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ANALYSIS CAN SHARJAH’S FREE ZONE BOOST THE EMIRATE’S ECONOMY? N E W S • A N A LY S I S • I N T E L L I G E N C E • P R OJ E CT S • C O N T R ACT S • T E N D E R S

AN ITP BUSINESS PUBLICATION LICENSED BY DUBAI MEDIA CITY

BEACH BUILD Contractors drive Aldar’s Al Muneera toward completion at Al Raha Beach

Sustainable leaders Six people show the way to a green future Page 38

Metal monitor Price pinch for steel and aluminium Page 46

JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 • ISSUE 327

CONSTRUCTIONWEEKONLINE.COM


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COMMENT

CONTENTS JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010 • ISSUE 327

24

Hamriyah Free Zone's ability to complete five major projects within the past two years, on time and to budget, is nothing short of sensational.

REGULARS

12 18 20 56

ONLINE EDITOR’S LETTER GUEST COLUMN FOREMAN

INTELLIGENCE

6

AED 4 BILLION KHALIFA PORT CONTRACTS UP FOR GRABS Remaining contracts for the Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone project in Abu Dhabi will be awarded soon.

ANALYSIS

24

SHORE INVESTMENT With AED 1 billion in completed projects, Hamriyah Free Zone hopes to revitalise Sharjah’s economy.

MATERIALS

46

A DOWNHILL TREND OR A PROGRESSIVE STEP FORWARD? As aluminium takes another sudden price hike, industry experts are apprehensive about it’s future. CW looks at pricing ups and downs.

48

CONSTRUCTING STEEL PRICES The steel industry knows challenging times, but on the cusp of a construction upturn, there is some hope for its future. CW investigates.

ON SITE

32

BEACH BUILD UP Aldar’s Al Muneera, part of Al Raha Beach, is a bustling project site as it heads towards handover next year.

SUSTAINABILITY FINANCE

38 10

MAKKAH C&DC BUCKS INDICES Makkah Construction and Development Company has made a strong showing this year.

ROUND UP

14

HEALTH AND SAFETY REFORM Abu Dhabi DMA’s public health and safety legislation will prioritise construction.

THE GREEN REVOLUTIONARIES Who is leading the way on Middle East sustainability?

FACE TO FACE

28

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION As a global provider of structural engineering services, WSP is to be a key player in ME construction. Brand new MD for the region, Tom Bower, talks exclusively to CW. JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 3


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4 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010


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INTELLIGENCE

The weir basin structure at Khalifa Port, where there are still AED 4 billion worth of development contracts still to be awarded.

Tenders of note Khalifa Port contracts worth AED 4 billion still up for grabs

T

he remaining contracts for the Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone project in Taweelah, Abu Dhabi will be awarded to contractors “in the next few months” according to the developer. The Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC), which is developing and commissioning several ports along the Abu Dhabi coastline, in order to support a growing economy, is still to award several lucrative contracts worth around AED 4 billion (US $1.08 billion). The outstanding works, which include port off-shore civil-building works, port terminal infrastructure and facilities, industrial zone road and utilities networks, are the last required to develop what will be one of the world’s largest and most modern ports, the Khalifa Port, by 2012. A spokesperson from ADPC said: “In the 21st 6 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

century, the global economy is increasingly dependent on efficient sea transport and ADPC are active players in port development and management. The Khalifa Port and Industrial Zone (KPIZ) project is one of the most exciting port and industrial zone projects in the world, and a pillar of the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision in terms of developing the infrastructure of the Emirate. “The industrial zone alone covers a massive 417km2 area and work has started to make it a major industry hub. When awarding new contracts we look for the highest expertise to ensure that the project is delivered to the standards that are required.” Recently, the developer announced that it had awarded the third major construction package worth AED 350 million to Al Jaber GIS joint venture. — By Elizabeth Broomhall.


INTELLIGENCE For upto the minute tenders log in to constructionweekonline.com

September deadline for Yanbu plant bids

August delivery for logistics bid invites

Bids for the construction of phase three of the Yanbu Power and Desalination Plant for the Saudi government’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) are due by September 22. The Project involves the design, engineering, construction, commissioning and testing of a new dual purpose power and desalination plant and associated facilities with capacities of oil-fired 1,700 MW net power output and 550,000 m3 per day of water production. There are two packages: ‘P’ and ‘D’. Package P covers the steam power plant including generator island. Package ‘D’ covers the desalination plant, including seawater pumping station. A tender fee of 200 000 Saudi riyals (US $53000) applies.

Contractors interested in the first phase of construction at the planned Logistics City in Qatar, can expect invitations to bid to start appearing in the month of August. Currently, plans for the US $275 million project encompass a 500,000 m2 hub for warehousing and logistics businesses in Qatar’s capital, Doha. Once complete the development will be operated by Qatar Navigation. The project is currently just in the design phase and is pencilled in for a location near the new Doha airport, as well as a proposed deep-water port. Qatar Navigation has publicly voiced an ambitious schedule, with a desire to have the project operational within 22 months.

Salwa Road in Doha is to get a two and a half year upgrade.

Qatar road job goes to Aecom A US $10.7 million contract for phase 2 of the Doha Expressway project has been awarded to Aecom Technology Corporation. The award was made by the Qatar Public Works authority and means Aecom will provide general- and site-super-

vision, as well as quantity-surveying services, for the Doha Expressway Phase 2 - Package 7 project. “We are excited to be part of this vital modernisation effort in Doha,” said Aecom president and CEO John Dionisio, in a statement.

Doha’s Salwa Road is where the project work will take place. The 6.7km stretch of the road includes four interchanges - three of which will be multilevel – as well as upgrading the existing road, to provide four lanes in each direction for the mainline traffic and service roads network. A car park will also be built to serve the adjacent area. The contract makes provision for the upgrading of all related infrastructure work required by local service departments. According to Aecom, work on the project is expected to begin by July 2010 and is scheduled to be completed within 30 months.

TOP TENDERS Construction of Yanbu Power and Desalination Plant Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Sep 22, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Rehabilitation of All Fire Fighting System at Shuqaiq Plant Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Aug 22, 2010 Category: Infrastructure Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Construction of 380-kV Ras AlZour Substation Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Aug 21, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Annual Maintenance of Track Roads in Al Dakhliyah Region Country: Oman Closes: Aug 2, 2010 Category: Infrastructure Issuer: Ministry of Transport and Communication Jaber Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Bridge (Al Subiya Connection) Country: Kuwait Closes: Aug 8, 2010 Category: Infrastructure Issuer: Central Tenders Committee Construction of 380-kV Ras AlZour Substation Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Aug 21, 2010 Category: Power and water Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Housing complex, Phase 2 Buildings Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Jul 31, 2010 Category: Residential Building Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Housing Complex in Different Areas of Saudi Arabia - Phase 2 Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Jul 31, 2010 Category: Buildings Issuer: Saline Water Conversion Corporation Construction of New Ahmadi Hospital & Residential Building Country: Kuwait Closes: Jul 27, 2010 Category: Industry Issuer: Kuwait Oil Company JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 7


INTELLIGENCE For upto the minute tenders log in to constructionweekonline.com

TOP TENDERS Refurbishment of Several Pumping Stations - Phase 8 Country: Qatar Closes: Jul 27, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: Public Works Authority Construction of Royal Commission Public Housing Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Jul 25, 2010 Category: Residential development Issuer: Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu Supervision Consultancy Services for an IWPP in Salalah Country: Oman Closes: Jul 19, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: SAOC

Architects behind the plans for the City of Silk super tall tower ‘still going ahead’.

MEI wins hot water project at university

Kilometer high tower still a possibility

Millennium Energy Industries (MEI) has been awarded a design-and-build contract for a solar district hot water project at the US $11 billion Princess Noura Bint Abdurrahman University for Women (PNUW) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This is believed to be the largest solar district hot water project in the world. The system is scheduled to be commissioned before the official launch of the university in 2011. The system comprises 35 000 m2 of roof-mounted large-scale collectors, with a total capacity of about 17 MW of hot water for district heating. MEI is sub-contractor to a JV between El-Seif Contracting and Consolidated Contracting Company (CCC), which are responsible for implementing the infrastructure works (Package 3) of the PNUW project, with Dar Al Handaseh as the supervising design and MEP consultant.

The architect behind the plans for a 1,001 metre tall tower in Kuwait say that they believe the project is still going ahead. Eric Kuhne told CW that although the US $94 billion City of Silk development has been slowed by the financial crisis and elections in Kuwait, they have received no indication that the project is cancelled. “As far as we’re concerned everything is going ahead,” Kuhne said. “It has slowed down obviously because of the change of parliaments that has gone on, but we’re working as if everything is OK. We haven’t received any instructions to stop or anything like that.” The 1,001 metre tower is planned as part of a 250km2 development on the Kuwaiti coast. The project was approved by the Kuwait government in July 2008, but although construction had begun before the financial crisis, little work has been carried out since.

Upgrading of Khuwair South Substation Country: Oman Closes: Jul 19, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: SAOC EPC for Upgrading Water Supply System at Kumzar Plant Country: Oman Closes: Jul 19, 2010 Category: Power & Water Issuer: SAOC Bridge and Intersections in Yanbu Industrial City Country: Saudi Arabia Closes: Jul 13, 2010 Category: Infrastructure Issuer: RCJY Installation of Package Sewage Treatment Plant at Daqum Country: Oman Closes: Jul 12, 2010 Category: Infrastructure Issuer: Ministry of Regional Municipalities & Water Resource Construction of 24 Classrooms Al Ahnaf Bin Qais Country: Oman Closes: Jul 12, 2010 Category: Educational facilities Issuer: Ministry of Education

MATERIALS PRICE CHECK

$3.27

$748.67

$3.81

$32.67

$4.36

$72.15

$98

$721.45

$14.97

$640

$10.88

Alum. profiles

Beech wood

Cement

FF plywood

Glass

MDF

Ready mix

Red meranti

Scfldi planks

Steel

Steel props

Per sheet

2

3

Per tonne steady

Per piece

Per metric t

Per piece

Per KG steady

3

Per m Steady

Per bag steady

8 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

per m steady

Per m steady

3

Per m STEADY


FINANCE STOCK MARKETS

Makkah C&DC bucks Saudi indices Makkah Construction & Development Company has made a strong showing this year, rising more than 11% since the start of the year. This increase has been all the more impressive for the firm, which is focused on construction projects around the Grand Mosque, caught as it is between two moribund sectors – construction and hotels and tourism – which have fallen more than 7% and 12% respectively since January. It has also outperformed its real estate index impressively this year. The company is likely to compete strongly for part of the SR596.3 billion that the government is to spend on real estate in the next two years, particularly given the swell in the number of pilgrims to Makkah. First quarter 2010 saw net profits of SR52 million, up from SR43 million for last year’s first quarter.

Makkah Construction & Development Company works on projects in the vicinity of the Grand Mosque.

One year price analysis A slide last July turned to high growth six months later. Share price in USD 2009

Share price in USD 2010

35.00

35.50

33.00

30.00

31.00

29.25

29.00

28.25

26.90

27.50

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan13

Feb14

Mar15

Apr14

May15

Jun15

Expert Views Qatar National Cement Company The company saw one of the most dramatic dips, this year – is it worth investment?

Qatar National Cement Company, the QR3.5 billion cement and lime manufacturer that is 43% government owned, has produced a stock market performance that has resembled the Himalayas this year, with an amazing QR8 knocked off its value in two days at the beginning of March before reaching a year-low of QR74.1. The company has followed the fortunes of fellow cement makers in the region that operate in saturated markets, despite the high number of projects currently under development in Qatar. Another slump through May saw it fall from QR82 to QR74, despite

10 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

a share price estimate of QR89.6 from Global Investment House, though it has seen a rise since 7th June at QR74.5, up to QR78 last Sunday. Kaisal Hasan had given a ‘hold’ recommendation on the stock at the beginning of May, with an outperformance forecast of -5.09%. This view was agreed with by Safat-based Rajat Bagchi at NBK Capital. He predicted a 15.26% return on the stock with a 10.17% outperformance. But Hans Zayed, an analyst at Credit Suisse in Dubai, kept his cards close to his chest, recommending a neutral position on the company.

THE VERDICT BUY: There is enough analyst support, particularly with its state backing, but investors may need a strong stomach based on recent turbulence.


