Me Consultant May 2018

Page 1

For the construction specialist

New Dawn H+A on how design can enhance experiences in the healthcare and hospitality sectors ON TOPIC

Abu Dhabi’s residential real estate market in focus


Women in construction profile: Leah McKenna


The design and delivery of phase four of The Avenues


May 2018 Publication licensed by Dubai Production City A product of Big Project Middle East

© 2018 LACASA Architects & Engineering Consultants All Rights Reserved

Sr. FF&E DESignEr I’m Nadin Alkayyali and I am a

My role is to advocate for better quality materials One of the biggest challenges within any project is ensuring that the materials and finishes selected are translated well from drawings to constructed spaces. Often, clients opt for lower quality finishes at the construction phase as a cost-saving measure. As an FF&E Designer, my role is to advocate for better quality materials while providing a higher value. My selections take into account a plethora of factors including the nature of the space, the authorities’ standards, and the environmental conditions.

Nadin Alkayyali Sr. FF&E Designer

LACASA is committed to providing quality-driven designs within a multidisciplinary environment. Established in 2006, the firm has grown significantly over the past eleven years. Today, LACASA boasts a diverse portfolio encompassing all types of developments and across the entire MENA region. While it is said that perfection doesn’t exist, we believe that perfecting design can be achieved by cultivating extraordinary talent.


On topic IndustrY VIEWs frOM AcrOss thE MIddLE EAst

07 AnALYsIs











Cavendish Maxwell’s Manika Dhama discusses how Dubai’s residential real estate market performed in Q1 2018 10 AnALYsIs

Core Savills’ David Godchaux points out drivers and deterrents in Abu Dhabi’s residential real estate sector 14 nEWs

Majid Al Futtaim breaks ground on My City Centre Masdar shopping mall project; Parsons appoints Andrew Bevan as regional smart mobility director

In practice AnALYsIs, InsIghts And IntErVIEWs

16 IntErVIEW

Jason Saundalkar talks to H+A’s Stas Louca and David Lessard about the evolving healthcare and hospitality sectors and their competitive edge as a specialised boutique consultancy 22 prOfILE

Middle East Consultant talks to Parsons’ Leah McKenna about her influences, career and gender diversity in the construction industry

On site cAsE studIEs, OpInIOns And snApshOts

30 cAsE studY

We talk to Pace about the design and delivery of The Avenues mall 34 EVEnt rEVIEW

Industry professionals met at the Address Montgomerie Golf Club for a friendly yet competitive day on the greens 38 OpInIOn

GAJ’s Reham Yehia Hussien on designing buildings that add to the urban community within the context of the environment 2 MAY 2018

THANK YOU FOR THE TRUST BESTOWED OVER THE LAST 35 YEARS! Mechanical, Electrical, IT, Electronics & Wet Services Consulting Dubai - Johannesburg - Cape Town - bengaluru Tel +971 4 338 4277



Here’s What I’m Thinking... Last month, as I signed off on Middle East Consultant’s special issue dedicated to women in the built environment, I made the decision to continue focusing on gender imbalance in the industry. Having read through all 31 of the personal stories shared by the women I approached for that main feature, it was blatantly obvious that there are still plenty of issues that have yet to be dealt with. The industry has made some progress in the last couple of years but there’s still work to do, and just one edition highlighting the imbalance and the challenges women face isn’t enough. With that in mind, in this month’s issue and with every MEC issue going forward, I will continue to profile women working in the built environment in print and on our globally accessible digital platform ( It is my hope that these stories will not only shine a light on some of the challenges women continue to face in meeting rooms and onsite, but also serve as inspiration for young women trying to decide on a career path. I also hope that these stories find their way to decision makers and HR managers in construction firms, who will then take steps to make positive change within their respective organisations. Here, I’d like to recognise and give a big thumb’s up to those firms that are already taking steps to correct the imbalance in their workforce, through initiatives that offer flexible work hours, longer than average paid maternity leave and are working with schools and universities to inspire and attract young women to the industry. Beyond this, Gavin and I are now looking to balance the gender scales with regards to our various summits and award ceremonies as well. Looking back at our events in 2017, it’s evident we didn’t do enough to ensure that we had a balanced mix of women and men on the panels at our summits or on the judging panels for our respective awards. For 2018, we’re keen on doing better, so even though our summits and awards are still several months off, we’re going to start planning and approaching people in the coming weeks. Watch this space and, as always, enjoy the magazine.


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Jason Saundalkar Editor, Middle East Consultant 4 MAY 2018

© Copyright 2018 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.

The world looks better

Creativity: 3D Image: beauty&thebit

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KEO’s Sultan: Why we’re

The world today looks to be on the verge of another revolution in transport and connectivity, with technologies such as the Hyperloop in advanced stages of trial. The story “Hyperloop begins construction of passenger and freight test track” brought home the fact that the new age of connectivity is almost upon us. Even though the technology is still in its testing phase now, the day is not far when it will be ready to implement commercially. Speedy development of this technology will enable a lot of countries around the world to skip an entire stage of development and catapult themselves into the modern transportation age – and the Gulf countries could be among them. No real railway network exists in the region, despite years of planning, with only Saudi Arabia having rudimentary intercity passenger operations in place. If the GCC countries take the lead in implementing Hyperloop when it is ready, they will have at once solved a major connectivity problem by reducing travel time between cities in the region and lowering dependence on polluting fossil fuels by minimising the use of motor vehicles.

investing in talent and diversity


Caesars Palace hotel to open at Meraas’ Bluewaters Island

In Pictures: Inside the new Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi CONSULTANT

Fast-tracking for Expo 2020 risks delays and higher costs


East Coast C&T wins contract to build Kalba Waterfront


Royal HaskoningDHV to conduct market study for Haramain High Speed Railway

6 MAY 2018

In Pictures: MAPEI’s $6.5 million expansion and new production line

Name withheld by request



Dubai Residential Real Estate Focus Cavendish Maxwell’s Manika Dhama discusses how Dubai’s residential real estate market performed in Q1 2018


n Q1 2018, villas/townhouses traded at around $735,000 and apartment transactions averaged $326,708. Transacted prices for villas/townhouses settled above the 2017 average during Q1 2018, mainly due to limited lower priced inventory entering the market this year compared to the launches in the first half of 2017. Meanwhile, trading prices for apartments continue to shift towards the lower end of the price band, averaging $326,700 in Q1

2018. The middle-income population ($4,000-6,800 per month income bracket) has been the key target segment for the majority of ‘affordable housing’ apartment launches by developers in recent months. The majority of this new inventory offers smaller unit sizes to keep prices attractive, along with providing incentives such as Dubai Land Department (DLD) fee waivers, payment plans with limited commitment (20-30%) during the pre-construction period, and extended post-handover payment options. MAY 2018 7


Top five off-plan transfer locations, Q1 2018

Top five secondary market transfer locations, Q1 2018













MBR City

Jumeirah Village Circle

Al Furjan

The Lagoons

Dubai Marina

Sports City

International City

Jumeirah Lakes Towers

Palm Jumeirah

Price Performance


According to the Property Monitor Index, apartment and villa/ townhouse prices have registered 12-month declines of 2% on average. This price movement in the last 12 months has varied not only between communities but also among different buildings within the same community, reflecting greater differentiation in how available properties are now trading. This differentiation is expected to continue as buyers have an increasing supply base to choose from and property fundamentals such as developer track record, proximity to social and public infrastructure, ease of access and maintenance, among other factors, will drive price movement.

