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27 | June 2016

InsIght and analysIs for constructIon specIalIsts


Improving sustainability practices in the Middle East

on topic

Advancements in vertical transportation technology

THE PATHFINDER Neil Reynolds explains how ch2m’s business model allows it to succeed around the world




June 2016

04 04

On topic


news and VIews frOm acrOss the mIddLe east

OnLIne news

CPI’s digital platform for construction news



On tOpIc

Identifying how vertical transportation technology has evolved and enabled the construction of taller towers

12 12


In practice anaLysIs, InsIghts and InterVIews

26 InterVIew

Neil Reynolds of ch2m speaks to ME Consultant about new business opportunities and the road ahead



Charles Dunk of AECOM talks about engaging clients and stakeholders using immersive technology



Understanding what Middle Eastern cities need to do to improve their ranking on the global sustainable cities scale




Analysing how Middle Eastern airports can be made more passenger friendly

32 On site


case studIes, OpInIOns and snapshOts



ME Consultant reports from the Leaders in Architecture MENA 2016 summit




Dubai's Majid Al Futtaim to invest $1.3 billion in Oman


fInaL wOrd

William Bennett of desert INK talks about the value of a landscape architect June 2016 Middle East Consultant 1


Editor’s note PUBLISHING DIRECTOR RAZ ISLAM raz.islam@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 5471 EDITORIAL DIRECTOR VIJAYA CHERIAN vijaya.cherian@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 5713

Eye on the Horizon



f there's one thing I love about the construction industry, it's the never-give-up attitude. In this month’s issue, I had the opportunity to interview a number of people who resonate this quality. To start with, my chat with Neil Reynolds of ch2m is nothing short of enlightening. I admire the fact that he looks at the low oil price crisis as an opportunity to work with the government on other areas like alternate finance. He also makes a very interesting point about Kuwait presenting massive infrastructure opportunities, given the fact that it has always set its budget at the $50 per barrel mark, meaning it has amassed funds to spend on development. The sustainability feature is equally interesting, as it points out that despite the Middle East being very conscious of sustainability, it still ranks fairly low on the global scale. However, it's fair to note that sustainable practices are still fairly new in the region and it will take time for developers and clients to become aware of the long-term financial benefits. In fact, sustainability consultants have even suggested that owners should look at making existing buildings sustainable, as this would help the country achieve its green vision even sooner. It was equally interesting to speak to vertical transportation experts about where technology in this field is heading and how it will enable architects to dream and design bigger structures. The airports feature sheds light on a much debated issue – whether designers should focus on making an architectural statement or on being more passenger friendly. I think it sparks a healthy debate, with a number of thought-provoking suggestions on how to address the issue. Lastly, I think it’s going to be an exciting time for the construction sector in the months ahead. We’re halfway through the year already, and although the first six months have been relatively slow, it will be interesting to see if things pick up in the second half of the year.

CONSULTING EDITOR GAVIN DAVIDS gavin.davids@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 5480 DEPUTY EDITOR DAVINA MUNRO davina.munro@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 5475 SUB EDITOR AELRED DOYLE aelred.doyle@cpimediagroup.com

Advertising COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR MICHAEL STANSFIELD michael.stansfield@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 5497

Marketing MARKETING MANAGER LISA JUSTICE lisa.justice@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 5498


Circulation and Production DISTRIBUTION MANAGER SUNIL KUMAR sunil.kumar@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 5476 PRODUCTION MANAGER VIPIN V. VIJAY vipin.vijay@cpimediagroup.com +971 4 375 5713



Davina Munro, Deputy Editor, Middle East Consultant

© Copyright 2016 CPI. All rights reserved. while the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.

June 2016 Middle East Consultant 3

on ToPIC roundup







Dubai reveals Expo 2020 masterplan


Dubai set to issue Al Maktoum airport tender

In pictures: 60,000-capacity Mohammed bin Rashid Stadium to be built in Al Aweer area

The scale of Kuwait’s recent infrastructure deal (‘Kuwait to sign $1bn infrastructure deal’) is certainly impressive. In fact, I can’t think of a bigger roads contract awarded in the region recently. But what is surprising is that we haven’t read more about the South Al Mutlaa City development that it will serve. With the master planned project worth $20 billion, according to your report, it’s certainly one to watch. Name withheld, via email


1km high Jeddah Tower ‘delayed by a year’



Qatar Rail cancels Doha Metro station contract


ACC wins contract for Emaar project in Jeddah

4 Middle East Consultant June 2016

Video: Dubai Properties unveils $272m Marasi Business Bay project, set to be built by the Dubai water Canal

The new leisure attractions coming up in the UAE (‘Riding high: The UAE’s new raft of theme park developments’) from Dubai Parks and Resorts to the Twentieth Century Fox World theme park have provided a muchneeded boost for the building industry. And they go to show that the old saying ‘build it and they will come’ is still alive and kicking when it comes to the country’s tourism ambitions. Name withheld, via email

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vertical transportation How vertical transportation has evolved with super tall buildings.

On topic o

vertical transportation

tHe neXt level Davina Munro speaks to VT experts about the challenges the industry is facing and new technologies

ver the last 10 years, Dubai has become home to 18 of the tallest towers in the world. The Burj Khalifa holds the record for the tallest building in the world at 828 metres; the Princess Tower is the world’s tallest residential skyscraper at 414m; and others like 23 Marina, Elite Residence and the Almas towers make up quite an impressive skyline. But building these iron mammoths requires extensive planning and engineering. One of the most critical issues to be addressed involves implementing the right vertical transportation system. With skyscrapers touching new heights every few years, vertical transportation has also evolved. In fact, experts like Anand Sivan, managing director at Barker Mohandas Vertical Transportation Consultants in Dubai, believe that advancements in vertical transportation technology have played a key role in allowing architects to dream bigger. “Vertical transportation has evolved in leaps and bounds over the decades. Simple low-rise buildings of the past have made way for super tall structures, and I believe that the developments that we have seen in elevator technology have enabled designers and architects to go taller. “When buildings turned taller, architects added more elevators to transport people within a given time. This demanded increased core space, which decreased the amount of leasable area. Sky lobbies and double-deck elevators then helped address such issues and resulted in better and more efficient transportation. In the words of Barker Mohandas’s co-founder and principal consultant Rick Barker, 'Sky lobbies naturally separate the types of occupancy in a tall mixed-use tower, and allow some lift hoistways to be located above other lift hoistways in most tall towers.'” The advent of sky lobbies was only the beginning for vertical transportation technology. Syed June 2016 Middle East Consultant 7


on topic vertical transportation

Syed Shamsulhaq, general manager, Elevator Division at Al-Futtaim Engineering.

Shamsulhaq, general manager, Elevator Division at Al-Futtaim Engineering, points out that the development of geared and gearless electric elevator systems in the 20th century was another factor that aided vertical transportation for taller buildings. Other things like multi-speed motors improved passenger ride comfort and landing accuracy, while the introduction of double deck elevators resulted in better space utilisation and people movement. In parallel, things like escalators and moving walks technology evolved as well. Agreeing, Richard Roberts, business development director at Lerch Bates, specifically highlights developments in single deck and double deck lifts. “Several years ago, ThyssenKrupp released the TWIN, which is an ‘uncoupled’ double deck which allows two zones to be served by two independent lifts sharing the same guide rails generally at different speeds. Now they’ve come up with a multi-car solution called MULTI, where

8 Middle East Consultant June 2016

Anand Sivan, managing director at Barker Mohandas Vertical Transportation Consultants, Dubai.

there are multiple cabins within the same shaft without traction ropes and using a linear drive. “Even KONE has introduced interesting technology like the UltraRope. Here they’ve moved away from the traditional steel rope to carbon fibre, which reduces the weight of the rope and allows for longer travel distance. Other companies are also developing alternate suspension technologies.” In terms of vertical transportation technology that has been a game-changer in the Middle East, Shamsulhaq says that the introduction of machine room less (MRL) elevators in the region, particularly in the low-rise and villa segments, has made a big difference, enabling private owners to save on construction of traditional machine rooms and associated costs. In many applications, they have replaced hydraulic elevators. Sivan believes that it’s not just the introduction of new technology that makes a difference;

Richard Roberts, business development director at Lerch Bates.

applying better techniques to existing solutions matters as well. Highlighting the way calls are allocated to elevators, he says that while standard destination dispatching currently offered by lift companies comes with the promise of saving time for the users, it is not always so. For example, Sivan says that while it boosts the morning predominantly up-directional traffic in an office building, differences are stark during the more intense lunch peak time when people are travelling in both up and down directions simultaneously. Sivan cautions, “Destination dispatching, if not carefully applied, could worsen long waits. We should remember that the time waiting for the lift to arrive in answer to a registered call is a more important metric than time spent in the lift cab." At Barker Mohandas USA, Rick Barker has developed techniques to improve that. One is a hybrid destination dispatching where essentially existing technology is used but designed with improved techniques. “It is not just handling passenger traffic, there are other engineering issues as well. For example, a tall building tends to sway with the wind and there are components in the lift shaft such as ropes and cables that move as well. Therefore all of these have to be engineered in a specific way and we have to foresee problems and suggest solutions to those at the design stages itself.” Since the right vertical transportation solution for a super tall building is extremely important, how should these experts collaborate with architects and designers? To start with, Roberts says that it is key to interact not only with the architect but also with the structural and MEP consultants. He also


on topic vertical transportation

believes that experienced vertical transportation consultants wear multiple hats and need to have a thorough understanding of their field of expertise. “First of all, I was taught how to perform manual calculations. You need to understand if a simulation feels and looks correct, and if not, you need to delve into an analysis and review your inputs. Secondly, ask multiple questions to understand the owner and architect's wants, needs and vision for the project. Third, geography has implications; and lastly, how does the end user interact within the building?” Shamsulhaq and Sivan stress the need for vertical transportation (VT) experts to be involved with the project right from the initial concept to the design or tender stage. Shamsulhaq explains that by understanding the usage of a building, VT experts carry out a traffic study of the units to ensure a minimum passenger handling time. “A traffic study considers the following aspects: number of floors, population per floor, type of building, capacity and speed. Having arrived

Things like sky lobbies, geared and gearless electric elevator systems and multi-speed motors have aided vertical transportation for taller buildings.

at a suitable conclusion for each, designers can incorporate shaft sizes into the building plans. “With the intent of effective utilisation of space, VT experts may advise on various options of operation, such as group operation, zoning, MRL solution, destination dispatch system, double deck elevators, etc. Also, a suitable combination of elevators and escalators would be required for efficient people movement.” While things like destination dispatching and ensuring that people wait no longer than 90 to 120 seconds for an elevator is important, there are other crucial considerations, such as fire and life safety. Shamsulhaq says that buildings are generally designed with two recall floors – the main lobby and an alternate floor – for lifts in the event of a fire. Therefore, most lifts are equipped with the fireman operation: upon detection of a fire, the lift travels directly to the main floor. In the event of fire on the main floor, the lift is recalled to the alternate floor, and the passengers use the emergency exit routes to leave the building.

