrastructure that Dubai has, and this is being improved on a daily basis.”„

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Bite the dust Robonaut’s Thomas Michel explains the impact that dust can have on solar panels, but highlights that this need not stand in the way of solar power for the Gulf region. Why is dust an important factor for future solar projects in the Gulf region? Thomas Michel. The Gulf region and Arabian Peninsula is an ideal region for solar power. There is plenty of sunshine, lots of unused land, high local energy demand and available capital. However dust, both in the air and settled, spoils this picture. Regardless of the question whether thermal or photovoltaic (PV) will make the race, dust has to be taken into account. For thermal solar power, both dust in the air and dust on reflectors have a negative effect. Light is scattered and lost. Consequently reflectors rely on impeccably cleaned surfaces. In contrast, PV is much more tolerant to defused sunlight. However, once enough dust is deposited on PV panels it will start to shade off sunlight and ultimately decreases performance. On the Arabian Peninsula dust is omnipresent. Summer and winter sand storms (Shamal) disperse vast amounts of mineral dust particles into the air throughout the year. The occasional cold-front sand storm (Habub) can dump high amounts of dust in a matter of minutes. The Gulf region is in fact a dusty place. Why is efficient cleaning of PV panels in large solar parks important? TM. Dust on PV panels is generally easy to clean off. PV surfaces do not have to be cleaned perfectly. But how do you clean 130 soccer fields worth of solar surface? Just like any surface, but very much faster. A 100 MW PV power plant is composed of about 130 football fields of solar surface. You may hire 150 people, give them a broom and lots of water to drink. They might do the job, despite the unpleasant heat. They will possibly finish the whole surface after two weeks and then start anew. Another way is to send one mobile robotic cleaning machine and let it clean the entire surface in less than 10 days, no human error, no water consumption. Th is is exactly what the Swiss company Robonaut GmbH has in mind. Why use a fully automated robotic system? TM. High speed and constant quality are some of the key factors. It is clear that recruiting an armada of people with a broom might not be the most efficient method. You may agree, that a machine of some sort would be a necessity. A manually operated machine bears the risk that operators make mistakes. The monotonous work and the time

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Thomas Michel is co-founder and Managing Director of the Swiss based company Robonaut GmbH. His experience as a mechanical engineer and entrepreneur as well as his expertise in robotics and large solar installations are fundamental for Robonaut’s activities and future products.

constraints increase this risk. Consequently, the machine must do all the critical manipulations autonomously, with no operator involved. A robotic system does exactly that. It eliminates human error. It does the same job much faster and more reliably than a manually operated machine. In fact it can operate 24/7 with unchanged quality and reliability. Let’s be reminded that damage on the PV arrays is costly and not predictable. In very large PV parks, one task is to do the cleaning, another is to drive intelligently through the PV arrays, minimising the unproductive time. A structure to support and guide the cleaning head is generally a very good idea. However, this must be planned and integrated by the company who builds the panel arrays. Besides the added cost, it is difficult to motivate the numerous manufacturers to add such a feature. How does Robonaut’s robotic cleaning system work? TM. The off-road mobile robot system with the brand name Xpedous cruises alongside the PV panel array using a redundant navigation system and many sensors. It cries all the cleaning machinery on-board and is powered by a suitable energy source. The sensor guided cleaning arm floats over the panel array and does not need any supporting structure. On reaching the end of an array the cleaning arm is lifted off and put down at the next array. Dust is collected automatically into a container. Xpedous is designed for 24-hour operation. 

21/02/2011 13:43

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COOLING SOLUTIONS MARKET HEATING UP Can the world’s best-kept energy secret provide the answer to the region’s cooling woes?

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he Middle East is heavily dependent on air conditioning systems, with industry insiders agreeing that up to 70 percent of the power used during peak times can be attributed to air conditioning systems. But Qatar hopes to lead a revolution in the way the region views such systems through the development of a number of new projects – including the Pearl-Qatar’s new district cooling plant, developed by Qatar Cool. Qatar Cool was officially established in 2004 after UDC identified a strategic opportunity for a utilities company that would supply district cooling – the wide area circulation of refrigerated water – to Doha’s burgeoning real estate developments. “District cooling systems have become the preferred infrastructure solution, especially now that most government leaders and developers are advocating more sustainable energy techniques to optimise energy efficiency and conserve natural resources,” says Qatar Cool’s General Manager, Fayad Al Khatib. Here, Al Khatib talks to MENA Infrastructure Senior Editor Ben Thompson about the benefits of district cooling – and why more must be done to raise awareness as to its potential. District cooling was described as the world’s best-kept energy secret at the recent IDEA conference in Doha. What benefits does district cooling offer? Fayad Al Khatib. It really offers great benefits. It offers a solution to what we call in our industry the three Es: environment, energy and the economy. I’m sure you’re aware of the environmental challenge we face today and in the future in terms of how to address the issue of reducing emissions; district cooling addresses that. In terms of energy reduction, the energy used in our industry compared to conventional cooling technologies is much lower. And then in terms of the economy, it also addresses the issue of cost. If you compare our models over 20 years, it is a lot more beneficial for the end-users to go with district energy. To say it is the world’s best-kept energy secret is an understatement; it is actually one of the best-kept secrets even within the energy sector itself. The fact that it is such a well-kept secret suggests there’s a lack of awareness as to the potential of district cooling. So why do you think these benefits aren’t more widely recognised and acknowledged? FAK. We talk a lot about communication, and one of the important things is that the people who drive district energy or district cooling are usually engineers or finance people, and are not necessarily the best communicators. They are technically-minded; they think about getting things done, they think about how we’re going to finance this, how we’re going to meet our production and customer requirements. And a lot of times communication is forgotten or dropped. I was at a district energy conference recently and I asked the attendees there where they advertised. Most of them replied that they advertised in engineering or climate or energy-related magazines; very few of them, if any, had ever advertised or spoken to a magazine that appeals directly to the

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end users or the consumer. Of course, if we were being smart we would all take a picture together and try to get on the front of TIME magazine to talk about our industry. People need to know who we are and what we’re about. Very few people know what happens behind the scenes to bring chilled water to their building or apartment, and it’s our responsibility to increase that awareness. Right now we focus on speaking to technical and financial specialists; these are the people that we like to deal with. We definitely need to open up more. One of the things you did recently to help drive greater publicity was inaugurate your district cooling plant at the Pearl-Qatar. Perhaps you could tell us a little bit more about the vision behind this plant? FAK. The Pearl-Qatar plant is the largest district cooling facility in the world, and its genesis was driven largely by the fact that the Pearl-Qatar Island was created as a sustainable development. In order to be a sustainable development, they needed to come up with a sustainable solution to meet the cooling needs of the island. And through intensive research and planning at the early stages, they soon found that district cooling was the only solution that could enable them to do that. In our industry we measure capacity by tons of refrigeration, and this plant is capable of producing 130,000 tons under one roof. It is actually designed as two plants so that if, God forbid, we have an issue on one, the other side is there as a back up. However, the way I like to describe our service is that we have a single plant serving multiple networks. The island itself is divided into two precincts, and each precinct has a network, so we serve multiple networks from this one plant. In other such developments they have multiple plants serving a single network or one plant for a single network, but on the island it’s unique in that this plant actually serves multiple networks. And that gives us huge advantages in terms of the three Es that I mentioned earlier. So what challenges did the plant construction and the infrastructure network rollout present from a technical point of view? Obviously the Pearl-Qatar is a greenfield site, so were you able to build your designs into the masterplan from an early stage? FAK. The most important thing is planning. This cooling plant required us to have a proper design process, proper equipment and proper resources, all of which take planning. I would say the biggest challenge has been resource management, because you’re talking about managing construction materials, equipment and workers, as well as suppliers from all over the world, and making sure they’re all coming to the island at the right time and they do their job with zero mistakes to avoid any setbacks. Human resources is one of the most important things we have to manage. We have to make sure that our team – consultants, contractors, our employees, our stakeholders – all realise that when we want to deliver a service it has to be ready. So we needed to make sure that we were ready to meet the various phases of the development on the island, and that if the client asked for service in any part of the island

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we were ready to provide it. As such, our teams understood that they had to construct and operate at the same time, and actually we were very successful at that. As I say, most of the challenges were overcome by proper planning upfront. We worked through them and I hope that our clients were satisfied as a result. What benefits will the plant bring to the residents of Pearl-Qatar? FAK. When you take a district cooling approach, there are a few benefits that the end-user feels right away. There is an immediate saving in terms of space, and the aesthetics will be different because you don’t have bulky A/C units on the roof or outside on balconies or in the yard. In fact we’ve actually received many compliments from villa owners about using this form of cooling because now these outside areas are being converted to terraces and party areas. There is also no noise with this equipment and no vibrations, and so those benefits were felt right away. Another thing that end-users appreciate is that they don’t have to worry about operation or maintenance of any air conditioning units; all they need to worry about is changing or cleaning the unit filter when needed. For the eco-aware clients, there is also the satisfaction that they have contributed to reducing their impact on the environment. And of course the last thing I would like to mention is the economic benefits over the life of the service. District cooling would definitely be more economical for the residents of the Pearl-Qatar. Clearly there are huge advantages of using district cooling. So what are your plans for further expansion of the district cooling network in Qatar? FAK. The system in the Pearl will only serve the island, and the capacity is specifically designed to serve that level of demand. So if we need to go outside of the island we have to expand. The only area we serve outside of the island from that plant is the Lagoon Plaza development, which is across the island. But we also have a system in West Bay that’s currently operating as well. We have a large network in the West Bay area and two plants connected to it, and we’re looking at ways to expand into other areas. We talked about the importance of being involved in the planning process from an early stage and partnering with the various authorities, planners, utilities, environmental agencies, developers, and so on. So what approach does Qatar Cool take to such partnerships and how has this helped you in achieving your goals? FAK. We believe in coordination and cooperation, and we believe in engaging partners early in all of our projects. So far it’s brought results because the issues or requirements get put in front of everybody at an early stage, everybody pitches in, everybody works together, and the approach has been very successful in both West Bay and the Pearl-Qatar. At the end of the day, we need successful collaboration between everybody responsible for the project to allow us to deliver the service to our clients on-time and to budget.

Qatar Cool.indd 76

District cooling is a pretty capital-intensive industry. And while I know that Qatar has not been impacted as heavily as other markets in the region, credit markets are still tight and the cost of capital finance remains high. Where will the funding for such initiatives come from? FAK. As with other aspects of the project, the key for project fi nancing is to have sound fi nancial planning. If we plan upfront what it is we want to achieve, how we’re going to achieve that and what we need to do to drive revenue, then the funding becomes very easy. If you have a solid plan in front of you, the investors will be more than willing to invest and that’s where we have really succeeded in bringing funding in. As private sector actors, we really need to make sure that we partner up with the public sector. Right now it’s very important that the private and the public sector collaborate on such projects; that’s where we really need to be going. And I think the Pearl-Qatar district cooling project is proof that such partnerships can be very successful. What lessons have you learned from other similar projects around the region, as well as further afield? FAK. I think the most important thing we learned is that the engagement of all stakeholders from an early stage, even the end-users, is key. If you think about any project, the best way to approach it is to make sure that you address the end-user’s requirements from day one and work backwards from there, instead of building something first and then looking at how it addresses the issues. So engagement of all stakeholders in the early stage of the process is very important. And partnerships, as I mentioned, are also essential. Without end-user engagement and true partnership, district cooling can never become a viable solution.

“Very few people know what happens behind the scenes to bring chilled water to their building or apartment, and it’s our responsibility to increase that awareness. We definitely need to open up more”

And were there any particularly good examples of other plants or projects that you took inspiration from? FAK. We are part of an international group, the International District Energy Association. And all the members have been very helpful in allowing us access to their information to learn from what they have achieved. So we’ve discussed our industry a lot with regional providers, providers in North America and in Europe as well. And actually, one of the key things that we learnt is the need to build our plants to suit actual demand, not anticipated demand. I think that was a very important lesson for us. And so finally, do you think Qatar is poised to become a leader in district cooling? What needs to happen for that to become a reality? FAK. Absolutely, I think we can. Qatar has a proactive approach with a long-term vision, and the combination of these factors will help position Qatar as a knowledgeexporter in the district cooling field. The experience we’re gaining right now will allow us to become a leader in district cooling and not only serve our local market, but also export our technology. And I think other countries can defi nitely benefit from our experience. 

21/01/2011 16:23


19/01/2011 11:03



Utility development Vs government control The Middle East is seeing a tug of war between governments and the private sector for utility development. Utico’s Richard Menezes draws a comparison between government policies and regulations for privatisation in the MENA region, specifically in UAE and Oman.


n the UAE, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) is the pioneer for privatisation of utilities. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is following suit. ADWEA has a system with a regulatory body, gas supplier company, transmission company and a distribution company. It goes for bulk purchase at a cost percentage basis with a few variables and fi xed cost on a 60 percent government and 40 percent private developer shareholding basis on a firm take or pay contract for at least 20 years. Taxation is limited and there is a mandate for listing the company at a certain time frame. Energy costs are set at both subsidised and market conditions to gauge competitiveness and provide flexibility to the government. Oman has a somewhat similar policy and regulatory framework as the ADWEA of UAE except that they allow for only a maximum of 15 year contracts and they offer 100 percent ownership by the developer. Both are based on generation models only and the government provides the remaining segments required to give full body to serve the consumer. The proposed Utico model would be to have some of the above features and some new. Let us start with basics like demand and consumer/tariff profiling. We must structure the industry as only two general categories: domestic and non-domestic (including commercial and industries). Farm or agriculture use must be considered mainly for water re-use projects and not for fresh water irrigation applications unless they go for strict drip or hydrophonic cultivation where once again this can be categorised as commercial. When we have two sets of users, we then should set efficiency levels as being the criteria for the lowest tariff. Domestic consumers should pay more as they use more; general pricing for all the population with differentiations based on income rate consumers in terms of consumption. However for the industry it should be exactly the reverse; it should be set on the number of people employed and growth plans and unit utility consumption for the produce. As the company grows and employee numbers increase – and with this unit consumption goes down due to increased efficiency – their tariff rates should also come down as an incentive. This will help all industries to hire more and fund at least part, if not the majority, of the capital investments by actual utility cost savings as they grow their business. It is also green because we encourage efficiency building. It is a pro-active participation by the government and is truly fair. In terms of contracts, governments should focus

Utico.indd 78

on concessions, rather than utility purchase or off-take agreements with private service providers and also give them the opportunity to set up their distribution networks for developing areas based upon base prices and royalties payable. Governments should only own the transmission network (this too can be privatised with ingenuity but is a different topic for discussion) and this will result in truly healthy bottom lines, by providing the “up-side” potential for the service provider through better service to the consumer, generate efficiencies and better quality of the consumer base. Increasing their participation on a 100 percent basis for developing areas will thus help to build stronger business models, increase efficiencies, innovative funding schemes, technology upgrades, unique consumers service provider partnerships, royalties, etc. Governments should only set the guidelines; quality and quantity control and efficiency building for consumption through lowering unit consumption for the consumers’ base should be set as the sole criteria. Ultimately consumers opinion, satisfaction and efficiencies should be set as the yardstick, and should remain as monitoring instruments with the government. This will build a greener utility with a pro-active government regulation than pure government control alone. To discuss this more in detail would require many more pages than this short article. However, simplicity of any program is the best formula for implementation success. Again this is a view point that can go on and on. 

Richard Menezes is CEO of United Arab Emirates-based Utico, a utilities company specialising in water, sewage, steam, power and related services for clientele requiring reliable, low-cost supply of utilities.