In terms of inventory added to the market, approximately 3,800 residential units were handed over across Dubai in Q1 2018, 83% apartments and 17% villas/townhouses. The majority of handovers during the first quarter of 2018 were in International City, Jumeirah Village Circle and Dubai Studio City, with more than 250 units handed over in each location. More than 92% of these were apartments. For the remainder of the year, the majority of upcoming supply is concentrated in Business Bay, Jumeirah Village Circle and Town Square, all with more than 2,000 units scheduled for handover before year-end. Of the total scheduled handovers due in the remaining three quarters, approximately 46% of the upcoming supply is expected to be handed over during Q2. This increase in readily available inventory will continue to affect rents in most locations across Dubai, as tenants have more choice. This will also affect occupancies in existing stock and should be factored into net yield estimations for the forthcoming period.Â

Rent Performance

However, rent declines for residential properties in Dubai were more pronounced than price declines in Q1 2018. These declines were more pronounced in Business Bay, Discovery Gardens, International City (Clusters), Jumeirah Golf Estates, The Springs and Al Furjan Villas, where 12-month declines averaged more than 5%. Rent declines are expected to continue during the second quarter of 2018, with new handovers planned in both freehold and leasehold communities across Dubai. The pressure on housing allowances has also affected rental market performance, while the pool of tenants at the higher end of the spectrum continues to shrink. It has been a tenant-led market, and the increasing stock levels each quarter have provided ample opportunities for negotiation on base rents as well as payment terms such as number of cheques. Declines will be more pronounced in areas with increasing supply and those located away from central business districts and public infrastructure. Additionally, building maintenance and quality remain significant drivers of occupancy levels, thus affecting net realised yields on investment properties. 8 MAY 2018

Property Transfers

Off-plan transfers accounted for 61% of the total in Q1 2018. In total, 5,698 apartments and 622 villas/townhouses were transferred as off-plan property. Business Bay, Mohammed Bin Rashid City and Jumeirah Village Circle ( JVC) dominated off-plan transfers during the first quarter. Meanwhile, traditional favourites such as Dubai Marina and International City led in secondary market apartment transfers, along with Dubai Sports City, which accounted for 13% of total apartment resale transfers during Q1 2018. Secondary market transfers among villas/townhouses surpassed off-plan transfers in this category, led by Emirates Living and Arabian Ranches, which together accounted for more than 42% of total villa/townhouse secondary market transfers registered during the first quarter.

Source: Cavendish Maxwell, Property Monitor

Business Bay



Abu Dhabi Residential Shapshot 2018 Core Savills’ David Godchaux analyses Abu Dhabi’s residential real estate sector and points out drivers and deterrents


eal estate in Abu Dhabi continues to feel downward pressure across most sectors due to the lingering impact of job losses and consolidation activity witnessed during 2016/2017. With VAT being introduced across the UAE, a marginal negative impact has been felt in Abu Dhabi’s retail sector, whereas other asset classes are yet to register a shift in dynamics. Prices and rents are softening across the board but the pace is starting to decelerate. With oil prices witnessing sustained upward momentum and government spending on the rise, these positive forces are driving up the overall economic sentiment. Although a clear turnaround is distant, we expect this deceleration to continue in the mid-term followed by a very gradual growth in prices and rents. 10 MAY 2018

Other factors such as a steady increase in supply over the next 1224 months are expected to affect recovery, although products now on offer are targeting the mid-market, thus marginally enabling absorption. Residential Supply and Demand

Prominent completions over H2 2017 saw steady absorption including Al Hadeel at Al Bandar, Bloom Marina and Hidd Al Saadiyat. Key development launches such as Marina Rise Tower and Waters Edge have also witnessed traction in off-plan take-up, as they offer compact products at lower entry points along with lucrative payment plans. Most off-plan acquisitions are from investor buyers, who continue to be drawn to lower priced products due to the expected high level of yields


and easier payment plans. However, despite rental migration to these new areas, overall tenant pool growth is expected to be much slower – resulting in yield contraction from the current high levels, which many investors falsely expect to continue post-handover. Eventually, this decline in yields will reduce demand, in turn pulling sales prices down over the mid-term. Residential Rents and Sales

The overhang of downsizing activity across the private and public domain and the resulting contractions in housing allowances have led to further weakening of rents over the last few quarters. Villa districts continue to underperform due to a shift in occupier preferences led by contracting housing allowances, with average rental declines hovering over 17%, while apartment communities display relative resilience at 7% drops. Areas further away from the city centre, such as Al Reef Villas and apartments in Khalifa City A, saw the largest declines, as tenants preferred to relocate to Abu Dhabi main island to capitalise on falling rents and reduce the commute to the city. We forecast new supply on Reem and Yas Island to add further

downward pressure on rents within these districts and Saadiyat Island is also expected to see a significant increase in residential supply. Rental rates in the area are likely to be resilient due to its growing appeal as a lifestyle destination and art and culture hub. Sales prices have also continued to weaken across most communities, 8% on average across the city over the past 12 months. Most sales activity is concentrated in the off-plan segment where attractive deals and newer products are to be found. Prices in communities such as Al Bandar, Al Zeina and Saadiyat appear to have improved slightly due to numerous handovers of quality off-plan projects such as Al Hadeel and Mamsha al Saadiyat. These handovers have achieved steady absorption levels, though older units continue to see sales prices soften. The secondary sales market continues to be muted, as potential buyers remain on the sidelines waiting for the market to fall further. Existing owners who bought properties at the peak are becoming reluctant landlords, looking to rent to an already limited tenant pool rather than sell much below the acquisition price. This gap in unrealised expectation versus market reality is causing the secondary sales market to see long transaction timelines and fewer concluded transactions.

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MAY 2018 11


Average Abu Dhabi two-bed apartment rents, H1 2017 H1 2018 H1 2017 vs H1 2018 (‘000 AED/Annum)

H1 2018













Al Reef Villas

Golf Gardens

Al Raha Gardens

Hydra Village

Saadiyat Beach Villas

Who and Where

The city has been a stronghold for local and GCC buyers, particularly from KSA, and they continue to occupy a dominant share, though undeniably the total pool of buyers has shrunk. Despite the downturn and ongoing dampened economic sentiment, many regional buyers continue to have faith in the long-term prospects of the city. This faith is driven by the fact that Abu Dhabi is comfortable with hydrocarbon reserves to fuel its future growth. With oil prices recovering steadily throughout 2017-YTD 2018 and umpteen government announcements, its diversification impetus further bolsters its economic perception in the regional and global markets. Within the region, buyers also perceive Abu Dhabi to be a relatively small market where decent stock has historically been in shortage and better products have consistently outperformed the market. Despite downward pressures due to oversupply concerns, the geographical waterfront limitations of the core islands of Saadiyat, Reem and Yas will potentially make these districts restricted for future growth, curtailing the oversupply spread – unlike the current case in Dubai. With the pace of new deliveries slowing down, supply levels are gradually expected to align with the market conditions in the mid-term. Understandably, these factors make the Abu Dhabi market a midto long-term investment avenue, driving cash-rich local and regional buyers/investors to lock in at the current low entry prices. A wide variety of compact as well as better build products now on offer give traditional

Al Reef

Al Reem Island

Khalifa City

Al Raha Beach

Saadiyat Island

investors the choice to expand their portfolio. However, because of this long-term horizon, expatriate movement to home ownership remains limited due to uncertainty surrounding the employment market and flexibility offered by the ongoing softened and attractive rental market. For end user buyers, a strong preference is seen for prime gated villa communities such as Saadiyat Islands. Given the recent history of this location as a prime residential investment zone, it is gradually creating momentum as more HNWI end users and investors look towards this area for long-term capital preservation and lifestyle amenities. This sentiment is reinforced by the burgeoning cultural district and superior quality residential stock. The recent announcement of the Aldar and Emaar partnership in Saadiyat Grove reinforces the prime nature of this district. Reem Island, on the other hand, is predominantly an investor-driven market due to its lower entry prices and relatively high returns on the back of steady tenant demand. As the island gains traction and liquidity due to the pipeline of supply deliveries, coupled with easy accessibility to Abu Dhabi main island and upcoming commercial hubs on Maryah Island, the area is likely to witness sustained tenant interest. Yas Island, due to its lifestyle, leisure and retail offerings, is attracting both investors and end users from a mix of the GCC and the wider Arab region. However, on the downside, mid- to long-term capital and rental appreciation is expected to remain under pressure due to this rising level of stock.

