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Health and Safety in the Workplace A comprehensive framework to improve health and safety standards in the workplace

Building the Framework Formwork systems are among the key factors determining the success of a construction project in terms of speed, quality, cost and safety

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UNDER THE MICROSCOPE Concept and content by Akshay Bhatnagar Turki Al Balushi Senior Manager - Dossier Business Unit Shivkumar Gaitonde Assistant Advertising Manager Girija Shankar Mohanty Senior Art Director Sandesh S. Rangnekar Senior Designer M. Balagopalan Translator Mustafa Kamal Production Manager Govindraj Ramesh Photography Rajesh Burman Basim Al Maharbi CORPORATE Chief Executive Sandeep Sehgal Executive Vice President Alpana Roy Senior Business Support Executive Radha Kumar Published by United Press & Publishing LLC PO Box 3305, Ruwi, Postal Code - 112 Muscat, Sultanate of Oman Tel (968) 24700896 Fax (968) 24707939 Email: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person or organisation acting or refraining as a result of material in this publication. OER accepts no responsibility for all advertising contents.



Copyright © 2012 United Press & Publishing LLC Printed by Ruwi Modern Printing Press


DOSSIER July - September 2012


s far as indicators go, it has been reported that the building construction sector in Oman will reach more than USD 27 billion by the end of 2014. Spending will also include a wide gamut of infrastructure projects like roads, ports, water supply networks, expansion of airports, sewage treatment plants and networks, real estate and integrated tourism complexes, school, hospitals and the likes. Then there are private sector investments such as tourism and leisure-related ventures. So all in all, a pretty stable growth rate for the Sultanate. This would also imply that the demand for Omani engineers, supervisors and skilled workers would be high in the infrastructure sector. The Ministry of Manpower anticipated that more than 50,000 new jobs for Omanis would be created in the construction industry alone. The Omani Society of Contractors will also be engaged with the Ministry of Manpower to set up a specialised training centre to meet the sector’s requirements. A special feature in this issue explores Omanisation as part of the work culture in the construction industry today. In yet another story, the spotlight shines on the importance of worksite health and safety. The Ministry of Manpower’s regulations on occupational safety and health provide for a comprehensive framework to improve health and safety standards in the workplace and protect workers from various occupational hazards and Dossier takes a look at to what extent companies are complying with these norms. We hope that once again, our issue is a step in the right direction to bring readers an in-depth knowhow of the construction industry in Oman.

Cuplok System, Formwork System - MK II Soldier System, Manto Panels, Columns, Special Steels, Formwork Accessories, Access Support, Light Weight Aluminium Towers, Props, Swedish Laminated & Scaffolding Boards.

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Health & Safety in the workplace A comprehensive framework to improve health and safety standards in the workplace Editorial. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Going the Green Mile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18 Building the Framework . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

On the Path of Recovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

Quality Insulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32

Sustainability is the Key . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

Omanisation is part of the work culture . . . .48 A Sustained Player . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54

Building the Framework

Design and use of right formwork systems are crucial to the overall success of any construction project 4

DOSSIER July - September 2012


On the Right Track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56

Manhole Covers & Gratings RBA Ferro presently manufactures the widest range of manhole covers with proprietory designs

Bahwan Building Materials LLC Visit our Stores in Azaiba for more varieties or call 24490407 For sales enquiries, please call: 24810983, extn: 236


OMANTEL LAUNCHES SULTANATE’S FIRST 4G LTE MOBILE BROADBAND NETWORK Omantel recently announced the commercial launch of the first 4G LTE network in Oman. The launch of Sultanate’s first 4G LTE network comes after a series of trials which successfully delivered speeds of up to 100 Mbps and follows the awarding of Omantel’s 4G LTE network contracts to Huawei and Ericsson end of last May. “We are proud to announce the launch of first commercial 4G LTE network centered on providing our customers with unprecedented speeds which will revolutionize the way we use the internet,” Dr Amer Awadh Al Rawas, CEO said. “This is another historical moment for the telecom sector as a whole as we continue to enrich our customers and offer them the most innovative products and services.”

Haitham Abdullah Al Kharusi, VP Consumer Business Unit said, “Now 4G LTE can be used through special dongles that are provided at introductory competitive price of only RO30 including a sim card configured for 4G LTE which will include 1 GB of data. The starter-pack will be available at Omantel outlets in Sultan Qaboos University Campus, Omantel HQ & Muscat City Centre outlets in Al Mawalih, Al Khaudh, Muscat Grand Mall and Zakher Mall in Al Khuwair, Ruwi Main Outlet , Al Buraimi and Khasab outlets.” Prepaid customers can opt for a daily package for RO1, weekly for RO3 or monthly starting from RO5 onwards. While postpaid Mada customers can subscribe to the monthly packages that start from as low as RO5 for one month.

SOHAR BULK TERMINAL RECEIVES FIRST VESSEL of high quality Ghabro rocks were dispatched on July 06, 2012. The consignment was chartered by Al Batana Quarries, one of the quarries established for exporting stone aggregates (Ghabro) to Qatar.

MV Mandarin Glory made history by becoming the first vessel to call on Sohar Bulk Terminal for export of stone aggregates (Ghabro) to Qatar. The consortium of Khimji Ramdas Shipping and TM International Ltd 6

DOSSIER July - September 2012

(TMIL), a subsidiary of TATA Steel India has signed the contract with Sohar Industrial Port Company (SIPC) to establish operations for the handling of dry bulk minerals. The first shipments of 54000 tonnes

The consortium partners Khimji Ramdas Shipping and TMIL have made ready the temporary berth no. 14 for bulk material handling by Port of Sohar. This temporary berth is likely to be operational for the next two years to export and import the full range of bulk minerals such as Gabbro, limestone, laterite, coal, clinker to name a few. By which time at berth no. 25, the permanent terminal will be ready. This terminal will be equipped with ship loader & unloader of very high capacity and also be linked to the yard with 3.50 km long conveyor system. The terminal is being designed for a capacity of approx. 10 MMT.


OCTAL POISED FOR TRIPLE-DIGIT GROWTH OCTAL has announced that phase two of the expansion plan of its state-of-the-art PET Complex in Salalah has been successfully achieved within budget and on time. Following the ramp-up period, full running is expected by August which fortifies the company’s ability to serve its local and international market commitments. Phase two capacity takes total system output to 920,000 tonnes per annum of PET bottle grade resin. The company’s annual exports reached OMR 215 million (US$ 559 million) in 2012 and the completion of the second phase of expansion will put OCTAL well on the way to achieving OMR 511 million (US$ 1.3 billion) in annual sales by year ending March 31st 2013. This will be achieved by increasing capacity and converting new packaging applications to DPET™ sheet including the packaging of dates, yogurt, meat and cheese. OCTAL now accounts for 10 per cent of Oman’s non-oil exports,

which equates to and about 2 per cent of Oman’s GDP. With 85 per cent of all increases in sales in 2012 coming from new products, OCTAL’s innovation makes it well placed to drive broader adoption of PET. Focusing on new resins with enhanced performance will allow the company to expand its market reach. The unprecedented environmental advantages of DPET™ has also encouraged local companies such as Dhofar Cattle Feed, National Mineral Water Company, Lulu

Hypermarkets and Areej Vegetable Oils & Derivatives to use OCTAL’s proprietary packaging material which is creating a ripple effect in contributing to reducing global carbon footprint. OCTAL has dramatically influenced the PET industry, growing from a US$ 500 million dollar company to a US$ 1.5 billion company in just six years, ranking in the world’s top ten PET resin producers and being the largest PET sheet producer in the world.


Al Hassan Engineering Company SAOG (AHEC) has recently signed a multi-million Rial Contract with the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) for the Construction of Phase 1 of the Emergency Water Storage Reservoirs Project in the Muscat Governorate. PAEW is overseeing the development 8

DOSSIER July - September 2012

of a network of a number of emergency storage reservoirs located at strategic sites around the capital region. This backup network will be automatically deployed in the event of a supply crisis or a technical breakdown in the Muscat Water Supply Scheme, which currently serves the capital city. Plans for an emergency water

reservoir network developed out of PAEW’s contingency planning for the Muscat Governorate, following the adverse weather events of June 2007. Furthermore, the emergency storage network is also intended to keep the city well supplied in the event of any disruption in operations at the Ghubrah and Barka desalination plants, which meet much of Muscat’s potable water demand. In addition to the construction of the Reinforced Concrete covered ground level reservoirs Emergency Water Storage Reservoirs, AHEC will also build associated infrastructure such as access roads, guard houses, pump systems, tanker filling stations, and connections to the local supply grid.



Quality Brands Industrial Machinery & Tools Division under the flagship of the KR Infrastructure Group aims to be an active facilititator of the Sultanate’s industrial growth and participate in all aspects of its development in both private and public domains by various organizations. Now for their procurement and service needs, they don’t need go out of Muscat. At KR IMT we are all set to supply and service Griggio (make) complete range of machinery. We also hold few machines in stock so as to meet up with urgent need of our valued customers.