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on topic vertical transportation

“Additionally, operation of lifts in the event of power failure is also available. In this case, all the lifts will travel to the main floor one at a time, thereby conserving energy, and one or more pre-designated lifts will operate under the generator supply. “In case of rescuing a trapped passenger, a manual rescue operation can be carried out. Alternatively, lifts can be designed to have side exit doors, whereby passengers can move from a lift to its adjacent lift inside the shaft. This is generally seen where there is a blind shaft, which is a lift shaft with a large number of floors but without lift entrances or stops.” Adding to this, Sivan stresses the necessity of having occupant evacuation elevators in place. Citing the tragedy in 2001 with the World Trade Center in New York, he says there is much to be learnt from it. “If you look at the collapse of the World Trade Center, everyone who escaped the buildings were the ones that used the elevators. For a long time we've all seen the sign that says ‘Do Not Use Elevators in Case of Fire’ – this is because these lifts aren't designed for reliable use when there is a fire. We can expect to see increasing requirements for occupant evacuation elevators soon. In fact the US elevator codes already require it.” Besides this, there are other considerations, such as resistance to water used during firefighting and seismic countermeasures. Sivan says that strangely, while the European code followed by Dubai Municipality demands water protection (EN81-72), their non-implementation is more the norm than the exception, unfortunately. “I remember scanning the newspapers when a fire broke out in a tall building in Dubai Marina. What stood out was that while the firefighting elevators were used, water was reported coming down the shafts and the lifts were stopping, because these fire-fighters’ lifts were not designed with water protection. “What is unacceptable is that the code already demands water protection, so this should not have happened. The client may be unaware of this, but the lift industry cannot sell lifts without including the water protection requirements already present in the governing codes.” Even in terms of seismic engineering, while the European codes only introduced it fairly recently in November 2013, Sivan believes that it is largely still not used in the Middle East. “For a long time, lift consultants and lift manufacturers did not educate the client about 10 Middle East Consultant June 2016

For any project to have the right vertical transportation solution, it is essential for the vertical transportation consultant to interact with the architect, strucutral engineer and MEP engineer at an early stage.

the requirement for fire-fighters’ elevators that included water protection, and about elevators requiring seismic safety. They took shelter under the fact that the European lift code earlier never had a seismic section. The Dubai Municipality specifies the European code EN-81 as a basis for product sourcing, installation, etc. In the event of a significant earthquake in Dubai, only a few elevators will be safe for tall buildings, except for lifts that have been specifically designed with adequate seismic countermeasures. Also, the seismic section of the EN-81 Code bases itself on a structural engineering code (Eurocode 8) which, however, is not the basis for most structural engineering design for buildings in the region. That is why we always recommend the application of the seismic section of the US elevator codes to make the design robust. Unfortunately, this is resisted by some lift manufacturers.” Roberts says vertical transportation experts still face quite a few challenges, such as reducing the number of lift cores to serve the building while still meeting performance criteria. “Sometimes there are height restrictions, and experts need to figure out where to locate the

machine room. Adding to this is not having a machine room at the top floor to reduce the exposure of the mechanic performing his maintenance.” Shamsulhaq says the availability of adequate lift shaft sizes according to the usage of the building is another issue. This is because the developer wants to increase his tenant space, but at the same time does not want to compromise on passenger handling capacity. Despite all these factors, the vertical transportation industry has an exciting future with buildings getting taller. Roberts believes we will see more sky lobbies and stacking of lifts, and more breakthroughs such as the ThyssenKrupp TWIN and MULTI, and the KONE UltraRope. Sharing his concluding thoughts, Shamsulhaq too sees many breakthroughs. “There has been a lot of research done in this area in terms of material technology and control systems, and we will definitely see improved energy efficiency and sustainability of the elevator systems. One thing is for certain, all this ongoing development, when completed, will surely have a great impact on the elevator business and vertical transportation industry as a whole.”

“Vertical transportation has evolved in leaps and bounds over the decades. Simple low-rise buildings have made way for super tall structures, and I believe that the development that we have seen in elevator technology has enabled architects to go taller”

Ritz Carlton, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai 8 November 2016 www.meconsultantawards.com Following its hugely successful debut last year, the Middle East Consultant Awards returns in November 2016 to celebrate the GCC’s leading construction specialists in its distinctive and engaging style. Reflecting the diversity of the consulting industry in the GCC, the awards recognise the region’s best multi-discipline construction consultants, architects and the multitude of specialists in structural engineering, MEP, urban design, sustainability, quantity surveyors and cost consultants and all the many other fields that make up all the facets of this wonderful industry. In addition we will be celebrating projects and individuals from junior to senior level, as well as introducing Workplace of the Year. NOMINATION ENQUIRIES Davina Munro Deputy Editor +971 4 375 5475 davina.munro@ cpimediagroup.com SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES Michael Stansfield Commercial Director +971 4 375 5497 michael.stansfield@ cpimediagroup.com





The Man Who Means Business

Neil Reynolds shares his thoughts with Davina Munro about new business opportunities in the Middle East and the road ahead for ch2m in the region

aving WoRked on PRoJeCTs in oveR 90

countries across the world over his career, Neil Reynolds is a man who means business. A chartered civil engineer by trade, Reynolds has worked his way up from site engineer to his current role as senior vice president and managing director of ch2m in the MENA region. Over the years, he has spent a good deal of his career in Africa, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, and has a wide range of technical and sectoral expertise which includes areas like transportation, tunnelling, water resources and ecosystem management, as well as project and programme management. To top it all off, Reynolds is able to provide a diverse outlook on every project, based on the fact that he has not only worked as a consultant but has been on the contracting and engineering side too. Middle East Consultant caught up with Reynolds to talk about his journey and the direction he is moving ch2m MENA towards. “I think my experience with so many different cultures has shaped me as a person. When I moved down to the Middle East, it was pretty easy for me to merge with the environment here because it is so multicultural. I've been at ch2m for about eight years and in this part of the world with them for about four years now. “Prior to my current role, I was based in London and headed ch2m’s global water business outside North America. 12 Middle East Consultant June 2016

It was at the point when we acquired Halcrow that I was asked to come to the Middle East and integrate them and another acquisition – VECO, an oil & gas company based in Abu Dhabi – into our business. This integration into one brand and culture took place over one and a half years, and now we’re a 2,000-member team.” Today, ch2m is not just a 70-year-old firm founded by three Oregon state college graduates and their civil engineering professor. It is a global company with over 5,000 clients, $5.4 billion in revenues in 2015 and nearly $2.8 million in total assets. Its Middle East unit has moved from strength to strength, enabling it to work on a number of unique projects like Masdar, the STEP sewer tunnel in Abu Dhabi and more lately Expo 2020 and the 2022 World Cup. Given the progress they’ve made under Reynolds’ leadership, what is the philosophy that has propelled growth? “It’s quite simple,” he says. “Our philosophy as a company is basically bringing in the best of what we have globally and combining that with our local knowledge and capability to get the best client solutions.” “We're very client-centric in everything we do. We don't take positions where we tell clients what they need; rather, we listen to what they have to say and then work with them towards solutions together . We also advise them through the project and asset lifecycle. Some clients obviously want that one-stop shop and we can pretty much offer them a range of


“Governments are now looking to raise taxes and are looking to increase borrowing, which again creates opportunities because the bond market or alternative finance is back on the table. As a company, we advise clients in terms of alternative finance, so that's another aspect that could be a growing business for us�

June 2016 Middle East Consultant 13


Rail may have slowed a little in the Middle East, but the transport and mobility of people is a growing trend in major cities.

services either singularly or combined all together.” With a wealth of experience under his belt, Reynolds knows opportunity when he sees it, and it’s this trait that has enabled him to identify a number of potential growth areas for the construction industry in the Middle East. For instance, one key trend he sees across a number of countries here and in India is manufacturing and industry. Depending on the country, he says the strategy goes from precision manufacturing in places like the UAE to more general manufacturing in Saudi Arabia. This cuts across sectors like pharmaceutical, metals, life sciences and automotive. In fact, he believes that even big data has huge business potential, as a lot of data collection on how to manage infrastructure is taking place. Naturally, with any kind of manufacturing base comes the need for transport hubs as well, which brings opportunities for the development of airports, ports and rail. Illustrating the point further, Reynolds says, “Rail may have slowed down in the Middle East because of the high capital cost, but other trends could emerge from it, like PPP. In the Middle East, private finance was only ever big in the areas of electricity and water, but now it’s moving to other areas like rail and that’s a trend that can pick up too.” “In terms of the countries that are accelerating these plans in, and that we find attractive because of the services that we provide, are Saudi Arabia, the UAE and even Kuwait. In fact, Kuwait has always set its budget around the $50 oil per barrel mark so it has amassed funds where they can spend on developing infrastructure. “I think Kuwait will also take advantage of the fact that there is a slowdown in the region. This means increased competition among players who will vie with each other to provide services for them, so I think the Kuwaitis are definitely 14 Middle East Consultant June 2016

going to capitalise on this infrastructure opportunity.” He even sees great prospects in India, which falls under ch2m’s remit. For one, PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, a national programme designed to facilitate investment, encourages manufacturing in the country. The initiative spreads across areas such as automobile, aviation, IT and Business Process Manufacturing (BPM) and thermal power, and naturally presents the opportunity to set up these industrial units. There are also a lot of mega-trends around smart cities and the need for synergistic transport hubs too. Taking the topic of smart and sustainable cities further regarding the Middle East, Reynolds says that ch2m has a strategic initiative in place called Great Cities Solutions. It allows ch2m to leverage their broad expertise in design, engineering, construction development, programme management and technology services to serve growing urban centres. “We're delivering solutions for water conservation and replenishment, food storage and resiliency in cities like London and Los Angeles. I believe we can take our learnings from there to implement similar ones for the smart city initiatives in places like Dubai and a number of cities in India.” In fact, even within smart cities there are other development prospects, says Reynolds. “For example, multi-modal transportation is a chance to develop new mobility solutions. Even the massive amount of waste created by cities provides us with an opportunity to create environmental solutions for it. What has always done well for business is that we aren't looking at all these things individually but holistically.” Naturally, any smart city will need to be powered by technology, and this will involve a large amount of data