“Areas further away from the city centre, such as Al Reef Villas and apartments in Khalifa City A, saw the largest declines, as tenants preferred to relocate to Abu Dhabi main island to capitalise on falling rents” 12 MAY 2018

Source: Core Savills Research

Average Abu Dhabi villa rents, H1 2017 H1 2017 vs H1 2018 (‘000 AED/Annum)

Pace is a leading multidisciplinary consulting firm providing architecture, engineering and planning services to a wide range of clients. Our story goes back 50 years as one of the region’s leading consultancies operating internationally. Whether it’s the comfort for a new city, the detailed design of a rail network, managing the construction of a skyscraper or the improvement of a management process, we plan, design, manage and construct solutions.

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Parsons appoints Andrew Bevan as regional smart mobility director

MAF breaks ground on My City Centre Masdar shopping mall project Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) has broken ground on its first mall in Abu Dhabi. MAF says that Amana Steel Contracting has begun main works on the My City Centre Masdar site, as the project’s main contractor. Set to open in Q2 2019, the $92m retail and leisure destination will be among the UAE’s most sustainable malls, according to a statement from MAF. The mall is said to have been designed to meet the requirements of an Estidama Three Pearl, which is equivalent to the LEED Gold rating, for exceptional performance in energy and water conservation. “My City Centre Masdar, Majid Al Futtaim’s first shopping destination to open in Abu Dhabi, will exemplify leadership in sustainable design and operation, in line with Masdar City and the UAE capital’s long-term sustainability goals,” said Ghaith Shocair, CEO of Shopping Malls at Majid Al Futtaim – Properties. The mall will house more than 77 stores spread across 18,800sqm of gross leasable area (GLA), including a 5,793sqm Carrefour Hypermarket and dining options for residents and professionals within Masdar City and the surrounding communities. 14 MAY 2018

Andrew Bevan has joined Parsons as smart mobility director for the Middle East business unit, and is now responsible for leading the firm’s smart infrastructure solutions development in the region. Bevan has worked on several rail projects throughout the Middle East and has spent several years working for the federal government in Abu Dhabi, developing the systems portfolio and the introduction for the national rail infrastructure. Overall, Bevan has nearly 20 years of experience, specialising in intelligent solutions and systems integration. He has an honours degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from the University of Bath in the UK, is a chartered engineer and holds fellowships with two international engineering firms. “The combination of our technical solutions and our talented people empowers us to bring bold ideas to market. We are excited to have Andrew on board; he will leverage our technology offerings and lead the development of new smart solutions for our customers in MEA,” said Gary Adams, Parsons Group president.


GAJ to design Arcadia Secondary School

Saudi Arabia and SoftBank to build world’s largest solar project Saudi Arabia and the SoftBank Group have signed an MoU to build what is billed as the world’s largest solar project. According to Bloomberg, $200bn will be invested into the project, which was unveiled by SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son in New York at a ceremony with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. “It’s a huge step in human history. It’s bold, risky, and we hope we succeed doing that,” Prince Mohammed was quoted as saying. The project could generate up to 200GW and, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy, is expected to be 100 times larger than the next biggest proposed development, as well as a third more than what the global photovoltaic industry supplied worldwide in 2017. “The kingdom has great sunshine, great size of available land and great engineers, great labour but most importantly, the best and greatest vision,” Son told reporters at the briefing. The project includes panel and equipment manufacturing through to power generation. The development is expected to reach its maximum capacity by 2030 and may cost close to $1bn a gigawatt, Son explained.

Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) has been appointed for the design of the new Arcadia Secondary School. The new school will be built in Jumeirah Village Triangle, adjacent to the Arcadia Preparatory School, which the firm also designed. GAJ notes that the facility will be purpose-built for secondary grade students and will be able to accommodate 800 children. The majority of ground-floor classrooms will open into protected spaces which provide safe access to play areas, GAJ says. Work on the project is expected to finish in December 2019. The school will be designed keeping sustainable building practices in mind, with the goal of providing a safe, healthy and productive learning environment for students, as well as a comfortable environment for faculty and staff. “Education is a constantly evolving science, and as such schools require ever-changing methods and use of space through which their education can develop. Keeping in mind this required flexibility, which is crucial to the school today and in the future, spaces will be designed to enable both the children and the staff to use, adapt and develop as they see fit,” said Jason Burnside, partner at Godwin Austen Johnson.

MAY 2018 15



16 MAY 2018



New Dawn Middle East Consultant talks to H+A’s Stas Louca and David Lessard about the evolving healthcare and hospitality sectors and their competitive edge as a specialised boutique consultancy outique firm H+A is the proverbial new kid on the block and reckons it is the first healthcare and hospitality-focused multidisciplinary firm in Dubai. Through its head office in the city, it aims to provide advisory, architecture, interior and landscape design services, and is keen to function as an end-to-end provider capable of covering feasibility through to commissioning. Delivering quality designs that enhance the guest and patient experience are a key priority for H+A. With regard to healthcare, Stas Louca, managing director and founding partner, will take the lead. On the hospitality side of things, David Lessard, design director, will oversee that side of the business. The partners will also pool their significant regional and international experience when working on projects that combine elements of both disciplines. Discussing the regional healthcare sector, Louca comments, “The general healthcare sector is being adequately serviced with one bed per 1,000 people here in the UAE. But that becomes inadequate when you begin to factor in medical tourism. The UAE government has a goal to become a global healthcare destination and I think our best bet is to become a hub for specialised and elective medical treatments. Take the new Abu Dhabi Proton Centre as an example, a specialist cancer treatment and the only one of its kind in the Middle East. This clinic will attract patients from the MENA region and wider, as the next closest machine is in Europe, with roughly 12 in the US. “Preventative treatments are an emerging trend, looking at things like cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes, as these are noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and can be prevented with pre-emptive care and attention. Another type of healthcare which ties into hospitality is plastic surgery. This is an incredibly competitive area of medicine, and the talent and luxury accommodation is already here. The UAE has only just started looking at combining hospitality with healthcare, so there’s a great opportunity to further define the country as a destination for

advanced healthcare practice, coupled with high-end hospitality-style service, which keeps it on track for continued growth.” Weighing in on the region’s hospitality sector, Lessard says, “There are two considerations to be made when measuring the strength of the hospitality sector in the UAE, one being qualitative and the other quantitative. On the quantitative side, there is a perception that we are reaching a saturation point, particularly in the five-star hotel space. Despite this perception, we still see an appetite for luxury with RevPAR and average occupancy still strong. “The four-star and lifestyle hotel space, which historically did not have the demand or interest from developers, are now finding their place in the run-up to 2020. Furthermore, we must also consider that all the existing hotel stock constructed in the boom years are now coming up for refurbishment, with adaptive reuse projects and conversions also seeing increased activity.” Lessard notes that this market demand would be reason enough to launch a firm specialised in hospitality design; however, he points out that the reasons for launching H+A were more qualitative. “Number of rooms is not a measure of quality, and our survey of existing hotels in the UAE suggests there is still room for design innovation and opportunities to collaborate with new operators, offering a differentiated product that focuses on quality and the guest experience. Add our healthcare expertise to this equation and suddenly you open a plethora of synergetic opportunities that can serve both the wellness space and medical tourism space. Both are growing sectors, and for us, some of the most interesting sectors that place real emphasis on the guest experience.” Louca points out that refurbishments are already taking place in the healthcare sector. “Like hotels, some healthcare facilities are now over 10 years old. The average timeframe for a healthcare institution in need of refurbishment, due to changes in technological advances, is between ten and 12 years. Hotels have a lifespan of about six to 10 years, and hospitals are similar. Customers, no longer considered ‘patients’, need change over time, as does the operation and output of a hospital. An example of this is outpatient departments are currently one of the biggest areas of growth MAY 2018 17


“The combining of hospitality with healthcare is a relatively new concept for the region. Instead of the patient being secondary to the treatments or procedures, they are now the focal point of services provided” in a hospital, due to private healthcare insurance covering this type of treatment more readily.” Opportunities Driven by Requirements