FINANCE

Construction Materials IND:

TEN BIGGEST RISERS

Islamic financing is set for further growth despite a quieter 2010

OR0.127 43% OR0.069 52-week high

Global sukuk sales last year

52-week low

19%

Decline in sukuk sales against last year’s first half

Aluminium maker to Infra deals to spur enter Oman bourse Sukuk growth National Aluminium Production is to list on the Oman Securities Index on 1st July, the index announced last week. The little-known company is one of five to be listed on the stock exchange on the basis of market value, liquidity and earnings per share, and will be joined by mainly investment houses such as Gulf Investment Services Co. and Dhofar International Development and Investment Holding Co, which counts power stations among its investments. Among the companies to be removed from the index is Construction Materials Industries. The Ruwi -based company has seen its share price fall to OMR0.07, within a whisker of its 52-week low of OMR0.069 after beginning the year at OMR0.111.

Government-led development of roads and other infrastructure in the Middle East will help bolster the sales of Islamic bonds this year, analysts say. Barclays Capital and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd say that confluent issues of Sukuks from Saudi Arabia as well as markets such as Malaysia will boost growth for the instrument. The Kingdom is to increase its investment in development projects by 16% this year, part of the SR1.5 trillion it has earmarked for the next three years. Earlier this year, the Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company raised AED1 billion through a Sukuk. “There are huge opportunities,” said Harris Irfan of Barclays Capital at the World Islamic Banking Conference.

National Industries: +14.29 Specialities Gro: +11.79 Arabian Cement Company: +9.89 Saudi Vitrified: +6.43 Saudi Ceramics Company: +6.06 Fujairah Building Ind.: +5.98 Al Babtain: +5.43 Makkah Construction & Dev. Co.: +5.19 National Gypsum.: +4.52

TEN BIGGEST FALLERS Mushrif Trading: -11.76% Sabookh Trading: -9.09% Gulf Cement Company: -8.59% Hilal Cement Company: -7.27% National Marine Dredging Co.: -6.67% Arkan Building Materials: -5.63% Drake & Scull International: -5.56% Arabtec Holdings: -5.18% National Cement Company: -4.82% Kuwait Portland: -4.55%

SECTOR INDICES Banking Insurance Finance & Invest. Real Est & Constr Transportation Utilities Materials Consumer Staples Telecoms

+1.19 .+0.13% -0.72 -0.02% +12.45 +0.67% +58.27 +2.04% +5.47 +1.21% -3.60 -0.58% 0.00 0.00% 0.00 0.00% 0.00 0.00%

(Data accurate as of close 20 June 2010)

Update 10 latest power & water project updates PROJECT TITLE

STATUS

VALUE / VALUE RANGE (US$)

TUBLI WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT

Design

TBC

WATER STORAGE FACILITIES - WEST OF FUNAITEES, PHASE 1

Tender

250,00O,00O

CIVIL WORKS FOR 220-KV SUBSTATION - PACKAGE A1

Construction

18,000,000

CIVIL WORKS FOR 220-KV SUBSTATION - PACKAGE A2

Construction

10,000,000

CIVIL WORKS FOR 66-KV SUBSTATIONS - PACKAGE B1

Construction

11,000,000

CIVIL WORKS FOR 66-KV SUBSTATIONS - PACKAGE B2

Construction

10,000,000

220-KV OHTL

Construction

32,000,000

DOHA SOUTH SEWERAGE TREATMENT WORKS - PHASE 2

Construction

190,000,000

KHALIFA PORT AND INDUST. ZONE, TAWEELAH - SUBSTATION PACKAGE

Construction

82,000,000

SALALAH IWPP

Construction

1,000,000,000

JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 11


ONLINE Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

For breaking news, analysis, interviews, tenders and projects, log on to constructionweekonline.com

MOST POPULAR

1 2 3 4 5

Sharjah reveals AED1bn mega projects 50 Most Admired: Architects/ engineers/consultants Eight consortiums prequalify for airport project 50 Most Admired: Contractors AED 4bn Khalifa Port contracts still up for grabs

IN PICTURES

Construction workers inspect the indoor go-kart circuit in the interior of the rebuilt Grand Pier in Weston-Super-Mare, England.

UK’s Grand Pier nearly ready A long-standing, occasionally fiery, and frequently destroyed British icon is due to reopen in July, after a multi-million pound refurbishment. The Grand Pier, located in the coastal town of Weston-Super-Mare has taken two years to rebuild, after the original was destroyed by fire in 2008. The original was in fact a replacement for the pier’s 1933 edition, which itself replaced the actual original, first built in 1904. Each of the previous structures have been destroyed by fire. Presumably this modern version has more comprehensive fire suppression systems than the one built 80odd years ago. The indoor go-kart track (pictured above) will be one of the pier’s main attractions, along with those fair-ground favourites a ghosttrain, a hall of mirrors - which doubles as a maze - plus a laser maze. The revived pier is billing itself as the ‘ultimate indoor attraction’, though this is an accolade Ferrari World, due to open in Abu Dhabi this coming October, may wish to lay claim to later in the year.

Fifth year students at AUS present their final projects.

LATEST FEATURES

Projects Grand ideas – CW visits the Dubai Pearl Interview The Pearl is his oyster – an exclusive interview with Santhosh Joseph, CEO of Dubai Pearl

SPOT POLL What do you think of the OMR7.34m Oman Cement Company bail-out?

39.3%

28.6%

17.9%

14.3%

OCC is a state-owned company, what do you expect?

Anything that keeps business running is a good idea.

It's an investment in Oman's construction future.

It's payback for being forced to import clinker two years ago.

12 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

Urban metabolism

Analysis Top of the glass – glass manufacturing in the region is boosting capacity


Ey_HLSL_FlatBedLady_GCC_CWk_275x205_e.ai

1

5/23/10

5:49 PM


ROUND UP

HEALTH & SAFETY

Constrution leads Abu Dhabi public safety reform Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipal Affairs is to prioritise the construction sector in its creation of public health and safety legislation as it aims to be a model for safe building in the region. The DMA has already issued codes of best practice for the construction sector, covering such areas as worker uniform and the provision for labour camps. Now it is finalising its plans to turn it into full regulation, with penalties for non compliance, and the DMA has set a deadline of next year to do so. “We will be getting this legislation implemented for the construction sector and then look to apply it for other areas, such as public health,” said Abdulaziz Zurub, director of HSE at the DMA. “We started with the construction sector because of the number of accidents. This will be the implementation of rule 42 in Abu Dhabi. “We have the HSE Code of Practice, but without enforcement you can’t do anything.”

The announcement follows the DMA’s creation last month of a construction-focused environment health and safety department in its Al Ain municipality. Zurub added that the DMA, once it has fully created the legislation, will then market the new initiative and will continually monitor its progress. The DMA has also had meetings with some of the major developers and consultants in the industry in its quest to make it part of everyday legislation in the building sector. “The implementation may take some time – you cannot just launch a new legislation one day and it will have an effect the next day.” Zurub told CW that the new legislation would cater for both big and small companies. The end goal is to demonstrate how effectively health and safety can be applied as legislation in the wider GCC. “Our objective is for this for this to be a model for the whole region,” he said. – By Ben Roberts

In Quotes “Everyone is now sticking to core objectives, things are shifting back and focusin focusing on core values values.” SANTHOS JOSEPH, SANTHOSH CEO of Dubai Du Pearl, on the business of o development in the current cu climate.

14 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

“ The idea is that architects coming in will have a base of great quality and then they can expand upon that as much as they want.” ABDULLAH AL SHAMSI, senior architect with Mubadala on the standard of development on Abu Dhabi’s Sowwah Island.

“We are hiring. These are great times to hire good people ... We are in a growing mode.” Drake & Scull International ernational CEO KHALDOUN TABARI in optimistic voice about bout the months ahead.


ROUND UP

Around the GCC

4 1

2

5 3

1. RIYADH, KSA

4. BAHRAIN

Hyundai scores major power order

Building spree for Best Western

Hyundai Heavy Industries Company yesterday said it won a SR6 billion order from Dhuruma Electricity Company to build a power plant in Saudi Arabia. Hyundai Heavy is the sole contractor to build a 1,729-megawatt power plant 125 km west of Riyadh by 2013, the South Korea-based company said. The total value of the project is SR7.87 billion. It is the latest in a number of power projects in KSA, which is in the midst of a wider drive to improve its infrastructure. At the beginning of this month, Saudi Electricity Company revealed plans to build a SR7.9 billion electricity plant following a deal struck with GDF Suez and two other counterparties.

"We're putting together a business case at the moment and (getting) a better understanding of what it might take to move into Iraq.” AL HABTOOR LEIGHTON’S CEO and MD Laurie Voyer on the prospect of doing business in Iraq.

Hotel chain Best Western has announced that it will build 20 more hotels throughout the Middle East over the next five years. The plans include provision for a brace of the hotels in Bahrain. Construction work on these is expected to happen in 2012.

2. QATAR

3. OMAN

Platforms were cherry picked

Cement company Infrastructure gets bail out cash close to finished

5. RAK, UAE

A deal has been struck to distribute a range of aerial work platforms in Qatar. The agreement enables Qatari-firm Rumaillah Motors to supply selfpropelled scissor lifts, articulating and telescoping booms, telehandlers, portable material lifts, aerial work platforms, light towers and trailer mounted booms. There is a growing interest in cherry pickers and other access kit in Qatar, as new safety rules seek to phase out the use of ladders and scaffolds.

Oman Cement Company has been given OMR7.34 million from the government to cover its losses following the spike in cement and clinker import costs over 2008 and 2009. The Muscat-based company announced the bail-out from the Ministry of Finance yesterday to the Oman Securities Market. The state-owned company has seen a significant dip in profits and sales as higher production costs and a reduction in the size of orders has put the squeeze on margins.

Property developer Rakeen has had an ecological challenge on its hands to complete the majority of the infrastructure work for the man-made Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah. The company has overseen 80% of the two-phase infrastructure stage for the AED6.6 billion, five-island project. “It was hard to imagine that you can create islands without destroying the surrounding ecosystem, but we have been able to achieve that,” Yehia Kambris, technical director at Rakeen told CW.

JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 15


ROUND UP

Saudi smelter breaks ground Alcoa and state controlled Saudi Arabian Mining Co (Ma'aden) have started work on a plant that will be the world's largest integrated aluminium complex The $10 billion Ma'aden Alcoa joint venture will start by developing an integrated industrial complex, consisting of a bauxite mine at Ba'aitha and an alumina refinery, aluminum smelter and rolling mill at Ras Al Zour. Groundbreaking has begun and the Ma’adenAlcoa joint venture, agreed in December, expects first production from the aluminum smelter and rolling mill in 2013, and first production from the mine and refinery in 2014. Winning contractors were announced last month, with US firm Fluor involved in all three key projects. The first contract covers EPCM services for the bauxite mine and alumina refinery. A second covers the high-technology can sheet rolling mill. The third, covers the contract for management of services at the complex and engineering works.

STR/ AFP / Getty Images

PICTURE PERFECT

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA High-speed rail is on the agenda in the US, where the state of California expects to issue a tender for a bullet-train line linking Los Angeles and San Francisco by late 2011. Bids from about 10 train makers, many from Asia, are expected and construction may start as early as the first half of 2012.

REAL ESTATE

INFRASTRUCTURE

CONTRACT

KSA investment to reach US$150bn

Saudi announces contract winners

Wates wins AED65m contract for school

Private real estate investments in KSA will reach an estimated US $150 billion (AED 550 billion) by 2012, according to industry experts. North Riyadh particularly, has been earmarked as the rapidly growing and newest ‘real estate investment hub’, with property trade in the region reaching as much as SAR 2 billion (AED 1.9 billion) last year. Private developers and government are working to establish a ‘New Riyadh’ which can meet the needs of Saudi’s growing population.

Saudi Arabia has awarded local firms contracts worth more than SAR 1 billion ($266.7 million) for infrastructure projects. According to a report published on the state-owned news site SPA, the 38 contracts include road construction in the city of Mecca, bridge and tunnel works in Medina, and other projects in the capital Riyadh and the Eastern province. Saudi Arabia is spending around $400bn in the five years to 2013 on infrastructure projects to boost the economy and create jobs.

Wates Construction International is to upgrade the British School Al Khubairet in Abu Dhabi, the company’s first project since setting up in the emirate. The company is to work on the AED 65 million extension as part of a joint venture with UAE partner Al Fara’a General Contracting. School principal Paul Coackley said the two firms were selected because of the “extensive sector experience and expertise that they have building schools combined with unparalleled local knowledge.”

In Numbers

160

Value, in millions dollars, of Kuwait’s expected spend on nine new hospital annexes.

16 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

1001

Height in metres of proposed tower for Kuwait’s City of Silk.

40

RMJM’s number of active projects in the UAE.