21/01/2011 16:26

UTICO AD.indd 1

19/01/2011 12:16



Ensuring uninterrupted power and water supply is critical to regional development – and the advent of smart grid technologies could prove key to balancing supply with demand, says HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer of DEWA.


n response to the rise in intelligent building and smart city concepts across the Middle East, the region is increasingly turning to innovative technology to help realise the vision of a greener and more efficient future. Take Dubai, for example. Despite being situated in one of the harshest climatic regions in the world, Dubai has developed into a flourishing city in one of the fastest growing emerging markets worldwide. Fundamental to this growth is the reliable and uninterrupted delivery of electricity and water – which is only made possible through the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) and its continued investment in infrastructure, technology and expertise. While the majority of emerging market countries (and many first world countries too) face challenges in delivering a consistent supply of electricity and water in both peak and off-peak periods, DEWA has ensured an efficient and uninterrupted supply of water and electricity for all sectors of Dubai, even during the peak periods of the summer months. Serving nearly 600,000 customers throughout the emirate of Dubai, DEWA provides 365 day and night service to all com-

munity sectors to ensure efficient and uninterrupted supply of water and electricity to homes, businesses and industries. HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, believes that while over many decades electricity grids and water systems have delivered reliability of supply and demand security economically and efficiently, the challenges now facing the region in terms of demand, cost and an increasing focus on environmentally sustainable solutions mean that a new approach is needed. “The decisions taken today will shape our electricity grids in 2020 and beyond,” he says. For one thing, electricity and water are inextricably linked, he explains. “I believe that future smart grids should take a holistic approach to ensure that any synergies and benefits are leveraged. For the MENA region, the challenges include environmental concerns, rising population, rising demands for electricity and water, the imperative of maintaining security of supply, sustainable supply and, of course, ensuring that this supply is affordable.” So-called ‘smart grids’ are seen as a key technology in the evolution of efficient and effective water and power

“The challenges include environmental concerns, rising demands for electricity and water, the imperative of maintaining security of supply, sustainable supply and, of course, ensuring that this supply is affordable”


THE GRID Dewa.indd 80

21/01/2011 16:06

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global implications for peace on earth. PWC, Pure Water Corporation is engaged in delivery of water infrastructure projects valued in excess of USD $1.0 Billion in MENA region - Africa, Middle East, Haiti, India, Asia, alone. We welcome you join our Global team of professionals, equipment, technology and water infrastructure project providers.

21/01/2011 10:32



infrastructures, and Al Tayer and his team are building on several major achievements in DEWA’s smart grid journey. “We have adopted the most efficient combined cycle-cogeneration process in power generation and desalinated water production facilities and, despite the harsh climatic conditions, we have increased our plant efficiencies using new and smart gas turbine technologies with little additional capex,” he explains. “We have already implemented a number of smart technology measures on our electricity networks such as using the latest SCADA systems, intelligent asset monitoring, control and automation. We have improved the distribution network efficiency by conversion of most of our 6.6kV networks to more efficient 11kV networks. We have succeeded in substantially reducing our electricity network losses and our unaccounted-for water through network rehabilitation and more optimal network design, engineering, maintenance and procurement. And on our smart grids journey, we have also interconnected our electricity grid with neighbouring utilities.” It’s been almost three years since the launch of Dubai’s sustainability drive, marked by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Initiative on Green Buildings, and Al Tayer believes that significant progress has been made in terms of improving the demand side of the equation. “Through new methods of design, construction and operation, electricity and water consumption will be substantially reduced,” he suggests. Other conservation measures implemented are the provision of energy saving light bulbs, replacement of inadequate water taps and installation of smart control systems in buildings to optimise the consumption of electricity and water. A diversified energy mix is also a key strategy for ensuring security of supply. “At DEWA, we are fully aware that maintaining security of supply for electricity and water through a strategy of optimal and diverse generation fuel mix is very important for us,” Al Tayer explains. “We see IGCC and clean coal as potential future clean energy sources. In addition, we see small size, distributed, clean,

Dewa.indd 82

Above: HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer

indigenous energy sources such as renewable solar energy as having the potential to make a valuable contribution to our future electricity supply mix as the techniques of solar energy continue to improve.” Rolling out smart electricity and water meters, and introducing smart technologies that can control various types of domestic, commercial and industrial demand to act as virtual generation, all present not only new challenges to the grid but also new opportunities. “For example, smart transportation such as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid EVs require clear planning and grid integration strategies to ensure that challenges are overcome and grid opportunities are grasped,” says Al Tayer. Al Tayer believes that there are still many hurdles that need to be overcome in order for smart grids to become a reality in the region, including cultural barriers, consumer behaviour, costs of development and implementation, perceived complexity and cyber security risks where the internet is used as a communication medium. “The answer may include new legislation, policies and regulations, the provision of incentives for investment, demonstration projects, new technical standards, validation that new complex smart grid systems are effective and safe, and of course, more R&D and industry/academia collaboration,” he suggests. “DEWA’s main goal is to ensure the provision of Dubai’s energy and water requirements with maximum possible efficiency, with due consideration to the environment, and based on a sound business model that incorporates the best available technologies and best practices. We have a role to play in the future of Dubai and we are committed to this responsibility – 365 days and nights of the year.” „

Water and power efficiencies In a recent report conducted by McKinsey highlighting efficiencies in water and electricity supplies around the world, DEWA’s consistent supply of both water and electricity ranked among the highest. According to the report, electrical network losses for DEWA were almost four percent lower than some of the world’s most developed countries, including Hong Kong, Sweden, the US and Singapore. According to DEWA, these results are achieved through strategic planning of operations, close monitoring, the installation of the latest high efficiency equipment within the grid, and effective voltage control in the distribution network. Similarly, effective operations and maintenance programmes and design improvements implemented by DEWA in the water distribution network have resulted in the substantial reduction of unaccounted water losses, from 42 percent to a world-leading 10 percent. “Infrastructure plays a fundamental role in development, whether of a business, a city or a society,” says HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of DEWA. “DEWA’s role in providing essential water and electricity services to all sectors of the community has helped to shape the modern city of Dubai for the past five decades, and continues to do so as the city consolidates its position as a leader in the region and beyond. With ongoing investment in the latest technologies, implementation of global best practice and the commitment of our 8000 strong work force, DEWA’s service record is on a world-leading level, and the McKinsey report demonstrates this.”

21/01/2011 16:06

TROJAN AD.indd 1

19/01/2011 12:08



Water services OrangeBoat’s Jantje Johnson on the lost art of service.


embrane-based water treatment systems are increasingly favoured for their efficiency and reliability, but they also introduce some unique technical challenges in management, development and installation. Appropriate expertise is at a premium and often in short supply. It is a challenge to identify a company that can provide service that will meet your needs. There are countless companies providing technical service. They all claim that they are the best in class and that they will help reduce your total cost of operation but do you really get the service you need? What does service mean to you? The origin of the word service is Middle English. It originates from the Anglo-French word servise and from the Latin words servitium and servus. Servitium means condition of a slave and servus means slave. The fi rst known use of the word service dates back to the 13th century. The most common defi nition of service is “the action of helping and doing work for someone”. One can see that the defi nition has come a long way from the 13th century, but what does it really mean today? With the commoditisation of products and technology many companies are forced to reduce or cut the level of service they provide to their customers. Or simply state they are providing service with little or no benefit to their customers. With the competitive nature of projects, buyers are often forced to fend for themselves to figure out what the best offering is for their installation. Often in the pursuit of lowest bid, promises are made that the offering will be in compliance but often you get what you paid for. OrangeBoat can help fi ll the gap by providing a third party, objective review of bids. Often the low bidder reduces or limits the scope that can result in higher cost operation or problematic operation. With our years of experience in membrane-based water treatment systems we can often point out the shortfalls in various proposals and make recommendations that deliver trouble-free operation. The best strategy for trouble-free operation is to get it right before you install the equipment. Once the equipment is installed it is more costly to make modifications. Also there is reluctance by management to make changes on a new piece of equipment. After the equipment is installed and your vendor has collected the last payment, then what do you do if you need help? One can always go back to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for service; however, often the concept of service revolves around after market sale of a


product such as chemicals or replacement membranes. What do you do if you need expertise to trouble-shoot or rectify your operational issues? It is to solve situations like these that I have started OrangeBoat. Many times an operator or end-user purchased a piece of equipment and they just need expertise or an objective evaluation of their membrane-based water treatment plant. At OrangeBoat, we have mobilised a unique blend of know-how to deliver expert membrane and application support when it is needed to enable successful operation of your membrane system. We provide independent technical support and advice for membrane-based water treatment systems available to engineering companies, equipment suppliers, membrane manufacturers and operators. Whether you are in the design, execution or operation phase of your project, be sure to enlist an objective third party that can deliver service specific to your needs and is free from confl ict of interest. As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. „ Jantje Johnson is the founding partner of OrangeBoat – a provider of technical service for membrane based water treatment systems to membrane manufacturers, OEMs, engineering companies and endusers. She has over 25 years of experience in membranes, chemicals, system design and operation.

21/01/2011 16:03


19/01/2011 11:48



Best in class asset strategy optimises vital utility investment

EC Harris’ Head of Water, Terry Povall, discusses how asset strategy remains the bedrock for all strategic and funding decision making, ensuring best in class asset stewardship and optimal utility investment.


n the Middle East we are seeing significant commitment to the delivery of major multi-million dollar projects in order to secure a viable future for Middle East utilities. In the United Arab Emirates alone, over US$17 billion is being invested in water projects over the next five years from desalination to wastewater treatment. Th is will result in an increase in responsibility for a massive range of both above ground and below ground assets. Asset condition, performance needs, maintenance issues and operational imperatives are just some of the critical elements that must be fully understood across all asset types. Sometimes we fi nd that there is a lack of effective asset strategy investment recommendations, which is quickly followed by the latest ‘must fi x’. The crisis point on an asset is then reached and requires urgent approval to commit investment in new capacity, comprehensive maintenance upgrades or even additional operational costs.

The asset stewardship prioritisation challenge

over provision. Fourth, utilities should establish systems with robust build asset data to provide clean management information for informed decisions. And fi nally, they should recognise areas of data shortfall and set out clear plans to resolve such shortfalls over time. Establishing such a comprehensive mix of asset knowledge enables strategy options to be generated and prioritisation to maximise return on investment. Th is is over five, 10 and 20 year horizons, and forms the platform for securing stakeholder buy in and governance approval for long-term asset stewardship.

“In the United Arab Emirates alone, over US$17 billion is being invested in water projects over the next five years from desalination to wastewater treatment”

When these urgent recommendations are submitted, they present governance and funding leaders with a number of challenges. Boards are faced with an almost impossible dilemma: recognising the vital need to approve action, yet uncertain as to how this plays to other, perhaps unfl agged, imperatives. As a consequence, approvals can be difficult to achieve as they are asked to make decisions in what is an asset stewardship fog without full insight of prioritised demands. Even where some form of strategy exists, the analysis can be ill informed, incomplete or out-of-date. It therefore can fail to secure the buy in from all of the key stakeholders.

Once this consensus on the preferred asset strategy is reached, it then needs to be detailed as a series of live action plans for investment planning, maintenance planning and operational strategy. Critical elements may also include investment funding requirements, transformation plans, procurement strategy, and management and organisational development.

Developing a comprehensive asset strategy

From strategy to effective implementation

Developing a comprehensive asset strategy is a critical element in creating a leading utility. A true asset strategy assimilates knowledge in order to produce a comprehensive long-term plan for operations, maintenance and investment, whilst enabling stakeholder and funding support to be secured. In order to deliver a comprehensive asset strategy, utilities must do a number of things. First, they must fully incorporate a clear understanding of business stewardship and intent, and also adopt a leading methodology to ensure the widest buy in for the proposed strategy from all stakeholders. Second, utilities should ensure all aspects of asset and operation performance receive thorough and detailed attention, and tease out all critical operational and maintenance issues. Th ird, they should also ensure realistic load growth assumptions and phasing opportunities. In addition, they should test quality enhancement assumptions to ensure full compliance – but not at the cost of excessive

Asset strategy can’t end there. It needs to move right through to implementation and continual review. It will only be a success when it has been embedded into the organisation and governs all strategic decisionmaking. Regular monitoring of successful delivery of outputs is a crucial visibility measure to ensure satisfaction of stakeholders. Any new data or changes in circumstances must be incorporated into the strategy so that it is refreshed to meet new challenges. Asset strategy remains the live bedrock for all strategic and funding decision-making, ensuring best in class asset stewardship by a frontier utility organisation. „

EC HARRIS.indd 86

Terry Povall is a Partner and Head of Water at EC Harris. He has 35 years, experience on all commercial and contractual aspects of the delivery of major investment programmes for both capital and operational expenditure in the water sector, having worked for contractors, consultants and in private practice both in the UK and overseas. He has considerable expertise in alternative procedures including DBO projects, public private partnerships, outsourcing and EU Procurement Legislation.

21/01/2011 16:01


19/01/2011 11:56

AEMEDIA 2 AD.indd 1

20/01/2011 13:08


INVESTING IN THE FUTURE As the Gulf’s property sector finally begins to turn its back on tough times, investors are looking towards the region’s fresh and exciting new markets to bring in the business. In this special report MENA Infrastructure takes a look at three the most promising emerging markets in the region and the opportunities they have for the industry leaders. By Lucy Douglas

Syria&Morocco.indd 89

21/01/2011 16:25



STEPPING UP TO THE MARK A modest economy by Gulf standards, Syria has historically been hampered by lack of resources and high levels of unemployment. However, spurred by signiďŹ cant government investment, Syria is looking to develop an open business environment, comprehensive infrastructure and worldclass mega projects in order to become a truly competitive market.

Syria&Morocco.indd 90

21/01/2011 16:25



ust as the world stage is now welcoming the fast emerging economies of China, Russia, Brazil and India to compete with developed markets of the West, so the Gulf region is seeing its own microcosmic developing economies surging onto the scene. Having for years been the dominant power of the construction development market, the UAE has slowed of late due to speculative over investment and a hit from the global fi nancial crisis. And as investors take their eyes off such major markets in the construction sector, the opportunities arise for emerging destinations to establish themselves as the next lucrative frontier for the region’s key players. Syria is one such nation, using the relative lull in the Gulf’s construction market as a foothold to leverage growth. In October 2010, the government of Syria announced plans to invest US$10.36 billion in new developments, in order to complete a five-year strategic growth plan. Turning its attention to all sectors – residential, retail, tourism, office space, infrastructure and energy – the government is pushing for a boost to the nation’s economy and looking to attract foreign investment. And indeed, with the likes of Majid Al Futtaim Group, Qatari Diar and Saudi Binladin Group winning contracts in the country, mixeduse developments, which have become so prevalent in the Gulf region, are beginning to spring up. The Emirates’ Majid Al Futtaim Group is currently working on its Khams Shamat development, a shopping mall and office complex worth a reported US$817 million. The largest mall in the region, this project, once completed, will include over 200,000 square metres of commercial space and play host to brands such as Carrefour, the world’s second largest retail fi rm. “We are constantly innovating the concept of what we call a shopping resort destination, which appeals to local residents as well as tourists,” CEO Peter Walichnowski said in a statement. “With its easily accessible location in the Khams Shamat project on the Beirut-Damascaus highway and the extensive offerings that will be in it, we will be anchoring this tourism project with one of the most advanced retail concepts in the region and a great attraction to this location for people from both within and from the outside of Syria as well.” Bullish though the statement may be, MAF’s development is one of many serving to bolster the economic landscape of one of the region’s least developed states. With a per capita GDP of US$4600, its wealth relative to its regional neighbours’ is very modest, higher only than Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan. Likewise, as investment from major international firms provides a boost for Syria’s economy, so does the progressive Syrian market provide strong long-term growth opportunities for those fi rms themselves. “Markets like Syria have the potential to become big markets for Arabtec as they open up and develop,” explains Arabtec’s CFO Ziad Makhzoumi. “Markets like Syria want to grow quickly and have the resources to provide very attractive opportunities.” Indeed, though the country has an economy in similar in size to that of Iraq, it is not hampered by the same

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infrastructure woes; in addition the region’s major airlines have increased their routes to Syria and Qatari state-owned Qatar Electricity and Water Company has pushed an estimated US$1 billion into new utilities plants. Furthermore, the investment landscape is more open and transparent enough to welcome foreign investment. March 2010 saw the announcement of an economic zone, to be conceived, developed and overseen by the Syrian Finance House. According to the Gulf Finance House’s Chairman, Esam Janahi: “The Syrian authorities have embarked on crossgovernmental reforms to create an open business environment, laying out strong commercial and legal frameworks that have attracted foreign direct investment and witnessed considerable growth in the Syrian economy.”