At the moment, enabling works, ground works and designs are underway for the Expo 2020 site.

mining to understand its future needs. Reynolds says that Dubai is ahead of other cities in this respect because of its initiative around big data, where the government is looking to leverage big data for operational and analytical purposes. In fact, this kind of data collection will help the city better plan and conceptualise urban infrastructure as well as make smarter decisions around mobility. Ch2m has a foothold in this area too, says Reynolds, where they have plug and play type of solutions. “A lot of clients want quick solutions, so we often team up with companies who are technology providers to do this. It’s not necessarily our own technology, but we are the overall influencers. “In fact, one of the data centres that we're working on in the Middle East today is a plug and play solution that can get clients online quicker. Additionally, we also have a patent pending for our modular data centre.” 3D visioning is another area of technology that interests ch2m, given the amount of opportunity that comes along with it. Reynolds believes that it will be especially helpful in the construction of industrial facilities, where there are often clashes given the need for access requirements. This can be difficult due to the presence of pipes, racks and equipment

that can hinder a project’s progress. This technology also allows people to study the details of a construction before it actually starts, thereby lowering the likelihood of mistakes. Construction timelines are shorter as well, and there are more prospects for modularisation too. “In Dubai there is a 3D printing facility, and in Singapore there is a virtual facility where you can walk into a room and see what you’re going to end up with as a finished product. On a smaller scale, we’ve done something similar with rail where we've taken clients into virtual rooms that are essentially a walk-through of a project. I think that at the rate technology is developing, ultimately one day, with the exception of ground conditions, you may very well be able to go onto the internet and order a multi-storey building.” In terms of interesting developments, Reynolds says that at any moment ch2m is working on around 600 projects. Talking about a couple of them in detail, he says it's working on the Dubai Canal, which he believes is going to create immense value for the city in terms of being not only an attractive public space but also boosting the value of real estate around it. The Riyadh Metro is another interesting development for ch2m, but the two projects that really stand out for the

“Kuwait has always set its budget around the $50 oil per barrel mark so it has amassed funds where they can spend on developing infrastructure. I think they will also take advantage of the fact that there is a slowdown in the region. This means increased competition among players who will vie with each other to provide services for them” June 2016 Middle East Consultant 15


ch2m provided programme management and technical expertise on the Shah Gas Development.

company are Expo 2020 and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. These two mega events require large-scale infrastructure delivery and programme management, both core strengths of ch2m. “Given our role as delivery partners, we can actually bring our best people onto these projects. In both cases, you could consider us the trusted advisor of the client. What I particularly like about these two projects is that because of our past track record of similar events like the 2012 Olympics in London, we're able to actually tailor our solutions to the client's needs. “I think we're fortunate to be involved in events that will literally be drivers of development in Dubai and Doha. If you look at Qatar, all the infrastructure development that we're seeing today is all a result of the upcoming World Cup. “Similarly, the current dynamics in Dubai are also a result of Expo 2020, where a lot of the infrastructure is supporting this event. In terms of the site itself, the enabling and ground works for Expo are already underway as well. I think no matter what the oil price is, these two events will happen and have to get completed.” Sharing his thoughts on the impact of recent geo-political events in the region and the impact of falling oil prices, Reynolds says chances are black gold may never return to its original levels. This means that everyone will need to consider this the new normal and work around it. He explains that governments will need to transform and adjust their fiscal policies to cut spending, and while this

16 Middle East Consultant June 2016

will have an impact on infrastructure in some cases, it isn’t something to be alarmed about. “Governments are now looking to raise taxes and are looking to increase borrowing, which again creates opportunities because the bond market or alternative finance is back on the table. As a company, we advise clients in terms of alternative finance, so that's another aspect that could be a growing business for us. Basically, I know if one hand is down the other hand is up, and I don't think we all need to panic about the situation. I think it just creates new opportunities for companies like us to continue to prosper in the region.” Given global events like these and other factors, demand and expectations from clients are evolving as well and consultants have to adapt in response. One challenge consultants are facing while doing this is finding the right talent, says Reynolds. As a company, he says ch2m is focused not only on the talent that it hires but where this talent is going to help it stay competitive. He says, “Companies like ours need to continuously upgrade our services to stay on top. We always look to see how we can enhance our project and programme management skills to stay competitive in the region. With other nations wanting to do business with the Middle East, we hope that clients will continue to focus on quality as opposed to low cost. This goes back to our client-centric approach." “What we can see is that as we work and go deeper with fewer clients, our successes with them are increasing. We're very involved and focused on the clients that value our services.” Sharing his outlook on 2016, Reynolds predicts that it will be tough, but having said that, he says ch2m has a strategy that aligns to the national development plans and visions of the GCC countries. It is because of this that it has been able to adjust itself and continue to grow. He reiterates that he sees manufacturing increasing, which is a good thing. Interestingly, with the security threats in the region, there are opportunities for the development of military infrastructure. This could range from buildings, to heavy civil engineering, to the need for air strips and hangars. Civilian airports and ports will also be needed, with the growth of tourism and trade. “Aviation is another big sector and we're working on the Al Maktoum airport at the moment. In fact the entire aerotropolis around Jebel Ali and Al Maktoum airport is again another key catalyst for the growth of Dubai. Ports is also going to grow as well. In fact, our ports business is probably one of our fastest growing areas. “Lastly, picking up on India, the country has always been a focus for the company. I don't look at it as a contingency to a slowdown in the Middle East, but as an opportunity in itself. We will continue to focus our efforts on growth in India across airports, ports and security, which is favourable to what we offer as a company.”

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY QUIZ 28 September 2016, from 7pm

Baggot Room, McGettigans, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai

BRING YOUR BRAINS! BE THE SMARTEST CONSTRUCTION COMPANY IN THE REGION Our annual golf days foster a fun environment for the industry to get together, network and relax. Keeping the spirit of this tradition alive, Big Project ME and Middle East Consultant present their first quiz night for the construction industry.

A range of topics such as general knowledge, sports, geography and history will be included, along with a special round dedicated to construction, keeping in mind the theme of the night. So round up and register your best and brightest colleagues for some friendly competition.

Free registration is exclusive to teams of four colleagues from the developer, contractor or consultant industries.

Contact info: For registration enquires: Lisa Justice +971 3755 498 lisa.justice@cpimediagroup.com For sponsorship enquires: Michael Stansfield +971 55 150 3849 michael.stansfield@cpimediagroup.com

IN PRACTICE Charles Dunk Charles Dunk, associate director, Immersive Technology, UAE & Oman at AECOM.


Immersive technology

Charles Dunk, associate director, Immersive Technology, UAE & Oman at AECOM talks about engaging clients, stakeholders and contractors through immersive technology If you’re a consultant, you are regularly faced with major challenges, one of which is decision-making. Delays and rework caused by late decisions made by your team, the client or stakeholders pose a significant risk for construction projects. We’re in the business of building. Private and government clients procure infrastructure and building projects expecting a return on their investments. Market conditions are entering a tough period for the GCC. During 2016, GDP growth is half what it was in 2012 and will continue to hover at around 3.0%. Government revenue is dropping but populations are growing. While across the GCC there is a project pipeline for construction and transport infrastructure valued at $705 billion, the already crowded supply chain has to find more ways to reduce risk while still delivering competitively and safely. Immersive Technology (ImT) is an emerging solution for engaging audiences in construction projects, helping collaborators experience their project at the human scale and intuitively interact with spatial information. IT vendors are supplying data management and visualisation tools to help collaborators understand their projects as well as the impact of their decisions. Digital design is a norm in the construction 18 Middle East Consultant June 2016

industry and offers opportunities for stakeholders to reduce risk and costs. ImT is the missing piece for clients and stakeholders to review this digital data, providing spontaneous ways to interact with it. ImT is an umbrella term for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), virtualisation, mixed reality and other interactive experiences. Virtual reality is a visual and aural experience using a headset covering the user’s complete field of vision, giving the experience of being entirely wrapped in a digital environment. Augmented reality imposes digital content onto the real world by using a smartphone, a headset or other projection hardware. Digital content can comprise 3D models, animations or multi-media. Other ways to engage with digital content include immersion projection caves which are three (or more) sides of a room with 3D projection and head tracking to provide a life-like experience similar to VR but without a headset. Immersive technology provides value for all stakeholders during every stage of the construction lifecycle. Masterplanners use visualisation for public consultations and stakeholder interfacing. During this stage, clients communicate their plan, garner approvals and engage consultancy services. Virtual and augmented realities are fantastic engagement tools, leveraging the web to spread content. In the early design stages, clients and consultants work back and forth, realising the design intent and solidifying the physical form of the project. Virtual reality also provides an interface to understand the breadth of a project for final users, while providing a digital meeting space for collaborators to work together.

IN PRACTICE Charles Dunk

Immersive technology is an emerging solution that allows clients to experience a project at the human scale and intuitively interact with spatial information..