COMMENT

STUART MATTHEWS

Against the run of play

T

HE FIRST HALF IS ALMOST OVER AND SO

far, it has been pretty grueling to watch. As it comes to a close, people have already started using the phrase ‘after Ramadan’ and it’s going to take some stellar individual performances to turn things around. Strong leadership will be called for, observers will be on the look out for a spark of talent or ingenuity, and above all, performance will be judged by results. It’s still a few weeks before we will see the financial results from listed companies in the construction sector. Some will make for grim reading. Others will offer more hope. We all know it hasn’t been easy. Go-slows on site, tight cash flow and commodity prices that are up and down, all show any recovery will be a stuttering affair. Whatever emerges though, there will be an opportunity to take a few tips from those that have done well, against the run of play. Performance against the odds is what will distinguish the outstanding players. The kind of performance I mean was just described to me by a man who tells me he’s secured around 40 million dirhams ($10.9 million) worth of construction supply contracts in the last 12 months. It’s not a massive amount, but for a relatively new, medium-sized business, it is pretty good going. The decisive factor isn’t his product, which is good, but far from the only solution – an annoyingly fashionable word for product – in the market. The winning factor appears to be his company’s agility and its willingness to adapt. Partly that is down to the company’s new

18 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

position in the region. But, after it found it was going to market with a product no one wanted, it was prepared to try something different earn some market share. While the product itself looked like a winner, nervous contractors were unwilling to take chances and try something new. The solution was for the company to diversify its range of activities. It set up a small-scale contracting operation, to prove the product would work and provide reference jobs for those nervous contractors. Several completed jobs later and a new business, with a new product for the region, has survived and thrived, while others continue to struggle. Team agility and having the courage of their convictions made the difference. The company’s backers supported the product with investment and expertise. They also took a bold decision to grow and diversify, at a time when others chose to shrink. The decision paid off for this operation. It is not the only one and first half results will provide us – investors, customers, clients and suppliers – with an excellent view into the workings of other top performers. It is easy to post good figures in a boom. Doing the same when there is less money about is obviously tougher, so there has to be something special going on to attract attention. Financial figures that show gains are a good start. But somewhere among all the numbers will be an occasional stand out player, using talent and courage to go above and beyond the expected results. The market will be watching to see who they are.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Welcome to the last week of H1 2010. How was the first half of the year for you?

The first half is almost over and performance will be under scrutiny.

Strong leadership will be called for, observers will be on the look out for a spark of talent or ingenuity, and above all, performance will be judged by results.


COMMENT

GREG WHITAKER

Clever advice and nonsense Greg Whitaker on the nature of disinformation and the influence of the vested interest

N

INE -TENTHS OF THE EXIST-

books are nonsense and the clever books are the refutation of that nonsense,” wrote long-dead British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. He has a point though. For every article you read where ‘experts’ opine their views, very few really know what they are talking about, instead relying on speculation and hearsay. This is the case for almost every field, where an opinion on, say, the future price of sugar due to wet weather in China is just that, if the speaker introduces variables, such as market trends, consumer preference for frosted sugar puffs over cornflakes and so on. Nowhere is this more true than the self-appointed czars of the environment and the economy. Over the last two years global warming has been written on endlessly, with freak weather being blamed on all manner of scenarios. Now, I’m not denying such an event is taking place, but out of the 42 million results one gets after typing ‘climate change’ into Google, how many of those authors do you think have even read the fourth IPCC report on the subject? The recent debate on green building rankings is a good case in point. As an aside, I remember asking a chap at the launch of ING

20 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

a LEED tower if the only way his project could be of environmental benefit would be if he demolished several other oldstyle inefficient buildings first. He nearly choked on his air-freighted, glass-bottled mineral water. On the subject of the economy, you don’t have to have a particularly long memory to recall the talking heads that would pop up, speaking about how the regional construction market was ‘well insulated’ from the credit crunch that was unfolding in the US and elsewhere. Despite being proved wrong, these mouths for the most part have not zipped up. Instead, some have gone as far as to say that they predicted the exact moment when it all changed over here – and as a result you should continue to listen to their ‘advice.’ Of course, such weasel-words are a bit different to the practical skills needed in the heavy equipment industry. You can’t argue with the solid reality of a wheel loader. However, there are plenty of slippery folk who will come out with suggestions that plant managers up their inventory while prices are down. For the most part, this advice comes from a handful of manufacturers who have a vested interest in reducing their own stock holding. This also applies to some of the emerging machinery

manufacturers, who are looking for investment in the region. Some of them look like a sound bet, where as others… Well. Look up the Saudi Ghazal SUV for an example – to my eyes it looks like a crash between a chest freezer and a drain cover – yet one of its creators is confidently predicting sales in excess of 20,000 per year. Elsewhere, more than a few machine makers will be regretting the advice to build the biggest and the best stands at this year’s Bauma exhibition. The general guidance given by the show’s organisers was that when the market does eventually come back, visitors will remember those who had built the most impressive stands. Of course, those promoters were not to know about the volcanic ash cloud which prevented the majority of international visitors from attending – but this will be small comfort to one firm who spent a whopping reported 18 million euro on its stall. By the way, I realise the irony of writing a puff-piece full of conjecture and speculation in order to decry the practice. Disraeli also said: “The most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.” Be sure your information comes from the best sources. Greg Whitaker is editor of PMV Middle East.


Getty Images

LETTERS does not need converting. Get something like 30MW from a 2200 diameter collector and 750 high chimney and turbines? Sounds good for a desert state. DAVID MORRIS Solar is a very valuable source of energy, which is available free of charge within the Middle East. The initial cost will be high, but the returns over a few years will pay for it. This is not the first project within Abu Dhabi generating clean power/energy. AYMAN

Are summer working bans strict enough?

RE: Elevator uplift A significant misconception is that ‘elevators are designed and manufactured to serve a minimum of 25-30 years’. The design life of today's microprocessor controls are linked to technology that becomes obsolete in a matter of a few years. The ‘platform’ that a control system is designed to, has a limited production run. The reality is that the platform becomes obsolete within 10-15 years. As the system approaches the 15 year mark, few OEM replacement parts remain available. Additionally, the available resource pool of technicians specifically trained to maintain 15 or 20 year old technology is extremely limited. JAY POPP

Sharjah: where rubber meets the road Travelling around this country you can't fail to miss the mountains of used tyres. I have seen the same thing in many countries. Drive through the desert in Saudi Arabia and you will lose count of the tyres dumped in the desert. Some are used in manufacturing children’s play surfaces, but I believe more benefit would be gained by forcing all of the used tyres to be recycled and used in laying road surfaces. RAMON

Haunted by ghost buildings Please note that prior to a ghost building being resurrected again the building has been exposed to the risk of subsidence, settlement, expansion and column shortening (among others). A full As Built Survey is therefore recommended. MIKE SILVESTER Langmead Associates have developed a corporate governance system to deal with stalled projects so that they are not seen as haunted, rather as hibernating until conditions improve. DOUG LANGMEAD

22 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

Al Habtoor in talks over $700m Iraq contract In this heavily hit time of the financial crisis, it's good to read such an inspiring article. May it really happen with a clearer prospect of salary increase for those who are able to stay on beyond the downsizing. WILLY

Abu Dhabi to get world's largest solar power plant Why does nobody appear to be looking at Solar Chimney installations? As the electricity here is produced by a turbine then it is automatically AC and

Adequate inspection of work sites and continuous monitoring will be facilitated by the ministry of labour, to check the ban’s effectiveness. The violators shall be punished properly. RANGANATHAN

Mixed reviews over property law regulations RERA has not yet managed to do what it is supposed to exist for, market regulation, transparency, consumer protection and investor confidence. Developers’ pressure on RERA can be seen in the released law. This will have a negative impact on the market for sure. BENOIT

Oman Cement Co. gets OMR7.34m bail out It is a really eye opening article to read that the government compensated a company for cement clinker purchase. The question is, what was happening before and what is happening now? RG DEMBLA

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ANALYSIS

Jack-up rigs are a common sight in the Hamriya Free Zone, which has extablished itself as a logistics hub for industry since embarking on a billion dirham expansion plan.

Shore investment With AED 1 billion in completed projects, Hamriyah Free Zone hopes to revitalise Sharjah’s economy. Carlin Gerbich reports ick-starting an economy isn’t something that can be achieved overnight. Even with the best planning, support from the government and dedicated contractors on board, infrastructure changes take years to complete. Attracting the necessary long-term investors, business partners and new ventures takes a considerable amount of time. So, the fact that the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority in Sharjah has been able to complete five major projects within the past two years, on time and within budget, is nothing short of sensational. The feat is even more impressive when you consider the free zone’s authority has managed to do that during two of the toughest financial years on record. At the same time the HFZA continued to aggressively market itself to suitable clients all around the region.

K

24 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010

“Sharjah has always had a reputation as a logistics centre for the oil and gas industry – a hub for the industry. While that’s important, it’s also important to look at other areas too,” said HFZA Director General Rashid Al Leem. “Thanks to the government’s leadership, we’ve been able to expand that with the work we’ve carried out. We’re one of the fastest growing Free Zones in the UAE, and we’ve shown that we are able to sustain that through some very tough times,” he added. Situated 20kms north-east of Sharjah city centre, the Hamriyah Free Zone was established by Emiri decree in November 1995 and centres around the Hamriyah Port (not to be confused with Dubai’s Al Hamriyah port) and its deep water harbour and shallower inner harbour. The 14.5m deep-water harbour was developed in 2002-2005 by Halcrow to replace the original pontoon dock and now

has a berth for LPG tankers and another for grain and general cargo ships. The grain berth also has a rail-mounted vacuvator, while specialist equipment can be brought in to cater for other cargo. There is one 3500hp tug-boat stationed at the port, and others are called in from Sharjah’s Port Khalid as required. At a cost of AED 355 million, the inner harbour project was one of the biggest ever undertaken by the HFZA. It required the dredging of the existing main channel to a depth of nine metres and the excavation of more than five million cubic metres of sand, rock and soil, to create two basins, one five metres deep, and the other seven metres deep. Halcrow was again appointed to complete the concept and preliminary designs, do budget preparation work for the project, and it then moved on to detailed design, tender documents and finally contract supervision.


ANALYSIS For upto the minute analysis log in to constructionweekonline.com

Infrastructure spending How the billion dirham budget was allocated to specific projects within the free zone

Hamriyah Port project: 355m Warehousing and other infrastructure: 80m Hamriyah interchange: 120 Accommodation Phase 2: 117m Accomodation Phase 1: 80m Road Works Phase 2: 96m Road Works Phase 1: 152m

“It was a very good project to be involved with,” said senior engineer Steve Hodgkins. “It involved some fairly innovative ways of getting rid of the material. I think we raised the whole area out there by about a metre.” It was also a major undertaking for Six Construct. The company started on the project in November 2007 and had to bring in specialist dredging equipment to deepen the existing inner harbour. Excavators worked for months to carve out the new bays, while crane barges were used to position the 10,012 quay blocks. “It was a big job. Not so much the dredging, but creating the two basins was a big job,” said Six Construct’s general manager Philippe Dessoy. The entire project took just 20 months to complete. At the height of the project and with up to 700 people working on site, Dessoy said Six Construct was able to position 99 quay blocks per day to create the 3.8kms of quay walling around the new bays. Raising the ground level by a metre meant reclaimed land could be set aside for development and new access roads to service the new bays and a dry dock area could be built. With new land to exploit and a comprehensive plan created to develop the 22km2 site, Hamriyah committed

AED 248 million to create 49 km of internal road networks, adding to the 30 km-plus of sealed roads already within the Free Zone. The work was completed over two phases by two companies: Sharjah General Contracting (Phase 1, AED 96m) and RAD International Road Constructions (Phase 2, AED 152m); and was overseen by Halcrow. The HFZA also committed to two housing projects for workers. With 40,000 people employed in the Free Zone and about 10,000 living there, the additional housing projects were designed to cope with the projected population growth of around 40% over the coming years. “Two years ago we were having difficulties accommodating so many people in the industrial area, so the HFZA looked at better and more humane living conditions,” said senior project engineer Paquito Idos. “The roading project provided great relief for the area too. Before they were built, it was all desert roads that were heavily used and rough. Having the new roads means costs for clients are lower, maintenance costs are lower, and the area is a lot better.” The housing project was split into two phases, both designed by Ibtikari and built by Unger Steel Middle East. Phase One included 12 buildings with enough space

Investor numbers The number off investors on the HFZA’s books has rocketed since it was first established in 1995.