With significant regional and global experience under his belt, Louca has seen client requirements evolve in the past couple of years, driven by two main factors. “Global trends towards customer experience have changed – competition and private healthcare has altered the landscape. The combining of hospitality with healthcare is a relatively new concept for the region. Instead of the patient being secondary to the treatments or procedures, they are now the focal point of services provided. “Traditionally, patients have been sent around to different stations for each test, appointment or treatment. Today, clients are aware that 02

18 MAY 2018

customers are choosing their venue for treatment, so creating a space which reduces stress through uncomplicated wayfinding enables hospitals to increase volumes of return visitors.” Keeping that in mind, Louca insists that his firm will always design with the customer’s experience in mind. “We’ll be thinking about the overall environment, landscape and delivery of service. The shift in evolution is the customer’s needs.” Technology, he explains, will play an even bigger role in the healthcare sector with the adoption and roll-out of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, wearable and smart technology and tele-medicine. He is convinced that business opportunities lie in the ability of firms to bring the hospitality experience into the healthcare sector. From a hospitality standpoint, Lessard is keen to point out that several elements have had an impact on the market and client requirements. “We speak a lot about the maturing market and with this maturity comes a discerning client who not only understands the measure of a successful project financially, but also the success of a project from a public perception point of view. It’s not news that project budgets and efficiency are becoming more constrained to ensure projects are viable. This we all know and is fundamental in our work.” He continues, “Beyond these pragmatics, we are witnessing a drive towards hospitality and healthcare projects that are more sensitive to the guest and patient experience – understanding that the built environment has an impact on our emotions, comfort and overall well-being. Our healthcare clients have come to this realisation and see the value in a hospitality approach to hospital design. Similarly, our hospitality clients are looking for opportunities to introduce health and well-being into hotel designs, through elements such as food menus, lighting (as it relates to our circadian rhythm) and spa treatments.



“There is a consensus among hoteliers that we are no longer creating places but we are instead creating experiences. Guests are searching for something more personalised linked to the location and highly functional, with comfort becoming a new benchmark for luxury. These trend evolutions highlight a market drive towards the cross-pollination of hospitality and healthcare which is at the core of our ethos at H+A.” Bumps in the Road

While there are certainly numerous opportunities that H+A can tap into in Dubai and the wider region, both Louca and Lessard are well aware of the challenges in their respective disciplines. “We all face similar challenges and it is widely known that budgets, timelines and fees are becoming more competitive not only in the UAE but across the region. This is a new reality and we must adapt. As a smaller firm, we have the ability to be more agile in response to these challenges, and it is not our primary concern. As a specialised practice with an ethos founded on design quality, one of our challenges is finding like-minded clients who see the value in process, research and innovation,” says Lessard. “Finding the emotional investment from clients is more challenging than finding the financial investment, and we believe that successful projects are a result of collaboration, dedication and self-awareness. These qualities are hard to find on both the client and consultant side, making it our biggest challenge.” Louca elaborates: “The challenge for architects is achieving long-term ROI for clients. We need to convince clients how doing more/investing more now will serve them better in the long run. The operational costs of a hospital overrun initial capital costs, for example. What you spent to build a hospital is the same as running it for ten years. So investing more in certain things at the beginning can save money in the long term. “An example of this is sustainable building. Using materials with a low maintenance cycle makes for less cleaning, lower energy bills and less labour needed. Lifecycle costing is the real value and challenge, as

it’s still new. In this market, a lot of investors come in and out and don’t stick around to see those returns, so it’s a challenge to get them to make initial investments which yield longer-term ROI.” Having said that, the partners are confident that their experience and specialisation put them in a unique position in the competitive UAE market. “The UAE is a highly competitive market, but we are not competing with big firms – we are proud to be a highly specialised boutique consultancy. The difference in large and small practices is partners are more hands-on and more accessible to clients at every stage and every hour of the day,” Louca says. “We, as partners, are always on the ground and don’t need to be flown in for meetings, which means we’re accessible and answering our phones 24 hours a day. There are some clients who are looking to hire big firms with big names and that’s just what they’re looking for – we know they’ll never be our clients, because we are offering something very different. We offer a very specialised service – there are not many firms offering only healthcare and hospitality design. Those who understand the difference in our service are the clients we’re looking to take on. There will always be competition and others who do what you do, so you have to create another type of value proposition, which we see as person-to-person service. We also have the tools and software of all the large firms – we use VR as a design tool, BIM and fully parametric systems as a standard.” Lessard adds: “Without sounding too altruistic, we do not see ourselves in competition with our peers. We are not targeting volume and have a truly specialised offering that appeals directly to clients seeking that expertise. Although we are often referred to as consultants providing a service, we try to think beyond this label and see ourselves more as architects in the traditional sense of the term – with a multi-disciplinary expertise across architecture, interiors and landscape design – a truly seamless design approach that is balanced, experiential and relevant.” “We embrace the technical challenges of healthcare and hospitality projects, refining our expertise and project delivery systems to focus on MAY 2018 19


01 Stas Louca (left) and David Lessard (right) previously worked together at an American architecture and design firm.

functionality and exploring what we call creative buildability. We do not believe designs are limited to visual concepts and feel many projects fall victim to this pitfall in the early stages – not giving enough importance to the detailing of projects in subsequent stages. We blur the boundary between traditional means of design and delivery, empowering our teams to treat all project decisions with equal importance, from the façade down to the threshold details.” Discussing modern tools and technology specifically, Lessard comments, “We embrace technology, with our studio working on a BIM platform in all stages of design – fully exploiting the capabilities of REVIT, which 04 we feel other studios underutilise. Clash detection, integrated specifications and room data sheets are only some of the functionality we have integrated with our BIM models. These same models are used for virtual walkthroughs, allowing our clients to see the ‘real’ project and not an embellished photo-realistic image that does not represent the actual project. Expertise coupled with technology give us an edge, but above all we see ideas as our most valuable advantage.” Louca summarises, “Our strategy to growing the business is winning the right projects and working with the right clients. That means choosing projects well and seeking out clients who value expertise and a high level of design and meticulous attention to detail.” The Road Ahead

Looking beyond the UAE, the partners are keen on several markets. Louca comments, “We’re keen on looking at Africa with a similar healthcare and hospitality strategy. Africa has great potential and a need for advanced healthcare facilities. Other developing markets which look interesting are Pakistan and Egypt. Within the GCC, Saudi Arabia has massive potential – the healthcare and tourism strategies in the lead-up to 2030 are fantastic and we can’t afford not to be part of that.” Lessard believes that while healthcare and hospitality are obvious growth sectors for H+A, there are also opportunities in the education sector. “Education is a competitive market but it is essential for inspiring 20 MAY 2018

02 H+A was appointed by Proton Partners International Healthcare Investments to design its $60m proton beam therapy cancer treatment centre. 03 The centre is expected to be able to treat over 1,300 patients annually and is scheduled to open in 2019. 04 Louca has a wealth of local and international architectural experience under his belt.

a motivated self-sufficient society that is truly invested in the place with a sense of national pride. If one believes the argument that automation will eliminate half the world’s jobs by 2030, then one needs to rethink the education system, particularly for research and development.” He continues, “Linking universities with healthcare is a proven way to exploit synergies between care and prevention. Similarly, within hospitality there are opportunities to create hotel academies that are focused on regional sensibilities – not relying solely on the European academies who have historically defined global hotel operations methodology. Healthcare, hospitality and education are key growth markets, with the synergies between the three especially ripe for creative opportunities in architectural design. Going one step further, we see a real opportunity to contextualise these practice areas in response to the specificity of cultures across the Middle East.” Speaking about the year ahead, Louca is keen on considered growth. “We are looking to grow 25-30% in the next year and no more. Boutique firms need to stick to a controllable scale because it impacts the ability of partners to remain as functioning elements of the design process. If you grow too fast or too much, time gets spent managing the business rather than doing the business. We are looking to maintain the boutique elements and build the brand on good projects. We would rather do five exceptional projects than fifteen average projects.” He concludes: “We would ideally like to reach a 25-member team; after that it gets difficult to manage the quality coming out of the office.”