Opportunities “Contracting is opportunistic,” explains Makhzoumi, “so a new market opening up that wants to attract foreign money usually opens up with the tourism sector, for it is the most obvious. Travel to Syria is easy and Syria has so much history and so much to offer such as beaches and places to visit.” Already a market showing positive signs, some six million visitors set foot on Syrian soil in 2009. Now being fed by increased air traffic into the country and the luxury developments such as Arabtec’s US$120 million luxury project in Damascus, the government aims to have that figure doubled by 2012. And according to Makhzoumi this is a market that can achieve a sustainable level of growth. “The tourism sector employs local people that do not need a high degree of skill and can be easily trained and therefore it is an attractive sector to develop first.” Makhzoumi believes that this marks a trend that will stay for the long-term, complemented by the large-scale mixed-used projects that are already under way in Syria, and those that the region’s leading contractors are looking to embark on in the coming years. Speaking about how he envisages the US$10.3 billion government investment will alter Syria’s development landscape in the long-term, he says: “More tourism sector projects and infrastructure projects will support the bigger commercial and residential developments that will happen in the medium term. Syria is also developing the industrial sector so related projects will also be developed.” He adds that the coming years and further government investment will also most likely alter the regulatory landscape, making the regulations more attractive to encourage further foreign investment in the country. Currently, he says, this is the primary challenge to operating in Syria. “There are various challenges but they are mainly regulatory and logistical, with new rules introduced continuously which in the long-run will be beneficial but are not necessarily clear in the beginning. Any investor must be able to do their homework well and understand the cultural way of doing things.” And for Syria, this will be imperative if the country is to achieve the economic growth levels necessary to make it a competitive destination relative to its regional neighbours. Certainly the US$10.3 billion government funding will go a long way to improve development in the country, but in

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order to fulfil the requirements for rail, roads, airports, power generation, hotel capacity and housing, private investment from across the region – and indeed the world – must be able to come in. The four percent economic growth for 2010 indicated by the World Bank is just the beginning. “The private sector has to be involved in the investment programme if the country is to open up and compete with other markets. The private sector always brings a commercial angle to the projects, and public private partnerships (PPPs) work better and reduce the resources supplied by the government,” Makhzoumi says. “We are already witnessing that in some of the deals that we have reviewed, where land is offered by the government on a long lease to a developer to build commercial or residential income producing projects whose funding is not arranged through the government but by the private partner. Both parties reduce their initial capital requirements and benefit more in the long run.”

contracts in the country by the end of the quarter. While there are still some kinks to be smoothed out, such as political tensions with some western economies, there is no doubt that Syria’s increasingly transparent investment climate is attracting the major players from around the Gulf region, and the benefits they can bring with them will be felt for many years to come. The coming year looks set to be an exciting one for Syria. Watch this space. 

New investments for the new year As Syria looks to develop in the new year, investment from such major firms as Arabtec and MAF is just as significant for the developing nation as it is for the fi rms themselves. “Arabtec would bring a wealth of experience gained over 35 successful years of working in the construction sector in various countries that went through the learning curve that Syria is going through now,” explains Makhzoumi, highlighting that the opportunities presented by a move into Syria are mutually beneficial for the nation’s economy and those firms in question. On the other hand, he adds, “Syria is a country with great potential that has a high level of skilled and educated people and the will to open up and compete with other markets in the region. They did not suffer like other countries did from the recent economic crisis and now can develop projects that are well thought out, better planned and more efficiently executed.” For the Syrian government, 2011 was welcomed alongside the announcement of a US$794 million investment in developing the country’s marine transport sector. The fi rst major investment outlined as part of the US$10.36 billion five-year growth plan, this figure represents a four-fold increase in marine transport expenditure on the previous five years. Minister of Transport Yarub Badr announced that the government’s five-year growth plan “underlined the strategic importance of Tartous Port in Syria.” A comprehensive development of marine transport is essential to improving the country’s trade capacity, which in turn will pay dividends to boosting Syria’s economy. Likewise, the luxury hospitality industry is set to see a further boost in 2011, as interior design contractor Depa – the firm responsible for fitting out the Burj Khalifa – won a US$19.6 million contract for the 338-room Yasmeen Rotana Hotel in Damascus. As well as the guest rooms, Depa will be responsible for decorating the public areas including the main lobby and restaurants, with work expected to be completed by Q1 2012. In addition to its impressive shopping mall, MAF is preparing to tender US$1 billion worth of construction

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Despite some of the most iconic cities in North Africa, Morocco has long remained an untapped investment destination. Today, the country’s ambitious tourist development plans are welcoming investors and look set to transform Morocco into a globally competitive nation, complete with comprehensive infrastructure, luxury mega-projects and affordable housing.

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ong outshone by its regional neighbours in terms of economic power, infrastructure and energy wealth, Morocco in recent years has looked set to emerge as one of North Africa’s most promising destinations for development. As 2010 drew to a close so too did Morocco’s economic and tourism strategic development programme, the Plan Azur and Vision 2010, marking the end of a decade of growth in the tourism sector, both in terms of foot traffic and economic figures. Established in 2001, the Vision outlined a strategy to increase tourist traffic by 15 percent each year so as to reach 10 million visitors by 2010, incorporating plans to boost transport and logistics infrastructure as well as build major tourist resorts at prime coastal locations. Though narrowly missing out on this am-

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bitious target, reports have circulated that in 2010 Morocco reached 9.4 million tourists, more than double the number of tourists (4.4 million) that visited in the year the plan was laid out. Still, as 2010 drew to a close, the Moroccan government was keen to outline plans for further development in the tourist sector. Following the successful implementation of Vision 2010, the 2020 plan aims to invest some US$17.55 billion a year to double tourist traffic again, increase revenue from the industry and create one million jobs in the sector. Still, implementing this strategy will not be as simple as carrying out more of the same. Unlike many of its regional neighbours, Morocco has not remained immune from the effects of the global financial downturn. Steady growth figures for tourist traffic in the boom years of the last decade predictably slowed, and more worryingly, the lucrative real estate market has all but ground to a halt. “If you go back three or four years,” says Philip Camble, Director of Hospitality for EMEA at analysts Cushman & Wakefield, “there was quite a lot of new development in the pipeline with companies like Qatari Diar, Emaar, Sama Dubai, French investors, and a few UK investors all looking at projects near Tangiers and Marrakech.” Indeed, when Europe and the MENA region were enjoying a property boom, with high levels of property development and a successful real estate market, Morocco presented some encouraging investment opportunities. In addition to its steadily rising tourism figures, heavy investment in infrastructure, including roads, ports, airports and railways, from the government looked set to create an ideal environment for the economy to flourish, and a number of large scale, mixed-used development projects appeared on the horizon for Morocco. But in the wake of the financial downturn Morocco’s bright future appeared littered with problems. Funding from both European and Gulf-based investors began to dry up in the latter years of the decade. Morocco’s Tourism Minister told reporters in May that Sama Dubai had pulled back from the US$3 billion Amwaj development between Rabat and Sale. Tourism growth figures slowed and the demand for the residential supply in the pipeline quickly diminished. “It’s the fact that the second home and holiday home market has dried up,” explains Camble. “Because of that a lot of these schemes don’t have the necessary cash flow to drive forward all of the development.” He highlights the Samanah development, a major mixed-use leisure, tourism and residential complex outside Marrakech, as one such scheme that has fallen at the hurdles posed by the financial crisis. “All the latter phases [of the project] have been suspended,” he says. “The hotel is suspended and waiting for the buyers to return.”

supply and keeping investment interest in the destination alight. “A lot of individual, hotel-only units have come out of the ground,” says Camble, “and most of these are developed by local investors, be they institutions or special purpose funds that have been put together.” And there have been further signs that things are on the up for Morocco. The country’s biggest property developer, Addoha, reported in September an impressive 25 percent rise in net profit for the first half of 2010. Its success is attributed by analyst Mohamed Slaoui to its diversified business strategy, which included developing for the low and middle income markets as well as the luxury sector. Addoha has seen profits exceeding US$88 million in the first half of 2010. More recently, Morocco has seen the support of three Gulf sovereign wealth funds and UAE property developer Al Maabar, who has raised a fund of US$1.77 billion for a tourism fund. The fund aims to attract US$11.6 billion (100 billion Moroccan Dirhams) in investments over the next 10 years, which will be put towards resort developments in the country as part of the latest strategy to double tourist traffic by 2020. But Camble believes that Morocco should be concerned with quality rather than quantity. “I don’t think Morocco should do is what Egypt has done. Egypt has developed at an incredible pace and has developed massive resorts. If you look at the Hurghada region alone there are something like 8000 or 10,000 plus resorts. They’re monsters and a lot of them are run by international tour operators. Morocco, in my view, shouldn’t go in that direction. It should try and be selective, and it does at the moment have a relatively up-scale image. It should try and preserve that reputation rather than developing lots and lots of mass-market hotels because it will only drive down the average rates.” However the country decides to achieve its impressive tourism targets, one thing is for sure: Morocco will be ready and waiting for the visitors to come flocking. The last decade

All sectors of Morocco’s transport infrastructure, including roads, have received significant investment in order to boost the nation’s tourism capacity

Positive outlook Despite a difficult couple of years however, there are plenty of signs of a positive future for the African nation. Not suffering from huge levels of speculative over-development, as some states of the wealthier GCC are, Morocco is expected to see demand return in the imminent future for the developments currently on hold. And though many megaprojects have seen development slow, smaller projects are beginning to come on line, contributing to the hotel room

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saw a surge of infrastructure development, in order to boost the country’s capacity. “I think Morocco’s got a pretty good balance,” says Camble. “On the back of the Plan Azur and the Vision 2010 they put in a lot of new infrastructure, like the new airport facilities in Casablanca, Tangiers and Marrakech.” In February 2010 Morocco’s Transport Ministry announced plans to begin work on a US$2.5 billion highspeed rail line between Tangiers and Casablanca, with an aim to have the service on line by Q4 2015. Likewise, as Camble points out, numerous new roads and ports are in the pipeline or have reached completion. “A lot of transportation infrastructure has been put in place, which allows new tourism development to be developed and to have the lists – or at least the infrastructure for new lists – to be in place already.” Camble goes on to highlight the capacity of Morocco’s ports, and the benefits they can bring to the country’s tourism sector. In particular, he says, the Tanger Med port in Tangiers looks set to have a huge impact upon the tourist traffic into Morocco. “[Tanger Med] will come on line shortly for ferries,” he says, “so that a lot of Europeans will literally be able to drive across and get into a purpose built ferry terminal. And from there, all the new motorways will take them not only to Tangiers, but also further inland towards Fes and Meknes and those sorts of cities.” And, as Camble points out, the infrastructure development does not stop at the transport sector. Perhaps learning from its Gulf counterparts, Morocco has carefully ensured an adequate water supply for the range of golf courses in the pipeline for development in the near future. “In Marrakech there must be four golf courses up and running now,” says Camble, “and there are 22 news ones in the pipeline. The city is saying that the water for all those golf courses, the treatment works, are all pretty much already set aside and ready to be tapped. “So in terms of infrastructure, there’s quite a holistic approach to tourism with infrastructure coming online, facilitating a new investment in new projects. I think they’ve done a good job of setting out their stall for new tourism projects. They haven’t just said, ‘Yes, come.’ They’ve said, ‘Come, and we have all these facilities readymade and ready to go. We have thought about this. It’s all part of a holistic plan.’” While undoubtedly hampered by the effects of the financial downturn, Morocco remains a prime destination for investment. Ambitious growth targets pave the way for mammoth opportunities for foreign investors, as well as domestic firms. The latest strategic plan for tourism development outlines aims to push accommodation capacity to 470,000 hotel rooms – twice its current capacity – and create one million jobs for its workforce. Speaking at the launch of the plan in November, Morocco’s Tourism Minister Yassir Znagui said that the plan will bring hope and opportunities for a better life to the country’s youth. “The good thing is that Morocco is a relatively open and transparent country,” Camble points out. “The government is pro-tourism, proexpansion and pro-diversification. They don’t just say it but they actually do it with all these new airports, new rail, new roads and so on. That makes any investment decision that little bit easier.” 

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THE PROJECTS THAT WEATHERED THE DOWNTURN… BAB AL BAHR Al Maabar’s development on the banks of the Bouregreg River, the Bab Al Bahr mega-project will include residential units, two four-star hotels and guest houses, office units, luxury shopping venues, parks, museums, art galleries and a world class marina. Cost: US$750 million Completion date: 2012-2013

TINJA From Emaar’s portfolio of projects in Morocco, Tinja is an integrated community mega-project, integrating residential and commercial space. Ideally located in a popular investment destination, the resort is easily accessible to Tangiers airport, marina and high-speed train line between Tangiers and Casablanca. Cost: total cost of all Emaar investments in Morocco is around US$700 million

AL HOUARA Luxury mega-project from Qatari Diar, Al Houara combines a five-star hotel resort, residential units and recreational facilities. Situated in Tangier, this resort aims to maintain sustainable principles in its building and boost the local economy. Cost: US$660 million Completion date: 2011

THOSE THAT HAVE NOT… AMWAJ A major real estate project being developed by Sama Duabi that lies astride the Bouregreg River, Amwaj has been put on hold after Sama Dubai suffered in the crash of the UAE’s property market. Cost: US$3 billion

SAMANAH A major residential, retail and leisure project, the Samana development near Marrakech has suffered from funding drying up in various aspects of the development. Though the golf course is up and running, unsold residential units remain unfinished and the hotel has been suspended for the foreseeable future. Cost: US$325 million

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With its abundance of resource wealth but tightly closed investment climate, Libya has for a long time been an untapped market in the MENA region. We take a look at how the oil industry is feeding the demand for tourism infrastructure development.

ited by experts as “an untapped goldmine”, the economic landscape of the North African Islamic state Libya looks ripe for development. The International Monetary Fund predicted last year that the country would enjoy a 10 percent growth in its GDP by the end of 2010 and with 46 billion barrels in proven crude oil reserves and 1.5 trillion cubic metres of proven natural gas supplies, Libya has the largest proven fuel resources on the African continent. In the five years since the US lifted sanctions on trading with Libya, such powerhouses as BP and Exxon Mobil have moved in to capitalise on the country’s impressive fuel wealth, and according to Energy Minister Dr. Shokri Ghanem in an interview he gave back in 2009, some 50 international companies are currently in Libya conducting operations in the upstream sector and the government plans to invest US$42 billion into exploration and development of the energy sector in the five years up to 2015. Still, uncertainty surrounding the country’s political future is growing. Premier Muammar Qaddafi’s two sons – who each could take over leadership of the country from their father – have two very different political stances. Saif al-Islam Qaddafi, the younger of the two, a media baron and liberal, is intent on opening up Libya to foreign investment while his brother Mutasim-Billah, who currently stands as Libya’s national-security adviser, takes a more right-wing approach and would prefer to keep the Libyan market closed from international input. However, one thing is for certain. Sparked by some of the largest proven oil reserves in the world Libya’s economy is growing, and while the country’s investment landscape may be unsure if it is ready to welcome the international market, the tourism sector certainly is waiting with open arms. The booming oil and gas sector, backed up by the potentially lucrative construction development market, is drawing increasing numbers of visitors to the country for business purposes, paying dividends to Libya’s growing tourism industry. “Tripoli has seen an increase in supply of late,” explains Philip Camble, Director of Cushman & Wakefield Hospitality for the EMEA

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region. “The new Radisson opened 15 months ago. You’ve got the Al-Wadan Hotel. You’ve got the Rixos Hotel, which opened earlier this year. These are all running at reasonable occupancies and reasonable rates. Everybody thought the market would collapse when they opened but it hasn’t, and that’s largely because of all the business tourism that’s going on there.” As an emerging destination, Libya is yet to embrace a legislative framework to facilitate large-scale foreign investment. While undoubtedly throwing up a host of challenges, the scope for development and investment is wide in the North African state. Just as giants BP and Exxon Mobil have entered into the region, so other international firms have managed to find a way into the market. US based Hess Corporation operates with Libyan subsidiaries in order to hold a presence in the market; Algerian giant Sonatrach made discoveries at a site owned with Libyan National Oil Company. Q3 2010 saw Switzerland’s Vitol eyeing a stake in a Libyan refinery. The potential to be gained from these operations is also showing positive signs. California’s Occidental increased its oil output at its Libyan well from 8000 to 22,000 bpd between 2008 and 2009. “If [Libya] opens up then there’s tremendous potential,” says Camble. “It’s very close to Europe. It’s got some incredibly tourist sites waiting to be exploited. It is literally a sleeping giant. But I think oil and gas are going to be the mainstay of their economy for some time, and even if they choose to close the route, that will continue to develop.” Still, while the Libyan government mulls over its decision to open the country up to the European tourist market, the hotel sector is continuing to develop, feeding the lucrative market of business travellers flocking to the country in order to tap its immense economic potential. And that is reflected in the hotels’ product. With less emphasis on luxury amenities such as gyms or spas, Tripoli’s five star venues boast more of their business centres and their proximity to ports or airports. “If the country continues to diversify its economy and become more open to foreign investment then yes, those hotels will fi ll.” 