CONTACT: Shashi Iyer E-mail:, Tel: 99105475


part from Oil & Gas sector, vigorous efforts on Infrastructural growth by Oman are quite visible. On other hand Industrial projects which were declared during last 10 years are almost accomplished shifting complete focus on the Infrastructural Activities such as roads and facilities. This scenario is forcing engineering businesses in Oman to get involved into activities related to the Infrastructural Growth. The Industrial Machinery and Tools Division (IMT) of Khimji Ramdas is no exception to this and proactively expanded their line of business in the area engineering products related to infrastructural projects. At the same time, KR IMT has successfully maintained focus on the existing business lines such as Hand Tools from Snap-On & Usag, Cleaning Solutions from Karcher, Complete Automotive Garage Solution from Maha, Blackhawk, Raasm, Shamel, Sice, Ryko etc and all kind of Industrial & Workshop Machinery.

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The new businesses under Industrial Machinery and Tools Division of Khimji Ramdas are Fogtec Fire Fighting System from Germany, Milwaukee Power Tools from USA, Griggio Wood Working Machinery from Italy and Rothenberger Pipe equipments from Germany. With these products we are confident to maintain the pace of growth at par with the infrastructural growth in Oman. Griggio: Industrial Machinery and Tools Division of Khimji Ramdas is well known for their strong presence in Machinery business in Oman. As we have complete range of machines to offer for all kind of mechanical and engineering workshops, we always felt a need to have a reasonable representation of Wood Working Machinery in Oman. Today at Industrial Machinery and Tools Division of Khimji Ramdas, we have complete range of Wood Working Machinery available from Griggio Italy. There are good amount of Griggio machines already available in Oman and being used

Milwaukee: The recent venture of Industrial Machinery and Tools Division of Khimji Ramdas is Milwaukee Power Tools. These power tools coming with a motto “Nothing but Heavy Duty” To find merits in what they say, one has to really work on these machines and we take proud in saying that it is really heavy duty and reliable giving comfort to the operator. When it comes to quality these tools stands tall compared to most of the known power tools brands in Oman. For all our existing and newly roped in products, we have well trained team of Service Engineers and a set work shop to provide quality services to our customers. We also maintain a reasonable stock of spares for maintenance of these equipments. We are confident that our efforts in making all these technologically superior and quality products available in Oman, we somehow have become a part of recent infrastructural growth in Oman.

Contact: Kona Shivaji, Tel: 99250748 E-mail:


OMRAN ACHIEVES 3 MILLION MAN HOURS WITHOUT LTI Marking a new safety milestone, Omran successfully completed 3 million man hours without experiencing lost-time injury in the construction of its latest hospitality project, the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Duqm. Located in the centre of Al Wusta Governorate, the site currently employs 800 workers including foremen, supervisors and engineers. Eng. Wael bin Ahmed Al Lawati‚ Chief Executive Officer of Omran, said, “This is another significant accomplishment is a testament to our unwavering commitment to health and safety practices. It demonstrates our ability to create an environment that is safe for everyone on site even in austere weather conditions with temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius and sand storms at around 60km/hr on most days. I would like to express

my most sincere gratitude to the true heroes of Omran, for their hard work, perseverance and exemplary leadership. In nine months alone, we were able to surpass our earlier achievement of 1 million hours without LTI and transform it to 3 million hours without LTI. Our aim is to continue to build the best

projects, safely and to the highest quality levels, and then manage them to the best possible standards without compromising on the safety of our workforce. I am confident that together we will deliver yet another memorable destination in the heart of one of Oman’s future industrial and commercial hubs.”



Cutting Edge Technology The IMT Division effectively caters to a wide spectrum of industries in Oman thanks to a full-fledged service station with factory trained service engineers to provide the most efficient assistance to customers

Rothenberger (Roweld): German technology at its best. When it comes to pipe tools Rothenberger, from the house of Khimji Ramdas is worth relying on. The solutions offered by Rothenberger are pipe cutting and threading machines and Roweld range of plastic pipe welding machines.

Wadi Kabir showroom

Fogtec: The best solution to fight fire when it comes to saving human life without damaging property. Fogtec makes use of High Pressure Water Mist system to produce fine droplets, creating an inert effect at the source of fire thereby putting it off without damaging your belongings and with no threat to human life. This system is also helpful as it consumes lesser amount of water compared to conventional systems which literally flood the fire site spoiling everything which comes in its way. Fogtec fire fighting system doesn’t require any pre warning as it is standard in gas-

based fire fighting systems which can be threatening to human life at times.

Today at various infrastructural projects in Oman these machines are being used by contractors giving them a complete value for their money as well as reliability.

Fogtec fire fighting system under the Industrial Machinery and Tools division of Khimji Ramdas is the best solution available to protect archives, museums, tunnels, libraries and many other premises wherein, apart from fire protection, minimal damage to property as well as less threat to human life is required.

Contact: Mohammed Iliyas Namoji E-mail:, Tel: 99492820

Contact: Kona Shivaji, Tel: 99250748 E-mail: 12 DOSSIER July - September 2012


SEVERIN AND SARCO JOIN HANDS Germany’s Severin, the maker of quality small domestic appliances is fast expanding its Middle East footprint and has set up shop in Oman under an exclusive partnership arrangement with SARCO, one of the Sultanate’s leading distributors of consumer goods, countrywide. “Oman offers new growth opportunities in home appliance sector and we are very pleased to be working with SARCO as Severin’s exclusive Importer-Distributor,” said Eric Berchtold, Severin’s Area Director, Middle East and Africa. He noted that Oman’s consumer spending is showing a healthy growth on the back of recent pay rises across the public and private sectors. In tandem the retail sector is undergoing swift development with more than 100,000 square

foot of retail space currently under construction. Indeed, recently the country was ranked eighth in the AT Kearney’s 2012 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), a ranking of the top 30 developing countries for global retail expansion. Ajay Ganti, CEO, SARCO said, that retailers must up-the-ante

in response to Oman’s buoyant economy and increased consumer spending by offering new, quality products across the board. He said that Severin fits the bill. Berchtold predicts that Severin’s contemporary design approach to products will be a major pull for the Omani consumer looking for a stylish approach to small home appliances.



The Projects Section of Mazoon Electricity Company S.A.O.C recently organized a training workshop on health and safety standards in the workplace. The workshop, held at the Al Nahda Resort in Barka, highlighted the importance of following the latest regulations and procedures as set by the Authority for Electricity Regulation and Review Board, including how to safely operate supply lines, transformers, cables and accessories.

Managers, engineers, technicians and administrators as well as external contractors all took part in the workshops as part of an on-going staff skill improvement training programme. The interactive session included a series of discussions enforcing the importance of understanding and applying the best practice guidelines as directed by Authority for Electricity Regulation and Review

Board Panel for electricity systems across the Sultanate, as well as the potential dangers that could occur if electrical contractors do not follow the regulations. The workshop also stressed that operators should always ensure they use the correct tools for the environment they are working in to minimize the margin for error. “To meet safety standards, guarantee the welfare of staff and correct use of equipment in all aspects of work we must ensure that all precautions are followed. The aim of these regular workshops is to create a culture of safety in the minds of staff, technicians and contractors, and familiarize all of our employees with the latest health and safety practices,” said Eng. Talal bin Said Al-Abri, Head of Projects, Mazoon Electricity. The workshops will become a regular event to re-evaluate the professional competence of contractors and workers in the Maintenance departments and Emergency teams. Staff will have to complete a full assessment of technical expertise, linguistic skills and knowledge of the procedures, and ensure that workers undergo continuous training course in electricity safety.

3M ME & AFRICA HOSTS CUSTOMER EVENT 3M, a recognised leader in research and development recently organised an exclusive customer event in Dubai, which was hosted by Hak Cheol (H.C) Shin, 3M’s International Vice President along with Irfan Malik, Vice President, 3M Middle East & Africa. The event, which was essentially aimed towards providing key customers in the UAE direct interface with 3M global leadership, also witnessed 3M leadership hailing Middle East region as the next BRIC destination for the company with regards to fresh investments and geographical expansions. The event witnessed participation of top customers from 3M’s key businesses including Health Care, Consumer and Office, Electronics and Communications, Industrial and Transportation, Safety, Security & Protection Services and Display & Graphics. 14 DOSSIER July - September 2012


THREE RWTH AACHEN INSTITUTES PARTICIPATE IN HIGGS BOSON EXPERIMENTS The two large-scale particle physics experiments ATLAS and CMS at CERN presented the latest results in their search for the Higgs boson. Three RWTH Aachen institutes are participating in the experiments. RWTH Aachen University is GUtech’s German parent-university. In 1990, the Large Hadron Collider project and its experiments were initiated at a widely noticed workshop at RWTH Aachen University. The experiments investigate the reactions triggered by the collision of high-energy protons in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). At a mass of approx. 125 GeV/c2 (giga electron volt), both experiments have gathered evidence for a new particle, which might be the long searched-for

Higgs boson. “Only after further investigations we can decide whether this is really the missing piece in the Standard Model of physics or whether we have found something completely unexpected. Either would be a great discovery,” says Professor Achim Stahl, Chair of Experimental Physics IIIB at RWTH Aachen University. Over the last decades, physicists have developed a very powerful model which is excellent at describing the building blocks of matter and their forces: the Standard Model of particle physics. There is, however, one weakness to the model: exchange particles such as the photon, which carry forces between particles, cannot have mass. While this is true of the photon, the force particles in electroweak interaction are heavier

than atoms – that is, heavyweights in the realm of particle physics. In order to resolve this contradiction, in 1964, Peter Higgs and others introduced a new concept, and if this concept is correct, there must be a particle – as yet undiscovered – that today is called the “Higgs boson.” Researchers from RWTH Aachen have played a major role in this recent discovery. They contributed to planning the projects and developing the necessary technologies, and have assembled parts of the highresolution silicon strip detector and muon chambers. The detector measures the momentum of charged particles, while the muon chambers are used to identify muons in the variety of generated particles. Both components play an integral role in finding evidence for the Higgs boson.