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WIC Profile: Leah McKenna Jason Saundalkar talks to Parsons’ Leah McKenna about her inf luences, career and gender diversity in the construction industry at large ollowing our special edition dedicated to women in the construction industry, Middle East Consultant continues to share the inspiration and experiences of women working in the male-dominated industry across the GCC. Here, we catch up with Leah McKenna, an industry veteran who has spent the last four years working at Parsons as a project manager. What drove you to get into construction and your very first role in the industry? What influences set you on your path?

My father is an architect and developer, so from a young age, I was accompanying him on site visits and I loved it. At school, as I had a natural tendency towards math and science, I looked at careers in the field of engineering and chose civil, so that I could get exposed to site work and the construction of mega projects. My first role after university was on-site working on a sports stadium, where I learned so much from the craft people, carpenters and foremen. This really shaped my attitude and I have always kept buildability in mind when designing or managing construction projects. Tell us about your career and the key milestones.

My engineering career began on a construction site, where I was assigned the role of deputy resident engineer for the design consultant. Here, I had exposure to all the trades and was (in addition to my regular role) tasked with ensuring the high quality of finishes. The project opened on schedule and the team’s relationship between the contractor, client and consultant was very open and therefore very good. This project helped me realise the importance of communication, something I had touched on in my final-year thesis. I moved from the site into a design office (as design engineer) to try to grow my knowledge base. The projects I worked on and 22 MAY 2018

eventually managed ranged from banks to steel-framed warehouses to university campus buildings, and included rerouting major municipality infrastructure and road connections. I had to coordinate with clients, other consultants and municipality stakeholders for each project. Health and safety became critical components at the time. My mentor was a female design engineer and it was great to have that support early in my career. It was also great to see how she managed teams and clients effectively and professionally. I then moved to the local authority and into the roads department, so I went back to university part-time to do a taught masters in this field. I became an area engineer with a team reporting to me and I had to attend stakeholder meetings regularly. The keys were communication and empathy. Stakeholders were often elected members and politicians, and I received media training to boost my skills. I received the title of chartered engineer while working in the roads section and became one of the youngest to be appointed as senior executive engineer (SEE) within the city council (local authority). I then moved into a project manager role, as SEE in the engineering department. Again, I went back to college and earned a diploma in project management from the Institute of Public Administration. In my day-to-day job, I had to manage budgets and apply to the Department of the Environment for funding as well as do monthly and annual cost reports for them. I was managing design consultants and contractors on two major infrastructure projects within the city and had to come in close to budget and schedule goals. I presented one of the projects to the Engineers Ireland annual awards and it won best in our category that year. After moving overseas, I took a position with Parsons as project manager. I have been here for almost four years and am assigned to Al Mouj Muscat. This is a mixed-use development with various stakeholders, including MAF and Omran. Parsons provides landscape and infrastructure design for the project and performs construction management services. I work with a Parsons team of 35 people based


MAY 2018 23


“I have been lucky to have had support in every company I’ve worked in so far, with my managers always believing in the positive impact of women on teams” on-site. I maintain client relationships and try to predict the needs of the client and assist where Parsons has the skills. I am now a Parsons-certified project manager and the Oman area lead for the built environment. What would you say has been your proudest moment?

It’s difficult to say what has been my proudest moment – I feel proud of my overall achievement in progressing up to management positions quite quickly and feeling I was able to do the job! I have been lucky to have had support in every company I’ve worked in so far, with my managers always believing in the positive impact of women on teams. What are some of the barriers to women entering the construction

sometimes bring challenges. The communication and the expectations can take time to align, and patience is the greatest virtue! I do not think it matters if you are male or female. I have not noticed any difference in my treatment here from clients or colleagues. There has been nothing that stuck in my mind, either positive or negative. What is the biggest challenge women in the construction sector face in GCC countries? How can these challenges be addressed?

I don’t really see any challenges, just a slow start on getting local women educated, through the system and up to senior management. I see many Omani women in manager positions within the municipalities and they will hopefully continue to rise to more senior positions.

industry? What was your personal experience?

Most people look at résumés for experience and skill, not gender. I have not faced any barriers to date in my career, but some countries have cultural issues with women, and getting work visas can be a challenge. I was unable to get work when my family lived in India due to visa restrictions for spouses.

In doing your job, what sort of discrimination (if any) have you faced, and how did Parsons address it?

None at all. Do you feel there’s a limit to how far you can progress within your organisation?

What would you like to see government authorities and

No, I think Parsons is very fair and appoints staff based on merit.

construction firms do to increase diversity and make pay a level playing field?

How does Parsons approach diversity in the workplace? What

In short, all companies need to be more open about salaries. I believe many government jobs have pay scales, so at least equal pay can (theoretically) be achieved; however, many private firms agree on salaries during the interview and it comes down to confidence and negotiating skills. Women tend to undersell themselves at the interview stage and only shine on the job. The opportunity to revisit salary is not often available once the contract is signed.

more can the company do to increase gender diversity?

Flexibility to work at home can improve work-life balance and Parsons has a work at home policy. I know that I have permission to work around the schoolday schedule when possible, as long as I keep on top of my work and keep my clients happy. How do you personally push for diversity and equal pay in the construction sector? Are you involved in any groups/councils,

Besides authorities and construction firms, who else can play

etc, that focus on increasing diversity and equal pay?

a part in increasing gender diversity and balancing pay scales?

I am not involved in much in the GCC, apart from two international secondary school careers fairs. In Ireland, I was actively involved in Women in Construction and arranged talks and tours across many projects in Dublin. I was also the main driver for mentoring at work (both providing mentoring and promoting it within the organisation). I was actively involved in school programmes and college talks, encouraging students to do higher level math and to think about engineering as a career.

Professional bodies, such as the Construction Industry Federation or Engineers Ireland, and possibly universities could push for this. I know Engineers Ireland did a recent survey on pay scales, so this could feed back into the system and be used to help monitor and manage equal pay. What has your experience been working in the GCC construction sector? If you have worked in markets outside the GCC, how does your experience here compare with what you’ve experienced and observed in other markets?

What advice would you give to a woman entering the GCC

Overall, it has been a positive experience here for me. The main differences I see relate to the diverse cultures and ethnicity, which can

construction industry today?

24 MAY 2018

Believe in yourself! You can do it!

Presidential Palace, Abu Dhabi

Business Park, Dubai

Aflaj Park, Al Ain

Khor Kalba Heritage Village, Sharjah

The Block Park, Abu Dhabi





26 MAY 2018



WIC Profile: Swati Rokade

Jason Saundalkar talks to Godwin Austen Johnson’s Swati Rokade about her career, inspiration and gender diversity in the construction industry ollowing our special edition dedicated to women in the construction industry, Middle East Consultant continues to share the inspiration and experiences of women working in the male-dominated industry across the GCC. Here, Jason Saundalkar catches up with Swati Rokade, senior architect at Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ). What drove you to get into construction and your very first role in the industry? What influences set you on your path?

Following my graduation, I worked in varied offices with different design and construction styles. This helped me gain experience and understand the different streams in this profession and find my footing as an architect. Having spent a considerable time on design, interior- and project management-consultancy, I knew I wanted to get into the field to understand the dynamics of construction. A successful project is the one that is built and doesn’t just exist on paper - this is what motivated me to go on-site and understand the process of construction. My first role was as a site architect on the the Museum of Islamic Arts, Doha. One of my main influences was working with the principal architect for this project. The focus on quality and support was both encouraging and motivating. The other subconscious influence that I realised only later in my life was my parents, whose belief in equal opportunities and values has helped me stand strong and persevere. Tell us about your career and key milestones.

I graduated from Pune University in India in early 2000. I strongly believe in understanding all aspects and nuances of this profession and I have tackled different typologies from residential, industrial, hospitality, commercial, retail and government buildings to theme parks, museums and airports – within the architecture and interior design sectors.