Contractors face different challenges, working within a defined scope and budget to deliver projects on time. On large projects, the major challenge for all parties is understanding and quantifying the volume of work. Easily quantifiable and understandable projects give confidence to the client. Delivery of the project has its own challenges, and contractors typically need to further develop the design as well as deliver the project. This is where immersive technology helps contractors visualise and integrate models when bidding. They can also leverage the spatial data during the delivery phase. Users and facility managers use AR as a way of finding inspection data where it’s needed. Infrastructure stakeholders differ from private development stakeholders. During the early stages, the client and statutory authorities are recipients of the design data, whereas in later stages the contractor and technical contributors such as structural engineers are recipients. Immersive technology is the perfect tool for both stages, enhancing traditional drawings, renderings and documentation. In developments for private clients, use of design data also changes from concept to schematic design. The client remains custodian and uses the data to communicate, conceptualise and quantify design development. Typically, the client engages a third party to manage transfer and use of data. Immersive

technology allows non-construction professionals to review, evaluate and quantify parts for the developing data set. Digital delivery is here to stay and adoption is extending across all markets, including construction. We are entering the period of virtual reality, normalising the use of headsets to explore digital models. Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, Facebook, Google and other digital giants are heavily investing in the development and promotion of immersive technology in an attempt to revive a stagnant mobile industry, as well as create new ways of selling ImT services. In 2017, we are likely to see a maturing of virtualisation technology with ‘mixed reality’ devices capable of fully immersive experiences as well as augmented experiences. The entertainment industry sets the standard for computer visualisation and interactivity – achieving this level of realism is challenging in the construction industry. Movies and games sell millions of copies, but immersive experiences are procured and consumed by a much smaller group. Immersive technology leverages 3D models developed for traditional visuals and animations, providing innovative and additional ways to interact with the same content. Within the construction industry, Building Information Modelling (BIM) projects provide a perfect platform for use of immersive technology

across the project lifecycle. BIM implies the use of data-rich 3D models with increasing levels of development during design progression. Immersive technology integrates into every stage, from concept through to bidding and tendering, to documentation, supervision and operation. A BIM project involves digitally savvy collaborators, so VR and AR are a natural extension for all parties. ‘Instant VR’ allows designers to explore their schemes with low visual fidelity and instantly accessible PC hardware typically found in engineering offices. High-quality visuals and interactivity requires additional data embedded in the BIM and high-end hardware to deliver. To leverage BIM data fully and integrate immersive technologies, the use of virtualisation must be identified by the client at an early stage. Immersive technology reduces risks and costs involved with design, programme, construction management, procurement and operation – encompassing the full construction lifecycle. Immersive technology is scalable, from simple cardboard VR viewers to milliondollar holographic rollercoaster simulation. This year will see VR become mainstream for gamers and early adopters. In the near future, we will see the growth of immersive technology into a viable media experience for a range of audiences, benefiting all collaborators in the construction industry. June 2016 Middle East Consultant 19

IN PRACTICE herbert smith freehills


Anthony Ellis and Craig Shepherd are partners at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Dealing with a crisis

When dealing with a crisis, a firm must assess the scale then quickly decide how to react "It is exciting to have a real crisis on your hands" – Margaret Thatcher, 1982. Mrs Thatcher's views were controversial and are unlikely to be echoed by the management of Volkswagen, who saw the company's market value and reputation slashed following the recent storm over vehicle emissions. A crisis in the age of 24-hour news and trial by Twitter can quickly engulf any company, affecting its reputation, brand and share price. In extreme cases, a crisis can bring an end to an otherwise successful business. How a company responds to a crisis in the first few days (or even hours) can make the difference between the issue being resolved and the problem escalating. The Middle East construction industry is particularly exposed, and that means consultants as well as contractors and developers, because when things go wrong on major projects, the problem is often highly visible. In the court of public opinion, a suggestion of corruption often equates to guilt, and those who have dealings with such 'corrupt' companies are taken to be corrupt themselves. Again, the coverage following the leak of papers from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca shows how quickly a storm can break, and how easy it is for innocent organisations and individuals to be caught up in it. Those doing business in the Middle East, where many contracts are of high value and where the suspicions of the Western press are easily aroused, are again very exposed. Are you ready to deal with a crisis? These tips give a lawyer's perspective on what to do – and not to do – when disaster strikes. 20 Middle East Consultant June 2016

First, balance is crucial. The standard PR playbook says you must be absolutely open, absolutely honest and absolutely instant in your reply. However, lawyers may caution people in such cases, noting that such actions may mean admitting liability and that you should avoid all comment, deny liability and try to shift blame. Obviously, you cannot follow both approaches, and slavishly following one, or switching between the two, is very dangerous. Following a purely legal response may damage your reputation, with serious implications for your pipeline of work, while a purely PR response may lead to huge liabilities years down the road and could affect insurance cover. You must, therefore, honestly assess the scale of the crisis and quickly decide how to react and where for you the balance lies. The need to act quickly leads to the second tip: be prepared. You must know who you will turn to for the PR and legal input which you need to make a decision, and those people must be familiar with your brand, your industry and your values. They need to know what your obligations are to regulators, investigators and others in the project and be ready to advise you quickly. If you wait until the crisis happens to get your team in place, you have left it too late. Preparation also means having a communications policy ready to roll. When a crisis strikes, a firm must be able to take immediate action and communicate promptly, accurately, professionally and confidently as the situation unfolds. To do this, there must be a direct line between the PR team and legal, and there must be someone appointed to speak for the

IN PRACTICE herbert smith freehills

In a crisis, a company must know who they will turn to for PR and legal input.

firm. In almost every case, visibility of the top team is crucial and you should avoid delegating media appearances, no matter how attractive this option might seem at the time. The appearance of the top team will give a 'business as usual' message to the market and show that senior management is taking responsibility for the problem. It also helps if the CEO or other management spokesman has had media training. What message should the CEO communicate? The following five rules apply in almost every case: • Be compassionate: expressing regret, concern and sympathy for any people, families or colleagues affected is unlikely to be seen as accepting liability. • Be honest: present the facts clearly, accurately and consistently to avoid later being accused of a cover-up. • Make technically complicated issues as easy to understand as possible. • Use key contacts to spread your message – those who know you well are your

best ambassadors and allies in a time of crisis. • Do not speculate about the cause of the crisis. Do not blame anyone. Do not admit liability, but don't be defensive and don't criticise the media. Third, not every crisis is instantly in the public domain. Cyber security is a burgeoning industry as the scale of cyber attacks grows and firms face blackmail demands following security breaches. The first priority has to be to find out exactly what you are dealing with, because you can only sensibly react to a crisis when you know what it is. There are excellent IT forensic investigators who can identify what information has been compromised and how, and can tell if malware is present on your systems, leading to further information leakage or even to eavesdropping on ongoing communications. In these cases, in addition to self-help remedies, you may be able (and in some jurisdictions obliged) to involve the police. Finally, mitigate the damage and, if you have insurance, do not lose it. While the extent of

professional indemnity cover held by consultants in the Middle East varies greatly, many readers will have cover. If an incident occurs, tell insurers, and tell them straight away. Insurers may be able to assist, as many have extensive experience in crisis management. If you do not promptly notify insurers and keep them up to date with developments, they may be able to walk away from the cover which they have provided; but of course, they keep the premiums you have paid. CONCLUSION There are cases where good crisis management has enhanced a brand, but there are many more where failure to prepare and inability to react to events swiftly has caused great damage. A crisis can hit the best managed of companies, and a company which has done nothing wrong can be swept up in a crisis not of its making. So know who will be in charge when a crisis hits. Have your legal and PR teams on speed dial, and be ready to involve other specialists with skills needed for the particular crisis you face. June 2016 Middle East Consultant 21

IN PRACTICE in Practice sustaInabIlIty sustainability


the green revolution Middle East Consultant speaks to the experts about how Middle Eastern cities can improve their sustainability ranking on a global scale


or years, the global construction

industry across the world has been known to put profit above planet. Forums like COP21 have drawn attention to the fact that carbon emissions have sky rocketed over the years, which has resulted in governments working around the clock to put rules in place to regulate the construction process and materials used to create our built environment. The results of these efforts can be seen in a handful of cities today. According to the Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2015, Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Rotterdam occupy the top five positions for being the most sustainable. Not too far behind are a few Asian cities like Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore, followed by a few others from America and

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Australia, but when it comes to the Middle East, places like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha still rank much lower – 33rd, 34th and 41st. With initiatives like the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda, which focuses on improving air quality, preserving water resources and increasing clean energy, why is the region still low on the global sustainable cities scale? For starters, sustainability practices are very young in the Middle East, notes Omair Awadh, senior sustainability consultant at Dubai-based AESG. Awareness and consideration has improved in the last decade, but this varies from city to city. “Few cities fiercely encourage sustainable practices such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha, where it is mostly government

IN PRACTICE sustainability

driven. Other cities are struggling due to the lack of support, like in Amman and Beirut. I think government driven practices seem to be the most effective when it comes to the environmental and economic aspects of sustainability, while the social aspect has not been considered as such,” he says. Wayne Morgan, senior engineer at Cundall, agrees that sustainable construction practices are slowly getting a foothold in the Middle East. In fact, he says that over the last few years experts have started to notice an increase in the number of projects seeking LEED or ESTIDAMA certification. However, he feels more can be done to promote sustainable practices, not only when constructing new buildings but during activities like refurbishment and office fit-out as well. Taking a different stand point that it is a wide misconception that the Middle East has never been sustainable is Omnia Halawani, managing partner at Griffin Consultants. She points out that sustainable practices have been around for ages, as old architectural approaches in the UAE incorporated a lot of passive sustainability measures like shading, wind towers and low window to wall ratios. “Architects like Hassan Fathy, the Egyptian architect, saw the value of sustainable construction long before it became a craze in the West. Climatic conditions and public health considerations shaped many of his architectural decisions. Wind catchers, courtyards and dense brick walls were some of the strategies incorporated in his architecture. But when exponential growth occurred in the GCC, sustainability took a back seat to construction speed. It has now regained its position as one of the pillars for sustainable economies.” Considering past efforts and the fact that current sustainable drives are still in their infancy, what do Middle East cities need to do to match their European counterparts? Morgan believes the main problem is that things are a little too fast-paced in the region. For instance, when a project comes online, the developer wants it to be completed as soon as possible, which often prevents thorough planning and consideration of sustainable options. “If you want a sustainable building, you need to have the right materials and equipment, and that might not fit with the client's programme. Everything is very fast-tracked here, whereas in European cities like Frankfurt or London, they take more time to design, plan, construct and incorporate suitable green practices.