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ransport is high on the agenda in the GCC today. The region’s ever-booming populations have, for a number of years, dictated the need for revision of a largely under-developed and out-dated transport infrastructure – and today the added factor of success in bids to host major sporting events has further highlighted the necessity to improve the sector. For despite being a well-developed collective of nations with sound regulatory and healthcare frameworks, the GCC and surrounding Middle East region has some of the highest rates of motor related fatalities in the world, largely attributable to poor quality of roads. For the large expatriate community living in the region, transport options have historically been limited compared to those on offer in major commerce cities around the world, from New York to Tokyo. Indeed, though the Gulf’s shortcomings in this sector are vastly apparent, many steps have been taken to move transport infrastructure forward in recent years. The much-anticipated GCC Rail Network is well under way, with lines under construction in all GCC states and a high speed, pan-GCC line linking Oman and Kuwait via the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, expected for completion by 2017. Qatar’s bid to host the 2016 Olympics – though unsuccessful – sparked plans for a comprehensive metro system in Doha, and since the country won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup Finals reports have circulated that a US$25 billion rail network is in the pipeline. The UAE announced plans back in March 2010 for a highspeed line linking Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a project worth an estimated US$8.2-10.8 billion, and Saudi Arabia currently has a host of rail projects underway, including a line to link the holy sites at Mecca and Medina. A report published by the Kuwait Financial Centre back in December 2009 indicated the GCC states would spend a total of US$109 billion on rail projects in the 10 years up to January 2020. Similarly, road development will receive a massive boost in the immediate future, with US$10.6 billion earmarked for road projects in the next 10 years, according to Suganya Rajan, Research Analyst of Environmental and Building Technologies Practice for South Asia and Middle East at Frost & Sullivan. At the International Roads Federation Middle East Regional Congress held in Abu Dhabi in 2009, Abu Dhabi’s Undersecretary for the Department of Municipal Affairs Ahmed Sahreef highlighted that while it was Abu Dhabi’s intention to be considered among the top governments in the world, that would demand the best transport infrastructure. “Over the last five years we have sought to transform our transport system by embarking upon some of the most ambitious


infrastructure expansions ever seen,” he said. Similarly, Saudi Arabia is set to open a road link with Oman by 2012. Announcing last month that 592 kilometres, or 89 percent of the project is now completed, the Saudi government anticipates the highway, which runs through the Empty Quarter and will be the first direct link between the two countries, to be operational next year. The GCC region is certainly crying out for the benefits the planned transport projects will bring, and high levels of cooperation and strong trade relationships between GCC member states

THE GCC’S BIGGEST CROSS BORDER PROJECTS The GCC Rail Network Route: Kuwait-Saudi Arabia-BahrainQatar-UAE-Oman, Line 1 Kuwait-Saudi Arabia-UAE-Oman, Line 2 Distance: 1970 km, Line 1; 1984 km, Line 2 Cost: US$25 billion Est. completion date: 2017

Bahrain-Qatar Causeway Route: Bahrain to Qatar Distance: 40 km Cost: US$3 billion Est. completion date: TBC

Saudi Arabia-Oman highway Route: Khorais-Bathaa Road, Saudi Arabia to Oman Distance: 750 km Est. completion date: 2012 make the region an ideal place to develop crossborder transport system. Nonetheless, the scale of these projects is throwing up its fair share of challenges. “Cross border infrastructure between any countries has a political taboo because it invariably raises many issues, including foreign policy issues,” explains Rajan. “Political challenges are the biggest challenges in the GCC as it involves participation and consensus on the investment spread between the nations. Cross border infrastructure projects require a strategic vision based on shared priorities for regional integration and development and political commitment to the coordination.” Indeed, lacking a unified political body – as can be found in the EU – the GCC is more vulnerable to political tensions between member states having an effect upon international projects. For example, the highly anticipated Bahrain-Qatar causeway has been hampered with problems since it’s inception in 2001, including escalating costs and a change of

specification to include a rail line. Most recently, in June 2010, reports that Qatar’s coast guard shot and wounded a Bahraini fisherman in Qatari waters caused tension between the two nations, reducing prospects for the project even further. “Economic and financial benefits in the form of lower supply chain costs, expanded trade and higher growth levels are indirect and long term benefits,” Rajan goes on to explain. “But costs involved in building are incurred immediately and upfront, and the benefits are often different across countries, making it difficult to agree on the rational distribution of costs. The distribution of costs based on the short term and long term can raise doubts over resource allocation, especially for high-profile projects.” A common remedy to this issue has been the use of investment funds. A fund established in 2008 by Abu Dhabi Investment Company and UBS Global Asset Management aimed to tap major infrastructure development in the region. According to the fund’s chief executive, there was call for such capital from institutional investors in order to meet the demands of the region’s fast growing populations. Similarly, US$300 million was raised in funding from Mubadala Development Company, General Electric and Credit Suisse to push into infrastructure projects. But despite such efforts, many governments’ Department of Transports are still stating that coming by funding for transport projects is proving challenging. Abu Dhabi’s DoT said in 2009 it was having difficulty securing funds for its transport network. And once funding concerns have been dealt with, governments have to address the technology demands of projects as they cross international borders. “Technological compliance and support is another challenge,” says Rajan. “For any high-profile projects to work well, well-designed institutional and software support is essential. There will be multiple entity interaction across the regional level and national level. The software has to be designed to abide by the prevailing laws and jurisdiction to ensure faster return on investment.” Rajan points out that the complexity is lower for a cross border road project, which will require international agreements on design standards and road signage, than say a rail project or an electricity project such as a Smart grid system, which would require an agreement on technical standards. While there remains much anticipation surrounding the GCC Rail Network and similar transport projects across the region, the development is hampered by such challenges. Still, 2011 looks set to see a burst of investment and development activity in the transport sector, with international routes that increase trade and passenger mobility proving popular in the region. „

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With a wealth of transport projects under construction, MENA Infrastructure takes a look at the challenges posed by projects that cross between nations.



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Producing reliable electronics for roadside installations Director of A.D. Engineering International Peter Harris reveals how the company is focused on producing the most reliable equipment for roadside installations, for the traffic ITS industry.

What are the main challenges to producing reliable equipment for the roadside environment? Peter Harris. A.D. Engineering International (ADEI) is focusing on producing the most reliable equipment for the Intelligent Transport Systems market, as this appears to be a hole in the market in Australia. There are several key areas that make equipment fail in the field, especially in harsh environments such as by the roadside in Australia, such as keeping the moisture away from electronics and connectors; keeping power transients, surges and dips from getting to the sensitive components; keeping the temperature within acceptable limits; allowance for service “fi nger poking” (i.e. mechanically robust) and ensuring the equipment actually works by testing, testing, testing. Th is is pretty obvious stuff, but is quite difficult to achieve, especially in this environment. And how do these problems get solved? PH. Well, without giving away too many secrets, we are designing the equipment, right from the base level, to combat each of these problems.


For example, the enclosures are designed specifically for the equipment they house and are designed to be IP rated, so that no water can enter the cabinet. The door seals are the last step in the weather proofi ng, rather than the first or only step. All boards are coated to seal out moisture. All connectors are protected with a special grease and the cabinet is fitted with a vapour phase corrosion inhibitor. Protection from incoming power spikes, surges, dips, etc. is difficult to protect against. There are a number of devices that are used to fi lter the power and other techniques. By working with testing labs, we can ‘harden’ the power supplies to survive everything except a direct lightning hit! Th is ensures the equipment will continue to run for the life of the product without ‘falling over’ due to power issues. In Australia (and indeed other parts of the world, such as the Middle East) high temperatures are a big problem for roadside equipment. There are several techniques that are employed to combat this issue. The best technique is to design extremely efficient, low power consumption circuits that produce little or no appreciable heat. Th is way cooling is not generally required (removing the need for fans/fi lters or even air conditioners). If the enclosure is mounted in full sun then the cabinet colour plays a role in thermal management. In some cases the enclosure may need to be double skinned, or have sun-shades. By far, the biggest input to the design of the equipment comes from field experience. Seeing the shortcomings of other designs, consultation with the people that actually use and service the equipment is essential in developing equipment that is reliable for the long term.

“Consultation with the people that actually use and service the equipment is essential in developing equipment that is reliable for the long term”

What is the main aim of ADEI for the immediate future? PH. Quite simply – to be the best. We intend on being the only supplier of choice in the market place. If you want the best, then ADEI will be supplying it. However, being the best does not necessarily mean being the most expensive. By being innovative in the design process we believe we can produce the best equipment at realistic prices. Part of the reason why this is possible is also to do with our ability to partner with our suppliers to have the same product philosophy. „ Peter Harris is Director and Engineering Manager of A.D. Engineering International, responsible for the direction of the company and directly involved with product design and improvements, with more than 20 years experience in ITS equipment design and installation.

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Virtual Mobility – simulation for optimum solutions No matter if the goal is increasing the efficiency of existing transport facilities or planning new ones – for mobility experts computer simulations have become an indispensable tool. But to make sure that the virtual representation of the road users’ interactions actually provides the right answers, they need one thing in particular besides high-performance software: a lot of experience.


ot long ago the pocket calculator was among the traffic planner’s key tools. And the days of the good old deterministic planning are not quite over yet because some questions can still be satisfactorily solved by simplifying the scenario so that calculations based on mathematical formulas produce the required results. However, the more complex the road network, especially in fast growing agglomerations, the more the architects of mobility profit from the new options and resources of our digital age. Using modern computer simulations, even traffic scenarios involving a multitude of interacting factors can be reproduced so realistically that there are hardly any surprises on the way from theory to practice. Depending on the starting situation and the goal of the investigation, two main modeling methods are used: macroscopic and microscopic simulation. The first method treats traffic as a homogeneous mass, somewhat like water f lowing through a pipe. The other looks in detail at the motion of each individual vehicle-driver unit. At this microscopic level, the software calculates everything that happens on the highway, tenth of a second by tenth of a second. Who is overtaking whom? Who changes lane and when? The programme takes account of the type of vehicle as well as of the temperament of individual motorists. Apart from efficiency, the outstanding strength of computer simulation is its versatility, as a quick look at the most important applications will show. Traffic planning and optimisation are among the disciplines that profit strongly from the possibility of putting their concepts to the virtual test in a wide range of tasks, for example: • Feasibility studies: early evaluation of greenfield construction projects increases investment and planning security. • Forecast scenarios: stress tests of existing traffic control systems, for instance when faced with changes in traffic density, enables the early identification of weaknesses. • Guidance systems and traffic routing: preliminary investigations provide a precise assessment of the measure’s impact on the overall system.

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• Strategy management measures: simulation allows test runs without any negative impact on real-life traffic. • Installation of adaptive network or signal control systems: virtual fitness tests instantly reveal any potential for optimisation. • Environment-sensitive traffic control systems: mapping of traffic-related pollution provides an optimum basis for defining traffic guidance and control measures. The first step of a simulation project is always the calibration and validation of the traffic f low model used. In other words, the model must accurately represent the actual situation. As long as the simulation is based on measured data, either from permanent counters on motorways or from inductive loops in urban areas, there is a solid base. But the higher the reliance on assumptions already at this stage, the thinner the ice becomes. No matter how bewitching the animation, one must never let oneself be fooled when this is the case. “In the wrong hands, a simulation can be an elegant way of misleading an audience,” says Professor Dr. Werner Brilon, former chairman of the Scientific Commission of the German Federal Ministry for Transport, Construction and Urban Development. “Even a minor error in one of the many input parameters may, under certain circumstances, lead to completely false results. So the extent to which I believe what appears on my monitor is a matter of trust – trust in the expertise and experience of the person who uses the model in question.” In the right hands, however, simulation may at times even be more reliable than reality – at least in a sense, as Professor Brilon explains. “When optimising signal controls – which is currently the most important application of micro-simulation – carefully planned and executed models present a very small risk of error. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that if there are discrepancies between the simulated results and those actually measured later, they generally have less to do with the quality of the simulation than with the fact that the physical engineering measures carried out do not correspond entirely to the original plan.” „

Peer Fischer is a Vice President for Middle East and Asia at Siemens Traffic Solutions, where he has been responsible for the Siemens TS global portfolio since 2005. He got his Master of Information Technology and Engineering at the University of Cooperative Education in Mannheim. Fischer lives in Munich, Germany, and regularly commutes between the Siemens Headquarter in Munich and his regions.