5000

4800

4000

3000

2000

1800

1000

285 19 0

1998

2002

2006

Present

JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 25


ANALYSIS

Hamriyah’s trade and investment advantages

The marine facilities are an essential part of the free zone, offering access to industrial services for the oil industry.

for 4,000 people, and Phase 2 included 16 buildings with accommodation for up to 5,000 workers. There is also a recreation centre and heath club within the HFZA. Again, the work on the projects was completed on time, and on budget – two points the HFZA and its leader, Al Leem is keen to press home. “Our vision and mission has always been to be pioneers in inexpensive sustainable Free Zone development. When we were established in 1995, we had 19 investors. Now, we have over 4800. If that doesn’t say anything about our sound financial position and sustainable business practice, then I don’t know what does,” he said. “The financial crisis was a man made problem, and it can be undone by men who think with a positive process. We’re very proud of what we have, and we’re proud of what we have achieved,” Al Leem said. Director of Finance and Strategic Planning, TV Ramesh agreed. “The speed of the engine is the speed of the train – and we can only go as fast as our management team allows. With five major projects completed, the last two years have been a big leap forward for the HFZA and it’s all down to the vision of the management. 26 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010

“The financial crisis was a man made problem, and it can be undone by men who think with a positive process.”

Most activities are permitted in the Hamriyah Free Zone as long as they are environmentally friendly and meet local regulations. Firms can lease pre-built warehouses, factories and offices or even lease industrial plots of land on which they can build tailor-made facilities. Staff accommodation is also available within Al Hamriyah. Leases are provided on the basis of a minimum five year term, with a fixed rate for this period. The maximum initial lease term is 25 years, although this can be renewed for a further 25 years. Other benefits include: • Strategic location to access global markets • Access to the UAE and GCC markets • Attractive investment incentives • Abundant and inexpensive energy • Developed infrastructure

“We have 4800 investors from 150 countries, a global presence, solid infrastructure, strong financials and manageable debts: all the ingredients we need to forge ahead with confidence.” And forge ahead they are. Al Leem told Construction Week that two more mega projects would be announced “within the month” and, though he wouldn’t elaborate on the details, said that one would be “a steel project” and the other would be a “maritime project”. “All of the preliminary work: the feasibility, environmental, health and safety, and financial viability studies had been done, so we’re almost ready to announce the projects and call for tenders,” he said. Al Leem wouldn’t comment any further, except to say that he expected the work to

• Land for lease for investor development • Purpose built office accommodation, warehousing and factory units • Three seaports and international airport • Favourable low cost living conditions • No corporate profits tax • No personal income tax • Low labour costs • 100% Foreign company ownership is allowed • 100% Import and Export tax exemption • 100% Exemption from all commercial levies • 100% Repatriation of capital and profits allowed • 25 year leases available, renew able for a further 25 years


ANALYSIS

Paquito Idos, a senior project engineer for HFZA.

be well underway by the end of the year, but the Hamriyah Free Zone already has various areas that have been developed as cities and zones that focus on various commodities and activities – among them is a Steel City and Maritime City. There is also a Timber Land, Perfume World, Construction World, Petrochemical Zone and Oil and Gas Zone.

Al Leem said the HFZA’s ongoing projects included 48 warehouses and the main road interchange, which includes a flyover and slip roads. The warehouse project is almost complete: most of the warehouses are already occupied, and the rest will be, as soon as the final utility connections are made. Al Leem said the AED 120 million interchange at the entrance to the Free Zone should be completed next month and would dramatically improve access to the area. At present, northbound traffic (including trucks) is forced to U-turn about half a kilometre north of the gates, which isn’t ideal – but the interchange opening in July will eliminate the problem. “We’ve done our very best to make the Hamriyah Free Zone a great place for international companies to do business. We’ve achieved a lot in a short space of time, and there is more to come,” he concluded.

What’s a Free Zone? Free Zones are trading areas that enable foreign investors and businesses to operate in a country and maintain their international independence and working practices. Free Zones are designed to attract foreign investment without impeding on the business operation, and without the need for local investment or business partners. That means 100% of the company’s profits remain with the firm – along with other benefits, like tax-free trading. The final aim is an economic trickle-down effect, where countries that encourage businesses to establish themselves within their borders benefit through economic growth.

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JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 27


FACE TO FACE

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. As a global provider of structural engineering services, WSP are soon to be a key player in the ME construction market. The company’s brand new managing director for the region, Tom Bower, talks exclusively to CW about his plans. By Elizabeth Broomhall

I

WSP HAS HAD AN OFFICE IN THE GCC region, the company’s executives have worked hard to establish themselves in an unknown and competitive market. Faced with a two year long recession just eight years into its new project, the firm might be seen as somewhat unfortunate. But far from being finished with the Middle East location, WSP are just getting started. Indeed, as the rest of the industry brushes off the final stresses of the economic downturn, WSP are optimistically preparing for a strong grasp of the GCC market in the next few years. And with a view to becoming a major player in the region's construction industry, the firm has appointed a brand new managing director, whose ambitious plans for the future are based on a pervasive upturn. Incidentally, Tom Bower is not one of those fierce, all-knowing types. His experience and optimism, coupled with an eye for opportunity, is what makes him interesting. Speaking about his new role in line with WSP's plans for the region, he says: “The group overall is very positive about future business here in the Middle East, whether it be in the UAE or in other locations. We are very much committed to the UAE location and the wider Middle East region." N THE TEN YEARS THAT

28 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010

Currently, the majority of WSP projects are based in Abu Dhabi. Among them is the Masdar project, where WSP's ability to advise on sustainanability has been a key driving force behind the project's success. "We’ve been working on the Masdar project in Abu Dhabi to advise the teams on sustainability there," Bower explains. "We are also involved in completing the design, where both our UK business and Middle East business have been working jointly. We have a number of projects on Saadiyat Island as well." But perhaps WSP's biggest project at the moment, and certainly one of their biggest challenges, is the high profile Abu Dhabi Presidential Palace development. Bower exemplifies its importance by comparing it to the Houses of Parliament in the UK: “The Presidential Palace is a very high profile project, and probably one of the most premier buildings in Abu Dhabi. The finish is to an incredibly high spec, as you can imagine, as its going to be where the Sheikh Khalifa does his meetings and greetings for the whole of the UAE - it’s like the houses of the parliament for the UAE, it’s that level of building.” Dubai projects, on the other hand, are thinner on the ground. With fewer and fewer high rise towers, which just so happens to be WSP’s specialty, there is little for the company to do in the city, except wait.


FACE TO FACE

JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 29


FACE TO FACE

The Al Bustan Complex in Abu Dhabi, where the company provided structural engineering design and supervision services for five towers.

“We have few projects in Dubai at the moment. We are finishing off several projects that have been going on for some time, but there aren’t many.” WSP is one of several firms to refer to a drought in the city’s developments. Does this mean the Dubai story is over? “I think Dubai is quiet at the moment, but I don’t think the Dubai story is over,” Bower argues. “If Dubai continues to be a future place for people to live in the Middle East region, then it’s going to thrive. It is our belief that it will at some point over the next few years pick back up again.” On the basis of WSP’s pipelined projects, it would certainly seem that way, the company's portfolio of bids including projects in Sharjah, Fujairah, and of course, Abu Dhabi. “There continues to be a huge amount of opportunities in the UAE, and for that reason we are bidding for a lot of projects here. Certainly we see the Abu Dhabi market as positive, and in Sharjah we’re bidding for a number of infrastructure projects.” 30 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010

220m2 350

The total area of the premier Abu Dhabi Presidential Palace project

The total number of technical people working for WSP Middle East today, 100 of which manage infrastructure

22 billion 2010 value of the Masdar city project in $US

the year WSP won the Engineering Consultant of the Year 2010 at the 16th annual Building Awards in the UK

As it happens, infrastructure projects are a relatively new area of interest for WSP. “Traditionally WSP has not been as strong as some of our competitors on the infrastructure side, but it’s a strategy that we’ve had for a couple of years now, and we’ve actually gone from strength to strength, from having no one in infrastructure at all two or three years ago, to now having 100 people and winning some very good contracts.” Growth, it seems, is one WSP’s strong points, though it remains to be determined how this regional branch of the company has managed to grow so successfully after being faced with one of the worst global downturns of the decade during its infancy. Late payments, at least, must have affected the company. “We get paid by a number of different sources, but of course, we are part of that payment chain and we are currently in a similar position to everybody else in the industry. It has affected our liquidity locally, but WSP’s group strategy has been to di-


FACE TO FACE

"We tend to be invited to bid for any stadium projects, as we have been involved in every big stadium there is." versify its business geographically, so that’s allowed the group to actually remain very strong through this period of turmoil, and has assisted our Middle East business, which is important because we continue to see the Middle East as a location of opportunities.” But with cash-strapped Nakheel among the company’s clients, questions about whether the firm has been paid and whether it is among those who have accepted the developer’s proposed payment terms, are inevitable. “I can’t really comment on that particular issue, except to say that we are one of a number of suppliers in the same boat,” he says, confirming that the company hopes to be in a similar situation to Halcrow and Arabtec soon, both of whom have made agreements with Nakheel recently. Another means of coping during the recession and competing with local firms has involved bringing in expertise from WSP’s satellite offices around the globe. “There is a lot of competition for every opportunity that we get involved with, and we have to try and convince clients that WSP should be chosen by referring to our global coverage and specialist expertise.” Specifically, he refers

to skills in high rise building, sustainability, fire-safety and stadium building. Interestingly, one of the biggest stadiums in the world, the 65-000 capacity Khalifa Bin Zayed National Stadium, is being planned for Dubai, though currently it remains in the early stages of tendering. Rumor has it that two firms are bidding for the structural engineering works. Bower is unable to confirm whether WSP are among them, but says: “Our American business is one of the premier stadium engineers in the world, so we tend to be invited to bid for any stadiums that are due to be constructed and have been involved in every big stadium there is." Separately, WSP's skills in fire safety preparation are also significant, especially given the high risks of fire in the GCC during the summer months. “The team specialise in fire safety systems in terms of putting out a fire, detecting a fire and also designing a building. The latter takes into account the capacity of the floor of a building, and involves working out how people would leave a building and how quickly they could leave, when doing the building design. There is quite a lot of legislation on this issue over here, and a number of specifications that we have to comply with.” Perhaps WSP’s ability to mediate the risks of fire in the region could open up a new specialist market for the firm? “At this stage WSP is still trying to understanding the opportunities in each country and we haven’t finished that yet. But it is a core part of our Middle East strategy to diversify our business.” Watch this space…

WSP provided a range of engineering services, including MEP and infrastructure services, to the Kempinksi hotel in Oman.

THE LOWDOWN: WSP Middle East in a nutshell... Since its establishment in 2000, WSP Middle East has accumulated offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Qatar and Syria, and is slowly emerging as a prominent structural engineering consultant in the GCC construction market. The region currently has a team of 350 experts, allowing the branch to be involved in a number of major projects in the area, including infrastructure and property developments. As a global firm, WSP has the added advantage of being able to call upon its satellite offices around the world as and when certain capabilities are required. Its current capabilities span across several disciplines, from structural and building services, civils and environmental, on top of its more specialist skills in high rise, intelligent building design and fire engineering. Existing clients include The Ruler of Sharjah, The Ruler of Ajman, The Engineers Office Dubai, I&M Galadari, Majid Al Futtaim Group, Emaar Properties, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), Mubadala and TDIC. WSP’s portfolio of projects in the GCC, which includes engineering, transportation and environmental services at the Dubai World Trade Centre development, and MEP and Technology services at Mirdif Shopping Mall, is expected to expand rapidly over the next few years. Sustainability is currently an important economic and business driver in WSP, leading the company to provide full sustainability advisory services on most of its projects. As a member of FIDIC and Transparency International, WSP Middle East prides itself on adhering to the highest code of professional ethics. One of the company's most recent initiatives in the Middle East is 'The Taskforce' initiative, where the company has commissioned several of its youngest professionals to carry out research on industry issues. WSP hopes this will prove valuable to the company and to the individual researchers in the future. JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 31


ON SITE

Beach build up Aldar’s Al Muneera, part of Al Raha Beach, is a bustling project site, as it heads toward handover next year By Gerhard Hope; photos Efraim Evidor

A

L MUNEERA IS A BUSY SITE. People and equipment are everywhere, and it is all on the move, these people have a deadline to meet. Heading toward a handover in the first half of next year, the project has been dubbed the ‘great Arabian water city of the twenty-first century’. Al Futtaim Carillion is the main contractor for Al Muneera, which is part of Khor Al Raha, one of 11 precincts within the larger Al Raha Beach development. The mixed-use development is expected to accommodate up to 120 000 residents and is right next to 5.2 million m2 of natural beach, just off the main highway leading into Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi arm of Drake & Scull (DSI) is contracted for the MEP works and the company’s area general manager, Ahmad Al Naser, is acutely aware of the project’s importance. “It is a high-profile Aldar development that will constitute a new gateway to the Emirate and form a new regional hub,” he said. The project is made up of two distinct areas, island and mainland, divided by a canal. The two sections have an

32 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010

approximate 50/50 split with respect to built area/cost, though the island is marginally larger in size. The site area is 146 000 m2, with a total built-up area of 594 000 m2. This is divided into 254 500 m2 of residential space, plus a 106 000 m2 of basement car parking – the island's podium level will be entirely pedestrian. The bulk of the residential space is comprised of 1286 apartments spread over 16 residential towers. Right down on the beach are 11 sea-facing villas, each with five bedrooms. The development also includes 148 canal-facing, four-bedroom townhouses, and an office tower. DSI Abu Dhabi’s contract is valued at AED420 million, and includes the full scope of MEP services, including firefighting and access control. LABOUR FORCE DSI’s construction programme is 21 months long, and kicked off in August 2009. There will be 3 500 workers on-site at the project’s peak. Given the sheer scale of the project, this poses immense challenges in terms of logistics. “Meal breaks have to be coordinated and appropriate facilities made


ON SITE

BIG SITE Thousands of men are working over 16 residential towers, plus office space, villas and townhouses.

JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 33


ON SITE

AL MUNEERA TEAM Client: Aldar Properties Architect: Kann Finch Project manager: Turner International Lead consultant: Waterman Emirates Main contractor: Al Futtaim Carillion MEP contractor: Drake & Scull International

34 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010


ON SITE

JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 35


ON SITE

MULTIPLE MEASURES With more than one building to worry about, careful planning has been essential to keep the project moving smoothly.

available le so that productivity is not unduly hampered. With a project of this size, the devil is definitely in the details,” said Martin Lewis, a senior project manager with DSI’s Abu Dhabi operation. Lewis explained that DSI Abu Dhabi finetuned a single residential tower to use as a working template for the large number of buildings required. This sped up the work schedule, as well as improving the overall build quality. The office tower, in particular, posed a specific challenge as it has a circular shape, which the MEP design and installation had to take into account.

84,000 70 7,000 19 3 million indoor light fittings of...

...different types 120 KM CHILLED WATER PIPES In terms of the cooling component of the project, the total cooling load is 3650 TR and 3350 TR for the island and mainland respectively. Lewis says the total project has 120 km of chilled water piping. There are 12 chilled water pumps, 76 air-handling units (AHUs) and 5547 fan-coil units of varying sizes. The project also required 352 sets of hydraulic pumps for domestic water transfer, for example. Such large quantities of equipment required careful co-ordination and planning. A lot of the equipment has been 36 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010

light fittings of...

...different types for landscape/façade

safe man hours already completed on project

impor imported – the AHUs were sourced from Italy, for example – so varying lead times also had to be factored in. Limited storage space on-site meant material-supply scheduling had to be monitored closely, in order to allow the MEP contractor to adhere to the extremely tight schedule. “The bulk of our effort lies in the careful planning and scheduling. The actual work itself is relatively straightforward,” said Lewis. The contract type employed at Al Muneera is NEC3, which means close cooperation with Al Futtaim Carillion. “While controlling such a large labour force obviously entails its own unique challenges, another aspect is the availability of skilled labour as and when needed, especially as the project progresses. This means that we, as the main MEP contractor, have to be flexible enough to be able to cater to the specific needs of our entire scope of works,” said Lewis. INFRASTRUCTURE ON TRACK Aldar Properties has achieved significant progress in terms of key infrastructure at its the development. Interchanges 4, 4A and 5 on the main Abu Dhabi-Dubai Highway will soon open to traffic in-


ON SITE

b bound d to All Raha h Beach h and d All Raha h Gardens. The interchanges, which were completed structurally ahead of the Grand Prix last November, are now being readied for final delivery. Pending final testing, the interchanges will be opened up to traffic in phases to allow access to areas of Al Raha Beach as they are completed. Utilities installation is progressing well in the Eastern Precinct of Al Raha Beach,

h h covers the h area ffrom the Yas Island which tunnel to the iconic HQ building. The utilities have been planned to allow the current developments to be connected to the Abu Dhabi main networks, before their committed occupation dates. The utilities at Al Raha Beach include automated vacuum waste collection systems and a district cooling network. “We are delighted at the significant

construction progress at Al Raha Beach, which will benefit both future residents and those already living and working in the area,” said planning and infrastructure director Talal Al Dhiyebi. “Aldar is committed to providing world-class infrastructure for all of its developments from the outset, playing a central role in the development of the Emirate in line with Plan Abu Dhabi 2030.”

NEC contracts

Philip Adams of Systech weighs up the pros and cons of the NEC contract

Promotes certainty of final cost and completion date by establishing the time and cost implications of changes (Compensation Events).

Requires both parties to bear risk for Compensation Events, which is invariably resisted in practice in preference to a ‘wait and see’ approach.

PRO’s A proactive daily management tool rather than a traditional form of contract. Plain, simple language and less legal jargon.

Very limited scope to revisit the assessment of a Compensation Event once implemented and consequently, little opportunity to produce global claims.

The parties are required to collaborate in identifying problems early and develop workable solutions, using a Risk Register and Early Warning Notices.

Includes a time bar for any compensation events that are not notified by the contractor, onerous valuation rules, should the contractor fail to issue an Early Warning notice.

CON’s Contract administration can be overly complex if there are multiple and overlapping Compensation Events.

Unification of programme as both management tool and basis of entitlement can prove problematic. JUNEJUNE 26–JULY 5–11, 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 37


SUSTAINABLE LEADERS

The green revolutionaries The issue of sustainability has grown in prominence in the Middle East. As the word spreads and debates continue, Ben Roberts asks who is leading the way

S

USTAINABILITY HAS BEEN the most active topic of discussion during a global economic crisis, after the crisis itself. The map of the Gulf region is dotted with companies, councils, projects and conferences that are looking at the issue of building in an environmentally beneficial way, using materials and processes that account for their carbon output, seek to shift to reusable energy resources where possible and – ultimately – create a longer lasting hotel, villa or power plant. The region has varied opinions on the subject, based on the maturity of the concept in the particular market and what initiatives have put theory into practice. While some emirates in the UAE are thinking about region-specific assessments and the evolution of relevant regulation, some of its neighbours may still be getting familiar with the benefits, requirements and the costs. In between, new developments that claim to put sustainability at the core, such as Dubai Pearl and Qatar’s Dohaland, are becoming more plentiful. After the last few years, in which big projects were vulnerable to stalling, these are admirable ambitions. Masdar, the prospective first zero-carbon city, has for many years topped all plans for environmental dynamism, even if the market is yet to see the result. Sustainability has been shown to be somewhat intuitive as a concept for the construction market, even if the take-up is uneven. A 38 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

spot poll on the website of the Qatar Green Buildings Council, 89.4% of respondents said they ‘Strongly Agree’ with the statement: “Green building is important to sustain our culture and our environment.” Some think the current clamour for discussions about sustainable construction is just an extension of good practice. Peter Cummings, technical director at consultant WSP, says the push towards sustainability is familiar to the standard practices in MEP regarding energy efficiency. Edward Mayer, of FX Fowle, speaking as a panel member at Construction Week’s recent Building Sustainability conference in Riyadh, said that sustainable processes, recycling and cutting waste are not just about cutting cost or proving credentials, “it is also just about building a better building”. Uninitiated developers and contractors looking to gain recognition for efforts to be sustainable are faced with a maze of rating systems, acronyms and criteria, which some say has created a barrier to entry. The most prominent benchmark is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a third-party accreditation system devised by the US Green Building Council. Based on a points system, LEED totals up the individual elements of a building that allow energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality. This system has evolved, and last year, LEED v3 was launched, comprising of LEED 2009, a new LEED Online

A plethora of different systems may have fragmented the collective message... and a new building certification model. But its relevance to the climate of the Gulf is still debated: insiders tell CW that the World Green Buildings Council has – as yet – failed to deliver a region-specific version of LEED. Then there is the UK-based BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), the most widely used measure of environmental credentials aimed at property


ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images

SUSTAINABLE LEADERS

benefits of sustainable building. The achievements of individuals, companies and projects need to be highlighted as milestones in the development of a sustainable approach to construction. If the idea that sustainability will take hold in the region is too far-fetched for some, look back a few years to what is now seen as the world’s leading region for sustainable building, Europe. As one attendee at the Building Sustainability conference told CW: “‘Green’ was resisted violently by industry in Europe for many years, until people did their homework and found there were green processes that were cheaper than the old-established ones, and that there was money to be made from waste, rather than paying for someone to truck it away. Now, most businesses are accustomed to looking at all aspects of everything they do, because they have understood that it improves the bottom line.”

Latest initiatives Company: Kludi RAK, a joint venture between RAK Ceramics and high-profile German manufacturer KLUDI, recently developed a new water-saving system that enables customers to save up to 50% on water consumption.

A maze of systems, regulations and accreditation greets contractors who want to prove their sustainable credentials.

developers, designers and building managers. Though it aims to meet the demands of the Middle East market with the launch of BREEAM Gulf, critics argue that the welter of additional sub-schemes such as BREEAM In Use and BREEAM Communities sees the system dilute its strength. Abu Dhabi’s Estidama system, with its Pearl rating, based on seven environmental criteria at its centre, is the most recent addition. The system is at the core of the emirate’s 2030 plan, and the Urban Planning Council has worked with the team developing Estidama to create constant monitoring of sustainability through four pre-defined categories: environmental, economic, social and cultural. James Reed, UPC’s development manager for the Capital District, told

CW earlier this year that it planned to ‘create a sustainable city that is also culturally sustainable’, while pushing for a mandatory adoption of the measure. A plethora of different systems may have fragmented the collective message and obscured what environmental recognition might mean in reality. Some questions remain as relevant as ever: should the business case for sustainability be made and emphasised? Should an existing system be adapted, or a new one created altogether? Within the regional debate, certain individuals and companies have stood out for their commitment to sustainability; leaders who have seen the potential of a different approach, as well as the latest technology, to address both the ecological and financial

Regulator: On 1st June Abu Dhabi’s Regulation and Supervision Bureau (RSB) launched two new regulations: the Trade Effluent Control Regulations 2010, which will govern all non-domestic discharges into the emirate’s sewerage system; and the Recycled Water and Biosolids Regulations 2010, set to create standards for wastewater treatment. Building: Bur Khalifa, Dubai. “Energy efficient measures are not an option, but an imperative for sustainable growth,” Ahmad Al Matrooshi, managing director Emaar. “By leveraging solar power Burj Khalifa is setting an example as well as creating a referral mark on how urban developments can effectively integrate energyfriendly initiatives.”

JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 39


SUSTAINABLE LEADERS

THE ACADEMIC Dr Bassam Abu-Hijleh, British University in Dubai (BUiD) UiD)

Power of knowledge Dr Bassam says students are enthused by the chance to apply knowledge and technology to create better buildings

D

R BASSAM ABU-HIJLEH is involved with one of the most innovative educative programmes in the Middle East when it comes to the research and application of sustainable building methods and techniques. Most of the students at the British University in Dubai (BUiD) studying the Sustainable Design of the Built Environment MSc are working professionals, he says, who have shown a great enthusiasm for learning and applying the knowledge. “The programme started in 2005, in some ways even before people were talking about what needs to be done to be more sustainable, what effect there is on the environment and what can be done to reduce that effect,” he explains. “The initial interest came from companies such as Atkins that originate from countries for which sustainability is a more established idea – companies that know that the market here will change sooner or later and are looking to have staff with the right knowledge and experience in this area.” In one part of the course, students are asked to look at different buildings and critique the aspects that could be improved. This, he says is called the ‘passive’ stage. The ‘active’ side then looks at how different methods – aided by new technology – incorporated into a building to make it more sustainable. Our students are working professionals. The programme started in 2005, in some ways even before people were talking about what needs to be done to be more

40 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010

2004 6 24

Year that the British University in Dubai was formed.