All About Dream Homes Bait Al Ahlam (House of Dreams) has made a marked impact in the home-building and durables segment. Here’s more…


he “Bait Al Ahlam” concept of Khimji Ramdas Infrastructure Group which originated in the first showroom in 2003 has become a landmark destination for individual clients building their homes and furnishing them. This one of a kind chain of showrooms has a wide range of Bathroom accessories & Sanitary-ware, Ceramic tiles, Paint a home solutions, Air-conditioners, modular Kitchens & Appliances and Home Furniture from Oman and a number of countries throughout the world. The products are available at several price points to facilitate the customers to have a wide choice. A unique showroom of its own kind, Bait Al Ahlam (House of Dreams) has made a marked impact in the home-building and durables segment. ‘The Dream Home’ in Arabic, Bait Al Ahlam is the consumer face of the Infrastructure Group and a unique concept that stands out as an institution of its kind in the GCC. Every individual wants a home that is built and decorated according to his dreams and desires. Khimji Ramdas’s Bait Al Ahlam is a onestop experience which facilitates that happening from the start to the finish. Bait Al Ahlam outlet features the very latest offerings from ROCA, Spain (world’s largest manufacturer of Sanitary-ware. Also Bait Al Ahlam showrooms offer “General” Air Conditioners from Fujitsu General Japan and “Classic” from Saudi Arabia. It houses premium appliances from Siemens Germany, La Germania from Italy and Frigidaire from USA. “General” ACs are the most reliable ACs

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and enjoy unparalleled customer confidence. This is demonstrated by the fact that ‘General’ has the largest installed base in Oman. Another attractive brand of ACs is “Classic” from Saudi Arabia which experiences extreme hot and arid climate. “Classic” has been brought to Oman with a view to provide “Fit for the Purpose” AC for price conscious customers. Appliance from Siemens, La Germania and Frigidaire have proven their mettle in their respective categories. They offer premium long lasting and feature rich appliances for the customers who demand nothing but the best. Modular kitchens from Aran Italy are known for its designs, aesthetics and affordability. All the above offerings of Bait Al Ahlam are backed by extensive product warranty and unmatched assurance of pre-sales and efficient after sales service. A brand name in itself, Bait Al Ahlam has created an enviable reputation in the areas of building materials, electrical items, air conditioning products, home appliances, furniture, paints and industrial machine tools (through

the industrial divisions of the Infrastructure Group of KR). In each category, it retails some of the strongest local, regional and global brands. The market for these products is to a large extent interdependent, but customers often go to different vendors to source these items. The KR Group offers all of them under one roof – Bait Al Ahlam – and leverages the benefit of using a single vendor who can offer a total package. Featuring a huge variety of brands at different price points, it offers customers the best value for money. Adding value to customer relationship continues to be the core and the driving force behind its success. Thanks to its efforts to delight the customer, its success is a prime example of how technology, coupled with a human touch, can provide customers with a great experience. Targeted at upper middle class people, 90 per cent of the customers at Bait Al Ahlam are local Omanis families. Bait Al Ahlam, designed to meet virtually all the needs of villa builders, stands for elegance, aesthetics, style, Omani pride, quality and technological edge. KR Infrastructure Group has always attached great importance to customer satisfaction. KR has recently introduced customerfriendly initiatives such as ‘KR Paint a Home Service’, a unique one-stop painting solution and ‘Khimji’s 24x7 Service Assistance’ for General air conditioners and Siemens home appliances to serve our customers better is just a testimony of that.


SWISS LAUNCHES CUSTOMER SERVICE VIA SOCIAL MEDIA SWISS has further enhanced the scope of the customer services it provides via Facebook and Twitter social media platforms. Customers can now use these online channels to contact the airline’s Service Centre at any time with any inquiries or issues they may have: on flights, tickets, rebookings and similar. The new expanded facilities were introduced on July 1. SWISS has been utilizing the Facebook and Twitter social media platforms for some time now to publish general information on the company, product news, competitions and more. The airline has now expanded its use of these online communication channels to ensure its round-theclock reachability for its customers

worldwide. SWISS is the first company in Switzerland to provide a specially-trained service centre team to deal with customers’ inquiries at any time of the day or night. As well as calling up general information, customers can use the enhanced communications channels to ask specific questions about travelling with SWISS and the various products and services available, or with regard to a booking already made. The new 24-hour service is provided in five languages, too: English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Thanks to these expanded online facilities, SWISS customers can now

get in touch with the airline quickly and directly from any internetcapable device at any time of the day or night and wherever they may be. The service can be accessed via either Twitter (@SwissAirLines) or Facebook (



In her welcome address, Alpana Roy, Executive Vice President, UMS said that Oman Green Awards, over the past three years, has recognised exemplary efforts made by companies and individuals in promoting environment preservation and sustainable development in the Sultanate. “OGA has raised awareness about going green and the necessity of saving the natural beauty of this pristine country,” she added.


man Green Awards (OGA) 2012 has once again proved that creating a green economy is the need of the hour as environmental issues and economic development increasingly intersect and complement each other. Nineteen finalists, including two joint winners, won awards in nine different categories of OGA at a function held at Al Bustan Palace Ritz Carlton Hotel, under the auspices of His Excellency Mohammed Said Al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs. In a specially created perfect green ambience at the Majan Ballroom, a discerning audience of more

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than 200 guests, comprising of top representatives of Oman’s corporate houses, schools and other non-governmental institutions, applauded in acknowledgement of the fact that OGA is a ideal green platform to stir up people’s interest and awaken positive activism for environmental goals and greater action in the long term, both at a community and decisionmaking levels. Coinciding with the World Environment Day on June 5, OGA has been conceptualised by Oman Economic Review and United Media Services (UMS) and is being held in association with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Muscat Municipality and the Ministry of Health.

The event has received massive support from corporate houses and individuals who have made green mission a priority. Oman Oil Marketing Company, Octal and Muriya Tourism have joined as Green Oman partners to keep the green torch burning bright in the country. The media partners of the event are Times of Oman and Al Shabiba while the support partners are Sadolin, Green Cover, Infoline and Oman Printers and Stationers. As part of the function, young Omani scientist Mustafa Barami gave a presentation of his pathbreaking invention which can recycle a kilo of palm leaves into 80 sheets of A4-sized paper. His invention showcases how innovation and environment conservation can go hand-in-hand, by making use of the cellulose found in the palm leaves which would otherwise be burned as waste by date-palm farmers.

THE LIST OF WINNERS IN EACH CATEGORY Green Campaign Of The Year Winner: Caledonian College Of Engineering Special Commendation: Radisson Blu Hotel Muscat

Green Footprint Award Winner: OCTAL Special Commendation: Al Hassan Group of Companies

The Green Innovation Award Joint-winners: Petroleum Development Oman & Bauer Nimr Special Commendation: Berger Paints

Green Champion Award Winner: Graduates from SQU Special Commendation: Architectural Wall Systems

Green Guardian Award Winner: Information Technology Authority Special Commendation: Oman Drydock Company

Green Landscape Award Winner: Green Cover Special Commendation: Muscat Hills Golf Course

Green Education Award Winner: British School Muscat Special Commendation: Indian School Muscat

The Green Habit at Award Winner: Port Of Salalah Special Commendation: W S Atkins

Green Research Award Winner: Sultan Qaboos University (Jatropha Plant) Special Commendation: Ray International



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ome of the earliest examples of formwork were in the form of concrete slabs built by Roman engineers – mainly because concrete is quite strong in resisting compressive loads, and has relatively poor tensile or torsional strength, concrete formwork was used in these early structures which consisted of arches, vaults and domes. To mould these structures, temporary scaffolding and formwork or falsework was built in the future shape of the structure. These building techniques were not isolated to pouring concrete, but were and are widely used in masonry. Because of the complexity and the limited production capacity of the building material, concrete’s rise as a favoured building material did not occur until the invention of Portland cement and reinforced concrete. Nowadays, most projects are required by the client to complete in the shortest time possible as a means to minimise costs. For high-rise buildings, the most effective way to speed up works is to achieve a very short floor cycle – to have the structure of a typical floor completed in the shortest time. The key to achieve this is by the use of a system of efficient and appropriately designed formwork. Modern buildings can be very

complex, either in terms of scale, architectural or structural design, sophisticated building services or other requirements. The design and use of the right formwork systems, as well as stipulation of an effective resource planning strategy to control and maximise the use of the formwork, are crucial to the overall success of a project. Aiming purely at speed often contradicts the achievement of other quality targets. Problems such as misalignment, misplacement, deflective concrete or holding up other works causing serious interruption can result. Formwork comes in several types: Traditional timber formwork: The formwork is built on site out of timber and plywood or moisture-resistant particleboard. It is easy to produce but time-consuming for larger structures, and the plywood facing has a relatively short lifespan. It is still used extensively where the labour costs are lower than the costs for procuring re-usable formwork. It is also the most flexible type of formwork, so even where other systems are in use, complicated sections may use it. Engineered Formwork System: This formwork is built out of prefabricated modules with a metal frame (usually steel or aluminium) and covered on the application (concrete) side with material having the wanted surface structure (steel, aluminum, timber,