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Abu Dhabi on course for

smarter roads A new intelligent transport system promises to improve the safety and efficiency of the emirate’s road network. But will it be enough?


n a bid to reduce the number of road crashes, improve speed limit compliance and cut back on the emission of greenhouse gases, Abu Dhabi is planning to build a state-of-the-art transportation management centre incorporating a number of integrated intelligent transportation systems to improve management of road networks in the region. In line with the Abu Dhabi Plan 2030 and the Department of Transport’s own Surface Transport Master Plan, the ministry recently announced its Integrated Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) strategy for the Emirate. The new strategy, which incorporates a five-year project plan, will act as a support system to the transportation infrastructure developments taking place in Abu Dhabi to achieve the Emirate’s stated aim of building a world-class transportation system. The strategy divides initiatives into six programme packages, including Regional Active Traffic Management and Information (ATM), Urban Traffic Optimisation Man-

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agement and Information, Public Transport Management and Information, Road Works Management and Information, Freight Management, and Integrated Operations. “The main goal behind the ITS strategy is to create a world-class transportation system in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi,” says HE Eng. Khalid Mohamed Hashim, Executive Director of Land Transport at the Department of Transport. “Traditionally, this has typically meant building new highways and other infrastructure. However, it has become clear that the future of transportation is increasingly dependent on ITS.” ITS utilise advanced communications and information technologies to move people and goods in a faster, safer and more efficient manner and include a number of services that will help ease problems of congestion, insufficient transport infrastructure, increasing emissions and growing customer needs. Key focuses of the ITS strategy include coordination efforts with other relevant parties in planning, designing and operating the ITS, in addition to

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establishing a state-of-the-art multi-modal, multi-agency transportation management centre. ITS applications will be of great benefit to both concerned departments and the public. Initial deployment will focus on the management of traffic and incidents along limited-access highways in the Abu Dhabi metropolitan region, while the Abu Dhabi Transportation Management Centre (ADTMC) will be built according to best international practices and will provide consolidated and integrated operations facilities. The new facility will have the ability to accommodate traffic, public transport operations and safety, and dispatch/operations personnel from different governmental agencies. Operating 24 hours a day throughout the year, the ADTMC will be responsible for the integration of regional and urban traffic management, public transport management and operations, traveller information and coordinated incident and emergency management in the Transportation Network. The ADTMC will also serve as a nerve centre for network activities in Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain, Al Gharbia and other locations in the Emirate as developed. The Department of Transport will have full responsibility for integrated operations of highways, major streets and traffic signals, and public transport services (bus, metro, rail and water transport), with full coordination with other governmental agencies – in particular, Abu Dhabi Police General Headquarters. “We are confident that the implementation of the ITS strategy in the Emirate will result in many benefits, including a reduction in the number of road crashes, improvements in speed limit compliance, and a diminishing of greenhouse emissions,” says, HE Khalid Mohamed, adding: “DoT appreciates all the stakeholders, input who helped shape this strategy, in particular Abu Dhabi Police, Department of Municipal Affairs, Urban Planning Council, Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre.” Various services will be offered to the public via ITS, such as Arabic and English automated voice broadcasts offering current travel time, congestion and incident advisory information via the Highway Advisory Radio. Displays of dynamic messaging signs are also to be provided ahead of route decision points, particularly at approaches to bridges and freeway-to-freeway interchanges. Additional CCTV cameras, dynamic en-route in-car navigation, and web and mobile phone information services will be implemented as part of the strategy to allow for easy access of information to drivers. The nature of the strategic ITS projects take time to implement, therefore the report recommends a number of quick-deployment solutions. Among those quick-win projects currently in the tendering stage are portable variable message signs, incident detection stations, noncitation traffic cameras and a web-based traffic congestion GIS platform that will help the region tremendously. Future ITS strategy plans for Abu Dhabi include providing weather and speed advisory information on rural routes in the emirate, parking information for central business

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districts and information systems for future public transport projects. However, not everyone is convinced the system will solve all the Emirate’s road traffic ills, with some calling for better driver training in a bid to improve safety. “How about we spend some time teaching people to drive instead of the lane-cutting, signal-jumping, speed-limit-flaunting chaos currently practiced on UAE roads?” asks a blogger on business analysis site Kipp Report. The suggestion raises an interesting question: what makes a system intelligent, the network itself or its users? Better education would certainly go a long way towards improving driver awareness as to the potential hazards of the road network – and their own role in reducing those hazards. It’s an issue Abu Dhabi must answer if it is to fully realise the benefits of its expensive new solution. „

Making parking safer and easier Recent studies have shown that the number of registered vehicles in Abu Dhabi increases by 16 percent annually, while the number of new driving licenses rises by 10 percent each year on average. The statistics highlight the importance of developing cutting-edge solutions such as automated car parking facilities in order to effectively manage the increasingly difficult parking situation in Abu Dhabi. In response, the Department of Transportation has invited a number of specialised companies to bid for the design, construction, financing, operation, and maintenance of two automated car parking facilities in the area of Al Salam Street as part of a public private partnership model designed to better manage the development of automated car parking in the Emirate. Five companies were qualified after initial evaluations to submit their designs and technical/ financial offers after fulfilling the conditions set by the DoT, and the tender will be awarded in early 2011. The parking management programme – called Mawaqif – provides a sustainable solution aimed at ensuring more accessible and less congested city. Eng. Najib Al Zarooni, General Manager of Parking at the Department of Transport, believes that the partnership element of the programme is key to its success. “The active coordination between the public and private sectors contributes to the development of Mawaqif initiatives,” he explains. “In addition, it provides the proper elements for competition as well as collaboration and integration in the benefit of achieving Mawaqif in respect to the overall strategic plan. Our partnership with the private sector will provide an opportunity to innovate.” Al Zarooni sees the role of Mawaqif as not only to provide parking in Abu Dhabi, but also to develop sustainable services and sophisticated measures to make the use of public parking easier. “Automated parking is one of the most modern technologies that contributes to solving traffic problems; it saves a lot of space normally allocated to conventional parking,” he says. “This reflects the extent of our commitment to providing the best means of comfort for the general public and reducing their parking challenges. With automated car parking, drivers can just stop their car at the entrance and leave within a few seconds. More so, automated parking is very safe.” The initiative supports Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 and the Department of Transport’s plans to place Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s leading places with regards to mobility, connectivity and transport.

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Rail industry on track in the Middle East Ashurst’s Joss Dare takes a look at the Middle East’s booming rail sector.


raditionally the Middle East has faced many perceived barriers to the implementation of public transport networks, such as the difficult summer climate and the perceived cultural preference for private over public transport. However, whether it has been the mass influx of ex-pats accustomed to a daily train commute, the congested roads and high frequency of traffic accidents, or a recognition of the potential socioeconomic benefits that mass transit can bring, there has recently been a seismic shift in the region. Almost every country in the Middle East region has now announced plans for massive infrastructure spending in the transport sector. Rail has definitely become the buzzword of the Middle East since Dubai’s launch of its US$4.2 billion Metro on 9 September 2009. The Dubai Metro Red and Green lines (upon which Ashurst advised) followed on from the emirate’s successful delivery of the US$381 million Palm Monorail (another Ashurst project). The Dubai Government has recently announced that it is looking at delivering connecting lines of the metro (the “Blue” and “Purple” lines, on hold) by utilising a PPP project structure.

“It is reported that more than US$100 billion of rail schemes are planned or under way in the GCC” The current economic downturn and the difficulties in sourcing long-tenor project fi nance have clearly impacted the market. Th at said, most Middle Eastern countries have advanced public transport plans of which rail normally takes a central role. It is reported that more than US$100 billion of rail schemes are planned or under way in the GCC. Some Middle Eastern governments are able to call on a healthy cushion of petrodollars to procure their projects; others are pursuing the public private partnerships (PPP) model. These factors, together with an increase in Islamic and multilateral fi nancings, mean that the pipeline of deals, however they are structured, looks strong again post-fi nancial crisis. The UAE has one of the most ambitious transport plans in the Gulf region – the US$11 billion Union Railway project is the fi rst stage of the wider plan to develop a US$25 billion GCC rail network. The Union railway

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project aims to link the seven emirates of the UAE by rail, initially for freight and then for passenger traffic. A highspeed section linking Abu Dhabi to Dubai is also under construction. Kuwait has vast reserves of petroleum that have provided recent budget surpluses. Despite its natural resource wealth, development in the region has been stif led by poor transport links and political gridlock. The elections in May 2009, however, ushered in a much needed culture for reform and in February the Kuwaiti Parliament approved the Cabinet’s US$102 billion fouryear development plan designed to improve the nation’s infrastructure across strategic sectors including US$17 billion on rail projects – all delivered by way of PPP under the aegis of the new PPP law and the new body created to administer it, the Partnerships Technical Bureau. The first of these projects was the US$7 billion Metro system (Ashurst has recently been appointed to advise the authority). Qatar Railway’s development plans form part of a colossal US$25 billion investment to upgrade transport infrastructure in the country by 2014. Deutsche Bahn International won the US$1.1 billion consultancy deal for the project in August 2008, and the Qatar Railways Development Company (QRDC) was launched in November 2009 to oversee the national rail network. Qatar’s rail plans, now being driven by the fixed completion target provided by the World Cup but also aiming to aid diversification of the economy by boosting tourism, are extensive – a metro system, a series of tram links and a national network, all from scratch. The fundamentals for growth of the rail industry in the Middle East are very strong. The populations of many countries within the region are young and rapidly expanding and the strain on the existing road infrastructure is increasingly apparent. The drivers for the rush towards rail solutions are clear: improved economic performance, enhanced quality of life and the desire to develop rail networks in countries that are currently in an incredibly dynamic phase of their evolution. The challenges are also apparent: the effects of the credit crunch on public and private finances, frequently inefficient tender processes; and often a lack of sufficient regulatory cohesion to name but a few. It remains to be seen how many of the transport projects in the region will be structured as PPP projects in one form or another. Clearly many will not but, that notwithstanding, the short to medium term pipeline looks strong. „

Joss Dare is managing partner, Ashurst Dubai, and Head of Ashurst’s MENA Infrastructure and Transport team. With wide-ranging experience of infrastructure transactions including landmark PFI/PPP projects, Dare has taken a leading role in advising public sector clients, sponsors, lenders and sub-contractors across the region and globally.

21/01/2011 16:33


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Automatic parking system for residents parking solutions for a city worth living Growing demand for parking spaces equals loss of location attractive. WOHR + BAUER’s Jurgen Wenz explains his innovative solution to metropolitan parking problems.


xpanding cities and urban regions all over the world are facing the same challenge: a fast growing demand for parking-spaces hit on narrow space. Old building stocks and heavy transit traffic cause a shortage of parking space for residents, visitors and business. Th is issue does not only affect the city-centres but also pops up in established residential areas where a lack of parking-space leads to “wild parking” and causes huge frustration to drivers travelling endlessly around the block eager to fi nd a parking-space. As in many other cities, this was the starting point in Munich, Donnersberger Strasse. There wasn’t enough space for a conventional garage and years of discussions to fi nd a concept passed by without a solution, the state capital Munich decided to take the advantage of a space-saving fully automatic parking system and chose WÖHR + BAUER as general contractor.

High-tech for a smooth parking process Today the days of the parking chaos are gone: 284 sparking-spaces are offered underground with a minimal footprint on the city surface. The only recall to the cars stored below the street are four appealing glass cubes acting as access gates to the car-lift s. These transfer areas are accessible on street level. When holding his transponder chip to the operating device the driver activates the parking procedure. The door opens automatically and the driver is guided by a text display to the right position in the lift . As soon as the driver has reached the right parking position, he stops the car, disembarks, locks his car and simply leaves the transfer area. By confi rming the parking procedure at the operating device he starts the fully-automatic parking procedure. The door closes and laser-scanners at the ceiling of the transfer area check the correct positioning and dimensions of the car. The car is stored fully automatically. When the driver wants to pick up his car again he returns to the transfer areas and chooses his car via his transponder chip and the parking procedure starts in the opposite way. As soon as the parking system has transported the car into the transfer the doors open and the driver can easily exit with his car. A new parking process can be started. The average access time is 137 seconds. Cars up to a height of two metres can be parked safely.

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Improved location attractiveness for residents Not only car drivers gain from this trendsetting solution, but also the whole residential area profits. Parked cars are no longer blocking the street, which makes the situation more comfortable and safer for pedestrians and bikers. Newly planted trees and child-friendly play areas now shape the Donnersberger Strasse, Munich. The reduction of traffic noise in combination with the now good parking situation turned this inner-city district back into a place worth living and working.

Quality parking made in Germany The German WÖHR + BAUER GmbH PARKING branch in Abu Dhabi offers well-engineered parking-solutions worldwide: from planning till turn-key construction for all kind of parking requirements as multi-storey car parks up and below ground and fully automatic parking systems. 

An educated civil engineer, Jurgen Wenz is driven by his passion for better parking-space solutions. He has worked in the parking industry for over 30 years. Before he founded his own company he was director of a midsized construction company and was responsible for the successful realisation of more than a hundred car-parks.

21/01/2011 16:27

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Mission possible: training ensures safety Jana Hochmanova, Head of Czech Air Navigation Institute, speaks to MENA Infrastructure about the importance of training in the aviation industry.


espite all the modern technologies used in the aviation industry, human factors still play a key role in the provision of services. Therefore, professional training is an integral part of the entire system where safety is mission critical. Training of air traffic controllers has significantly changed over the past decades. It has become more structured and harmonised in order to attain the knowledge and skills required in today’s dynamic environment. The increase of traffic and technological development has resulted in the integration of modern, sophisticated tools and methods into the training process, e.g. simulators, e-learning etc. Nowadays, top training institutions need to maintain the highest work standards and professional integrity, while simultaneously staying flexible to changes in the aviation environment. Moreover, the integration and cooperation activities designed to increase airspace capacity stress the need for harmonisation of training, ensuring the same standards of knowledge and skills of the personnel among all training providers. The growing need for integration is apparent not only in ATC but throughout the entire civil aviation industry, especially the three A’s – airports, airlines and ANSPs. Th is will defi nitely bring about even closer cooperation among the aforementioned entities in the area of training in the near future. To be clear, ensuring safe skies is a team effort. From pilots to controllers to ground crews and technicians, everybody contributes. A system is only as strong as its weakest link and only true synergy can win the game. CANI, the Czech CAA accredited and ICAO recognised training and consultancy organisation, located at the Prague International Airport tackles these new challenges through a blend of industry experience, international workforce and up to date technology. With over 25 years of experience in the ATC field, we offer deep insight into a wide range of training issues as well as flexibility to adapt to even the most challenging needs of our customers. Based on this, they can choose from a full spectrum of ATC training courses and other training activities for aviation and technical personnel. We’ve conducted more than 400 training courses, serving more than 3000 customers from 30 countries. We also provide specialised English courses for Air Traffic Controllers (ELPAC) and aviation personnel (ICAO Level 4), as well as general, legal and business English courses. So what are some of the aspects that defi ne the way modern ATCO training programs will develop? We

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are defi nitely seeing a preference in tailoring courses – extending the content of the course beyond the minimum requirements in order to meet specific demands of individual clients. By doing so, additional time can be saved in pre-OJT and OJT training at the unit which is well worth the investment. CANI is an integral part of the Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic (ANS CR), the country’s ATS provider. Th is enables a fast and efficient transfer of the latest trends and information from the field and serves as a solid base for ATC consultancy services. The primary areas of consulting activities are built around Airspace Design, Multilateration (ANS CR is one of the pioneering organisations and fi rst ANSP in the world to use multilateration technology for surveillance), RDP, FDP, ATM system procurement and Project Management. Central Europe has had the privilege of following developments in aviation from its early days and thus benefits from a long tradition in aviation and ATC training. In an industry where safety is mission critical, we can clearly say taking the best from the past, adding it to the present level of know-how and creating a bridge to future challenges is our model for making, in cooperation with our partners, this mission possible. „

Jana Hochmanova is the Head of the Czech Air Navigation Institute, a provider of ATC training and consultancy services operating out of Prague, Czech Republic. Ms. Hochmanova has over 10 years of experience working for the Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic where she held several positions.

For further information please visit

21/01/2011 15:07

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MENA Infrastructure takes a look at the latest offering from the portfolio of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the US based architects behind the Burj Khalifa.