“Things like building materials need to be considered. Ideally you want to source your materials locally for availability and speed of delivery to fit in with the programme. Minimising transportation costs is a suitable outcome, but sometimes you many need to consider importing products from Europe which might pose a problem to the timescale of a project.” Halawani agrees with this point on the pace of development. She even points out that it is a well-established fact that rapidly developing countries face serious environmental challenges. However, she says that there are certain considerations to be made as well, like the fact that temperatures in the region make it impossible to eliminate the use of artificial cooling. “The exponential growth in the UAE, and other Middle Eastern cities, has led to an increase of the country’s energy usage and the energy use per capita. It's worthwhile to note that every room in the UAE is air-conditioned due to the extreme climate, and therefore to have an apple to apple comparison when developing rankings such as the Sustainable Cities Index is not feasible. “Another thing is that in cold climates, inefficiency in buildings like appliances and lighting benefit the heating system, since these generate more heat. But in a city like Dubai, inefficient lighting and plug loads would add to the cooling load and drive the consumption of the air-conditioning equipment even higher." Awadh says that while developing cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi are working towards being more sustainable, they need to adopt a post-construction monitoring and data analysis system. For example, he says Frankfurt has not only set its own energy and environmental benchmark but has also established future targets and a plan for achieving them. To do this, data sharing and management is essential. There are other things that can be done as well, such as making older buildings in the city more sustainable through refurbishment. Morgan highlights a recent project that involved the replacement of a district cooling plant. As a replacement meant shutting it down temporarily, the owner had to be convinced that the inconvenience was justified. “While it’s easy to create a sustainable city from scratch, I think there is probably more benefit from improving what's inside buildings that are already built. If you look at the size of Dubai, there are thousands of buildings that were built 10-15

“Architects like Hassan Fathy, the Egyptian architect, saw the value of sustainable construction long before it became a craze in the West. Wind catchers, courtyards and dense brick walls were some of the strategies incorporated in his architecture. But when exponential growth occurred in the GCC, sustainability took a back seat to construction speed” June 2016 Middle East Consultant 23

IN PRACTICE sustainability

(Left to right) Omair Awadh, senior sustainability consultant at AESG. Omnia Halawani, managing partner at Griffin Consultants. Wayne Morgan, senior engineer at Cundall.

years ago that are probably now highly inefficient. Refitting those to the current standards could give you more benefit than constructing a new development. But it's tricky rationalising the closure of a working building to a developer, despite it being inefficient.” Improving artificial cooling systems is another factor to consider. Halawani says that according to a study conducted by Griffin and AESG, 67% of Dubai’s power is used by cooling systems at peak times, which emphasises the importance of exerting efforts to make this sector more efficient. “The cooling systems in the majority of buildings here are oversized, and this is an easy and straightforward area for optimisation. Considering that artificial cooling is needed in every building, the selection of more efficient cooling systems would play a vital role in achieving sustainability.” While it is important to construct a green city, balancing sustainability and economic growth is equally necessary. But Halawani believes that economic growth targets do not need to contradict sustainability. She points out that this belief is shared by 190 nations, including the UAE, who agreed in Rio+20 Summit in 2012 that a green economy is one of the vital tools needed to not only achieve sustainable development but to eradicate poverty. “In 2012, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the launch of a long-term national initiative to build a green economy in the UAE. The initiatives that were started under this strategy come under sectors like oil & gas, water and electricity, industry, construction, transport and logistics, waste management, land use and agriculture, financial services, and tourism and hospitality. “Some of those initiatives include renewable energy projects, efficiency standards and green building codes, public transportation, waste-to-energy projects, organic farming, ESCOs, and green hotels. It is anticipated that more national and local policies will be enforced in a coordinated manner to facilitate this green agenda.” Naturally, all of this comes with a set of challenges, the biggest being spreading awareness about the importance of sustainable practices and convincing clients that it isn’t an expensive option if planned and executed correctly. Morgan

24 Middle East Consultant June 2016

says one way of overcoming this is by consultants spending more time advising the client about the benefits and the return on investment in the long run. “What tends to happen is that a client will come and say that he wants a green building or a LEED-certified development, and most consultants just say, ‘Okay, here’s the fee’, and that’s it. You’ve already lost them with that one sentence. “They need to know that being sustainable may require more investment at the start, but there are longer-term benefits for themselves as a company and the people within the building. They need to know that in ten years’ time they will regain that investment and will have helped the environment as well.” In Awadh’s opinion, the challenge is not just awareness but also documenting and quantifying the impact of sustainability practices at environmental, social and economic levels. So what is the way forward for Middle Eastern cities, and how far are we in reality from catching up with the West? One thing’s for sure, with initiatives like the UAE's Vision 2021 and HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s 'A Green Economy for Sustainable Development' in place, we’re heading in the right direction, says Halawani. Awadh says that he believes that pilot net-zero energy buildings are evolving in the UAE, and that carbon-neutral developments will be the next step. He believes that selfsustained cities and regenerative developments may be the future of sustainability practices in cities. Concluding, Morgan points out that while we are on the right track, we are a way off from being completely sustainable. “Take Masdar City as an example. It is expected to be finished in 2030, and while the initiative is excellent, that’s a long time to build a relatively small city. I think the urge to be sustainable has to come from various bodies, especially clients and end users, and not just the government. “We do have the Green Building Code, but if we truly want to build a sustainable city, the government should bring in more stringent regulations and make it mandatory. Attaining an entirely green city would be a tough task, but it’s not impossible. If everybody recognises the importance of sustainability, it would happen a lot quicker, but at the moment a lot more work needs to be done to make it happen.”

GEZE Middle East FZE | P.O. Box 17903 | Dubai | UAE | Tel.: 04-8833-112 | Fax: -240 | E-mail: gezeme@geze.com


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Davina Munro speaks to experts in aviation about how Middle Eastern airports can be made more passenger friendly

26 Middle East Consultant June 2016



hen it comes to the Middle East, grandeur is an essential element in every area of architecture, and the aviation sector is no exception. In facT, accordIng To IndUsTry InsIgHTs By

Frost & Sullivan, the average value per airport investment project in the Middle East was $1.32 billion in 2015. This makes it the biggest market compared to regions like APAC and North America that have average investment values of around $350 million and $190 million respectively per project. But despite this massive investment, these airports are not as comfortable and passenger friendly as they should be. Passenger complaints revolve around inadequate seating, improper signage and large distances between gates, to name a few. So when it comes to airport design, should making an architectural statement take precedence over passenger comfort? “No,” says Craig Menzies, director at architecture and design firm Benoy, who is currently working on Bahrain International Airport’s new terminal. “The passenger must always come first in design. Airports are essentially places for people, so to function correctly, the user experience must be the basis of design." “For airports, this can be difficult, as there are many competing factors, balancing operations and security alongside the commercial objectives of a highly trafficked facility requires specialist knowledge. However, this is what makes designing these buildings so challenging yet so rewarding once you get it right.” On the other hand, Diogenis Papiomytis, director of Aerospace and Defence at Frost & Sullivan, believes that both are equally important. However, he says it also depends on other factors such as the airport’s location, its overall status as a regional or global hub, the level of involvement of the main airline at that airport and the economic ambitions of the host nation. “In the Middle East we now see that the three big airlines – Emirates, Etihad and Qatar – dictate the vision and future developments in their respective airports. Unlike airports that are process-driven, these airlines are very much customercentric and see the airport experience of their passengers as core to their overall competitiveness. "As such, new developments and expansion projects in Qatar and the UAE have much more focus on the passenger experience and comfort is key.” Another thing to note is that a lot of passengers do not fly to or from the UAE but through it to other destinations, in which case making a good impression through an

architectural statement and Arabian hospitality is essential to enable future tourism traffic. Nick Hutchinson, senior vice president, MEA and Aviation Sector manager of engineering firm Parsons, also agrees that most countries view an airport as a glimpse into their culture. Thus they aim to provide a snapshot of it while adhering to the design and end user requirements. He also says that once the International Civil Aviation Organisation and various other codes are met, the design and engineering of a new airport typically favours the concept of form follows function – thus architecture comes first. But when it comes to existing airports undergoing rehabilitation, the business case for new works most likely involves security enhancements or improving passenger flow and experience, which aligns with passenger comfort. So how should designers and engineers deal with passenger comfort complaints? “Airports and terminals by their nature will always be large and extensive buildings. What we can do to help ease the journey for passengers is to provide touch points along the way. This is about bringing a hospitality approach to the design and punctuating the passenger journey with facilities and spaces to stop and rest, and also to give passengers alternative choices along the way,” says Menzies. He says that their approach to airport design involves putting the user experience first and reducing the stress associated with travel, and they’ve found that adding transparency and engagement to the user’s airport journey are key aspects to achieve this. “If you look at Terminal 4 at Changi Airport, we introduced a Central Galleria which allows airside and landside guests to remain in visual contact with each other; you can always see what lies ahead, which is quite different to many terminals around the world. “As for engaging with passengers, we’ve brought Singapore’s landscape into the terminal and introduced extensive skylight networks to bring a different ambience to the space. There are sections for pop-up retailers and bespoke furnishings which bring a hotel quality to the terminal. It’s about showing the passenger that you care about their comfort and experience.” Adding his thoughts, Papiomytis says that airports will have to focus on the fundamentals to work around this problem. First, they need to develop a strategy plan, decide June 2016 Middle East Consultant 27