These are in the shape of hollow tubes, and are usually used for columns and piers. The formwork stays in place after the concrete has cured and acts as axial and shear reinforcement, as well as serving to confine the concrete and prevent against environmental effects, such as corrosion and freeze-thaw cycles. Basic elements of modern formwork comprise sheeting material, against which the earth is compacted, a system of strengthening and stiffening elements (soldiers and walers), tie sand bolts, and inclined props to ensure overall stability. Suitable sheeting materials include steel, aluminium, and timber sheeting and planks. As with concrete, the choice of sheeting material and any pre-treatment applied (i.e. release agent) influence the finish of the rammed earth. Supporting members can also comprise steel members and solid timber sections. Steel through ties connecting the two sides of formwork help stiffen it to limit deformation, but leave a hole through the wall that must be filled after stripping and may lead to blemishes in appearance.

etc.). The two major advantages of formwork systems, compared to traditional timber formwork, are speed of construction (modular systems pin, clip, or screw together quickly) and lower life-cycle costs (barring major force, the frame is almost indestructible, while the covering if made of wood; may have to be replaced after a few – or a few dozen – uses, but if the covering is made with steel or aluminium the form can achieve up to two thousand uses depending on care and the applications). Re-usable plastic formwork: These interlocking and modular systems are used to build widely variable, but relatively simple, concrete structures. The panels are 22 DOSSIER July - September 2012

lightweight and very robust. They are especially suited for low-cost, mass housing schemes. Permanent Insulated Formwork: This formwork is assembled on site, usually out of insulating concrete forms (ICF). The formwork stays in place after the concrete has cured, and may provide advantages in terms of speed, strength, superior thermal and acoustic insulation, space to run utilities within the EPS layer, and integrated furring strip for cladding finishes. Stay-In-Place structural formwork systems: This formwork is assembled on site, usually out of prefabricated fibre-reinforced plastic forms.

When it comes to construction projects in Oman, the industry seems to be divided in terms of usage of formwork. Currently, a lot of the construction still employs traditional methods of formwork, despite the entry of several key players in the formwork industry who impart state-of-the-art formwork solutions. According to studies, innovative construction technologies have the following features in common: Modern, innovative construction methods engage fewer resources to achieve the same output; yield better performance when compared to traditional methods; have the ability to cater to other associated works during the construction process in a more coordinated manner; possess better adaptability to cope with variances and changes in the design;

Parliament Building, Muscat Oman

Baljinder Pal, Site Manager Carillion Alawi LLC, Muscat, Oman: “I am extremely satisfied with PERI – they provide us with a large product range, construction-compliant solutions and competent on site and after sales service.”

TRIO – The versatile Panel Wall Formwork A minimum number of different components helps minimising shuttering times.

LICO Column Formwork Cost-effective forming columns without crane using lightweight elements with permanently attached connecting parts.

SKYDECK – The proven Aluminium Panel Slab Formwork Lightweight components and the need of fewer slab props save time and costs.

Competent Engineering – The Best Solution for Every Requirement Cost-efficient formwork planning and design during the whole construction phase.

PERI in Oman German Technology for Every Concrete Project

PERI Oman Muscat Phone +968 (0)2.4 57 10 90 perimct PERI UAE Dubai Phone +971 (0)4.3 26 29 92 perillc PERI UAE Abu Dhabi Phone +971 (0)2.6 79 88 04

Formwork Scaffolding Engineering

OM PERI 12.153


help achieve the task neatly and faster; establish safer work processes; and are more environmental-friendly. However, several basic conditions must be met before innovative technologies can be applied: Readiness and flexibility of procurement formats for construction projects, in particular large and complex one; Readiness of the developers, engineers, contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers; Expectation of society in terms of quality, cost effectiveness, services etc; Development of a mature market for the economical supply of new products and services; Development of manpower with the required vision, experience, qualification and competence; and Development of the required support in terms of information technology, computer networking, equipment and other logistic support. The support of a reasonably active economy over the past decade has led to significant developments in the construction industry in terms of experience and mastering of the required managerial, construction or engineering skills for handling very large and complex projects. From the building construction point of view, the use of better formwork systems is no doubt a very direct way for introducing innovative methods in the construction of buildings. And it comes with many advantages. For instance, formwork labour cost is so immense that any innovative system resulting in a labour cost reduction is highly tempting. Also, fulfilment of fast track construction schedule provides fewer choices, one of which is to adopt more innovative formwork systems. It is now well knowns that traditional systems can hardly satisfy the tight quality standard that is required nowadays as well as the current safety and environmental standards. Hence, the accumulation of experienced operators makes the application of more sophisticated 24 DOSSIER July - September 2012

formwork systems more reliable and economical. Advanced formwork systems are only part of the advanced technology equation. Quite a number of recent projects have already integrated the use of advanced formwork systems and prefabrication techniques with success. The economic turn down across the globe also means that neither developers nor contractors are readily willing to invest in more innovative technologies. Similarly, the extremely competitive markets has discouraged the application of initially more costly innovative technology in construction. This also applies to the supplier markets through

quality staff with the required attitude and readiness to work in the new environment; Investing steadily in the research and development of technologies that are particularly suitable for the built environment of Oman; and Strengthening the linkages among government departments, developers, consultants and contractor firms in the promotion, development, cooperation and implementation of more innovative projects are some of the effective ways in which this may be overcome. The use of formwork in construction occupies a critical place in the technological improvement process. Yet, in this regard, the

From the building construction point of view, the use of better formwork systems is no doubt a very direct way for introducing innovative methods in the construction of buildings which innovative products are often introduced. Without a guarantee of a consistent market environment in the development and continual application of innovative technology, learned skill and experience cannot be easily accumulated. This can, to a certain extent, also explain why the use of structural steel in construction as a more innovative method of construction has not been adapted by local practitioners even though it is popular in other developed countries. Exploring ways to streamline and re-engineer the work structure on both the industrial and corporate levels; Investing steadily in the human resources development and training more competent and high

pace of change in has been rather slow. The economic downturn and restructuring and rising environmental concern in particular have provided the motivation to seek more efficient and higher quality construction systems. These adjustments can be as simple as the training and attitude of the work team from the management down to individual labourers, their sense of loyalty and belonging, housekeeping issues on site, or safety and quality consciousness. These issues share equal importance in the introduction of advanced technologies as a whole. However, the moderately paced adoption of these principles shows Oman’s construction industry still has a long journey ahead.



Optimum solution Dokaflex table system used at Commercial Centre at Ghala Heights served to make forming of slabs almost 50 per cent faster than with the traditional cuplock scaffolding system

FACT FILE Jobsite: Ghala Heights Location: Muscat, Oman Customer: Al Adrak Trading & Contracting Company Products used: Dokaflex tables

THE SOLUTION: Precise formwork planning and deliveries. Fast and easy working with Dokaflex tables by the well-trained site crew made forming of slabs almost 50 per cent faster than with the traditional cuplock scaffolding system.

Dokaflex tables speed up the construction workflow on the slab areas


he Wilayat of Bausher is one of the first areas in Muscat to be extensively developed and transformed into a viable business location. Located at a prime location in the Wilayat, the Commercial Centre at Ghala Heights offers fabulous executive offices. The construction of the 11-storeyed building is in progress with Doka’s excellent support. OPTIMUM SOLUTION FOR TIGHT JOBSITE The main challenge apart from a tight schedule is the very limited working and storage space onsite, as the project covers the whole plot area. The contractor, Al Adrak Trading & Contracting Company decided to use the Dokaflex table system. The site crew was trained onsite by a Doka supervisor and could quickly appreciate the fast assembly and safe repositioning of the table forms. Easy to be set up and shifted, Dokaflex

tables are designed for the greatest stability and load capacity. The system proved to be the optimum solution, enabling fast progress and utmost safety on this compact jobsite. BENEFITS OF EXTENSIVE SUPPORT As usual, Doka Muscat offered its technical and logistical expertise, with comprehensive planning services and rapid availability of the necessary formwork from the rental park in Muscat. Working together with the contractor, the local Doka engineering team designed the optimum material and time-saving formwork schedule. Its implementation resulted in less manpower being required and easier onsite operations. With focused consultancy and site supervision services, Doka systems paved the way for timely completion of the project, to the contractor’s full satisfaction.

Mohammed Haneefa Technical Manager Doka Muscat

The great flexibility of floor-slab formwork, and the speed with which it has been possible to adapt the plans, have been a big help in keeping work moving ahead smoothly. The contractor could meet the ambitious timetable benefiting from our consultancy and supervision services.



Comprehensive solution The standardised PERI system components and construction-compliant connecting means serve to cost-effectively erect supporting structures and adapt them geometrically to the respective structure

larger climbing formwork units, while at the same time having the ability to carry very high loads. Walsh Construction also utilised CB 240 climbing units for the over 30m high south wall of the powerhouse. The external walls of the powerhouse were poured against rock and utilised the versatile VARIO GT 24 wall formwork elements support by SKS single-sided climbing scaffold platforms.