D “We knew that the project automatically would be an office building and mixed-use tower of offices and rental residential units with a special consideration for penthouses off the building”

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ubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road is not short of skyscrapers. An estimated 82 towers sit along the highway that links Dubai with its neighbouring Emirates, a reported 25 of which reach heights greater than 100 metres tall. Some glamorous and symbolic of Dubai’s ostentatious appeal, some outdated, some awaiting completion as the financial crisis brought cash flow for such projects to a halt, they all serve as evidence of the emirate’s propensity towards the biggest and best constructions in the world. More famously known in the Gulf as the brand behind the Burj, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill celebrated the inauguration of its new Rolex Tower along the Sheikh Zayed Road late last year. While significantly more modest than its record-breaking cousin and neighbour, the Burj Kahlifa, the Rolex Tower shines as a beacon to the idea that though having endured tough times, Dubai’s construction sector is far from dead. The 60-storey mixed-use project, the latest offering to come on the market on this prominent and celebrated road, aims to set a new standard for tall buildings by implementing the latest techniques for design, building principles and innovative materials. “The concept that we had for the project was really in a reaction to the site,” explains designer Peter Ruggiero. “We knew that the project would be a mixed-use tower of offices and rental residential units with a special consideration for penthouses off the building.” Indeed, Ruggiero and his team were faced with the challenging task of building a new structure in an already well-populated area of Dubai, that stood out as innovative and appealing. “It was a very tight site,” explains Ruggiero. “Basically, it really only has two exposures, one towards Sheikh Zayed Road and the other back towards the dessert, because side to side, the adjacent buildings were very close.” He explains that the difficulty comes as both the adjacent buildings and the other buildings along Sheikh Zayed Road are all trying to call attention to themselves and distinguish themselves by being slightly more outrageous than the previous one. “We felt that the way to distinguish ourselves and for our client to distinguish themselves on this prestigious address was to really be a new quiet neighbour. And that elegant, very simple approach would be the project’s noblest qualities.” Creating such an arresting building would involve some innovative thinking from the design team, and with the challenges posed by limited space, Ruggiero’s team had their work cut out trying to put this vision together. “It was, as I mentioned, a very tight site, and a very tall building,” says Ruggiero. “So the idea was to focus the building just on two orientations, front and back. When the building

was being developed and constructed, we had a client who was very interested in, and took a very assertive approach to shopping around the world for a project’s components. So it challenged us in the sense that we were looking at new markets for building products and building assemblies. It was a learning curve both for us and our client, taking us to areas where building components were being built and sourced that we really had not been before, such as sourcing a curtain wall and building systems from China and Southeast Asia.” Indeed, emerging markets are opening up some attractive business opportunities for firms such as SOM. Ruggiero explains that while traditional markets have long been a reliable source of business, new destinations are proving opportunities for innovative practices and developments. “These emerging markets are where new companies are developing and they’re looking for a competitive edge,” he says. “I think they’re interested in doing projects or in working on solutions that perhaps more established markets and more established companies would shy away from, or not wholly embrace.” And given the tough market conditions, both in SOM’s home market of the United States and in Dubai, the opportunities presented by emerging markets are proving increasingly attractive. However Ruggiero is not worried about the challenges posed by the financial climate. “In terms of what’s happened in Dubai over the last few years, I think it’s during these periods that re-evaluation and reestablishing values takes place. We hope that this building – its qualities of very good plans, sound design and highest quality construction – will really be trademarks that carry us through the slow period.” His quiet confidence about the state of the market belies his company’s position. Both SOM and its investment partners in the project are firm in the belief that the luxury and quality of the established Rolex brand will speak for itself when it comes to the commercial success of the project. Beyond this, Ruggiero claims that SOM’s operations in Dubai have remained largely unaffected by the downturn. “It’s clearly had a negative effect; I don’t know of any significant new opportunities that have occurred in the last year or two in Dubai. I think the region still has some opportunities in Qatar and Abu Dhabi but Dubai particularly I think is very quiet right now. [But] it hasn’t affected us at all. We still have the Infinity Tower under construction, and we still maintain an office in Dubai, so we believe in the long term that the region is a worthy investment.”

Materials Though equipped with a cutting edge portfolio of products and building materials, SOM still had to tackle the challenges posed by the building’s location and the specifications laid out by the clients. The glass facades, for example, were stipulated by the clients in order to create the desired image

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of the building. “A glass tower is a hard sell in a desert,” Ruggiero says. “The occupants of the buildings want to maximise their views; the tenants want views. It’s good to have controlled introduction of sunlight into the buildings. So you have to balance the climate and the environment with the great aspects of glass.” To tackle this problem Ruggiero and his team chose a high-performance glass for the external walls, with the appropriate coding to give a balance between transparency and reflectivity. In addition they introduced a pattern of ceramic frit on the glass in order to create a sense of opaque surface, while at the same time – because of the nature of the pattern – allowing residents see between the opaque parts of the pattern. “It’s almost like drawing the blinds on a window partway,” he explains. “You can still see through the blinds, but it is doing a job in terms of cutting down the solar again.” More significantly, Ruggiero was keen to implement some of the more innovative health and safety plans that SOM has incorporated in the past into the building. An American based fi rm with a strong presence in New York City, SOM designed the fi rst building to appear in the Lower Manhattan area after the 9/11 attacks. Ruggiero was also involved in the design of this project, and highlights that the Rolex Tower team were very familiar with the latest thinking in fi re safety, and the necessary techniques were all incorporated in to the building. “On all of our high-rise projects, we develop a comprehensive set of recommendations for fi re and life safety, which incorporate the most stringent and toughest requirements of both the local municipality as well as our experience as a global practice.” Th is does not necessarily involve the most high-tech approach. Indeed, sometimes the tried and tested practices and materials are the best. “In terms of its use of non-combustible materials, it is a concrete frame building, a concrete structure,” Ruggiero explains. “So it’s a very basic idea because concrete is a non-combustible material. You get a lot of benefit in terms of protecting the structure of the building that way. “Then we went through a series of fi re separations on each floor to minimise fi re travelling from floor to floor; smoke controls on each floor that, again, prevent or minimise smoke travelling from one floor to the next and quarantine these areas during a fi re, as well as ensuring that the building is entirely sprinklered.” Ruggiero believes that buildings such as the Rolex Tower, incorporating the most innovative thinking in terms of fire safety and passive fi re prevention, go a long way towards improving the standards and practices in markets such as the UAE. “I think anywhere in the world where there’s an emerging market and suddenly there are buildings that are well beyond things that have been built previously in those markets, the codes need to be rewritten or updated to address these larger buildings. And I think it is a learning curve for the local officials and the local fi re brigades in terms of how they re-evaluate and establish new methods of training and fi re prevention and fi re fighting.

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60 storeys, or 235m tall 31 floors of office space

Wider stair wells Ground floor retail outlets and restaurants

25 floors of residential space Concrete, fire resistant frame Ceramic frit glass facades Independent concrete structure for staircase

“Clearly you have to address the code requirements regarding stairs, quarantining smoke, smoke evacuation, as well as evacuation of people. I think with a project like this we’re fortunate in that there’s basically four major uses – residential units, the office tenants, the car park and health club – and they’re primarily separated. So there’s a benefit of having some separation of these different kinds of occupancies; and then each floor of the tower is treated as a separate compartment with fi re separation, the stairwells and the floor slabs; and each residential unit and office tenant is separated from the public areas by fi re-rated partitions. Combining this with fully automated sprinklers, you create a situation where various scenarios of emergency conditions are addressed in trying to provide as much protection as possible for the occupants should they need to evacuate the building.” Despite the tough real estate market the Rolex Tower is facing, the future looks positive for the Sheikh Zayed Road’s latest addition. The industry slump will, he is confident, turn around and in the mean time the innovations in health and safety practices will speak for themselves in the highly competitive market. The Tower’s rigorous and thorough safety strategy will, Ruggiero hopes, become the standard procedure for designers and contractors in the future. 

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Fighting fire with fire safety standards MENA Infrastructure speaks to Wagner Fire Safety Management Consultants’ Barry Bell about the development of fire safety standards in the MENA region today. What are the biggest challenges developers face today in terms of implementing a comprehensive fire safety procedure? BB. Implementing a corporate safety philosophy works well within the boundaries of the corporate units. The challenge arises when other entities from different backgrounds become subordinate to the leading corporate body. In other words, for example, foreign contracting companies that win large construction projects within the GCC, generally bring their own safety philosophies with them. Depending on their country of origin, safety principles can vary significantly. While there is no intention to be derogatory, the fact remains that projects in the Middle East have a tendency to be fast-track. Putting pressure on budgets and time lines will always have an adverse effect on enforcement of safety policy. Construction site fi res and occupational based accidents across the region substantiate this. Implementation of fire safety policies is not the challenge. It is not difficult to advertise the existence of a fi re safety policy or a health and safety policy, but the enforcement of corporate fire and life safety policies is the real challenge that faces all developers. Basically, the developer must assume the responsibility of enforcement of all safety regulations and not rely on the contractors to accommodate local compliance. What can the Middle East learn from the US and EU in terms of fire safety standards? BB. The Middle East countries have been learning and are still learning from US and EU partners as well as other parts of the world, particularly Asia and the Far East. Although there are many subtle cultural and social differences between all of these regions, technology is a common denominator and therefore the learning curve is mainly about technology. It has become apparent over the last decade that European and American standards, while rich in experience and well established, do not always provide the ideal solution in the Middle East region. We must understand that standards that are at least one hundred years old in terms of development do not necessarily fi nd a home in countries that are only 40 years old in terms of independence, and the United Arab Emirates is just one example. Some Middle East countries are still catching up with modern city infrastructure development, including communication systems, road networks, fi re service facilities as well as fundamental building maintenance services.

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Barry Bell is the Managing Director of Wagner Fire Safety Management Consultants, Middle East, and a licensed fire engineering consultant in the United Arab Emirates.

The region has recently adopted new legislation regarding fire and safety regulations, looking to implement some international standards of practice. What benefits will this bring the sector? BB. Obvious benefit comes in the shape of uniformity. Each country within the Middle East could apply its own choice of international codes and standards, or implement its own national codes and standards, or even a combination of both. While a regional consensus on codes and standards would be nice, it is more important that each country first adopts a uniform code of practice nationwide. This would apply for example to countries like the United Arab Emirates where, within the seven Emirates, uniformity has not yet been established. It is true to say that much work has been done, and is still in progress, to generate uniform fire and life safety standards. How do you envisage the fire safety sector will develop over the next three years? BB. Without a doubt, in leaps and bounds. For all practitioners and professionals working in the field of fire and life safety engineering, and at all levels, the next three years will see many changes while the Middle East attitude towards this discipline continues to move in a positive direction. We have seen immense changes to safety across the board. Occupational health and safety (OH&S) is a prime example. We are about to host the ninth OH&S regional conference this year in Dubai. Fire safety symposiums and conferences are annual events, with international participation. The Intersec exhibition and conference that takes place in Dubai again this year is a tribute to the ongoing development in fire and life safety discipline in the Middle East region. 

21/01/2011 16:26

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19/01/2011 12:25



Fire Protection of structural steelwork using intumescent coatings Phoenix Fire Protection’s Ray Lucas explains why water based technology can provide many benefits for designers, engineers and developers of the regions most prominent structures, and why third party certification of products is essential to ensuring good practice.


tructural steel has become a popular choice for designers and developers in recent years. With the cost of steel currently estimated to be 60 per cent of that in 1981, structural steel has also become the material of choice for many of the new commercial and industrial buildings across the region and has the advantage of having a greater strength ratio over traditionally used concrete options. In terms of style, the material offers far greater flexibility for designers and architects than concrete and allows far more freedom of design. Structural fi re protection and the manufacture of intumescent coatings to provide a decorative form of fi re protection to steel structures is still very much a niche business driven by different international and local legislation requirements, and few companies in the world are able to meet all of these whilst also ensuring that the clients needs are catered for. In particular the development of water-based technology over the past 10 years has provided many benefits for a vast range of projects not only from an environmental view point as the products have extremely low VOC (volatile organic content) but also in the form of lower dry fi lm thickness which results in less material to be required in order to protect the structures in question. The benefit of applying water based materials particularly in hot climates like we have in the MENA region means that the materials can be applied much faster and dry or cure far quicker than that of traditional solvent based products. Th is can prove particularly beneficial for large quantities of steelwork being applied in both on-site and off-site situations, which can reduce the total contract period quite significantly, whilst also providing savings in cost as well as time.

Why third party certification? Despite the recent economic downturn, the region’s growth over the past 10 years has been nothing short of dramatic and whilst this has presented excellent opportunities in many areas, the downside can be that often products that do not have the relevant and required test data to comply with specification will be used without having the appropriate due diligence carried out on them. Th is can of course become a major risk. To this end, the introduction of independent third party certification of products has helped enormously


with providing architects, engineers and approval bodies within the region independent, detailed and qualified justification with regards to the performance of a particular product. In particular the Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) of the UAE has been largely responsible for implementing this as a mandatory requirement for all passive fi re protection products that seek approval for use within the UAE, and consequently this has helped significantly in raising the standards and quality of products to be used for fi re protection purposes throughout the region. The DCD should be complimented for taking such positive and pro-active action that has now resulted in many other regions outside of the UAE to introduce the same requirements. However it is only with constant strict and regular policing of products and their approvals that the benefits of this will be maintained. Architects and engineers are now much more educated and informed about the fi re protection issues of today and as such their demands for transparency of certification and realistic and meaningful warranties are forever increasing. It is therefore vitally important to make sure that any decisions on choice of materials and products particularly when used as a fi re engineered solution are thoroughly investigated based on factual tests and assessments carried out by independent and approved laboratories that are relevant to the same parameters required for that particular project in question, rather than assumptions or estimates often made by manufacturers to suit their particular product requirements.

Ray Lucas has been working in the structural fire protection industry for over 15 years, the last three of which has been spent based with his family in Dubai as the General Manager for Phoenix Fire Protection, a company which manufactures and distributes a range of intumescent coatings systems designed to protect structural steelwork in the event of fire.

“Architects and engineers are now much more educated and informed about the fire protection issues of today” Meeting the clients specification requirements with realistic, meaningful and relevant solutions rather than wild assumptions is paramount to ensuring good practice of passive fi re protection throughout the regions growing number of developments. „

21/01/2011 16:06


20/01/2011 16:45



Jotun Paints empowers consumers in the Middle East through social media networking Per Olav Ramstad explains why the leading paint manufacturer has integrated Facebook to its revolutionary online colour visualisation tool ‘ColourAdvisor’.


otun Paints, one of the world’s leading producers and suppliers of paints and coatings, has announced that it has integrated Facebook, one of the world’s leading social media networking sites, to its online colour visualisation tool called ‘ColourAdvisor’. The tool will help consumers in the Middle East plan better and make quicker and better painting decisions for their homes. Customers can click on the ‘Share on Facebook’ button to share their creations with their friends and family as wall posts. The ‘Email Picture to a Friend’ button, meanwhile, lets customers email the picture they painted to email addresses of their choice. The ‘Find a Jotun Dealer’ button allows customers to locate the nearest Jotun Paints dealer on Google maps. The ‘Email Us’ button, on the other hand, allows customers to send their feedback and comments to Jotun Paints officials. ‘Opinions and Suggestions’ are the two key words when it comes to making a creative painting decision for homes. It is common that when people want to paint their homes, they ask for opinions on wall colours from their friends, relatives and so on. ColourAdvisor lets people visualise different colours on the walls of their homes, and hence we thought it was a good value addition to let them share these ideas. According to recent research done by Jotun Paints, consumers in the Middle East are becoming more conscious and more engaged in the decoration or redecoration process of their homes. Thus, colour plays an important role in inspiring individuals into creating a relaxing ambience. Jotun Paints wants to get closer to its customers and follow its customers’ decoration and redecoration process online. In the age of increased online activities, end users are getting highly interactive on social media platforms such as Facebook. Jotun Paints is providing end users with options to share their creativity with their family and friends. ‘ColourAdvisor’ is a revolutionary, easy-to-use online colour visualisation tool, which can also be accessed in more than 1500 outlets across the Middle East. The enhanced soft ware is capable of letting the end-users do a ‘digital paint job’ by uploading a picture of their own rooms and selecting their desired colours. Customers can now enjoy

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a more realistic experience through superior colour rendering, extended interactivity and accessibility to more colours, thereby making their decision regarding colour choices easier. Founded in 1926 in Norway, Jotun established its presence in the Middle East in 1974, with Jotun UAE Ltd. Ever since, Jotun has expanded dramatically throughout the region and is the first paint manufacturer to be awarded the ISO 9001 certification. Jotun has consistently invested in state-of-the-art factories including the recently opened plant in the Al Quoz area of Dubai, UAE – the biggest worldwide for Jotun and the Middle East. Jotun has been at the forefront in terms of developing products specifically suited to local conditions. Th ree decades of experience in the Middle East region has helped the company produce a variety of conventional and specialised coatings – each incorporating the latest technological developments while offering performance with economy – catering to the various product segments and demands of the different markets. Today, Jotun's diverse product range includes decorative, protective, marine, floor/concrete protection, powder coatings and intumescent coatings, bearing a solid testament to the company's reputation of being truly a single source solution for clients, consultants and contractors alike. „

Per Olav Ramstad is the Regional Marketing Director of Jotun Paints MENA. Ramstad had been working in Lilleborg AS, a company in the Orkla Group, for a number of years and has extensive experience in the marketing field, such as innovation, advertising and brand management. He joined Jotun in October 2010.