Number of UK university parters, one per faculty

Months duration of the course when taken part-time (12 months full time)

sustainable, what effect there is on the environment and what can be done to reduce that effect. “The students we have are very excited about this – they are able to see that things are not so good and want to do something to improve designs and use technology to reduce this environmental impact. All these things are fostered at the university.” Part of the challenge for those advocating sustainability is in exploding certain myths. Though it is commonly known skyscrapers in the emirates almost entirely fronted by glass – “they become like greenhouses” – they are also more expensive, not cheaper, than newer, more efficient alternatives. As an illustration of this, he points out that DEWA reports that 60% of expenditure is needed for air conditioning alone. “This is because these designs have come from those from other

countries which need to let in the sun, and the design is adopted here. But a city can still rival the other financial centres of the world, be an international hub and have its own flavour.” Some green materials, too, are cheaper than regular products – reversing another myth in the industry. “The problem is two-fold: there is not awareness in these materials, or occasionally no confidence in them. People are creatures of habit and will say ‘I’m happy with this material’, or a consultant will discourage their client from looking into newer materials.” Despite a timely and potentially marketchanging curriculum at BUiD, he says the programme has not been immune to the economic crisis – even if it might eventually help the industry to push their environmental agendas further. “Some students had to suspend their course if they had lost their job or moved. But a second effect of the downturn is that we saw a rise in the interest in the programme from the industry, as companies see as an advantage against its competitors and so are looking to train their staff with this knowledge. “An increase in sustainable building starts with people and how they design. Even the placement of a building can have an effect – all you need is knowledgeable designers.” Dr Bassam is an experienced researcher and lecturer on sustainability in building. Currently Atkins Chair and a member ASME and AEE, LEED AP, he is head of the Sustainable Design of the Built Environment Programme, something in which he has been involved for four years.


SUSTAINABLE LEADERS

THE ARCHITECT Sultan Faden, Saudi Green Building Council

The move towards mandatory The founder of Saudi’s Green Buildings Council is in favour of set criteria for building assessment and the use of ‘green’ materials

J

EDDAH-BASED

SULTAN FADEN has a significant task ahead of him. As an architect and founder of the Saudi Green Buildings Council he has perhaps been the leading voice pledging sustainability in his home country, the biggest in the region and perhaps the newest to the concept. One month ago he joined the Gulf state Green Building Committee, and their joint vision is for a comprehensive, up-to-date set of guidelines for the country’s construction industry. With the government behind many of the major projects across Saudi Arabia, he is looking to target the government and ensure that, compared with the voluntary ‘checklist’ of existing sustainability criteria, this new set becomes hard and fast legislation. “During the past period we’ve seen a lot higher interest,” he says. “But it’s important that these new guidelines are not in fact a checklist, where you can fulfill some points of the criteria and neglect others. DEWA in Dubai has made good progress, where all its points are mandatory, and we believe that government legislation in this country should be the same. “Saudi Arabia does not have sustainability high enough up in terms of legislation. In Saudi most projects are government or government related, which is very different to Dubai. When it comes to government-related projects the guidelines for sustainability are slightly different.” Beside the much-needed move from optional to mandatory criteria, Faden is

also looking to improve on the plurality of rating systems. Though he stresses that he and the council is in support of ratings systems per se, the abundance of systems has become a “fiasco”. “Today we have a number of different systems from different backgrounds,” he says. “With the amount of current ratings systems for the last 2-3 years it has been confusing, it is not healthy. That’s why we’re taking it slow. Most of these systems are similar.” Faden, who has a diploma in architecture and design from the Architecture Association in London, is adamant that there is great potential in the country, and cites the dilemma of the Ministry of Water & Electricity as an example of a changing mindset. “The Ministry encountered a projected shortage of water based on demand, and its solution was to look to sustainable buildings [to make the required savings].” Even if there is an adoption of standards from the government, Faden knows it is still important to keep the lines of communication with the private sector open. “The issue of spreading the message is perhaps more important with privately-developed projects,” he says. “In Saudi Arabia, there are 20 LEED-registered projects, most of them government related, such as the King Abdullah Financial District. But the number of LEED-certified private projects is perhaps two.” Faden has also a great interest in the potential of ‘green’ building materials, in particular concrete, the most plentiful

building substance in Saudi Arabia and one of the least recyclable. But it’s not without its environmental potential, including the now well-known innovation of adding volcanic ash to concrete. Faden says studies in this area have gathered at a pace. The presence of ash reduces the amount of cement in the mix, he explains, and though there is legislation for this in the country, it is not broadly followed. “It is an idea which has been around for a few years although it is yet to take off in the market. In fact, of 320 ready mix concrete plants, only two have the current capability to do this, and out of 17 cement factories, only four use this.” He says the Saudi Green Buildings Council is encouraging these companies to use the more sustainable materials, and even if some were to be imported. “We’re in the process of increasing the awareness of such materials. It’s a new concept, but we are optimistic,” says, adding that he was very impressed by the efficiency of a construction material recycling plant on a visit to Kuwait. “If we’re successful in legislation for the government sector then there will be legislation and support for green building materials so the industry itself will shift. Half of building materials in this region come from Saudi Arabia, and we can expect a push towards green materials.” Sultan Faden has eight years experience in three different consulting firms. In 2007 he first started the formation of the Saudi Green Building Council. JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 41


SUSTAINABLE LEADERS

THE BUSINESS MAN Khaled Awad, Grenea

Making the business case Though many intuitively agree with energy and water efficiency, the monetary value still needs to be spelled out

K

AWAD BELIEVES despite LEED certification and wider sustainability measures in construction still need a business case to make a mark in the Arabian market. The founder of Grenea and one of the minds behind the zero-carbon Masdar city, says the incentives for switching to energy efficiency – from the designs to tools and materials – are not visible to many Arab states and it is only an influence on the bottom line that will create a culture that aims to be sustainable from the outset. “I’m not talking about sustainability in a tree-hugging sense but in reality,” he told a packed audience at the ConstructionWEEK: Building Sustainability conference in Riyadh, KSA. “This runs from water recycling, low or zero carbon and producing a higher quality of life for people – and the development must show it’s a higher quality of life.” The co-creator of the unprecedented green city added that any development can reduce water use by 40% and improve waste disposal by 70% without having made a major investment. Further, he doubted that the LEED certification – a voluntary system for accrediting a building’s energy consumption from the US – was ‘built’ for this region. “LEED and other certifications are fine but they must have a grassroots understanding of what will work here. It won’t work using the standards of the US; otherwise it’s just green-wash.” HALED THAT

42 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010

In an impassioned address that highlighted the opinion of some that climate change was just part of the earth’s cycle, and the increase in city dwellers to an estimated 70% of the world population by 2050, Awad said that even using existing technology could reduce carbon emissions by 1,800 million tonnes a year. The obstacle, he said, is a lack of legislation and a lack of financial benefits for a profit-driven world. “You must show how all stakeholders can benefit and come onto one platform. How can we monetise this – if you can’t make money, how will it happen? “By 2016, all food in Saudi Arabia will be imported, but there is no business case because of lack of water. Water at the moment is free, fuel is heavily subsidised, why would you, for example, use Foamglas [a leading thermal insulation company, presenting at the conference]; why as a consumer would you switch?" “We have some developers today doing some buildings that are energy efficient, but there is no business case.” “If I was developing today, I would not build ‘green’,” he said hypothetically, in the context of a lack of incentive. “Perhaps I would do things to meet certain measures, but I would not be green.” However, Awad said it was a “privilege” to be part of the Masdar project, which he helped orchestrate from its earliest stage for the last three and a half years, up until the last few months. The first phase of the city, which will house around 40,000 residents, excluding visitors, is due in

$100 bn 63

Governments and consumers annual spending on green subsidies

No. of jurisdictions allowing 'feed-intariff' systems to encourage adoption of renewable energy (as of 2009)

40

Estimated percentage saving of water use by green building (Source: Kats. G (2003)) September. Delegates at the conference welcomed Awad’s strident message. “Needing a business case is the right message,” said a member of one consultancy-engineering firm working one of the King Abdullah projects to CW as an aside. “At the moment green materials cost three times the amount of regular materials. There needs to be legislation so that people will spend the money.” Awad, in a panel debate following his address, said legislation that demands sustainable methods is the answer, calling for each local area to have its own legislation. Khaled Awad is founder of Grenea, an investor and participant in eco-developments. He was the founding director of Property Development at the Masdar Initiative in Abu Dhabi.


SUSTAINABLE LEADERS

THE CONSULTANT Peter Cummings, WSP

Passing the test and passing it on The technical director found himself briefing others on LEED soon after taking the exam, and sees regulation soon to change.

P

CUMMINGS HAS THE needed in a changing market. Earlier this year the Mirdiff City Centre, the first shopping mall applying for LEED Gold status in the region and a beacon of sustainability in Dubai, opened – representing a quick turnaround from pupil to teacher for the technical director. “When I started on the project I was new to LEED,” he explains. “I was working on the development of the Mirdiff City Centre from an MEP point of view, and as this is my background much of the effort towards what is now called sustainability is good practice in engineering. “I did the LEED exams, and though the system has changed slightly since, essentially it’s the US system of multiple choices, occasionally trying to catch you out. It covers areas such as energy, water, sites and conservation. Some questions ask you to calculate energy savings and things like that.” After passing the exam, the chance to impart the newly acquired knowledge was immediate. With the LEED system so new to those working on the Mirdiff City Centre mall, WSP ran an educational programme and frequent workshops throughout the project design and execution phases, comprising representatives from every discipline. Completed in March, the AED3 billion mall opened to great fanfare, and saw 350 shops out of 430 welcome customers immediately, the highest ever on a launch day. ETER

KIND OF NIMBLE MIND

WSP’s work on the project fits well with the company’s own ethos of thinking in a sustainable way. Cummings says the company even has its own internal ratings system in order to assess the efficiency of its own processes. “Sustainability is therefore not just something done externally with clients. We all complete web-based training, for example. “WSP Environmental has won a number of awards and our structural engineers are trained too. So it’s very much part of our core values. It’s also a big business opportunity, as this is the direction in which engineering in going.” Despite his new-found knowledge, Cummings says LEED and other systems leave room for local innovation, especially as they are based on foreign climates and cultures. In particular, the innovation credits, which may not be covered in the official list but which the US Green buildings Council will consider to add towards a building’s credits. “For example,” he says, “ there is not much specifically mandated around acoustics except perhaps for schools; but there’s a BREEAM credit for that and you can apply to have that considered as a an addition to your LEED credits. So there is a certain amount of flexibility. In some ways it is not completely regionalized yet and it is still aligned to a degree to the US model. For example, there are still four LEED credits that in the Middle East you can’t even go for. There are of course different systems around the region and perhaps it would be better to have a single system, he says,

and credits the Estidama system in Abu Dhabi. The company has grown into one of the largest international consultancy groups in the world employing around 9,000 staff worldwide. Sustainability as it is now understood may have always been there to a degree, Cummings says, particularly when looking at efficiency. But he adds that the concept is now wider, the take-up in the Middle East is much higher despite variations. “Sustainable is the whole package - not just in terms of energy efficiency but the chemicals used and so on. Green came to represent the whole life cycle of the building and allow it to keep going, and the important thing is to be able to keep up sustainable measures even during tough economic conditions. It’s becoming an increasingly important part of a company’s CSR.” He adds that although UAE may be ahead in the region, some Qatarbased projects in which WSP is involved, including the Heart of Qatar development, are gathering momentum in their efforts to be sustainable. “Certainly a lot of companies would find that once they have followed the LEED guidelines once they will find that it is not so difficult. Then when they have met the standard once they will find a more efficient way of meeting them again.” Peter Cummings is technical director at WSP Middle East, a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, part of the WSP Group. JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 43


SUSTAINABLE LEADERS

THE COUNCILLOR Jeff Willis, Emirates Green Buildings Council

Man with the message With huge experience as context, Jeff Willis has been encouraged by the steps made in the region to promote sustainability

J

EFF WILLIS IS AS EXPERIENCED and well-travelled an advocate of sustainability as they come. The head of the technical committee at the Emirates Green Buildings Council has had a keen interest in the environment for decades. His role allows him to stay where he is most passionate – at the centre of the debate about improving the environmental effect of buildings. The UAE version of the World Green Buildings Council was formally established four years ago this month, with Willis involved a few months before that. “Six people who set it up are known as the founders,” he explains. ”Last July I was elected chairman.” There were many reasons for his involvement. “One reason is to be able to focus on this area from a mechanical engineering aspect. That is why I joined Arup, which even back in the 1970s was advocating a focus on the environment. I like to be involved, and it allows us to take about the Green Building Councils and what to do to promote sustainability.” The EGBC's aim can be defined by the three Cs: communication, communication, communication. Everything the council does is geared towards getting the facts across and broadening the context for the industry. “Certainly we need to inform people better. For example, a lot of people would like a full window of length and height for their office, though maybe they should be able to consider at the same time how much that will cost in energy loss each year. So there needs to be a proper

44 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010

representation to the market as to the costs.” Though he concedes that Europe is the furthest ahead in the world, he is very encouraged by the rate of development among the GCC countries since first encountering the market in September 2005. 2008 was a critical year, when a global report on sustainable building put the UAE in an unflattering light and caused HH Sheikh Mohammed to order all buildings built in 2009 to consider their environmental impact. But if the awareness and healthier building are going to continue, the construction industry will need to see a more clearly defined context of the carrot of incentives with the stick of regulation. Regulation, he says, is needed to establish a lowest level of standards for all new buildings. But people may go beyond good practices, and above a certain baseline, and may be rewarded but, as he says “we must establish that baseline”. Some regulation is good and some not so good, he adds, but everything has to be done to encourage the industry. The Estidama system, spearheaded by Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council may have typified this, and indeed a building may have a Pearl rating just for complying with minimum standards. On the subject of ratings systems, he has followed closely the development of the LEED system, and its efforts to be adaptive. “LEED is undergoing change. There were going to be regional variations within the US, such as that credits in Alaska would be different from those in California.