cHarLEs consTanTIn, managing director at gEZE Middle East

on the required level of service and set specific targets across a range of KPIs, from average space per passenger to average waiting times and overall customer satisfaction. Once these targets are set, the airport will need to agree on the right solutions and technologies to bridge the gap. In fact, there are digital technologies that improve the customer experience and more airports are looking at them as a solution. “For example, the use of self-service technologies, such as self-service check-in and bag drop, have a positive effect by reducing bottlenecks, and from the point of view of passengers, average waiting times at airport checkpoints. “Signage is also impacted by the digital transformation of airports. Digital signs of the future will allow passengers to simply scan their boarding passes and give real-time updates on flight status and time to reach your boarding gate, in your own language. “In terms of commute, new automated people movers, walkways and terminal electric vehicles are there to assist, but they cannot substitute better planning and collaboration. Airport managers will have to acknowledge current limitations and will need to work closely with the airline tenants to reduce minimum connecting times.” Hutchinson adds to that, suggesting that a flexible space planning arrangement must be in place for future seating and signage after occupation. This is especially helpful considering the operator will only learn about or witness passenger complaints after occupation. This flexibility will put the operator in a better position to address the complaints at that time. Security is another area of concern for passengers. While it is a crucial aspect for peace of mind, it is often a tedious ordeal. As security requirements and gate layouts have to adhere to international standards and guidelines, Hutchinson believes that designers have limited flexibility. As such, he says that the comfort level to passengers, in this case, lies with the operator and the security agencies. One way of working around this is through the implementation of fast-track processing in different tiers or levels for all passengers; this is an effective measure which is seen in various terminals around the world. Menzies says that with technology evolving quickly, we’re likely to see very different security gates in airports over the next decade. “Take Changi Terminal 4, for example, which is a project we are delivering in Singapore. They are introducing fast and seamless initiatives which will include facial recognition technology to streamline security checks as well as a host of self-service options to empower passengers on their journey.” Papiomytis also agrees that the use of new screening 28 Middle East Consultant June 2016

How do doors factor in and integrate into the overall design of an airport? How are they tailored to projects like these? Doors are not just access points in the terminal but play an important role in the security, safety, hygiene and comfort of a passenger. They can be used for different applications within the airport, such as in the concourse area, security area, sterile area, telecommunication rooms, administration rooms and loading docks. Doors are the most important factor when it comes to moving and dislocation. We have to make sure that travellers have an enjoyable stress-free journey and employees at the airport are 100% comfortable while moving around. Ensuring optimum security in an airport is essential. How can door technology enhance this? Passenger safety and security should be above all other considerations. Therefore, whatever the specified product or the door solution is, it should always apply the standards and follow the norms. EN 16005 is an important standard that talks about the safety of automatic door systems. Whether it is an automatic swing, sliding, circular or revolving door system, pocket screens, safety sensor barriers and danger signage are all useful tools to avoid the chance of pedestrians being wedged by doors during operation. In fact, redundant sliding door systems are especially made to achieve supreme security. In case of a power failure, these door systems are equipped with redundant motors and redundant control units enabling the door to open under any circumstances and remain open until the reset process is in place. Preventative maintenance products are equally important, as door failures are a constant source of frustration for the building management and passengers. What are the challenges of customising door solutions for airport projects? The major challenge is the creativity of the architects. Though highly respected, we sometimes see an architect drawing his imagination without taking into account the limitation in the marketplace and the application itself. Special material is used in the door panel for reasons of security, traffic flow and exposure to excessive wind pressure. All these factors affect the manufacturers of doors for such applications.


technologies and the further integration of biometrics in the security process will make security systems as nonintrusive as possible. “For example, the use of e-gates and eye scanning have already had an impact in improving the security experience in some airports. Pre-processing is also a solution for specific, mainly domestic, markets such as the USA. “Looking at the long-term vision, the industry is slowly moving towards the concept of scanning tunnels, where passengers and bags are screened in a seamless way with no physical interaction with a security agent and minimal machine interaction.” Challenges along the way are inevitable, and Hutchinson says that the biggest challenge is adhering to the regulations of building safety and security, while satisfying the customer’s demand to make the terminal a representation of that specific country, as well as creating a passenger-friendly experience. In Menzies’ opinion, the challenge for terminal buildings is rethinking the airside and landside connection and bringing more visual connectivity between the two. “It’s about bringing a cross-sector approach and weaving concepts for hospitality, placemaking, retail, food and beverage, travel, leisure and entertainment into the design.” Papiomytis believes the major issue is digital conformity. This originates from the combination of inflated IT budgets and pressure from peers and suppliers to conform to the new digital reality. “We see that some airports do not perform adequate planning and analysis and simply introduce new solutions, so they are seen as innovators, in the hope of creating a competitive advantage. It is my firm belief that airport managers have to link their digital solution road map to a detailed strategy plan. Each solution will have to come with a detailed business case, looking at not only the potential financial returns from implementation, but also the overall strategic fit and urgency of that solution.”

Given the issues surrounding passenger comfort, what are the necessary elements for airports of the future? Menzies believes that with the aviation sector evolving quite rapidly, the next generation of terminals and airports will become a destination where a growing population of passengers come to dine, shop, sleep, find entertainment and work. “The airport city is also on the rise as we see operators realising the commercial potential of all land within an airport boundary, so we see the airport evolving into a day out experience which will be another important component of the passenger and guest experience.” Hutchinson says that airports of the future will require more enhanced security measurements that will be able to process passengers faster, without affecting the passenger comfort and experience. “This will be a key factor in drawing passengers to fly through different hubs. New technologies will be key innovations to drive these enhanced security measures. Additional elements that we will likely see more in future airports include simplicity, increased focus on safety, more comfort, improved customer service, decreased walking time, less carbon footprint and less queuing.” Giving his concluding thoughts, Papiomytis says that an increasing share of an airport’s development and modernisation budget is now IT-related, with the evolution of the smart airport concept. “The smart airport of the future is now taking shape, with the key areas of innovation focusing on air traffic management, security in terms of passenger and baggage screening, and facilities management. Progress will also be seen in terms of the self-service concept, ground handling in terms of passenger monitoring and baggage tracking technologies, connectivity, runway technologies and sustainability. “Overall, we see a major disruptive force in the digital transformation of all aspects of airport operations, with the key objectives being airport process optimisation, business model innovation and an improved customer experience.”

(Left to right) Craig Menzies, director at Benoy. Nick Hutchinson, senior vice president, MEA and Aviation Sector Manager at Parsons. Diogenis Papiomytis, director of Aerospace and Defence at Frost & Sullivan.

June 2016 Middle East Consultant 29


Educate ME The correct management of moisture vapour within buildings is an important aspect of managing the longevity of the building fabric.

sealing the deal The A. Proctor Group Ltd speaks to ME Consultant about the importance of protecting airport assets using condensation control solutions The huge investments in airport infrastructure and building design undertaken by countries around the world demand that consultants, architects and governments be able to access the most effective, high-quality product solutions, to protect and maximise the efficiency of these assets for many years to come. As of January 2016, CAPA, the Centre for Aviation – a provider of independent aviation market intelligence – estimated airport construction projects globally to be worth $900 billion. In their 2015 report, CAPA estimated the figure to be $543 billion. A number of key areas of consideration within the design are effective condensation control and 30 Middle East Consultant June 2016

air barrier solutions for all areas of the building envelope. Getting it right at the design stage can lead to significant savings on energy efficiency, preventing failure and any additional costs associated with putting it right at a later date. The A. Proctor Group are experts at solving condensation, airtightness and energy efficiency problems in the challenging climatic environments which present themselves globally. Expert technical advice is based on a unique combination of over 50 years of providing the highest quality products and solutions for the construction industry, together with research and investigation to understand local knowledge of construction technology, climatic considerations and legislative standards.

Protection of airPort assets: condensation control

It has long been recognised that the correct management of moisture vapour within buildings is an important aspect of ensuring not only the longevity of the building fabric, but also the health of the occupants. As today’s structures become increasingly better insulated, more airtight and more energy efficient, taking management of moisture into account in the design process becomes more critical, to ensure that it provides a durable, fit for purpose environment throughout the building’s lifespan. As energy performance has become an important aspect of building design, heating,


ventilation and air conditioning have all come under closer scrutiny. The routes by which airborne moisture vapour can escape are now an essential part of best practice building design. If not adequately mitigated, condensation will occur within the fabric of the wall and roof elements. If left unresolved, the resulting liquid water condensation can lead to structural problems such as warping of timber, corrosion of steel or damage to insulation, decorative finishes and building services. Trapped moisture can also lead to mould growth, presenting a substantial risk to the health of the building’s occupants, and can lead to expensive and complex remedial action. Within an airport environment this can be hugely disruptive, not only to passengers, but also for airlines and retailers, leading to significant additional costs in lost revenue. VaPour control solutions

The A. Proctor Group’s range of vapour control solutions has been developed to meet the needs of a wide range of building applications and global environments. Offering high performing vapour control layers, these unique membranes have been designed to provide resistance to tears during installation, and throughout the building lifecycle, making them more robust than many of the alternative membranes, ensuring performance and providing total protection and peace of mind.

case study: reflectatherm Plus at

airtightness solutions

muscat airPort, oman

The A. Proctor range of Wraptite external air barriers addresses the challenge of reliably achieving airtightness in buildings, with a robust two-component solution. This approach saves on labour and material costs associated with meeting the demands of modern energy efficiency requirements in commercial and public buildings. Wraptite and Wraptite-SA, combined with Wraptite Tape, provide one of the most highly effective, efficient and durable air barrier systems, optimising the highest levels of energy efficiency in buildings while protecting the fabric of the building envelope.