For the expansion of a power generating station in Holtwood, an intake structure complete with six sluices is being constructed. High concrete loads resulting from the up to 4.60 m thick slabs and clear height of around 13.20 m require the use of heavy duty shoring towers


he expansion of the 100-yearold Holtwood hydroelectric power station on the Susquehanna River with the aim of increasing the generating capacity by 125 megawatts is in progress since 2009. PERI USA was commissioned to supply a wide variety of formwork and shoring solutions for this complex project, after carefully reviewing proposals from numerous vendors. In addition to other PERI products, VARIOKIT heavy duty shoring towers serve to safely transfer the enormously heavy loads from the slabs of the intake structure. An outstanding advantage for the contractor, Walsh Construction, is that the planning and supply of the formwork and scaffolding is from a single source so that the systems used are perfectly matched to one another. 26 DOSSIER July - September 2012

The expansion facilities include an intake structure as well as a powerhouse. Most of the new facilities’ structural components are characterised by their large dimensions resulting in high loads being imposed on the formwork and shoring systems. For the concrete work, various PERI systems are being used – each optimally adapted to suit both geometry and loads. Among other products, PERI supplied its proven TRIO panel formwork system for the north wall of the powerhouse. TRIO was also used for the pier walls of the six bays of the two turbine units. CB 240 climbing brackets were used to support the panel formwork at the two sided climbing conditions of the project. The high loadbearing capacity of the CB brackets allow greater bracket spacing and therefore

The SKS climbing scaffold system transfers the loads resulting from the fresh concrete pressure by means of walers, compression spindles, strong backs and the brackets into the SKS anchors placed in the previous pour. In this way formwork ties are not required for the one sided pours. HEAVY-DUTY SHORING During construction of the intake structure roof, extremely high loads had to be carried to the ground. The slab thickness ranging from 4.60m to around 13.20 m, require heavyduty loadbearing shoring. PERI VARIOKIT shoring towers were provided which transfer maximum leg loads of 660kn into the ground. Three separate towers were aligned in a single row in each of the bays. The six and four-legged towers were positioned on HDT main beams with a corresponding special wedge connection component compensating for the 34 per cent bottom slab slope. For height adjustment at the top of the towers, VST head spindles were utilised which allow hydraulic lowering and lifting under full load. SLS heavy-duty spindles are used for bracing approximately 12.20m

high and 3.25m wide shoring towers. Thanks to the high rigidity of the towers, the construction team can pre-assemble the units on the ground and then quickly position them between the intake walls with the crane. PERI delivered the shoring tower bents to the jobsite as preassembled so assembly times were kept to an absolute minimum thereby ensuring the demanding timeline of the project could be met. The compatibility of the VARIOKIT engineering construction kit with the PERI UP modular scaffold system allowed fast installation of all the required working platforms. Thus, system components are used at key connection points along the tower in order to fix the safe and secure working platforms for the construction crew to work from. Up to 100ft tall PERI UP stair towers serve as the means to provide extremely safe access to all areas of the project. The generous width of the stair towers enable site personnel to easily climb and descend in both directions simultaneously. The intake slab formwork elements also consisted of PERI system components featuring GT 24 lattice girders, SRU steel walers and RCS rails. The 5.80m wide formwork elements were pre-assembled on the ground and then flown into place with the crane. After the concrete hardened, the slab formwork was lowered hydraulically ensuring that the complete striking procedure is carried out easily, safely and efficiently. Subsequently, the construction team lowered the towers onto roller bearings and pulled them out of the intake structure. OPTIMALLY PLANNED, PERFECTLY IMPLEMENTED One of the biggest challenges for the contractor is maintaining the tight schedule required to complete the power plant expansion on time. A particularly important issue is

Due to their high rigidity, VARIOKIT heavy duty towers can be lifted as complete units by crane. This allows fast and safe assembly

therefore a smooth execution of all working operations and processes associated with the formwork and shoring operations. Thanks to its comprehensive product range and vast experience, PERI offers the contractor optimised solutions for all the work to be carried out. Apart from materials, the PERI overall solution includes all technical documents such as structural calculations, assembly drawings as well as assembly support and site assistance for the contractor.

In addition, the VARIOKIT solution primarily consists of rentable standard components which provided an extremely economical solution for Walsh Construction. The optimised, well-balanced design of the systems in use supports the contractor in meeting the challenging time schedule of the project.

Contact: Tel: 24571090 E-Mail: Website:


28 DOSSIER July - September 2012



t seems Oman’s cement sector has left its tough times behind. There is a significant increase in the country’s cement consumption recently on the back of government’s continuing focus on construction and infrastructure sector. The major two cement manufacturers are scaling up their production capacity to meet the ever-rising demand both from the local and export markets such as Yemen and East African nations. With the government’s infrastructure spending expected to touch RO1.6bn in 2012, prospects are brighter for this sector which, for the last couple of years, has borne the brunt of the slump in the regional construction and real-estate industry. In addition, allocation towards project investments during the eighth Five-year Plan has increased to RO13.693bn from RO12.056mn. The total approbations allocated for the first and the second years of the plan (2011 and 2012) and the projects continuing from the Seventh Plan will amount to RO8.555bn, of which RO1.634bn will be the cost of the new projects scheduled to commence their implementation in the year 2012. In the first quarter of 2012, the total earnings of the firms in construction and infrastructure sectors went up to RO19.922 with an increase of 41.6 per cent compared to the corresponding

period in 2011. Besides the government’s thrust on improving the infrastructure, a combination of young and growing population, improving per capita income and the inflow of expats, has made the construction and real estate sector grow immensely in the Sultanate. According to Kuwait-based Global Investment House, cement production capacity in the GCC is expected to reach 120.7 million tonnes by 2013, a 13 per cent increase from 2011. Saudi Arabia will remain in the forefront in the backdrop of huge spending plans followed by Oman and Qatar. In addition, the delay in commissioning of around 4.0mtpa of cement capacity in Saudi Arabia in 2012 due to fuel shortages is likely to benefit large number of existing players in the form of price support. The report said that despite the inflow of cheaper cement from UAE, the cement companies would continue to benefit from the government projects which are going on in the country as both the companies are government backed. ROBUST GROWTH The total cement demand in Oman is expected to increase by 7 per cent YoY and to touch 6 million tonnes in 2012. The total ongoing projects in the country is estimated to be RO33.5bn, which demonstrates the prevailing stronger cement demand


the group went up to RO7.960mn in 2012 from RO5.3mn in 2011. Raysut Cement has approved moves for a fresh term loan of RO64mn from three Omani banks- BankDhofar, BankMuscat and Oman Arab Bank to refinance the existing loan of a higher instalment and interest burden totalling about RO19mn a year, for a tenure of five-year. Both Oman Cement and Raysut Cement has signed numerous long term contracts with the contractors working on the major government projects such as Duqm Hub, Seaport, Airports, Sohar Industrial Zone etc. Pioneer Cement, Raysut’s UAE subsidiary, currently focuses on northern Oman, apart from the UAE market.

in the local market. A recent research report of Gulf Baader Capital Market (GBCM) predicts a stronger volume growth of around 15 per cent YoY for the local cement players during 2012. As demand for cement is expected to rise and the local Omani players are all set to tap the forthcoming opportunity. The cement manufacturers have ramped up their capacity to meet the domestic needs and are gearing up for the next cycle of growth. Oman Cement produced 543,544MT of cement during the first quarter of 2012 which is 10.7 per cent higher compared to the same period last year. It has reported a 24 per cent rise in net profit for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. Net profit increased to RO5.14mn from RO4.15mn in the same quarter of last year, according to the company’s filing with Muscat Securities Market (MSM). Sales volume grew 13.8 per cent to 558,495mn tonnes (MT) in the first quarter, while the sales revenue grew 8.6 per cent to RO13.96mn. Oman Cement’s positive quarterly numbers follow up on a poor full-year 2011, 30 DOSSIER July - September 2012

when the company’s net profit fell 49 per cent to RO12.8mn on year. The company plans to increase its cement-grinding capacity in the near future for which the company has appointed a consultant. It has entered into a contract to refurbish its existing kiln-1, thanks to which the utilisation level in the kiln3 is expected to progress during 2012. With the improving sales, the domestic market share of the company is expected to improve to 35.7 per cent (on a base case assumption of normal growth in market share), about 37.5 per cent (regain of better market share from UAE competitors) and 40 per cent (strong demand growth along with reduced dumping). Due to close proximity to construction developments in this region, Oman Cement incurs lower transportation costs. The close proximity to Yemen, its major exporting market, is also an additional advantage. The total revenue of Raysut Cement group surged by 21.8 per cent to RO24.640mn in the first quarter. The contribution from its subsidiary to

STABILIZED PRICE Omani cement manufacturers were, till recently, victims of cheap inflow of cement from UAE. But due to increasing operational costs, the UAE players are no longer in a situation to offer the cement at lower prices, which gives strong case of market share capitalisation by local players during the current year. According to the GBCM report, the recent announcement made by UAE cement manufacturers to hike the cement price by 15 per cent is expected to keep the landed price in Oman at AED 240 per tonne (RO25/tonne). It means that the prices in the local market will stabilize at RO25 in 2012 and this will be a turnaround situation as retail and bulk buyers may start favouring Omani cement producers since the selling price of both the UAE and Oman players will be same. The report also concludes that the recent announcement by the Saudi Arabian government on the removal of government restrictions on cement import in order to meet the local demand may lure the UAE cement manufacturers towards the bigger Saudi market which in turn may result in reduction of cement dumping in Oman, thereby improving the sales volume of the local manufacturers.