“In terms of choosing between ratings systems, it depends on what is most important to the developers. If you want a badge then you should go for LEED.” In some ways, with the discussion around sustainability across the Gulf countries and the need for developers and contractors to differentiate themselves both at a high, the EGBC’s work is just beginning as a leader of change. “What we’ve been doing is a series of networking events. If there is an industry figure who has had success implementing a sustainable design into construction, they are invited to speak at such an event to share the success story of the process undertaken, the cost saved, and so on. One contractor had swapped concrete blocks for insulated concrete forms (ICF). ICF has insulation around a cavity and the blocks fit together like Lego and concrete is poured into the cavity. It means that the structure has good insulating properties. This lowered costs and facilitated better air conditioning, and with the reduction of concrete in foundations it was built quicker. “So we’re constantly looking for new ideas from outside; that we can bring to membership and put to the technical committee.” So what is the next thing to aim for? “On my wish-list would be that this region, for all areas and for this climate, to develop a common regulation, a common standard and rating system.” Jeff Willis is head of the technical committee at the Emirates Green Buildings Council.


SUSTAINABLE LEADERS

THE SUPPLIER Basil Abdulaziz, Johnson Controls

Installing change in the market As the message spreads, the right products can mean both short-term pay-backs and longer-terms savings

J

OHNSON CONTROLS IS A GLOBAL technology and industrial leader. Its products include integrated HVAC systems, building management systems and industrial refrigeration, and the company has been prominent in providing efficiency and sustainability. Johnson Controls is also a prominent company at related industry events, including Construction Week’s recent Building Sustainability conference.

As a product provider for HVAC and refrigeration systems, how do you assess the levels of awareness and implementation for sustainable systems in the construction industry in Saudi Arabia – is it still a new idea? No. It is not a new idea. In fact we find the consultants, contractors and end users quite aware of the importance of sustainable systems in reducing energy consumption, operating costs and carbon footprints of projects. The government in Saudi Arabia is taking a leading role in emphasizing the importance of sustainable development and educating the community in general and the HVAC market in particular. How do you compare the Saudi market to that of its peers in the GCC – is a place like Dubai perhaps ahead in terms of the maturity of the sustainability concept? The concept is very much accepted in Saudi Arabia and in several of the larger projects we have seen consultants and property owners decide in favour of sustainability even with slightly higher initial costs. Of

13.6m 7.5 billion 125 38% Number of metric tonnes of CO2 saved by Johnson Controls since 2000

Savings in US dollars by that reduction

Number of years of the company

Annual energy saving at the Empire State Building, NY, thanks to the work of Johnson Controls. course, the solutions we provide have a short term pay backs, and once the cost of the initial investment has been paid all future energy and operational cost savings add to the customer's net profit.

Has the variety of clients buying your systems and inquiring about efficiency installations changed over the last few years? Definitely, we see this in most of the new projects, specially those where the customer needs the building or project to be LEED certified. What are the latest innovations from the company? Johnson Controls brings with it 125 years of experience in helping customers cut their

operating costs, increase energy efficiency and increase their profits. We have the ability to offer customised solutions rather than just products. All over the Middle East we have initiated a system of free energy audits, where our highly trained personnel visit customer facilities, perform free energy audits and suggest improvements and savings. Another advantage that the customer gets in dealing with Johnson Controls is that unlike the competition, we guarantee the savings from our energy efficiency retrofits and performance contracting solutions. What are the biggest obstacles to the promotion and uptake of sustainable thinking? Everyone knows the benefits of energy efficiency and sustainable development, yet some barriers remain towards the adaptation of ‘green design’ and ‘green construction’. This requires behavioural adjustments and a higher level of thinking. I am sure that with time and proper education, the market will come to realise the benefits of sustainability both for the environment and the bottom line. In our efforts to educate society in general towards a more sustainable lifestyle, we have established a free web site, www.mygreenprint.org, where visitors can determine the impact they can make as individuals by making slight changes to the way they live and use various resources. Basil Abdulaziz is managing director of Johnson Controls Saudi. JUNE 26–JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 45


METAL MONITOR

A downhill trend or a progressive step forward? As aluminium takes another sudden price hike, industry experts are apprehensive about its future. Elizabeth Broomhall takes a look at the commodity’s ups and downs

P

AT MORE THAN US $3,000 PER TONNE as a result of rising energy prices and the increased demand on supplies during the construction boom years, the world’s second most-used metal after steel presented a real investment opportunity for the Middle East. Indeed, it was this same year that the primary aluminium producers in the Gulf region announced the formation of the Gulf Aluminium Council (GAC), an organisation established to represent, promote and protect the interests of the emerging aluminium industry, in a geographical area perfectly suited to its high-energy reliant production. Unfortunately, the inflated prices were not to last. Hit hard by the financial crisis, a time when projects were halted and the demand for materials diminished, aluminium prices, along with copper and steel, entered a steep decline. In April 2009, the price for the metal had slumped to US $1420 per tonne, and by October, it was worth little more than US $1,300, an all time low. To the surprise of industry experts, aluminium managed to make a slight comeback in Q1 of this year, prices climbing back up to US $2,380 per tonne in April as oil costs rose above $85 per barrel. Suddenly, analysts were optimistic, anticipating ecoEAKING

46 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

The price of aluminium made a slight comeback in Q1 of this year, due to an early spike in demand.

nomic recovery and an upturn for the metal, with a return to 2008 levels predicted by the end of 2010. But they were shot down during the second quarter as the price fell once more to US $1,930. Speaking about the price changes, Saudi Arabian Mining Company, Ma’aden’s aluminium project manager says: “The long-

term trend in the price of aluminium is a downward trend. You get your spikes due to steady demand from China and Middle East construction, but these are just spot prices. “Since October, the price of aluminium has steadily risen, but has since cooled off again as China has pulled back.”


METAL MONITOR

Evidently, this is due to curbs on lending and property speculation in China, which have eased demand for the metal, creating oversupply within China itself and causing prices to fall below the cost of production in the region. Other reasons for the changes include the decline in the number of Middle East construction projects and a general instability which characterises the price of raw materials. “There are two reasons for the recent decline in the price of aluminium,” explains Naser Al Otaibi of Aluminium Products Company. “One is the very limited demand for the metal. You can’t deny that there is a downturn in construction, which causes a downturn in the demand for aluminium. Second is the fact that there is no stability in the price of raw materials.” He goes on to explain how current prices are in fact now causing a ‘price war’ among suppliers, some aluminium companies charging their clients unacceptably low prices and making it extremely difficult for competing companies. Meanwhile, according to Ma’aden’s aluminium project manager, contractors are less likely to bear the brunt of low prices, since they are exposed to the success or failure of a project, rather than to the cost of raw materials, and

shielded by their ability to transfer costs on to the end user. But of course, in a region where the cost of production is so cheap, deflating prices are still not enough to hold back the industry’s biggest aluminium producers. With expensive smelters replaced by cheaper units, greater efficiency in the production process and a more buoyant construction market looming, investors remain optimistic about the possibility of healthy profit margins. “There is now more efficiency in the systems used to produce aluminium, as well as better access to cheaper energy,” says Ma’aden’s aluminium project manager. “In the last ten years the technology for producing aluminium has improved in terms of scale, so you’ve got much bigger smelter lines with much bigger currents, which reduces the cost and increases the efficiency of production. Cheaper energy makes aluminium production in the Middle East very competitive. “So in truth, while it’s unlikely that you would base your investment decision on a spot price, certainly the current trend in pricing is enough to support continued smelter investment.” This standpoint is supported by the company’s recent decision to enter into a JV agreement with Alcoa. The JV will build

Aluminium price changes 3500 Price (US $ per tonne)

Experts say a general instability characterises the price of raw materials such as aluminium.

the world’s largest fully integrated aluminium complex in KSA, worth US $10 billion. Banking on the repercussions of cheap production, the company is among several GCC investors expecting the Middle East to become one of the world’s key aluminium production hubs, alongside China and India. But according to construction industry analysts, the generation of high profit margins from such developments is far from guaranteed. While there is already a global oversupply of 1.5 million tonnes, a double dip recession threatens to drive prices down further, and the newest industry players could struggle to find a return on investment. According to aluminium experts at March’s Middle East Aluminium Conference, the real future of the aluminium industry in the Middle East hangs on the sustained recovery of the construction and transport sectors, these having a direct impact on demand and pricing.

3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0

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APR 09

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APR 10

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Facts about aluminium • Aluminium is the second most used metal after steel • Aluminium is the third most abundant metal in the earth’s crust • More aluminium is produced than all other non-ferrous metals combined • As a young metal, aluminium has only been produced commercially for 150 years JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 47


METAL MONITOR

Constructing steel prices Recently characterised by high prices, supply disruptions and business volatility, the steel industry knows challenging times. But on the cusp of a construction upturn, there is some hope for its future. Elizabeth Broomhall looks at the link between fluctuating steel prices and construction output

P

EVEN MORE DEPENon the construction market than aluminium, the fluctuating prices of steel have almost mirrored the twists and turns of the Middle East’s building industry during the last two years. Though steel is one of the most common raw materials, and evidently, the most used metal in the world, it is far from impervious to the effects of a global downturn. During the boom years, the price of steel was at its peak. The demand for reinforcing steel bar (rebar) particularly, widely used in civil construction works, caused steel prices to soar from US $820 per tonne in January 2008 to a massive US $1,640 per tonne in June of the same year. ERHAPS DENT

48 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

In April 2008, reports from trade media announced that steel prices had rocketed in the UAE, thanks to the construction industry, the price of rebar outpacing supply in the country and increasing in price by as much as 35%. In fact, traders were so confident in the market at that time, that they anticipated further growth for another two years. Indeed, with the total budgeted value of active civil projects in the Gulf at US $1.5 trillion, Gulf rebar consumption was expected to reach 14 million tonnes by the end of 2010. As it happened, it took just one month for steel costs to come down. Falling from US $ 1,400 per tonne in August to just US $1,000 in September, the price of rebar was the first sign of a slowdown in the real estate

market – signaling an excess in supply combined with less demand. By January 2009, industry leaders were more realistic about prices in the future, correctly forecasting further declines for the rest of the year as the recession took hold. This year, the story has been different again. In March, the steel industry seemed to be picking up after witnessing consecutive price increases every month since December 2009. Prices of scrap particularly, which is one of the metal’s key ingredients, were climbing along with the prices of other raw materials. And even though Middle East prices could not quite keep up with global trends, the steady price surge from US $490 per tonne in December to US $570 per tonne in March suggested a posi-


METAL MONITOR

ten days. But an increase in construction projects, and therefore an increase in the demand for steel, will depend on the amount of liquidity in the market. As long as liquidity continues to be a problem, there will be very few construction projects in this region. “But once people start investing their money in the market again, demand will go up.” Until this time, he suggests that every link in the supply chain, contractors included, is at risk of being affected by high prices.