Reflectatherm Plus was chosen as a high performance vapour control layer for the new state-of-the-art Passenger Terminal Building at Muscat Airport in Oman, which has a total gross floor area of 344,995sqm. Market leading roofing, cladding and façade contractor Lakesmere installed the complete roofing system, covering an area of 16,750sqm, incorporating Reflectatherm Plus, a reflective, high vapour resistance barrier. Reflectatherm Plus provides a vapour tight layer which restricts the passage of both liquid water and water vapour, combined with a heatreflecting low emissivity coating designed to enhance the energy performance of the building envelope. The use of Reflectatherm Plus reduces the risks of condensation, maintaining the highest level of moisture resistance throughout the extensive new terminal building complex, providing protection for many years to come. energy efficiency of airPort buildings: airtightness

Air leakage through cracks, gaps, holes and improperly sealed elements such as doors and windows can cause a significant reduction in the performance of even thermally insulated envelopes, in some cases reducing their effectiveness by up to 70%.

a membrane for all seasons

Whilst the A. Proctor Group Ltd have a wide range of airtight and vapour-tight membranes, we recognise many climates require different functioning membranes. Roofshield is one such membrane. case study: roofshield at the detroit metroPolitan airPort

Detroit Metropolitan Airport is a major international airport in the USA covering 4,850 acres. Roofshield was chosen for the McNamara Terminal, and the Westin Hotel, the only hotel inside Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Supplied by the A. Proctor Group, Roofshield is the best performing breather membrane on the market. Due to the exceptional performance of the membrane, Roofshield fully functions in both warm and cold roofs, without the need for vents or a vapour barrier.

case study: Procheck Premier 500 at al maktoum international airPort, dubai

The new executive jet terminal at Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai South incorporates 16,000sqm of the Procheck Premier 500 vapour barrier. Tiger Profiles installed the high performing cladding system, incorporating Procheck Premier 500 from the A. Proctor Group. The tough, reinforced Procheck Premier 500 membrane provides a durable air and vapour tight layer, increasing the energy efficiency of the building, ensuring the HVAC systems perform optimally. This reduces condensation risks throughout the high occupancy terminal. With inbuilt scope for airport expansion, the robustness of Procheck Premier 500 was critical to ensuring the long-term future of the facilities.

Detroit Airport in the US is another airport project that uses solutions by A. Proctor Group.

June 2016 Middle East Consultant 31

ON SITE lEadErs leaders in arCHiTECTUrE arCHiTeCTUre



Middle East Consultant attends the Leaders in Architecture MENA 2016 summit to find out what leaders in the industry have to say about where architecture is heading in the region 32 Middle East Consultant June 2016

IN PRACTICE ON SITE leaders lEadErs in arCHiTeCTUre arCHiTECTUrE



region, the annual Leaders in Architecture MENA Summit has always been a must-attend. The event has consistently served as a platform for creative minds to share their thoughts on issues and advancements in the architecture industry, so it was no surprise that on 25 and 26 April this year, the sixth edition of the summit saw hundreds of attendees from across the Middle East flock to Sofitel Downtown Dubai. But it was not just architects present at the event. Senior professionals from the contractor community, developers, engineers, solution providers and government officials also attended, sharing their thoughts on various subjects like transport architecture solutions and sustainable architecture. Kick starting the summit was a keynote address by the conference chairman Abraham Samuel, an assistant professor at the Department of Architecture and Interior Design at Amity University Dubai, and soon after, the panel discussions commenced.

The first panel of the day was ‘Unveiling the truth behind the current and future mega projects and business practices’. Chaired by panellists Jamil Jadallah, managing director at National Engineering Bureau; Ibrahim Mohamed Jaidah, CEO and chief architect at Arab Engineering Bureau; and Tarek Shuaib, design principal at Pace, the trio touched on some interesting points regarding recruitment. Jaidah for one pointed out the need for fresh young talent in the industry. He said, “The good thing about hiring young blood is that new technology comes along with it. Even with our clients, the decision-makers are in their early thirties so it is necessary to be able to talk to them at a level that is comfortable to them. The only way of doing this is if we have a new generation of specialised architects come in.” With 50-60% of the GCC population under thirty, Shuaib agreed that it is important for an organisation to hire a new pool of graduates from the region and allow them to be the innovators and thought leaders within a company. June 2016 Middle East Consultant 33

ON SITE leaders in arCHiTeCTUre

The panel 'Unveiling the truth behind current and future mega projects and business practices' touched on topics like recruitment and strategy .

“It's important to give these people a platform that can assist them in going forward with their careers. We have to try to help them with their career path and what they would like to do in future, whether it is working with us or someone else. Being a regional firm, we have to have a certain number of locals working for us to reach our targets, so we are obliged to do that. I don't think we have a particular figure, but we try to harness talent from all over.” As the panel progressed, the discussion turned to matters like the importance of corporate social responsibility, and the biggest challenge in the boardroom. In Shuaib’s opinion, the biggest challenge for an architectural firm is growth. Ensuring that everyone in the team is working towards the same goal is not an easy task, and this kind of cooperation is especially necessary when the board is trying to steer the company in a certain direction. Jadallah said that another challenge is to make sure that the design of a project is not only iconic but also feasible, profitable and functional. The trio finished by briefly touching on the role of clients in inspiring architecture, how the reaction of the populace defines a landmark design and whether there are too many landmark designs in existence. After a quick networking lunch, the day progressed with keynote presentations by Gerflor and Kohler, and other panel discussions like ‘The future of architectural outlook in the Middle East’ and ‘Future architectural design trends’. The spotlight even fell on topics like architecture in the healthcare sector, where panellists Ahmad Soueid, principal and senior vice president at HDR; Carson Shearon, principal at CannonDesign; Jeffrey Brand, principal and board director at Perkins Eastman; and Marwan Houry, principal at Stantec, spoke about solving the challenges faced by healthcare professionals by creating state-of-the-art medical facilities that are focused on them as well as the patient. Another interesting debate was ‘How do global architectural firms succeed in the Middle East region?’

34 Middle East Consultant June 2016

Michael Fowler, managing director Middle East at Aedas, kicked off the discussion by saying that while most people talk about the opportunities in the region, it is equally important to highlight the many challenges. “The structure of the firm is difficult in the Middle East, because while places like Dubai are great cities, they aren't really business-friendly for design firms. There is this whole issue of who is a local engineering firm, who is a foreign engineering branch office and who is a specialist engineer. There’s the need for partners and even the lack of clarity about the process of getting different kinds of licences.” Adding to that, Thomas Behr, managing director at SOM, and Mark Streetz, senior vice president and managing principal at HOK, touched on a few other challenges: finding a strong partner, contracts and professionalism. Despite these issues, every panellist agreed that the Middle East is still the most active region in the world when it comes to construction, and any company looking to do business in the region should consider Dubai the first option for setting up a base. But it’s not just business opportunity that needs to be considered. Fowler for one believed that “Dubai is a laboratory for architectural ideas and is a huge sandbox for architects to play in”. Behr agreed, saying that in terms of their company, the Middle East region is the most diverse in terms of sectors and portfolio of work, compared to other international markets. Another advantage of doing business here is that the pace of construction is very fast once a project begins, and product quality is always high, said Harold Thompson, senior vice president at CallisonRTKL. In fact, he said that CallisonRTKL are looking to grow their office in Dubai as a means of managing these expectations and keeping quality at the highest standard. Day two of the summit was equally exciting. Discussions included ‘Daily operations, challenges and prospects faced by the world’s most respected leaders while running their business up the success ladder’, ‘What will the upcoming years hold for sustainable architecture and design?’ and ‘Effective and innovative management of transportation projects to meet growing infrastructure and city expansion plans’. It also saw a panel of developers that included big names like Abdullah Al Abdouli, managing director at Al Marjan Island; Muhammad Binghatti Aljbori, CEO and head of Architecture at Binghatti Developers; Omar Delawar, chief projects officer at Meraas Holding; and Sameh Muhtadi, CEO at Bloom Holding, throw light on what developers look for in an iconic architectural project. As a whole, the Leaders in Architecture MENA 2016 summit provided valuable insight on many issues and opportunities that professionals in the industry experience on a regular basis. And without a doubt, it armed attendees with intel that could very well take architectural innovation to the next level in the region.


19 OCTOBER 2016

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G r o u p

on site roundup

Update Dubai’s Majid Al Futtaim to invest $1.3bn in Oman Majid Al Futtaim has already invested OMR 190 million in Oman since 2001 and has created 23,000 jobs on its projects.

Dubai-based retail developer Majid Al Futtaim has announced that it will be investing OMR 515 million ($1.33 billion) in Oman over the next five years, in a move it says will create 42,000 jobs. The conglomerate plans to invest OMR 275 million ($714.2m) in the Mall of Oman project, OMR 45 million ($166.8m) in City Centre Sohar, and OMR 15 million ($38.9m) in My City Centre Sur. The rest – some

OMR 180 million ($467m) – will be invested in existing retail, leisure and entertainment businesses such as Magic Planet, Carrefour and VOX Cinemas. Mall of Oman will contain 350 outlets and 137,000sqm of retail space, a snow park, a Carrefour hypermarket and a 292-room hotel. On completion in 2020, it will be the largest retail outlet in the sultanate. City Centre Sohar will consist

of 100 retail outlets when it opens in 2018 and My City Centre Sur will be the company’s first community mall in Oman when it opens in 2017. Since 2001, Majid Al Futtaim has already invested OMR 190 million in Oman and has created 23,000 jobs on its construction projects and operations. “We are proud to renew our commitment to be the leading GCC investor in the sultanate through our OMR 705 million investments, which include the development of Mall of Oman, City Centre Sohar and My City Centre Sur, as well as additional investments from our retail, leisure and entertainment businesses,” said Alain Bejjani, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Holding. The plans build on the company’s existing developments in Oman, which include City Centre Muscat, which received an OMR 35 million expansion in 2015, City Centre Qurum, which opened in 2008, and Al Mouj Muscat.