ncreasing energy costs and availability problems emphasize the need for immediate energy conservation and an effective way of saving energy is to improve the thermal insulation of buildings. This is particularly important in hot climates where the energy demand for cooling by air conditioning is very high. In addition to the need for energy saving, high insulation standards are justified by improved comfort levels and increased building life. A wellinsulated building will have a higher value. Building insulation materials are thermal insulation used in the construction or retrofit of buildings. The materials are used to reduce heat transfer through conduction, radiation or convection and are deployed in varying combinations to achieve thermal comfort with reduced energy consumption. Insulation is classified by its composition (material), by its form (structural or non-structural), or by its functional mode (conductive, radiative, convective). While nonstructural forms include batts, blankets, loose-fill, spray foam and panels, structural forms include

32 DOSSIER July - September 2012

insulating concrete forms, structured panels, and straw bales. INSULATION MATERIALS Roofs are a vital part of any building and insulation being a crucial element of any roof construction is done by installing a layer of different materials under roofing shingles. There are a number of materials, which can be used to this end. One of the most popular ones is fiberglass. Fiberglass sheets can be installed under the roof for insulation. There are also some new versions of fiber glass, sold as loose fibers, which are blown onto the area of insulation. This comes in handy as the fibers stick together as they curl, thereby eliminating the need for adhesives. Foam is also a suitable material for use under roofing shingles. Some foam insulations are quite rigid, and are cut to size and placed under the roof. In other cases, it is sprayed into place where it later expands and fills the space under the roof. Another reliable material for insulating roofs is cellulose fibers. This is made from recycled paper, which is treated with fire retardant, which makes it a safer alternative. Easy to install, it is cost-effective.


Being more efficient than fiberglass insulation, cellulose fibers are a popular option. Nowadays, cotton and denim are also used, which are environmentfriendly as they are recycled materials. There are also other earth friendly options such as wool and soy fibers, quite easy to install. Traditional clay-soaked light straw insulation has been used for centuries in the northern climates of Europe. The clay coating gives the insulation a half hour fire rating according to DIN (German) standards. Fireproof asbestos found common use as an insulation material in residential buildings and factories in many countries, as it is a good thermal and electrical insulator, though not without health risks. 34 DOSSIER July - September 2012

With multiple choices, a customer can easily find an appropriate material to use for insulation purposes. Effective insulation helps keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It also makes central heating or cooling more effective, and bringing down monthly energy bills. Quite often a combination of materials is used to achieve an optimum solution. It is important to note that the quality of any insulation material can be determined by its R rating. The higher the R rating, the more effective is the insulation of the material. Therefore, no matter what material you use, make sure it has a high rating. These earth-friendly products enhance R-value and help to seal your house. Factors affecting the type and

amount of insulation to be used in a building are primarily climate, ease of installation, durability which means resistance to degradation from compression, moisture, decomposition, etc. Other factors are ease of replacement at end of life, cost effectiveness, toxicity, flammability, environmental impact and sustainability. STRUCTURAL FORMS Insulating concrete form Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) are stay-in-place formwork made from insulating materials to build energyefficient, cast-in-place, reinforced concrete walls. Structural insulated panels (SIPs), also called stressed-skin walls, can be used for ceilings, floors, walls and roofs. The panels usually consist


of plywood, oriented strandboard, or drywall glued and sandwiched around a core consisting of expanded polystyrene, polyurethane, polyisocyanurate, compressed wheat straw, or epoxy. Too expensive to be used as an insulator on its own, epoxy has a high R-value (7 to 9), high strength, and good chemical and moisture resistance. When building a house, SIPs that come in various thicknesses, are glued together and secured with lumber to provide the structural support. The use of highly-compressed straw bales as insulation, though not very common, is gaining popularity in experimental building projects for their high R-value and low cost of a thick wall made of straw. Non-structural forms In the late 20th century, fiberglass batts became the popular choice for residential construction in the USA; but it became a cause for concern when it was found that fiberglass fibers were bound into batts using adhesive binders, contained phenol formaldehyde, a hazardous chemical known to slowly become a health risk for those around. The industry is now mitigating this issue by switching to binder materials not containing phenol formaldehyde; some manufacturers offer agriculturally-based binder resins made from soybean oil. Formaldehyde-free batts and batts made with varying amounts of recycled glass are now available for insulation. Cotton batts or cotton insulation is gaining popularity as an environmentally preferable option for insulation. It has an R-value of around 3.7 (RSI0.65), a higher value than most fiberglass batts. The cotton is primarily recycled industrial scrap, providing a sustainability benefit. Glass wool blankets are available in continuous rolls to cover joists and studs as well as the space between them. 36 DOSSIER July - September 2012

Loose-fill materials can be blown into attics, finished wall cavities, and hard-to-reach areas. They are relatively cheaper and can also be sprayed, usually with water-based adhesives. Wood fiber insulation is available as loose fill, flexible batts and rigid panels for all thermal and sound insulation uses. It can be used as internal insulation between studs, joists or ceiling rafters, under timber floors to reduce sound transmittance, against masonry walls or externally using a rain screen cladding or roofing. Another type in this category is cellulose insulation, which is environmentally preferable and safe, more so as it has a high recycled content and less risk to the installer than fiberglass.

Cementitious foam is fireproof and non-hazardous and is great for diffusing sound which means it does not echo like other foams. Sound insulation There are different types of sound insulation materials that are instrumental in reducing noise and the transmission of sound. A quick glance at the different types of insulation materials is helpful in making informed decisions. The passive absorption method can be employed to reduce sound; mineral wood insulation or acoustic foam forces sound wave to change direction several time and travel a great length before it can completely penetrate the insulation material. Lead sheets can

Cotton batts or cotton insulation is gaining popularity as an environmentally preferable option for insulation. It has an R-value of around 3.7 (RSI-0.65), a higher value than most fiberglass batts For large to mid-scale applications, two component mixtures comes together at the tip of a gun, and forms an expanding foam that is sprayed onto concrete slabs, into wall cavities of an unfinished wall, or through holes drilled in sheathing or drywall into the wall cavity of a finished wall. That is Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) with multiple advantages; it can fill wall cavities in finished walls without tearing the walls apart (as required with batts), it can also increase structural stability though one disadvantage is that it releases toxic fumes when it burns. TypesIcynene spray formula uses water for its spray application instead of any ozone depleting chemicals.

effectively block sound transmission; easy to work with, this material is also easy to install. The density of acoustic mineral wool makes it an efficient sound absorber and can be used quite successfully in walls, suspended ceilings and flooring joists to reduce airborne noise. Fiberglass insulation is also an option for sound insulation. Fireproof insulation materials Fireproof insulation materials come in five primary forms. These include chopped fibers, foam, fibrous mats and textiles, board or block insulation, films and foils. The fire resistance of each form depends largely on the material of which it is composed.




38 DOSSIER July - September 2012



here is growing acceptance that buildings need to be energy efficient, they should save water and be HSE (health, safety and environment) compliant. Such building are called – Green buildings and it refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from conception to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages. The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.

acres of land in the United States is developed. The International Energy Agency released a publication that estimated that existing buildings are responsible for more than 40 per cent of the world’s total primary energy consumption and for 24 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Although new technologies are constantly being developed to complement current practices in creating greener structures, the common objective is that green buildings are designed to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment by:

An approval was sought in 2009 and by the following year, the tender was ready. The environmentally friendly building has used techniques that will promote awareness on low energy consumption in people’s minds. Unlike normal buildings where water goes into an exchanger to get cooled, the green building will have pipes for chilled water running between the false and the main roofs.

• Efficiently using energy, water, and other resources • Protecting occupant health and improving employee productivity • Reducing waste, pollution and environmental degradation • A similar concept is natural building, which is usually on a smaller scale and tends to focus on the use of natural materials that are available locally. Green building practices aim to reduce the environmental impact of buildings, and the very first rule is, do not build in sprawl (spreading in disordered fashion). No matter how much grass you put on your roof, no matter how many energy-efficient windows, etc., you use, if you build in sprawl, you’ve just defeated your purpose. Buildings account for a large amount of land. According to the National Resources Inventory, approximately 107 million

A FIRST STEP Oman has taken another step towards fighting global warming with its first green building, coming up in Sohar next to the Globe Roundabout. This fivestoreyed 3,000sq m building, with 600sq m on each floor, will utilise concepts and methods that will conserve energy. The building is being built by Majan Electricity Company (MJEC) which had been planning to build an energy efficient main office since 2008.