Changes to steel prices 2000

The price of steel rocketed during the boom years as the demand for rebar exceeded supply.

tive outlook for the future. GCC-based steel suppliers were in fact praised for curbing the flow of Turkish steel into the country and securing regional growth. But according to industry experts, this wasn’t the full story. Part of the reason for the increase was because in April, the world’s largest iron ore miners sought to negotiate pricing contract reform for iron ore, another key ingredient in steel, increasing the cost of the both materials. According to steel producers, the fact that the prices for steel have since come down again, only proves the superficiality of price increases. “Price variations for steel are like a mountain ride,” says Dinesh Nainani, general manager of Shakun Trading Company, a mid-sized supplier of steel products such

as pipes, sheets and tubes. “Prices started moving up in February, March and April, and then in May they started to come down again. One of the main factors affecting the price change was a change to the iron ore pricing structure from yearly to monthly which was laid down, which meant the price of iron ore went up. The demand wasn’t really there. Everybody knew that the increase in prices was artificial. If you talk to people in the industry, they all say that.” He adds however, that, prices have begun to stabilise in recent weeks at a price of US $405 per tonne in the Far East, and that there is a good chance of industry growth again should the construction sector pick up. “Prices are starting to return to an acceptable level, they have stabilized in the last

Price (US $ per tonne)

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Facts about steel • Half of all steel consumed in the Gulf region (estimated at 40 million tonnes per year in 2009) is imported for use in the construction sector. • More than 1,300 million tonnes of steel are produced around the world annually. • Steel is the world’s most used metal. JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 49


PROJECT UPDATE ON SITE CW reviews a collection of its most recent site and plant visits to keep you up to date with project progress

WANT TO UPDATE YOUR PROJECT'S PROGRESS, OR HAVE IT INCLUDED HERE? Email: stuart.matthews@itp.com

DUBAI PEARL Location Dubai Visited June 2010

KING ABDULLAH FINANCIAL DISTRICT Location Riyadh Visited June 2010

7000t Daily production capacity

CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION WASTE RECYCLING PLANT IN AL DHAFRA Location Abu Dhabi Visited May 2010

50 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

With four 73-storey towers planned, the Dubai Pearl project is a massive undertaking that has taken several years and some false starts, to finally get a solid start. Piling was completed in 2009 along with the raft pouring. The towers are just starting to grow, with a 600strong work force moving from building to building, as each one progresses at a similar pace. The project is aiming for LEED Gold certification.

The King Abdullah Financial District is one of the most challenging and intricate projects currently under development in Saudi Arabia. A total of 77 buildings are expected to be built in six zones across the entire site. Saudi Bin Laden Group is building four of the first 10 towers as part of the initial construction packages. The company is targeting Leed ratings for the buildings when complete.

Concrete waste, from construction and demolition projects, now has an alternative place to go, other than straight to landfill. The recently opened recycling facility in Al Dhafra, on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, is crushing waste concrete into aggregate for use in road building. The plant will be able to produce up to 7000 tonnes a day, using crushers, conveyors, screens and magnets to break the raw material down to size.


PROJECTS

SAUDI BINLADIN GROUP FOR INDUSTRIAL PRECAST Location Jeddah Visited May 2010

AL WAHDA STREET Location Sharjah Visited May 2010

36 Townhouses in the first part of the project.

SANDOVAL GARDENS Location Dubai Visited April 2010

MIRDIF CITY CENTRE Location Dubai Visited April 2010

The Saudi Binladin Group for Industrial Precast operates out of Jeddah, a city with a whole street full of offices for the company and on the outskirts there are enormous factories and holding yards. The plant is supplying a number of projects across the country, including the Princess Noura Bint AbdulRahman University for Women in Riyadh and the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology.

Central Sharjah is moving closer to a transformed road system to meet today’s traffic volume, following the latest milestone in Package 5 of the redevelopment of King Abdul Aziz Road. The latest completion of note, officially announced on 30th April, is the opening of the viaduct on the west side of Al Wahda Street. The viaduct crosses King Abdul Aziz Road at a 90 degree angle, itself a major project.

Bavaria Gulf’s flagship Sandoval Gardens project has been an interesting mix of German and Arab expertise, and its townhouses are near to completion. The 36 townhouses are the first part of an AED260 million twin-development of the overall Sandoval Gardens. All townhouses conform to TUeV, a standard of quality that is a common benchmark, which means all construction and finishing is assessed by a third-party.

UAE-based Alec was awarded the main contract to build the US $816 million Mirdif City Centre in September 2007, with construction getting under way almost immediately. Developed by Majid Al Futtaim Properties, more than 16000 jobs were created at the peak of the design and build stage. The team behind the mall are hoping for a Leed Gold rating, to reflect the work they did to make the building sustainable.

JUNE 26–JULY2, 2010 CONSTRUCTION WEEK 51


PROJECTS

24

Million m2 of desert is what DIP started with

DUBAI INVESTMENTS PARK Location Dubai Visited March 2010

MEYDAN Location Dubai Visited March 2010

OCEAN HEIGHTS Location Dubai Visited March 2010

4 Levels of difference in U-Bora towers

U-BORA TOWERS Location Dubai Visited March 2010

52 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

In 1997, way before the construction boom really took off, Dubai Investments’ management took it upon themselves to lay foundations across 24 million m2 of desert and start building a mixed-use city from scratch. In March, the developer announced the launch of the final phase of development, which is set to become a hub for logistics services spread across 500,000m2. Construction was due to start in May.

Dubai was thrown back into the limelight when the US $10 million Dubai World Cup kicked off at the new Meydan Racecourse in Nad El Sheba. The enormous 18.6 million m² project consists of four separate areas including the development’s central feature, the Racecourse with Meydan Hotel. Meydan City Corporation has announced plans to build an equestrian city in China’s Tianjin province.

Construction of Ocean heights tower began in August 2007. The US $175.6 million (AED645 million) main contract was awarded to Arabtec. As it rises, the tower’s floor plates reduce in size, allowing the rotation to become even more pronounced. At the peak of construction, there were 30 contractors and 2000 people on site. On December 23, 2009 – 23 days ahead of schedule – the building was topped off at 310m.

Business Bay's U-Bora towers is being built by Korean firm Bando, the project features a podium with a curved residence building, which has a roofline that sweeps from 12 levels at one end, up to 16 at the other. The build was started back in 2007, initially with Simplex acting as subcontractor. The subcontractor left site in September 2008, leaving Bando both as developer and lead contractor.


Alumil Gulf fzc subsidiary of ALUMIL in the Middle East

Technology Park, RAK FTZ, RAK tel +971 7 2444106, fax +971 7 2444107 email support.uae@alumil.com, sales.uae@alumil.com


APPOINTMENTS TIPS FOR JOB SEEKERS

Go direct Think about approaching companies directly yourself, to ask if they have any vacancies you could apply for – but do your research first. Make sure you choose companies that are likely to have vacancies and find out about the type of work they do and how it matches the skills you have. Keep cool When interviewing, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to lose your composure – some interview questions can be difficult and even at times uncomfortable, so the best thing you can do is to keep your wits about you. Preparing for your interview in advance is a good way to avoid losing control of the situation on the day – but even if you are caught off guard, don’t worry. Most interviewers will be happy for you to take a minute to compose yourself if you lose track of your thoughts. Second interview Getting a second interview is a step closer to the job; however, this does not mean that you can now relax. Be very well-prepared for the interview. Conduct a good research about the company and the job you are applying for. It is expected that the questions will be more directed towards these. Analyze how your first interview went and take note of what you have to improve on. 54 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26-JULY 2, 2010

Shuffle Top LNG exporter Qatar has appointed Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani (right) as the new head of Qatargas, replacing Faisal Al Suwaidi, said officials at Qatar Petroleum. The CEO of Dubaibased property firm Tameer, Ghassan Sakhnini, is post for has resigned from his ndicating that personal reasons, indicating he will leave in two months. Sakhnini is the third chairman hs after to resign in 13 months eer Al Omar Ayesh and Abdullah Al Haj Ali. Sameer Ansari, (left) the non-executive chairman off Dubai sari, who International Capital, has also resigned. Ansari, b also left once led a bid to buy Liverpool Football Club ommittee, Dubai International Capital's investment committee, ers. and the boards of Travelodge and Doncasters. y, Crystal Fountains, a water feature company, has appointed Wissam Barakat as business development manager to implement marketing strategy throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

3 TOP JOBS For more details visit: www.constructionweekonline.com/jobs Please apply directly to the listed consultants. Role: General Manager Agency:

Role: Project Manager Agency: Randstad

Role: Lead Structural Engineer Agency: Randstad

A transport, land development and engineering consultancy has formed a new JV in Abu Dhabi. This has created an opportunity in Abu Dhabi for an adaptable, highly-driven self-starter to establish and deliver profitable business development initiatives. You will possess a proven track record of developing new, profitable and lasting business relationships as well as a broad understanding of transport, parking and infrastructure development. This is a client-facing role, so excellent communication and negotiation abilities are essential. The right candidate will also possess effective presentation, sales, marketing, project and financial management skills.

A developer soon to construct a US$ multi-billion hotel development in Abu Dhabi requires an experienced Construction/ Project Manager to oversee the on-site contractors in all aspects of pre-construction, construction and handover of the project. The successful candidate will have no less than 15 years experience in the management of major construction projects and have successfully delivered the project to the client. They will also have bachelors’ degree in a construction-related field, and a contractor background having then moved through to client side roles where they have worked for a developer/owner or in a clientrepresentative capacity.

An Abu Dhabi-based company in the rail industry requires a Lead Structural Engineer with 10 years minimum experience to join its UAE team of highly skilled staff. The role will involve managing the design and construction of the structural works portion of a major railway project. Responsibilities will include planning, design, cost estimation and construction of all structural works associated with the project. This will include, but not be limited to, bridges, tunnels, earth retaining structures, noise walls, culverts, utility protection, stations, terminal facilities, depots, and all other structural scope items related to railroad works.


SPECIALIST SERVICES

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TO ADVERTISE PLEASE CALL +971 4 210 8351 OR EMAIL JASON.BOWMAN @ ITP.COM

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Egyptian deal

M

y congratulations go to a contractor friend of mine who has won a decent sized job in Egypt. He’s only been in the market there for a little while – less than a year – and has already found it to be a place worth doing business. As he’s Egyptian himself, he may be bias, but he had been trying to make a start in Saudi Arabia without much success. This swift return on invested time in Egypt has really buoyed his desire for international expansion and is definitely richly deserved. From what I hear, the market is a lot more open and there is a lot going on. Egypt can’t get enough of foreign investment and the government has lined up a pile of projects to spend it on. There are 47 major government jobs worth about $25 billion up for grabs, including a 414km road along the Red Sea coast, and a regional ring-road around Cairo. Saudi still offers great opportunity close to home, but Egypt may be an easier place for international companies to get established.

56 CONSTRUCTION WEEK JUNE 26–2, 2010

Ghost building I’ve never believed in ghosts and I don’t fancy changing that attitude now. I’ve heard talk on our site that we were days away from trying to revive a stalled project, kicking some life back into a ghost building. While I’m keen on seeing the company get more work, I’m glad this particular deal fell over – though not literally. Getting a head start on a job sounds great, but we’ve all seen the state of some of these half finished sites; loads of rusting rebar and crumbling concrete. This particular project was only stalled 12 months ago but was haunted by a problem that plagues many suspended builds: structural deterioration. A survey revealed some fairly major problems with the quality of the original foundation work and unfinished water proofing had left some vulnerable parts exposed to the elements. My boss balked at the cost of rehabilitation work and was genuinely nervous about his liability further down the line. I’m sure that some contractors will luck in to some cheap projects and do well out of it,

Ghost buildings are as much about risk as they are opportunity.

but I prefer to be able to rest easy at night knowing that the work that carries my name, is work I’ve actually done.

Green or just sensible? Is it me, or has the Gulf building industry gone green mad? I can never remember all the acronyms, systems and ratings I keep hearing about when the consultants are around, but I get the feeling they won’t be going away. We are being told we need to build green, but much of what is said is little more than good practice. Now it seems that’s not enough and we have to be able to give it a label too. Although I insist on keeping a tidy, well-organised site, it just helps me keep track of materials and supplies. The skips are emptied regularly and

the guys know what can and can’t be recycled. Machinery is serviced regularly, and the oil disposed of correctly - not down the drain, or in the sand. We’re very conscious that everything we do on site can be seen from surrounding buildings, so we go to great lengths to make sure everything is done correctly. I wish the same could be said of all the people we do work for. They start out with green ambitions, but have a habit of skimping on some of the fittings. The cheaper replacements never quite live up to a project’s original aspirations. Does looking out for this stuff make me green? Possibly. Has any of it changed the way I’ve worked for the past two decades? Not so far.


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2/8/10

9:51:22 AM

Construction Week - Issue 327  

Construction Week - Issue 327 - ITP Business

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