SSH to design villas and apartments at Al Mouj waterfront community in Muscat Design firm SSH has won a contract to design villas and apartment blocks at the Al Mouj mixed-use waterfront community in Muscat, the company announced. Formally known as The Wave, Al Mouj is a publicprivate owned venture between the Omani government and UAE-based Majid Al Futtaim Properties. According to the contract, SSH will design two villa prototypes for Zunairah, a collection of beachfront villas that will be the latest addition to the Al Mouj community masterplan. The villas will be divided into two zones. Z1 will have a total built-up area of 900sqm, while Z2 will have an 1,800sqm built-up area. The Juman One apartments will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units. There will also be six penthouses, which will have 36 Middle East Consultant June 2016

The Juman One apartments will offer one-,two- and three-bedroom units, along with six penthouses with open-plan features.

open-plan features, spa bathrooms, terraces and five bedrooms. The development will also contain a gym, male and female spas and changing rooms, an

owner’s lounge and outside lounging areas, games room and a concierge service. There will also be three adjacent pools – a lounging pool, a children’s pool and a lap pool.

on site roundup

Muscat to get $54.5m hospital

Dubai to launch property star rating system

The 70-bed specialty hospital will provide a wide range of specialised treatment and services such as cardiology and genetics.

A new $54.5m hospital is set to be completed in Muscat, Oman within three years, according to local media reports. The Oman and Emirates Investment Holding Company and Spain’s Asistencia Sanitraria Interprovincial De Seguros SAU (ASISA) are behind the project, the Oman Daily Observer said. The 70-bed multi-specialty hospital will provide a wide range of specialised medical treatment and services such as mother and childcare, cardiology, genetics, urology, neurology, dermatology, oncology, rehabilitation, ophthalmology and IVF, it was reported. ASISA belongs to the cooperative company LAVINIA-ASISA Group, which has more than 12,000 doctors as shareholders and employs more than 32,000 healthcare professionals. The group owns 15 hospitals and over 64 medical centres, and manages 600 concerted assistance centres in the US, Africa, Mexico and now Oman. The Oman project is expected to be completed in three years and the

promoters have appointed Financial Corporation SAOG (Fincorp) to advise and assist in its implementation. “There is a general perception of lacunae in the current healthcare facilities available in Oman, and there has been a long waiting list in public hospitals for specialised treatments and surgeries. We are aware that many Omanis travel outside the country for specialised healthcare and the government also sends Omanis abroad for treatments not available in the country,” said Shaikh Nasr bin Amar al Hosni, CEO of Fincorp. “This project is intended to fill the existing gap for world-class healthcare institutions in Oman and will also serve those patients who travel outside the country. The government’s Healthcare Vision 2050 focuses on enhanced private sector participation in the healthcare system in Oman. The European partnership will bring in foreign investment to the country and also improve the current system by transferring knowledge and skills from abroad.”

The Dubai Land Department has announced that buildings will be given star ratings as part of a complete overhaul of the emirate’s building classification system. Each building will be given a star rating out of five, based on 60 tailored requirements. The process will be carried out by the Technical Affairs Department of the Land Department. Around 20,000 plots have already been mapped out, while the tally of completed projects to undergo the process is over 120,000 units, including apartments, offices, retail units and schools. The project is being monitored by Dubai Executive Council and aims to create a transparent real estate regulatory regime in line with the Dubai Plan 2021. The process starts with a plot being assigned to an inspector via a geographic information system expert administrator. The inspector then visits the site and conducts a survey of the building on every floor, although entry will be restricted to common areas of the building only. There will also be a 60-point questionnaire to be filled out. The information will then be updated online and a database will detail every single unit in Dubai, as well as a star rating for each building. The statement from the department added: “This will ensure a smoother user experience for the Ejari system as well a more detailed calculation method for rental and service charge increases as mandated by the law. This has far-reaching benefits not only for governmental and regulatory bodies but also for tenants, landlords, investors and businesses.” June 2016 Middle East Consultant 37

on site roundup

Update Reem Mall bags Abu Dhabi green rating The operator of Reem Mall in Abu Dhabi announced the project has been awarded an Estidama 2 Pearl Design Rating for sustainability. The 2 Pearl rating for design is recognition of the sustainability focus delivered by Reem Mall’s development team during the design phase of the $1 billion project. The Pearl Rating System for Estidama, run by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), aims to address the sustainability of a given development throughout its lifecycle. From the outset, Reem Mall has not only followed but exceeded the minimum mandatory sustainable design requirements set out by the UPC, said Shane Eldstrom, chief operating officer for Reem Mall. “Reem Mall is committed to environmental sustainability and the sustainability goals of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council and Abu Dhabi Vision 2030. From the outset, we have strived to exceed the guidelines set out by the UPC by going above and beyond the minimum requirements,” Eldstrom said in a statement. “We are very proud to say today

that our commitment and efforts have led to the project attaining the 2 Pearl Design Rating. There are a number of significant sustainability strategies that we developed and implemented during the design process for Reem Mall, with the goal of becoming a regional leader in sustainable mall development.” Developed and promoted by the UPC, Estidama is an initiative for large-scale sustainable urban developments. It promotes “thoughtful and responsible development through the creation of a balanced society based on four equal pillars of sustainability”, namely the environment, economy, society and culture. “The Reem Mall project is well-

deserving of its Estidama 2 Pearl Design Rating, as the project comprehensively illustrates the integration of the pillars of Estidama, factoring in such components as water, energy, waste management and local material use. “By achieving a 2 Pearl Design Rating, Reem Mall has exceeded the minimum mandatory 1 Pearl Design Rating requirement for privately funded developments. We will continue to offer support to the project team as the project progresses with its construction, in order to ensure that commitments made for the Design Rating are achieved,” added Mohamed Al Khadar, executive director, Urban Development & Estidama Sector, UPC. Once completed, Reem Mall will bring a wide range of family-focused retail, leisure and entertainment offerings to residents and visitors. The project will be home to the world’s biggest indoor snow play park, while the development is set to include some 450 stores, including 85 food and beverage outlets. With construction underway, the mall is expected to open in 2018. The venture is being developed by NREC and UPAC.

Orascom Construction wins $307.5m contracts for Cairo metro line in Egypt Egypt’s Orascom Construction has won two contracts worth $307.5 million for the third phase of Cairo Metro Line 3, it has been announced. The contractor will complete the civil package of the project in a consortium with French construction companies Vinci and Bouygues and Arab Contractors, a Reuters report said. The track works package will be completed in a consortium with TSO, part of France’s NGE Group, and ETF, a subsidiary of Eurovia. The company said in a statement that the contracts will bring the total value of 38 Middle East Consultant June 2016

the company’s share of the third phase of the metro line to $427 million. It added that funding for the third phase would be provided by French and European entities.

The third phase of the metro will consist of 18km of tunnelling and viaduct works, which will include 15 elevated, grade and underground stations. Back in 2007, Orascom won a $180 million contract for the first phase of the metro expansion, and in 2009 it won further contracts worth $140 million for the second phase of the third metro line. Earlier this year, Orascom Construction announced that it had signed deals worth a total of $200 million for industrial and infrastructure projects in Egypt and Algeria.



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On Site WilliaM BEnnEtt

Final word

William Bennett, landscape architect at desert INK.

The value-add of a landscape architect

Landscape architects are able to join the dots between disciplines and envision projects There was a time when developers considered appointing a project landscape architect to be a luxury – the first to be sacrificed when budget becomes an issue. When a landscape architect was appointed, it was often too late to add significant value other than a bit of window dressing here and there. Thankfully, however, recent years have seen a number of major projects led by landscape architects, such as New York’s High Line, the Eden Project and the spectacularly successful London Olympic Park. These high-profile success stories have not escaped the attention of clients and project managers across the globe, and the profession finds itself better understood and appreciated than at any time in history. So what exactly do landscape architects do, and how can a qualified landscape architect add value to a project team? In order to understand how landscape architects add value, we must first understand their background and training. The word ‘landscape’ has unfortunately led the uninitiated to think of landscape architects as gardeners with an inflated title. Indeed, most people are surprised to learn that training to be a chartered landscape architect involves the same seven-year slog as to be an architect. The curriculum is incredibly diverse, ranging from horticulture to human behaviour, economics to urban design. This diversity of interest and knowledge is incredibly useful during the initial visioning phases of a project, where holistic thinking ensures that the maximum asset value is achieved. Since landscape architects do not focus solely on one area of expertise, they are able to join the dots between disciplines and envision a project which incorporates aspects of architecture, engineering, human interaction, art and the natural world. This translates into unique projects such as Singapore’s Gardens by 40 Middle East Consultant June 2016

the Bay, an amazing blend of architecture, horticulture, engineering, leisure and edutainment. The holistic approach favoured by landscape architects can also improve human experience of a project, with projects studied in the context of their surroundings. By considering a range of visitor impressions and movement as they approach the site, move through it and use it as a whole, a development is both better adapted to its environment and better appreciated by its visitors. Asphalt car parks may be transformed into attractive vehicular plazas with permeable paving, shaded by trees and shared with pedestrians. Less expensive, less damaging to the environment and an altogether more agreeable place to park your car. When it comes to return on investment, it doesn’t get much better than landscape. Design and installation of a world-class landscape typically costs a fraction of the architectural, interior and engineering budgets, yet often is one of the attributes which contributes most to a visitor’s experience. Think of the Madinat Jumeirah without the hidden piazzas, terraces and canals, or Dubai’s Park Hyatt Hotel without its serene courtyard pool. Indeed, in the increasingly competitive resort industry, visitors frequently spend more time enjoying landscape facilities such as swimming pools, gardens and al-fresco dining than they do in the hotel’s interior spaces. Not only is landscape relatively good value for money, but a good landscape architect reduces project spend if involved from the outset. For example, it’s possible to save millions on podium structures if landscape loads are coordinated with structural allowances, rather than overengineering slabs to accommodate any eventuality. Likewise, landscape architects can eliminate expensive structural items such as retaining walls, through intelligent contouring and vegetated slope stabilisation techniques. It is fair to say that the earlier the landscape architect gets involved, the more savings can be attained. With these benefits in mind, it is clear that abandoning professional landscape advice when budgets are tight is a false economy. Indeed, well-conceived landscape is an exceptionally effective way to add project value while reducing project construction and maintenance costs.









It’s one thing to imagine a better world. It’s another to deliver it. AECOM does just that because we make amazing happen.

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Profile for ME Consultant

ME Consultant June 2016  

Insight and analysis for construction specialists

ME Consultant June 2016  

Insight and analysis for construction specialists