21/01/2011 15:08

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19/01/2011 11:37



Corrosion protection today and tomorrow What are the major goals in today´s anticorrosion pigment market and which technologies have the potential to offer further performance improvements in the future, considering environmental factors? By Dr. Lars Kirmaier


he selection of the right anticorrosive pigments and inhibitors is significantly influenced by the overall formulation, the performance requirements as well as the regulatory background (e.g. regarding more and more stringent limits on VOC levels). The application, the substrate, the binder, the pigment volume concentration etc. all influence the protective behaviour to a large extent. Choosing the wrong pigment might result in minor performance properties and – especially in waterborne and high solids systems – often in reduced storage stability. A major goal of the recent decade has therefore been to develop pigments with a more universal usability. These wide spectrum anticorrosives (WSA) are highly modified performance pigments with universal applicability in a variety of binder types and coating technologies. Furthermore, the most recent WSA pigments also exhibit excellent ecological properties (e.g. no dead fish/ dead tree labelling in Europe). Taking advantage of synergies achieved by the combination of different components often provides improved performance. A lot of focus has been put by Heubach on synergistic and hybrid pigment development, such as augmenting performance with organic anticorrosives. This involves the use of an inorganic anticorrosive pigment in combination with an organic inhibitor, leading to improved substrate protection at the very initial exposure time. A

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significant adhesion improvement, especially wet adhesion, can be additionally observed.

Future pigment technologies

Lars Kirmaier studied Chemistry and completed his dissertation about highly-reactive silicon intermediates in 1998. He joined the R&D department of a leading German paint company and gained hands-on experience in solvent-free and high-solids polyurethane and epoxy resin applications. He has been with Heubach GmbH since January 2004 as laboratory manager for anticorrosive pigments.

During the last few years nanotechnology has become the catchphrase in the protective coatings market as new technologies develop such as Sol-Gel-Systems. Some methods may incorporate nanostructured materials processing approaches. These include surface treatment methods, nanocomposite thin film coatings, top layer coatings and thermal barrier coatings. The utilisation of nano-sized particles might open up new means for obtaining effective corrosion protection. Nanotechnology has the potential to provide unique and enhanced benefits to a wide range of protective coatings applications. Heubach is in fact putting significant effort into the use of this technology for modern anticorrosive pigment development.

Environmental factors Europe is the largest chemical producing region in the world and the REACH legislation will have a global impact in many ways. Over the next years, some 30,000 chemicals in use today will have to be registered in order to fi ll information gaps on the hazards of substances and identify appropriate risk management measures to ensure their safe use. Th is authorisation system will strongly encourage raw material suppliers and paint companies to switch to safer alternatives. Paint companies are therefore more than ever interested in the sustainability of pigment products, from the standpoint of carbon footprint, efficient use of resources and energy and other environmental issues. The most important trend is the growth of the water-based paint area and the decrease of the solvent-borne one. Water-based technology will most likely outperform solvent-borne systems in industrial protective coatings in the future, because of the increased regulations to produce low VOC. As a leading producer of anticorrosive pigments, Heubach’s product portfolio comprises a couple of different pigment technologies in line with the increasing environmental requirements. An example of this point is the new zinc-free anticorrosive pigment based on a calcium modified silica gel technology, which has perfectly complemented the existing portfolio of strontium polyphosphatebased pigments for use in thin fi lm systems such as high performance coil coatings. „

21/01/2011 16:02


19/01/2011 11:31



Down to earth HOFFMANN MINERAL’S Head of Sales and Marketing, Dr. Alexander Risch, speaks to MENA Infrastructure about specialist materials for the coatings industry, and how to operate in an environmentally friendly way. systems. Some of the main advantages are quick incorporation and dispersion, no tendency towards formation of agglomerates, minimised sedimentation and easy and uniform dispersibility. The silica portion of inherent fi neness has a naturally eroded surface, which explains a round particle shape. Th is characteristic is at the origin of further benefits of Neuburg Siliceous Earth, which include high surface activity, favourable extrusion properties and high scratch resistance in coatings and plastics.

Mining with family tradition


aw materials and fi llers can be found everywhere in the world. Some of them, such as clay, can be found in bulk quantities in many countries. But our present focus will be on a specific and unique mineral fi ller with inimitable structure, which is exclusively quarried in a southern part of Germany. Due to its genesis, which goes back some 95 million years, this mineral fi ller, named Neuburg Siliceous Earth, can only be found near Neuburg at the Danube. Known worldwide under the product trade names Sillitin, Sillikolloid and Aktisil, the composition varies within close limits. Neuburg Siliceous Earth is processed on the basis of two criteria: particle size and brightness. It is available in four different particle size distributions and a range of brightness levels. The Aktisil range has been developed for special applications. The Aktisil grades are produced by modifying the surface of Neuburg Siliceous Earth with chemicals – specifically with selected silanes. Several different grades have been developed in order to ensure optimum coupling between fi ller and polymer. Long years of in-house expertise and close cooperation with customers have led to the current range of products, which will continue to grow.

Benefits for the industry The unique morphology of this fi ller is due to its composition as a natural combination of corpuscular, cryptocrystalline and amorphous silica and lamellar kaolinite. These two minerals together form a loose structure, which offers particular advantages in terms of processing and fi nal product properties when used as a fi ller or special additive in elastomers, plastics, coatings and many other

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The mining of this raw material has a history of more than 100 years. HOFFMANN MINERAL GmbH started extracting Neuburg Siliceous Earth in 1903. Even today the company is a family owned enterprise and is actually led by Manfred Hoff mann Jr,. a fourth generation Hoff mann. When the company started, a yearly target of 4000 tons was mined. Of the 55,000 tons per year of siliceous earth that are today produced at Neuburg, nearly 60 percent goes to the rubber industry. The rest is supplied to the construction industry, polishing and cleaning producers, followed by the coatings industry. A worldwide distribution is assured by 38 agents in 33 countries representing the company.

Innovation and new plants In summer 2003, the company hosted a series of events to mark its centenary. But even after 100 years, the company is not standing still. Recognising that the mineral wealth will not last forever, the company was branching out into a new business in 2005 and established a new plant to offer third-party toll conversion of powder products. Facing the fact that the industry demands fi llers that meet the properties of improved products, HOFFMANN MINERAL has expanded its product portfolio with newly developed calcined products. Motivated by the high market demand for alternative fi llers against calcined clay or wollastonite, three different types of calcined Neuburg Siliceous Earth have been developed. Neuburg Siliceous Earth quarries are constantly being prospected and extracted as fully as possible, at the same time ensuring that strict environmental standards are kept. After depletion, sites are returned to their original natural state. HOFFMANN MINERAL understands what responsibility to the environment means, and commercial practice is carefully tuned with available natural resources. For these efforts the company has been awarded with environmental prizes. „

Dr. Alexander Risch was born on May 7, 1968 in Heilbronn/ Neckar, Germany. After studying mineralogy, he obtained a doctorate in applied mineralogy from Erlangen University and joined HOFFMANN MINERAL GmbH on October 1, 1999. As Technical support manager Alexander Risch built a link between the area sales managers and the application labs of paint and varnish, polymer and mineral and also supported customers directly in co-operation with research and development. Starting in 2001 he became responsible for the business unit toll manufacturing, a service including all kinds of modification of inorganic raw materials for different industries realised with the production facilities and knowledge of HOFFMANN MINERAL. Since 2006 Alexander Risch has been Head of Marketing and Sales and responsible for all sales activities worldwide.

21/01/2011 16:09


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Romi Sebastian, Architect and Environmental Designer at leading design and engineering firm AECOM, argues for a more logical, controlled and cultural approach to construction in the Middle East.


“Traditional Islamic architecture included many innovative, functional and ecological design principles but none of them have been perpetuated by the next generation of architects”

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ver the last decade, the architecture in the Middle East somehow seems to have made do without any character. The cities are getting choked in a jungle of concrete, steel and glass. Architecture here is needlessly influenced by concepts predominantly from the West. One of the more difficult problems for expatriates in understanding the cities of the Middle East is their relative lack of a public realm. Globalisation has given form to buildings that resemble objects, have matchbox designs with unfortunate functional separations. Designs are built burdened by unnecessary stylistic demands. There seems to be this inherent copy-paste mindset among designers. Th is advocates methods of tweaking ideas from one cultural context and illogically pasting them onto another. As an architect, I often wonder why there is a perception that any element of the Middle East heritage – be it cultural or spiritual – is identified with the past and backwardness. And the images associated with ‘development’ or ‘progress’ do tend to look as if borrowed from elsewhere. Th is process of disassociating with one’s own heritage is a very harmful one. Being the tallest, biggest and longest does not lend personality to the architecture of a place. In recent years, the idea of building ‘green’ has been imported. I see these as being temporary trends set up to support marketing of related fields of construction activity. Sophisticated and expensive intelligent service systems are still marketed, sold and applied. The ‘green’ term is certainly abused and misunderstood by most of the engineering empire. Architects now depend on intelligent service systems to make up for their neglect in the basic building design. If well designed, a building’s skin should be able to breathe when needed, to shade when required and be responsive to the conditions inside and outside it. One should not require so called ‘green’ or ‘intelligent’ engineering methods to supplement for a sluggish design process. It is unfortunate that rating systems such as LEED have converted architecture into an accounting exercise. Th is has completely digressed from what could have been a healthy exercise in coming out with truly good architecture. We are missing an opportunity to develop such architecture by allowing these accounting or statistical procedures to dominate our logical thinking and creativity. Targeting maximum LEED points, especially in GCC countries, requires more common sense and a deeper

understanding of the effect. I also urge clients/developers to be open minded pertaining to their LEED vision. Inappropriate implementation of add-on techniques has more often than not led to cumbersome processes. Advocating bicycle tracks or trying to invest in a rainwater harvesting system in the Middle East are some instances. Inexperienced individuals do not realise that considering these in GCC countries is a waste of wealth, effort and energy considering the facts that lay before us. Plainly speaking, the average rate of annual rainfall in the Middle East is very low. Sometimes rain intensity is higher in some years than in others. But this is not a strong criterion. By trying to harvest rain in the Middle East, one does not actually collect water. Instead, it turns into an exercise in collecting mud, dirt and contaminated water. Th is water then requires additional treatment for reuse – simply meaning one needs to use chemicals and systems to treat it; you need to spend money for the treatment system itself; more water is essential just to backwash the fi lters; electricity is required to operate the pumps; and trained manpower is needed to maintain the tanks. In short, there’s no benefit for this idea but an endless and incessant burden. While it may fetch you extra points in the LEED ratings, the whole initiative, if analysed carefully, is a wasteful one. Even implementing large-scale solar driven technologies is risky due to the amount of atmospheric dust and harsh sunlight – both being predominant factors that reduce solar cell efficiency. In this part of the world, where methods of keeping the heat out and preventing its transfer are required, architects instead celebrate with glass. I do agree with the vision of the LEED system and the benefit of this to both people and the environment. However, professionals must realise the appropriate implementation of this in the right place and at the right time. There is no point in accommodating green ideas and techniques and ultimately ending up with a building that’s not comfortable to live or work in. Common sense is the key. Traditional Islamic architecture included many innovative, functional and ecological design principles but none of them have been perpetuated by the next generation of architects. As architects, we have to convince both the Middle East’s elite and ourselves that the optimistic concept of importing ideas of ‘progress’ will only kill the character of a place and its public realm. The future of architecture lies in logical design, controlled urban growth and in the acceptance of one’s own cultural roots. Let’s go back to these roots then. ■

21/01/2011 16:05

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21/01/2011 10:28

Details. Marinas Oman’s latest luxury development p134



On the road again A look at the latest must-haves on four wheels p138




36 hours in... Cairo p140


Agenda What’s on in Q1 p142



Installing lights on the Ferrari Experience in Abu Dhabi


Desert, camera, action A look at the role the Gulf is playing in Hollywood p136

Reaching for the skies With the finishing touches in place and the fi nal fit-out complete, the next phase of a building’s life begins: that of maintenance and operation.

By Ben Thompson

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21/01/2011 16:21



espite the downturn, Dubai’s sevenstar Burj Al Arab Hotel remains one of the most sought-after locations in the world for those looking for luxury that’s a little bit out of the ordinary. But with sand storms and dust clouds a constant problem – not to mention the building’s asymmetric lines and unconventional architecture, both of which make it a no-go structure for standard cleaning crews – how do you keep such an iconic skyscraper dirt-free in the desert? The answer is to call upon a new breed of maintenance professional. For as structural engineers dream up ever more oddly shaped towers with awkward, hard-to-reach angles, expert abseilers skilled at scaling surfaces using ropes are increasingly being called upon to maintain the gleaming facades. Cleaning and maintenance firm Megarme is one such operator. Started in 1993, primarily to assist the offshore oil and gas sector with welding, painting, electrical work and inspections of rigs requiring rope access, the last seven years have seen the company witness a boom in civil projects regularly seeking its expertise. In fact, the sector now accounts for a third of its business. “We have architects coming to us and saying, ‘this is what we want to build; can you tell us how to clean it?’” says Daniel Gill, the company’s civil projects manager. “In recent years, the designs have been getting more and more abstract.” Dangling precariously above the world’s tallest buildings, the window cleaners of Megarme certainly need a head for heights. Battling against extreme desert heat and high winds, the elite rope access team ensure the windows of some of the Middle East’s most iconic building stay sparkling. Using a system based on tried and tested mountain climbing techniques to manoeuvre themselves into unbelievable positions at dizzying heights, the boilersuit-clad cleaners then use power hoses and buckets filled with soapy water to scrub the buildings to a shine. The very top of the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building, the signature spire of which is unreachable by ordinary window-washing cradles – is just one of a handful of locations in the emirate reserved for more adventurous window cleaners such as those provided by Megarme. The tower has specific rope access anchorage on areas such as the spire that enable safe access to change the building’s aircraft warning lights, aesthetic lights and facilitate general surface cleaning. Cleaners are able to access the very top via an internal ladder equipped with a fall arrest device, up the 110-metre high and twometre diameter spire. A hatch then gives access to the anchorage, from where the ropes can be rigged to access the areas below. “Surprisingly enough, there is not a lot of difference between cleaning and maintaining the 16th floor, as opposed to the 160th floor,” explains Gill. “The only consideration really is the wind, where more points of attachment were required to ensure

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Cleaning the glass in the ticket hall of Dubai Airport

Inspecting the weld and paint on the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi

Completing panel damage repair on the Emirates Towers in Dubai

the abseilers’ safety during the unpredictable winds that are more frequently experienced at that height.” In addition to the Burj Khalifa, the squeegeewielding abseilers also proudly maintain the Burj Al Arab Hotel and Emirates Towers in Dubai, the Bahrain World Trade Centre and the Capital Gate Tower in Abu Dhabi. Unlike traditional vertical structures, the new high-rises sprouting in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are inaccessible to maintenance workers, at least by a standard window-washing gondola. The structures include protruding lounges, curved surfaces, slopes, unprecedented heights, even a hollowed-out centre. Abu Dhabi’s anticipated 160m Capital Gate tower, constructed to be four times more crooked than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, is one such example. The building, which is past the halfway point of its glazing, rotates with height and is meant to appear differently from all directions. But while its 18-degree westward incline could have posed a logistical nightmare, the early involvement of firms such as Megarme in the design process means potential problems can be sidestepped before they appear. “We had a long discussion with the client about strategies to clean the building,” says Tony Archibold, the project lead on the Capital Gate. “It became apparent that a standard building maintenance unit wouldn’t cover it.” Instead, Megarme recommended fixing hidden restraint points to the 728 diamondshaped panels making up the glass exterior. “The abseiler is stitched to the surface of the glass. The pins act as guides to his rope and he has complete freedom of movement,” says Archibold. To protect themselves from the sun, the technicians have to carry with them special hydration

21/01/2011 16:21

packs supplying an electrolyte sport beverage, and wear specialised clothing resembling moon suits. Work is planned around the positioning of the sun by using the natural shade of the buildings. “Heat is the biggest threat to our safety when talking about natural elements,” continues Gill. “The municipalities have also implemented ‘stop work’ breaks during the hotter months to attempt to avoid unnecessary heat-related injuries.” However, safety often comes down to the education of the person responding to the indications of their body and the support of their teammates around them, he says. “Working at height has its additional dangers, and the biggest contributor to accidents in rope access is a lack of experience and training. Although working at extreme heights is no different to lesser heights, it’s often the individual’s mind that hinders the most,” Gill explains. As for future projects, the company has its sights on the proposed US$13.6 billion Mile-High Tower in Jeddah. If constructed, the planned 1.6km building would be twice as tall as the Burj Khalifa, taking extreme cleaning to new sky-piercing heights. Gill, for one, is looking forward to it. “Nothing’s ever straightforward here, but I guess that’s the nature of our industry,” he muses. “We love the challenge.”