Thermal insulation, 50kW of solar power generation, recovery of waste water, natural lighting and building orientation where the major sections of the building face away from the sun and thereby reduce heat absorption, are part of the green initiative. Double concrete walls and double glassing with insulation on the roofs will keep the building cool, saving 15 per cent of power consumption. Pipes carrying cold water will run between the concrete roof and the false ceiling, covering every room to create a cushion of cool air as thermal storage for extreme heat. The 50kW solar panels will help generate power for electrical devices. Fifty per cent of the building is double


glazed which means that minimum artificial lighting will be used. A double glazed unit consists of two sheets of glass separated by an air gap. The two panes of glass are kept apart by spacers and the edges are sealed. The air gap provides the insulating layer that slows down the heat loss and reduces the opportunity for condensation to form thus reducing the use of air conditioners. The building will also have amenities like a restaurant, a nursery, prayer rooms and open air meeting areas. This initiative is just one of the many to follow. MJEC has nine satellite offices which are currently in the design approval stage and are expected to be ready by 2013. CONCEPTUAL ORIGIN The concept of sustainable development can be traced to the energy (especially fossil oil) crisis and the environment pollution concern in the 1970s. The green building movement in the U.S. originated from the need and desire for more energy efficient and environmentally friendly construction practices. There are a number of motives for building green, including environmental, economic, and social benefits. However, modern sustainability initiatives call for an integrated and synergistic design for both new construction and in the retrofitting of existing structures. Also known as sustainable design, this approach integrates the building life-cycle with each green practice employed with a design-purpose to create a synergy among the practices used. Green building brings together a vast array of practices, techniques, and skills to reduce and ultimately eliminate the impacts of buildings on the environment and human health. It often emphasises taking advantage of renewable resources, e.g., using sunlight through passive solar, active solar, and photovoltaic techniques 40 DOSSIER July - September 2012

and using plants and trees through green roofs, rain gardens, and reduction of rainwater run-off. Many other techniques are used, such as using wood as a building material, or using packed gravel or permeable concrete instead of conventional concrete or asphalt to enhance replenishment of ground water. On the aesthetic side of green architecture or sustainable design is the philosophy of designing a building that is in harmony with the natural features and resources surrounding the site. There are several key steps in designing sustainable buildings: specify ‘green’ building materials from local sources, reduce loads, optimise systems, and generate on-site renewable energy.

Although LCA is widely recognised as the best way to evaluate the environmental impacts of buildings (ISO 14040 provides a recognised LCA methodology), it is not yet a consistent requirement of green building rating systems and codes, despite the fact that embodied energy and other life cycle impacts are critical to the design of environmentally responsible buildings. CONCEPTUAL STAGE The foundation of any construction project is rooted in the concept and design stages. The concept stage, in fact, is one of the major steps in a project life cycle, as it has the largest impact on cost and performance. In designing environmentally optimal buildings, the objective is

Fifty per cent of the building is double glazed which means that minimum artificial lighting will be used. A double glazed unit consists of two sheets of glass separated by an air gap A life cycle assessment (LCA) can help avoid a narrow outlook on environmental, social and economic concerns by assessing a full range of impacts associated with all cradle-to-grave stages of a process: from extraction of raw materials through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. In terms of green building, the last few years have seen a shift away from a prescriptive approach, which assumes that certain prescribed practices are better for the environment, toward the scientific evaluation of actual performance through LCA.

to minimise the total environmental impact associated with all lifecycle stages of the building project. However, building as a process is not as streamlined as an industrial process, and varies from one building to the other, never repeating itself identically. In addition, buildings are much more complex products, composed of a multitude of materials and components each constituting various design variables to be decided at the design stage. A variation of every design variable may affect the environment during all the building’s relevant life-cycle stages. Green buildings often include


measures to reduce energy consumption – both the embodied energy required to extract, process, transport and install building materials and operating energy to provide services such as heating and power for equipment. As high-performance buildings use less operating energy, embodied energy has assumed much greater importance – and may make up as much as 30 per cent of the overall life cycle energy consumption. Studies such as the U.S. LCI Database Project show buildings built primarily with wood will have a lower embodied energy than those built primarily with brick, concrete or steel. To reduce operating energy use, highefficiency windows and insulation in walls, ceilings, and floors increase the efficiency of the building envelope, (the barrier between conditioned and unconditioned space). Another strategy, passive solar building design, is often implemented in low-energy homes. Designers orient windows and walls and place awnings, porches, and trees to shade windows and roofs during the summer while maximising solar gain in the winter. In addition, effective window placement (daylighting) can provide more natural light and lessen the need for electric lighting during the day. Solar water heating further reduces energy costs. Onsite generation of renewable energy through solar power, wind power, hydro power, or biomass can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the building. Power generation is generally the most expensive feature to add to a building. Reducing water consumption and protecting water quality are key objectives in sustainable building. One critical issue of water consumption is that in many areas, the demands on the supplying aquifer exceed its ability to replenish 42 DOSSIER July - September 2012

itself. To the maximum extent feasible, facilities should increase their dependence on water that is collected, used, purified, and reused on-site. The protection and conservation of water throughout the life of a building may be accomplished by designing for dual plumbing that recycles water in toilet flushing. Waste-water may be minimised by utilising water conserving fixtures such as ultra-low flush toilets and low-flow shower heads. Bidets help eliminate the use of toilet paper, reducing sewer traffic and increasing possibilities of re-using water on-site. Point of use water treatment and heating improves both water quality and energy efficiency while reducing the amount of water in circulation. Building materials typically considered to be ‘green’ include lumber from forests that have been certified to a third-party forest standard, rapidly renewable plant materials like bamboo and straw, dimension stone, recycled stone, recycled metal, and other products that are non-toxic, reusable, renewable, and/or recyclable (e.g., Trass, Linoleum, sheep wool,

panels made from paper flakes, compressed earth block, adobe, baked earth, rammed earth, clay, vermiculite, flax linen, sisal, seagrass, cork, expanded clay grains, coconut, wood fibre plates, calcium sand stone, concrete etc. No matter how sustainable a building may have been in its design and construction, it can only remain so if it is operated responsibly and maintained properly. Ensuring operations and maintenance (O&M) personnel are part of the project’s planning and development process will help retain the green criteria designed at the onset of the project. Every aspect of green building is integrated into the O&M phase of a building’s life. The addition of new green technologies also falls on the O&M staff. Although the goal of waste reduction may be applied during the design, construction and demolition phases of a building’s life-cycle, it is in the O&M phase that green practices such as recycling and air quality enhancement take place. While constructing and maintaining an environment friendly building may take some effort it is well worth the attempt.




he need for sustainable construction and safety in carrying out the work is pressing even as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) construction projects enters a new cycle of growth after recovering from the global financial crisis of 2008-09. 44 DOSSIER July - September 2012

Unprecedented investments by both state and private institutions and investors has given a tremendous boost to the construction industry and has stimulated massive growth in GCC economies. Take for instance the year 2008, in which, the combined GDP of its six member states including Oman rose to more

than $1tr – three times the figure recorded in 2002 and the region became the world’s most buoyant export market for building materials and equipment. These trends could well be overshadowed by what is to come. According to regional projects’

tracker MEED Projects, about $2.5trn worth of projects are underway or have been planned all over the GCC. There has been a radical change in the safety methods employed by the GCC construction industry to deliver huge projects, but more needs to be done to secure workers’ safety. World class project execution is not possible or sustainable without world class health and safety management. The view from the construction site, nevertheless, is that construction companies and subcontractors are often reacting rather than managing the human element of the industry. COMPREHENSIVE FRAMEWORK In the Sultanate of Oman, the Ministry of Manpower issued Ministerial Decision no. 286/2008 introducing the Regulation of Occupational Safety and Health for Establishments Governed by the Labour Law. This regulation provides for a comprehensive regulatory framework with the aim of improving health and safety standards in the workplace and protecting workers from various occupational hazards. The Regulation consists of 43 Articles covering a wide range of issues including: lighting, ventilation, heat stress, noise, uniforms, personal protection equipments, first aid and occupational diseases. In general, the workplace must support good health by promoting healthy food and physical activity in the workplace, prohibiting smoking in the workplace, and enhancing psychological health and social integration of workers. According to Article 15, the employer must take all necessary actions to provide adequate protection for the workers’ safety while at the workplace. Work uniform and equipment for personal protection must comply

with the specified standards of safety required depending on the actual hazards the workers are being exposed to. The employer should train the workers on the best ways of using, maintaining and storing such equipment. Prominent signs in the relevant languages need to be posted in all hazardous areas where entry is prohibited without using personal protection equipment. Most importantly, workers must not work on construction sites or open uncovered areas of high temperature at noon, from 12:30 pm up to 3:30 pm throughout June, July and

or reflective rays, in addition to a system of emergency lighting in case of the failure of the normal lighting. The lighting system must clearly show emergency exits so that the workers can locate and use them. The position of fire alarms and fire extinguishers must be clearly indicated. Polluted air shall be avoided by providing a natural or artificial ventilation system that provides fresh air in the workplace and use local ventilation where sources of pollutions exist. This system must effectively suck the polluted air