Similarly, I have explored various facets of this industry, from architectural design and interior design to project management, sitebased design management and construction. My experience has allowed me to work on projects in India, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, KSA, Azerbaijan, London, China, Yemen and Muscat. My key achievements would be the design and construction of an IT tower in India, achieved well before the baseline programme; the design management and delivering the FOH ID areas in diverse projects such as the Atlantis Hotel, the Palm Jumeirah, the Museum of Islamic Arts in Doha, the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, Mumbai International Airport and the Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi, to name a few. What would you say has been your proudest moment?

Having been on-site, where time and cost are of paramount importance, I learned to balance out my design aesthetics with practicality. I would say that intelligence and hard work are key, as is the ability to assert yourself positively in meetings and on-site. We very often find ourselves outside of our comfort zones, so the ability to assess the best solution and face all kinds of challenges is key to getting the job done. Some of my proudest moments have been when I have successfully managed to overcome female stereotypes and change mindsets. I have been fortunate to move up from site architect to design manager within the same firm in a very short space of time. What are some of the barriers to women entering the construction industry? What was your personal experience?

The only barriers that we have are mental barriers and perceptions, there’s nothing stopping women from entering this industry. There is a recognisable shift in mindset; however, we still have a long way to go. People respect intelligence and hard work in this industry. Once you have proven that, it helps. My co-workers, managers and team members have always been supportive and encouraging. But, yes, you have to face a preliminary bias being a female. MAY 2018 27


People in the construction industry, especially in this region, come from various backgrounds in terms of education and society. A lot of their perceptions are a legacy of their environment and the social mindsets that are prevalent in their regions. Would you agree that the GCC construction sector is still maledominated, but diversity is beginning to increase? If so, comment on what is driving this and how you see the GCC markets changing in the coming years.

Yes, diversity is beginning to increase. This region is growing at a fast pace and finding skilled construction employees is a challenge throughout the Gulf, so efforts to harness the best talent must target both genders equally. Diversity widens the pool for resources – the industry is now acknowledging this slowly but steadily. Also, girls and boys are getting educated on par in diverse fields, which helps reduce the gender disparity as boys see girls as equals. This allows a healthier and fair respect of both the genders. Old-school thought processes are giving way to a fair and equal work culture. Additionally, there has been an improvement in terms of safer working conditions. This has and can encourage females to enter the industry. What would you like to see government authorities and

“I believe work and pay should be based on capability, not gender or nationality. Pay should be in accordance to the work done, regardless of whether that person is male or female. It is also imperative that the authorities and construction firms have a standard pay scale applicable to the role”

construction firms do to increase diversity and make pay a level playing field?

I believe work and pay should be based on capability, not gender or nationality. Pay should be in accordance to the work done, regardless of whether that person is male or female. It is also imperative that the authorities and construction firms have a standard pay scale applicable to the role. Roles and responsibilities, not gender, should define pay. Besides authorities and construction firms, who else can play a part in increasing diversity and balancing pay scales?

Educating people at the grassroots on equality and fairness can ensure increasing diversity and balanced pay scales within the workplace in the future. Empowering the girl child in her growing years will help overcome inhibitions and allow more confident females to enter the industry, which so far has been largely male-dominated.

This region is a melting pot of work cultures and, quite often, preferences in hiring and employment relations at the firm replicate patriarchal systems from other countries, which often excludes women. Some of the biggest challenges women can face are perceptions of female stereotypes, pay scale disparity and other related gender biases. And, while things have become better, there’s still room for improvement. Balancing family and work commitments for many women is challenging, as is the return to work after maternity leave. A work culture that embraces performance-based achievements and not presentism in office can help in overcoming these challenges. Of course, being present at meetings and other essential requirements of the role have to be fulfilled. Productivity is essential in all scenarios. Do you feel there’s a limit to how far you can progress within GAJ?

No. GAJ has been very encouraging of professionals of both genders. What has your experience been working in the GCC construction sector? If you have worked in other markets, how does your

How does GAJ approach diversity in the workplace? What more

experience here compare to those other markets?

can your company do to increase diversity?

The GCC construction sector is demanding and competitive, and it is also one of the most diverse due to the large expatriate population. The growth you can experience in such an environment is phenomenal. This region is not pigeonholed or set in its ways - it embraces the best.

It is very well balanced in GAJ. When it comes to work here, gender bias doesn’t hold ground, and most importantly shouldn’t. What advice would you give to a woman entering the GCC construction industry today?

What is the biggest challenge women in the construction sector face in GCC countries? How can these challenges be addressed? 28 MAY 2018

Go for it! Hold your head high and have faith in your capabilities. Intelligence and hard work always count and make an impact.

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The Avenues Mall

Middle East Consultant talks to Kuwait-based PACE about the design requirements, challenges and delivery of phase four of Kuwait’s iconic The Avenues mall he Avenues Mall is one of the largest shopping and leisure centres in the GCC and is said to symbolise growth and advancement towards a bright future in Kuwait. Pace says the project has helped stimulate the country’s economy by creating architectural and engineering jobs for residents in various industries, employed by local contractors, suppliers and manufacturers. According to Pace, the size and nature of the project required a large and skilled workforce – over 30,000 positions – including architects, civil engineers, inspectors, craftsmen, labourers and trainees. It is owned by Mabanee, itself owned by top institutions and high-net-worth individuals. Waleed Al Shurian, GM, Mabanee, says, “The Avenues has established itself as one of Kuwait’s most prominent landmarks and has 30 MAY 2018

made a noticeable impact on the national economy. In terms of tourism, the number of visitors from the Middle East is constantly on the rise. The Avenues Mall is now Kuwait’s premier destination and has been so successful that the model is being replicated in numerous locations throughout the Gulf region.” The complex employs approximately 20,000 people across 800 stores. This is expected to increase to 30,000 in the near future, with the opening of phase four, which adds 400 stores, bringing the total to over 1,200 units. The project has had prior expansions since its inauguration (phase one) back in 2007, under the patronage of His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah. On March 22, 2018, the opening of the fourth phase took place under the patronage of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, who was welcomed by Mohammad Abdulaziz Al-Shaya, board chairman of Mabanee. The event was also attended by other dignitaries.


“The Avenues has established itself as one of Kuwait’s most prominent landmarks and has made a noticeable impact on the national economy” The Avenues: Phase Four

In a bid to enrich the shopping and entertainment experience at The Avenues, Mabanee collaborated with Pace and Gensler for the construction and delivery of the new expansion – phase four. Pace was awarded the commission of phase four and four-B after a regional fee tender. Having successfully worked on the previous three phases, Pace had already developed a long-term, professional relationship with its client. In addition, Pace was commissioned to provide design and supervision services for two multi-storey luxury hotels. Overall, Pace will have had 16 years of continuous involvement on the Avenues project, beginning with phase one and two. With a retail built-up area of over 130,000sqm and a total leasable area of 100,000sqm, phase four is worth $900m. This brings the total cost of The Avenues to $2bn. The client’s brief continually evolved, which called for Pace’s design team to offer solutions in tight time scales, while the supervision team drove contractors to deliver the highest quality. Pace was commissioned to execute detailed architectural design for phase four and four-B. It also executed structural and MEP designs, hard and soft landscape designs, graphic quantity surveying, graphic design and signage, working drawings, sketches and specifications, together with full on-site supervision services. Pace was also responsible for obtaining the necessary permits and statutory approvals and ensuring compliance with codes, standards and legislation. Phase four is now open for business and includes expansions of the Prestige, Grand Avenue and The Souk districts. New districts with modern and diverse concepts will be developed, including two new hotels. The retail concept of open streets set under a translucent roof is said to have set new standards of contemporary building in the region.