Workers clean the external sail on the Burj Al Arab helipad in Dubai

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Abseilers polish the façade of the Bahrain World Trade Centre

21/01/2011 16:21


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Oman’s waterfront ambitions In line with recent regional expansion plans, the region’s premier marina development company is making the move to Oman.


ourjan Marinas IGY’s rapidly growing portfolio of projects across the Middle East continues to expand following the announcement it will fully manage and operate a stunning new world-class marina at The Wave, Muscat – Oman’s newly developed premier waterfront destination. The Wave is the first integrated resort and residential development to be undertaken in the greater Muscat region and brings with it beautiful properties, a Greg Norman-designed golf course, five-star hotels and a host of new retail, leisure and dining opportunities all situated along a 7km seafront address. At the heart of the project lies the 400-plus berth marina, a vibrant destination that will offer a breathtaking setting for sailing enthusiasts whilst providing an integrated marina lifestyle for its new residents. The announcement follows a series of recent strategic partnerships it has undertaken in the region, including the development of the first marina within the Lusail City development in Doha, Qatar, and the operation of two marinas as part of the upcoming Marsa Al Seef project in the Kingdom of Bahrain. “We are proud to be a part of what is a very exciting project in Muscat and continuing our rapid growth in this region, which is fast becoming one of the leading destinations for marina developments and waterfront living in the world,” explains Michael Horrigan, CEO of Mourjan Marinas IGY. “What is so appealing about this initiative is the opportunity it offers us to support the overall goal of Oman to create a world-class sailing boat industry. We are delighted to be entrusted with such a vital project that will allow us to bring our expertise and knowledge of the market to deliver on what will be one of the region’s leading marinas.” The first phase of the new marina will open in the second quarter of 2011. As part of the development, the marina will provide harbour-side views, dining options ranging from al fresco to quaint coffee shops and a retail promenade offering trendy fashion stores together with traditional Omani hospitality and culture. The marina will also offer yacht maintenance

and fuelling facilities at its Yacht Club to ensure smooth sailing for individual yacht owners. “We are confident the marina will quickly become the place to be,” Horrigan continues. From the restaurants through to the shops and cafés, this marina facility will be a location for people to enjoy themselves and socialise, or if they choose to it will allow visitors to simply unwind and mingle against a backdrop of incredible ocean views. Mourjan Marinas IGY’s management role will see the Dubai-based company provide every level of support from design through to development support and optimising the marina for operations. The company will then fully manage and operate the facility and oversee the regional and global marketing of the development. Michael Lenarduzzi, CEO of The Wave, Muscat, believes the agreement is testament to the project’s commitment to not only building Oman’s ultimate home and lifestyle destination, but also to bolstering the nation’s thriving tourism industry. “The marina will most certainly complement our existing standards of living as we position Oman as a distinguished yachting and sailing centre that would compete within the global luxury boating circuit,” he says. “Our strategic partnership with Mourjan Marinas IGY brings a wealth of expertise through a clear focus on hospitality and a proven track record in managing marinas in some of the world’s top waterfront developments. We will also benefit from the wide range of services and solutions they offer in marina development and operations to set new standards for the scope and quality of our mixed-use development.” Lenarduzzi also highlights the fact that the highly anticipated Al Marsa Village is coming to life, as The Wave, Muscat is redefining luxury marina experiences and recreational boating for those searching for quality services with access to a number of residential, commercial and leisure facilities. “The Marina is one of the country’s most ambitious development projects, designed to become the preferred berthing option in Oman, accommodating over 400 boats, including luxury megayachts,” he says.

21/01/2011 16:21


19/01/2011 10:51


Desert, camera, action


Tom Cruise and members of the cast and crew for the forthcoming Mission Impossible 4 movie give a press conference in Dubai, following the announcement that part of the blockbuster will be ďŹ lmed in the Emirate.

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21/01/2011 16:21


t the height of summer 2007, in the swelteringly hot, sparse desert of Jordan, a 200 strong team of cast and crew members gather on set for the filming of The Hurt Locker, a Hollywood movie about the Iraq war. Among the American actors and various assortment of technical crew members, a number of Iraqi refugees have been drafted in for roles as extras in the movie. The Hurt Locker received considerable critical acclaim upon its release in the west in 2009, and went on to win six Oscars in February 2010. Director Kathryn Bigelow explained her decision to film in Jordan’s desert was based on its proximity and geographic similarity to the Iraq landscape in which her film was set. Thanks to its vast critical acclaim, reports cited the film as providing a boost to Jordan’s fledgling film industry. HRH Princess Rym Ali told the Associated Press that, “The success of any movie filmed in Jordan is always a plus for our Kingdom, for its economy, for its tourism as well as for its budding film industry.” The Gulf has traditionally presented something of a challenge for Hollywood filmmakers, due to security, cultural or infrastructure issues, with many directors choosing to film in more westernised countries such as South Africa, or even staying on American soil in desert locations such as Arizona. But thanks to the success of productions such as Bigelow’s, as well as a surge in interest in film within the region – with festivals popping up in Abu Dhabi and Qatar – the Gulf is proving increasingly popular as a destination for Hollywood movies. As Gulf nations such as the UAE and Qatar seek to push national wealth into the arts sector and establish themselves as globally competitive cultural destinations, developing a flourishing film sector is increasingly important. But while Gulf directors are making waves in the region’s festivals, the Gulf film industry is still relatively immature, and countries such as the UAE offer little in the way of funding or support to help get this sector off the ground. “There’s no structure set up for soft money in [the UAE],” Tim Smythe, CEO of Dubai-based Filmworks production company, told Arabian Business back in April 2010. “If they want to have a film industry, that is critical.” Indeed, while investment is the most critical factor, the support of high profile Hollywood figures such as Bigelow are helping to spark interest in the region around the world. The latest instalment of the Mission Impossible blockbuster franchise is set to be filmed partly in Dubai, starring Oscar nominee Tom Cruise, and high profile Hollywood actors Kevin Spacey and Robert Di Nero were among the industry figure-heads in attendance at the 2010 Qatar Film Festival in Doha in October, at which actress Salma Hayek was a judge. Film professionals in the Gulf are hoping that interest from such Hollywood figures will help the UAE and Qatar enjoy the same success that Jordan is currently seeing.

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Director Kathryn Bigelow chose Jordan as the location for her 2009 Oscar winner The Hurt Locker about the Iraq conflict, because of its similarities to Iraq.

Hollywood great Robert Di Nero signs autographs for fans outside the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar. Di Nero co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival in New York back in 2002 on which the Doha festival is modelled.

Morocco has long been a popular choice in the MENA region for film sets. Ridley Scott filmed Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven and Black Hawk Down in Morocco

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On the road again Mecedes-Benz BIOME


Fresh from the German brand’s Los Angeles design studio, the BIOME has been tagged as an “ultralight vehicle at one with nature”. The car is made from a material called BioFibre – supposedly considerably lighter than metal or plastic and more robust than steel – and weighs in at tiny 394 kg. Powered on biofuel, Mercedes claims that this vehicle emits only pure oxygen and also says that at the end of the car’s serviceable life it can be composted or used as building materials.


MENA Infrastructure says: Designed as part of the Los Angeles Design Challenge, this vehicle is impressive to say the least, but we’re not sure they’ll be available in the shops just yet.

Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Spyder Performante This car is a slimmed down version of previous models, a full 65 kg less than the Superleggara. This has been achieved by swapping leather interior for Alcantara, fixing lightweight wheels and a frivolous use of carbonfibre in the body work. Top speeds of the Performante reach 323 kilometres an hour and makes 0-100kmp in 4 seconds. MENA Infrastructure says: Similar to previous models apart from the weight loss, this is not something we haven’t seen before. Still, Lamborghini rarely disappoint and the speeds of this model are enough to tempt us. Prices are expected to be around US$260,000 and first deliveries are projected for end Q1 2011.

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Porsche Caymen R Cousin to 911, the Caymen R has a 325 bhp and, as is the trend this season, has cut weight from previous models by using carbonfibre for the interior, aluminium doors, smaller fuel tank and the lightest set of wheels made by Porsche. It runs up to 100 kmp in five seconds, still slower than the 911 but faster than its predecessor, and retailing at US$63,490 in the Gulf makes it a healthy US$15,000 less than the 911. MENA Infrastructure says: Stripping the air conditioning may have improved the minimalist aesthetics of the car’s interior, but it’s not ideal for driving in the Gulf.

BMW 6-Series Convertible Coinciding with first deliveries in the spring, BMW decided to release the first models of the new six series as a convertible, with the coupe set to follow in Q3. There are two different engine options for you to chose from, and the 650i model offers a similar acceleration to the Porsche. Fans of the Munich manufacturer might be disappointed by the extras; interior details such as night vision and a music hard drive have all been seen on the recent 5-series. However this new model does offer in-car email display via the Bluetooth connection, making it a good choice for the busy business traveller. MENA Infrastructure says: While bulkier than most sports models, the spacious back seats and boot are ideal to allow the transportation of the family… or the golf clubs!

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36 hours in... Cairo


In the know Home to almost 20 million residents – who fondly nickname their city ‘Mother of the World’ – Cairo is the beating heart of Egypt. A city wrapped in ancient history, economic growth and Islamic culture, Cairo is at once the commercial centre of Egypt and a beautiful metropolis rich in ornate architecture. Sitting astride the rambling Nile, Cairo has long been well positioned as a trade hub uniting the East with the West, and remains today a booming economic city and site of some of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. Between the Khan Al-Khalili market place, the myriad cafes and coffeehouses and the art galleries, visitors can experience the culture of cosmopolitan Cairo, though only minutes from the sites such as the Pyramids of Giza and a multitude of museums showcasing the ancient Egyptian Empire.

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Eat Those looking for a taste of something traditional with a twist of class should head to Abou El Sid to sample a mezze, or a classic Egyptian chicken dish of molokheya. In addition to the delightful food visitors can enjoy traditional sheesha after dining. Alternatively, Abou Shakra is a popular dinner spot with the locals, having served everything from Egyptian style kebabs to western-style beef fillet for over 60 years. A strictly Muslim restaurant, Abou Shakra serves no alcohol. For a more original dining experience, try the Lebanese themed Dar El Amar, a floating restaurant situated on the river. The menu is very wide, with 53 mezzes to chose from, and prices are reasonable for a waterside eatery.

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Time off Of course, no trip to Egypt is complete without a visit to the Pyramids of Giza, the burial site of the ancient dynasties that once ruled over a sprawling empire. Proving popular with visitors looking to escape the crowds is the Dahshur field. Just as beautiful as the Giza strip, this site of forth and 12th dynasty Pyramids was an off limits military zone until 1996 and remains free of large tourist parties. For a more religious landmark, take a trip to the Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan. Completed in 1366 with stones from the Pyramids, this is reported to be one of the oldest mosques in the world. Alternatively, Cairo’s city centre offers a bustling hub of culture waiting to be soaked up. Enjoy a lazy morning at the 200 year old Fishawi’s Coffeehouse or the charismatic Simonds café.

Sleep Cairo’s Intercontinental Semiramis provides a good base for enjoying the sights and sounds of the city and its café is ideal for watching a sunset over the Nile. Alternatively, the Cairo Marriott Hotel is a wonderfully opulent retreat from the chaos of the city, and its distance from the city centre makes it the ideal spot for conferences and meetings. That’s not to say that the hotel is lacking in hospitality or charm; its lush green gardens and lagoon pool help guests to completely relax. Just outside the bustle of Cairo, on the Giza Plateau, the Mena House Oberoi is a stately home turned charming guest house, with views out over the Pyramids, grand interior décor and jasmine-scented gardens.

Facts - Cairo was established in the 10th century, but long before that land had been the site of the many ancient capitals. - Cairo currently has the only metro system on the African continent. - Cairo is the largest city in the Arab World, as well as the largest city on the African continent. - Cairo is home to al-Azhar University, the second oldest institution of higher learning in the world.

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Coming up… Qatar Masters

Muscat Festival Drawing in excess of two million visitors annually, the Muscat Festival is one of the Middle East’s finest cultural events of the year. Including everything from theatre to music to art exhibitions to sporting events to seminars on Islam, the event is both as stimulating and enriching as it is fun.



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Part of the iconic PGA European Tour, the Qatar leg is the perfect opportunity to welcome Europe’s finest golfers onto Persian soil, as well as providing the Gulf’s up and coming golf stars a chance to shine. Indeed, along with a comfortable prize of US$2.5 million, golfers play for the chance to earn a spot jazz festivalon the European Ryder Cup team.

Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival A multi-award winning event that attracts some 40,000 visitors every year, the Skywards Dubai International Jazz Festival will not disappoint. Now in it’s ninth year, this event showcases some of the finest quality music to be heard this side of the Atlantic. And to complement the festival, street entertainment runs alongside.

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RAK Half Marathon


With 2011 marking its fifth anniversary, the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the most lucrative half marathon in the world (with prizes worth more than US$250,000) and attracts some of the finest long distance runners from across the world. In addition, this situation of this run allows both visitors and runners the added attraction of being able to explore the lesser known states of the UAE. The course offers the half marathon, as well as a Team Relay Challenge and a 6 kilometre fun run.

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Dubai International Racing Carnival

The Bahrain International Exhibition Centre fills with all the trimmings that make up these impressive and meticulously detailed gardens. Showing off the latest garden technology, must-have accessories and the most stylish landscape designs, the Bahrain International Garden Show offers visitors conferences and workshops that will help you to get the most out of your garden.



Attracting some of the best racing horses from across the world, the Dubai International Racing Carnival offers more than a million dollars in prize money. Races are held at the Meydan Racecourse, where visitors can enjoy exquisite dining to complement the entertainment.

The Big Boys Toys Super Show At the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, this show is ideal for those who desire the biggest and best of everything. Showcasing the finest gadgets and gizmos, visitors can catch glimpses of everything from high-performance cars and top speed motorbikes to dune buggies and lounge boat, from private jets and remote control aircrafts to home theatre systems and fitness equipment.

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Bahrain Grand Prix The first such event to be held in the Middle East, the Bahrain leg of the Formula One Grand Prix is now in its seventh year marks the opening on the new season. Held at the Bahrain International Racing Circuit, this event attracts fanatics of the sport from across the world. Expect to smell burning rubber, hear the roar of the world’s fastest engines and maybe spot some of the sport’s international superstars.


Bahrain International Garden Show

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Photo finish


A Tunisian military helicopter flies over the Kasbah in Tunis in January. Tunisian protesters have been calling for the abolition of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s ruling party amid a chaotic political deadlock as politicians prepared a government of national unity.


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19/01/2011 11:50


What do you do when the economic heart of your country is ripped out and scattered to the found winds? The only thing you can: rebuild.

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