With regard to the project, the client wanted a high-quality luxury shopping mall and leisure complex which offered local and international shopping and dining. To achieve that goal, large parts of the project recreated European streets, with individual shops and restaurants fully enclosed under ETFE roofs and climate-controlled. There is a large indoor Arabic souk and a conventional mall area. A large enclosed and climatecontrolled garden is also present in phase four, along with two cinema complexes and two multi-storey luxury hotels. When designing the project, world architecture was the inspiration, according to Pace. A mixture of old world, traditional and contemporary designs created a mix of styles, which helped give the sense of an indoor town. The project is roofed in a combination of glass, ETFE and flat membranes and several domes also feature prominently. The exterior is a blend of numerous materials and styles, which together with soft landscaping, means the project is far from monolithic. Thanks to this, Pace notes that customers experience a “true sense of journey”. Project Components

Combining the vision of Mabanee with that of Pace and Gensler, the extension to The Avenues now offers new destinations including the Grand Plaza, Electra, The Arcades, The Gardens, The Forum and The Cinemas. A four-star Hilton Garden Inn and a five-star Waldorf Astoria hotel will be developed as part of the new extension, featuring world-class rooms and suites complemented by meeting rooms and leisure facilities. Discussing the latest expansion works, Pace CEO Tarek Shuaib says, “Additional components of this massive venture will include a 260m extension of the Grand Avenue, which will create a new highstreet shopping experience for Kuwait, with a well synchronised blend 01

MAY 2018 31


01 Phase four of The Avenues brings the total number of stores to 1,200 units. 02

of elements from regional, Western and contemporary architecture for the facades and interiors. As for the Prestige district, the new expansion will include an additional 47 distinctive luxury retail units. The Souk is being extended to include a district which embodies marketplaces from around the Middle East and is an interpretation of traditional regional retail architecture.” Pace says it has managed to successfully realise the innovative architectural vision of the development. A multitude of industryleading technologies are being employed across the project, including LED screens, building management systems, vehicle guidance systems, hydroponic planting 02 and living green walls. Intricate CNC cut patterns on titanium coated surfaces and supersized composite panels with metallic coatings that incorporate feature lighting are also visible. The use of the high-tech ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) roofing in phase three is continued through to phase four. The roofing required a specialised design from an experienced contractor to deliver the feeling of outdoor indoor, via environmentally controlled surroundings suitable for year-round occupation within the harsh climate. Pace has prior experience working on retail developments but the firm explains that none of its other projects have benefited from the

“Additional components of this massive venture will include a 260m extension of the Grand Avenue, which will create a new high-street shopping experience” 32 MAY 2018

The new extension includes LED screens, BMS tech and vehicle guidance systems. 03 The construction and supervision of phase four lasted three years. 04 The roof has glass, ETFE and flat membranes. Several domes are also present.

blend of internal and external architectural styles. The Avenues Mall has extensively used ETFE roofing – the first project in Kuwait to do so. Pace says ETFE roofing has now become a requirement for many Kuwaiti property developers. In addition to providing a translucent roof to the retail malls of the new extension, the roof is used to form complex shapes and configurations, with chrome cowlings to absorb excess heat. Construction Challenges

The biggest challenge Pace anticipated was the fast-track programme. The client was keen on the earliest possible revenue stream from trading in phases four and four-B. As a result, Pace’s design programme was compressed. In the end, an innovative procurement strategy appointed the main contractor, prior to the completion of all design works. An advanced work package executed excavation, shoring and dewatering prior to main contractor appointment. As a result, the anticipated challenges were met, and the project was completed on time. The client’s revenue stream also commenced on time, Pace says. Unexpected challenges became apparent as the project progressed, driven by the requirements of the client’s letting department and incoming retail tenants. Late design changes were addressed and on occasion localised demolition was necessary to accommodate evolving requirements. The tight time frame given to Pace to implement the massive extension was also a challenge, in addition to: sourcing and securing special and rare materials and finishes from all over the world; excavations and dewatering, which required a 24/7 deep well process due to the high levels of ground water; constructing the largest unsupported ETFE/steel dome in the GCC, with a diameter of 70m; HVAC installation for the


grand complex, by providing adequate cooling towers and chillers; and the huge amount of scaffolding erected around the project due to the vast amount of open spaces present for all the activities. Pace was also successful in streamlining all channels of communication between all the parties involved, which facilitated all operations, resolving problems and finding optimum solutions.


Safety, Environment and Value

Commenting on the sustainable elements of the mall project, Shuaib points out, “We are proud that our materials have been sourced from local and sustainable suppliers wherever possible to reduce the overall carbon footprint. Numerous environmental studies were carried out during the design phase, such as traffic and noise impact, energy and wind tunnel modelling. These studies resulted in improvements in vehicular access, reduction in traffic congestion, conservation of energy, improved interior environment and the more efficient use of water and other services. The lighting design incorporates LED lighting, which reduces heat emissions and consumes less energy.” Another example is the waste management strategy developed to streamline the removal of waste material from the retail units to compactors via clean and hygienic systems, which also allow the possible

future recycling of waste. Electromechanical systems were engineered to maximise flexibility for future adaptations with minimal construction impact, while offering environmentally efficient systems and construction techniques minimising waste and enhancing standards. Advanced safety inductions and awareness workshops were presented by world-class engineers to labourers in order to protect their health when operating heavy machinery and high-tech methodologies employed for this project. The foundation/raft substructure comprises CIS (cast in situ) concrete, while the superstructure is a combination of CIS columns and beams with precast pre-stressed concrete slabs. The client maintained a commercial focus throughout the project’s development and insisted on high quality and the best value for money. As a long-term investor, lifecycle costing and operational costs were also important factors. Pace value engineered the designs to meet the client’s commercial aspirations, though this never resulted in degradation of quality. Once 04 appointed, the contractor/subcontractor’s experience and knowledge were leveraged and incentivised by a percentage share of savings. Construction operations were at times re-sequenced to achieve maximum efficiency and programme reduction. The state-of-the-art concepts of the Avenues Mall, which have evolved with the new designs of each phase, present an exceptional leisure and tourism experience in Kuwait. Its establishment is seen as a game changer in the retail industry across the Middle East. Pace notes that, today, The Avenues has become an internationally standardised touristic destination in Kuwait, attracting visitors and shoppers from all over the region. MAY 2018 33



Big Project ME Golf Day – Consultants Cup 2018 Industry professionals met at the Address Montgomerie Golf Club for a friendly yet competitive day on the greens


he new year brought a fresh venue to both editions of the 2018 Big Project ME Golf Day. The Consultants Cup (March 28) and the Contractors Cup (March 26) were held at the spectacular Address Montgomerie Golf Cub, which proved an engaging battleground. Over 70 consultants enjoyed a beautiful March day out on the greens. “For 2018, we decided to freshen things up with a different venue and an all-new event. As both the Consultants and Contractors Cup events were over-subscribed and well received, we’re confident our inaugural Contractors vs Consultants Cup in December will be a success. I’d like to thank our sponsors and partners for their support and I look forward to welcoming the winning players back on the greens for an exciting battle in December,” said Raz Islam, MD at CPI Trade. The 2018 Consultants Cup was sponsored by Al Maeda, BMW, CCS, CRYO, Five Hotel, Hill International, LACASA, Metsec,

Multiplex, Sandy Beach hotel, STO, Stretch Ceilings, Trimble and Truelux Electric Mirror. On the greens, several winners were recorded. In first place was the team of Petar Mladenovic, Craig Moorfield, Drew Foxcroft and Paul Donovan; in second place were Mark Harris, David Daniels, Andrew Bonner and Keith Elliot; while the team of James Haig, David Podesta, Nathan Cartwright and Darrel Adam Fergus finished third. In addition, James Higg won the CCS lucky draw, while David Daniels and Mark Adams won the Stretch Ceilings ‘Hit the Bullseye’ competition. Craig Moorfield won the Electric Mirror ‘Closest to the Pin’ prize, while the Electric Mirror ‘Straightest Drive’ competition was won by Liam Loftus. David Daniels bagged the METSEC ‘Nearest to the Pin’ prize and Craig Moorfield walked away victorious in the ‘Longest Drive’ competition. A BMW X2, earmarked for the winner of the ‘Hole-in-One on Hole #13’ competition was unclaimed this year.

Thanks to all our sponsors

Building with conscience.

G r o u p

34 MAY 2018


MAY 2018 35



Cityscape Abu Dhabi More than $4bn worth of new projects shown for the first time


eaffirming its position as the leading real estate and investment event for the capital, the UAE’s top developers chose Cityscape Abu Dhabi as an opportunity to showcase their new flagship projects for the first time. The 12th edition of Cityscape Abu Dhabi brought together more than 100 local and international exhibitors and saw the launch of flagship real estate projects with an estimated worth exceeding $4bn. Alghadeer by Aldar Properties – $2.72bn

The first affordable new mixed-use project is located close to the Kizad Free Zone, Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport and the Expo 2020 site. The project consists of 14,408 units, including villas, townhouses and maisonettes, which will be delivered over 15 years. MAG EYE by Mag Lifestyle Development – $1.27bn

MAG EYE is a master planned townhouse and villa community in Meydan District Seven in Mohammed Bin Rashid City. Built close to Meydan Racecourse, MAG EYE is centrally located and just a few minutes away from major leisure and shopping destinations. Jewelz by Danube Properties – $81.6m

Located in the Arjan area in Dubai, Jewelz is an affordable luxurious residential project composed of 463 units featuring studios and one36 MAY 2018

and two-bedroom apartments. Jewelz offers a wide range of leisure facilities, including a spa, a swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms, a multipurpose hall, a jogging track, a barbecue area and a badminton court. It also has an advanced technological system to enhance the protection and security of residents. Running in parallel to the exhibition, the Cityscape Abu Dhabi Conference took place during the first day of the show under the theme: ‘Rewriting the Rule Book – Generating Growth in Abu Dhabi Real Estate’. There were four main sessions: Real Estate Industry Trends in 2018, The 4th Industrial Revolution, Investment in Abu Dhabi, and Affordable Housing. One of the speakers at the conference, Muhammed Binghatti, CEO and head of architecture at Binghatti Developers, believes continued investment in real estate is playing a key role in sustaining the emirate, as the government expands its efforts to diversify revenue streams. He says, “The market’s performance has been improving since Abu Dhabi’s government is taking measures to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on oil prices and the recurring impacts that may accompany it. More funds have been invested in sectors such as health, energy, tourism and transport and manufacturing. Additionally, Abu Dhabi offers a profitable environment for investors, strengthened by quality infrastructure, 100% exemption from income and corporate tax, and a high political stability.”



01 Reham Yehia Hussien is a senior architect at Godwin Austen Johnson.

Tabula Rasa GAJ’s Reham Yehia Hussien weighs in on the importance of designing buildings that add to the urban community within the context of the environment to create relationships with something other than the surrounding buildings. We therefore need to find new strategies of dealing with blank contexts architecturally in the UAE, while at the same time creating buildings that add to rather than detract from the urban community. We must also guard against creating an environment that is without context and ignores the needs of the city’s diverse inhabitants. The Comparative Study



blank slate (Latin: tabula rasa) refers to the epistemological thesis that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and sensory perception. With its desert location, the UAE can be considered a blank slate in terms of its architecture. Virtually most of the buildings we design here have no built neighbours, so we have 38 MAY 2018

Tackling this challenge can be done in two ways. Firstly, we need to undertake a comparative study which starts by studying the design process of distinguished architects such as Peter Eisenman, Zaha Hadid, Eric Owen Moss, Rasem Badran and Anthony Predock, whose approach to urban planning and building design has often touched upon the tabula rasa theory. The construction of a new city with vast open spaces and tall towers provides a good example of what is generally associated with the term tabula rasa in the architectural discourse. While quite radical at the time, one of the 20th century’s more formidable architects, Le Corbusier, proposed the demolition of a large area of central Paris, replacing the buildings with identical skyscrapers to create a new future without resorting to the past. His idea was met with much opposition at the time, but if you look

at many of today’s new cities, the skyline is dominated by high-rise buildings that are not too dissimilar to Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin back in 1925. The second direction, which represents the practical way of studying the case, is to undertake an archaeological study. The Archaeological Study

This begins by first understanding the history of the country, and for that we need to highlight the archaeological excavations in the UAE and the discovery of the tombs of Umm al Nar in Abu Dhabi. The discovery had a significant impact in unveiling the UAE’s deep-rooted past. In fact, the history of the UAE spans nearly 7,000 years, as evidenced by the inscriptions, drawings and archaeological finds uncovered by international missions during the period from the early 1950s to the present day. These findings help us put the UAE’s development in context and understand the urban and social fabric of the country. As the UAE founding leader Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan once said, “A nation that knows not its past has neither a present nor a future.” Observing a country’s urban history through different paradigms will create new ways of seeing the world around us and offer up new and unique solutions. And by trying to understand the different ways of perceiving


the world across different periods of time, we can see how this has shaped architecture in empty contexts and colonies. In this region we need also to consider sociology and the axioms of Islamic culture and the part these play in the UAE’s urban planning – in particular the architectural language of its buildings from the ancient days until now – to consider how we can develop the city in a way that follows modernism movements, yet at the same time considers

the cultural and religious values of the people who live here. We should also take into account the rise of the positive science, technology, mechanical and electronic age, how the UAE has been affected by these parameters evolving at the same time in all directions, and how these have influenced the architecture of the UAE over the past few decades. We spend most of our lives in buildings and so we must not forget, as architects, just

how much what we design can influence the way people live their lives. Architecture has many dimensions other than the commercial and it is our duty to make sure that the living environment we create is practical, comfortable and makes sense. In the end, every architect should deeply believe that architecture has a direct effect on human wellbeing, and so the work produced should be original and sensitive to the context it is built in and for.

“We need to find new strategies of dealing with blank contexts architecturally in the UAE, while at the same time creating buildings that add to rather than detract from the urban community”

MAY 2018 39



01 Charbel El Hakim is a planning consultant at Faithful+Gould.

The Earned Value Management Approach Faithful+Gould’s Charbel El Hakim says that earned value management is one of the best ways to monitor construction project performance



here has been growing interest in best practice project management as the Middle East built environment industries have matured. The project management (PM) profession itself is a relatively new concept in the region and an understanding of the benefits of an independent project management function, not tied to the contractor or architect, is even more recent. As the PM discipline has become more embedded, clients have become accustomed to discussing which methodologies and tools are most appropriate for a project. Where all stakeholders understand the process, the project is likely to progress smoothly. 40 MAY 2018

Earned Value Management (EVM) is one of the project management methodologies now used more frequently in the region. It’s a best practice approach used for the planning, management and control of projects and programmes. Many project management standards (e.g. the Project Management Institute and the Association for Project Management) have described and used EVM, and at Faithful+Gould we find that clients benefit from the rigour of this approach. The earned value concept improves upon the traditional comparison of budget versus actual cost, which lacks an adequate indicator of progress. Earned value is a value assigned to work which was accomplished during a particular time period. This value can be stated in any appropriate measurable unit, such as hours or dollars. EVM offers significant advantages over rival project monitoring and control tools (e.g. Gantt charts, CPM, PERT and PRINCE2). It integrates cost, schedule and performance to monitor the progress of projects and allows the calculation of cost and schedule variances, performance indices and forecast project cost and duration. It also highlights the need for corrective action, which helps in the development of duration and cost estimation performance measures, thus enabling all project stakeholders to review and evaluate the

effectiveness of their planned costs and scheduled durations throughout the project. EVM performance measures help answer critical questions such as: Are we ahead or behind schedule? How efficiently are we using our time? When is the project likely to be completed? Are we currently under or over the stipulated budget? How efficiently are we using our resources? What is the remaining work likely to cost? What is the entire project likely to cost? How much will we be under or over budget at the end? The project management office (PMO) has become the mainstream organisational structure for standardising the practices of companies delivering large capital projects and programmes. Middle East government entities are increasingly embedding these global best practices into their delivery, effecting successful change management and continuous improvement. Within these structures, EVM can be an important tool for successful programme and project delivery. Our project management team recommends the most suitable tools and processes, identifying those which best fit our clients’ goals. Where we are supporting clients with the establishment of project management offices, the selection of appropriate management and frameworks systems is an integral factor.

Leaders in Project Management

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