Ministry regulations provides a list of measures which employers need to implement to minimise occupational accidents and the exposure to various risks and hazards August; subject to certain exemptions for establishments providing essential public services. In dealing with the various hazards in the workplace, the Ministry regulations provides a list of measures which employers need to implement to minimise occupational accidents and the exposure to various risks and hazards including: fire, mechanical and electrical risks, chemical hazards, heavy duty machinery, workers` transport vehicles, in addition to risks of harmful rays, occupational cancer and asbestos. The employer must provide sufficient, adequate, natural or artificial lighting, distributed in the workplace equally, free from direct

out. The Regulation also specifies the minimum percentage of oxygen, speed of air, and the maximum degree of relative humidity in the workplace. To protect the workers from exposure to noise, noisy operations that exceed the permissible levels must be isolated away from the workers, or sound insulated rooms should be used. Additionally, insulating, absorbing or reflective equipment should be installed on noisy machines. FOOD AND WATER The employer must also provide workers with sufficient potable water within easy reach and a reasonable number of water coolers proportionate to the number of


workers. Bacterial analysis of the groundwater shall be carried out once every six months and chemical testing once every year in one of the government laboratories. If food is provided for workers, employers should ensure that food safety measures are strictly observed. A separate place for cooking shall be provided and food serving places must be equipped with hand-washing facilities. SAFETY MEASURES The Tender Board awards many construction projects to private companies that employ 350,000 expatriate workers according to 2010 statistics. The government is keen on having a top world rank on implementing the international standards concerning labourers’ rights, media reports have stated. Chapter 6, Article (87) of the Sultanate’s Labour Law states that the employers or their representative should inform the workers about the risks involved in the job before recruiting them, and the safety precaution that they have to take including health risks and the risks that can be caused by machines. The law stipulates that the employers should: Provide the necessary means of safety at the work site and make sure that the work site is clean and the safety conditions are met. The employer should also ensure that the machines and equipment are kept according to the safety conditions and should not charge the workers or deduct their salaries against providing safety measures. Workers also should refrain from any act that causes the work to stop or damages the safety instruments and must not refrain from using the safety equipment 46 DOSSIER July - September 2012

available at the work site, or disobey the safety instructions that are meant to protect the workers.

responsibility for any shortcoming or negligence caused by defect in the safety measures.

ADEQUATE CAUTIONS The law stipulates that the contracting party should put guiding plates in prominent places to caution the workers of the risks. The supervising engineer is responsible for monitoring the protective measures.

SENIOR MANAGEMENT COMMITMENT The need for senior executive and board members to become actively involved in safety programmes has been underlined by recent, worrying research.

The contracting party is also responsible for checking the machines and the equipment to make sure that they do not pose any threat to the workers’ life and health. They have to stop any machines that do not work properly. The employer and the supervising engineer should make sure that the contractor has a licence issued to him by the authorities concerned to perform the specific construction work. The conditions of safety in construction work include analytical study of the effect of traffic on the building; technical conditions related to car parks; thermal insulation; drainage system and water insulation; water tanks; decomposition tanks and absorption holes; waste water treatment plants; general conditions of electricity connections, environment protection, health, in construction site, of removing the rubble and cleaning up the site and assessment of existing building. The contractor is also responsible for providing personal protective equipment and making sure that the workers use these equipment properly during working time. The supervising engineer, the contractor and the employer bear collective responsibility in following up and checking the protection process. Together they bear the

Safety specialists in the UK found that the majority of serious safety failures in all working environments, including the Middle East, are caused by management failure. The European Union says that the current 6,000 deaths in the EU each

The Middle East has become one of the most multicultural areas on the planet as the rapid expansion of both the population and industry has created an influx of workers from outside the region. So any training course has to deal with groups of people who may have no fluent common language, and possibly no common language at all, and very little shared culture. It would be simplistic to assume that anyone can train people in safety management as long as they speak the language, or have someone who can speak it for them. A core issue is social and cultural assumptions being made by the trainers. Poorly trained or inexperienced tutors,

The employer and the supervising engineer should make sure that the contractor has a licence issued to him by the authorities concerned to perform the specific construction work year from work related accidents are not only the result of carelessness, poor training and negligence, but also bad management and incompetence. But now companies are ‘biting the bullet’ and sending senior staff on high level training courses. Recently more than 50 directors and managers from a firm who is a regional leader in design, construction, facilities management and maintenance services through joint ventures in Dubai, Oman, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, undertook the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health, the NEBOSH

especially from Europe and America, can sometimes have a tacit expectation that certain levels of, for example, equipment and tools will be routinely available. They believe that the management style will be the same as at home. They don’t realise that people may not understand the context of illustrative or explanatory anecdotes. If they are teaching in their own language they sometimes fail to check which kind of English their students understand - US or UK. After all, a torch in the UK is a portable light that runs on batteries; in the US it’s a piece of wood with fire at one end.




he joint committee on Omanisation comprises of four senior representatives from the Ministry of Manpower and Oman Society of Contractors (OSC) and has been formed to look into the various challenges confronting Oman’s construction industry. The ministry has assured OSC delegates that it would consider the organisation as its technical assisting body in matters related to the construction sector. The Joint Omanisation Committee in the construction sector has discussed in its second meeting held in July that it will be organising four workshops in September during which the results and recommendations will be prepared and submitted to the Supervisory Committee. The Supervisory Committee has agreed on an action plan which includes the implementation mechanism and timetable to organise workshops. The first workshop will deal with correcting data of 48 DOSSIER July - September 2012

construction sector, profiling of jobs in this sector and classifying companies operating in the sector. The second workshop will deal with a mechanism of planning, so that the Omani workforce has the optimal choice in working with the private sector’s establishments and creating an attractive job market. The third workshop will deal with training and preparation of the national workforce to be able to enter the labour market with high efficiency while the fourth workshop will deal with a review of laws, legislations, the role of trade unions and specialised associations and the role of information and guidance. TECHNICAL BODY It is expected that the OSC will play a bigger role in the development of the country’s infrastructure sector. Its role as technical advisory body would soon be redefined by the Ministry of Manpower. In any case, the ministry made it clear that OSC has a major role to play in the labour sector as the construction sector

involves more than 50 per cent of the workforce in the Sultanate. The significance of the above mentioned workshops have to be seen in the light of the Omanisation programme, which has been in operation since 1988 in the country in a bid to replacing expatriates with trained Omani personnel in all the economic activities. By the end of 1999, the number of Omanis in government services exceeded the set target of 72 per cent and in most departments reached 86 per cent of employees. The Ministry of Manpower has also stipulated fixed Omanisation targets in six areas of the private sector. Most companies have registered Omanisation plans. Since April 1998 a ‘green card’ has been awarded to companies that meet their Omanisation targets and comply with the eligibility criteria for labour relations. The names of these companies are published in the local press and they receive preferential treatment in their dealings with the Ministry.

Omanisation is a campaign meant not only to ensure a job for each citizen but also to reduce dependence on expatriates in search of self-reliance in human resource, and has become the government’s top priority more than ever before. The Ministry has stipulated a fixed Omanisation ratio in six areas of the private sector. Transport, storage and communications are to have 60 per cent Omanisation, finance; insurance and real estate 45 per cent; industry 35 per cent; hotels and restaurants 30 per cent; wholesale or retail trading 20 per cent and contracting 15 per cent. OSC TAKING UP ISSUES The OSC has been rendering a yeomen service in the construction sector by taking up issues and challenges faced by companies and presenting them at the right forums. Established in 2007 to promote the construction sector in the sultanate, the OSC now has 65 members. The OSC was formed under the auspices of the Ministry of Social Development and several leading

contracting companies like CCC, Al Hassan, Arabian Industries, Target LLC, BEC, Al Turky, Carillion Alawy, Galfar Engineering and Contracting Co, Larsen & Toubro and Strabag Oman are members of the Society. A delegation of the Oman Society of Contractors headed by its chairman, Dr P. Mohammed Ali; vice chairman, Mashoor bin Dawood Al Asfoor; C. K. Khanna, Maqbool Ali Salman, Nabeel Nakheel and the CEO of OSC Salim bin Talib Al Sheedi met Shaikh Abdullah bin Nassir Al Bakri, Minister of Manpower, and had apprised him of various issues being pursued by the society for the construction sector. According to OSC, the construction industry took a big hit in 2011 and the problem was further compounded when people started questioning laws and regulations that existed within companies. The percentages of Omanisation and training of Omanis are two key issues facing the industry following the disturbances of 2011. What has been

happening is that people are electing their own union representatives instead of them being appointed by human resources. Experts opine that in order to ensure uniformity in working conditions, rules, regulations and norms have to established, with codes of ethics and codes of conduct, and people have to adhere to them. There have to be very clear rules where the employers and employees understand their duties to the company as well as to each other. A benchmark for salaries is also necessary within the industry to give a sense of equality to all employees. This will ensure that one employee working in one section does not get paid three times more salary than an employee in another section. Omanisation has been undertaken for the progression of Omanis into middle and top management. Training will always help substitute international experience with local experience, which will definitely help increase Omani intelligence,


skills and knowhow when it comes to reaching certain top levels within companies.

one per cent. That would help attract Omanis and ensure that Omanis continue working with companies.

When it comes to training, however, it has to be categorised. You need skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers. The government is spending a lot of money on training, which could be considered a waste because the market does not demand these kind of calibres and categories.

INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES The ministry of manpower welcomed the plans and strategies being proposed by the OSC to enhance the growth of the construction companies so that they can play a bigger role in the development of infrastructure sector in the Sultanate. The Ministry has asked the OSC to play a proactive role in the construction sector to facilitate qualitative improvement in the sector.

FACTORISING PERCENTAGES While, the OSC encourages Omanisation in the construction industry there is a wide-spread opinion that the percentage is a little unrealistic as many companies are being asked to fulfill a certain percentage irrespective of positions and vacancies. For instance, the Omanisation regulations look at the head count rather than the position they are working in. This means that both the tea boy as well as the chief executive are both counted to be one per cent each. Company heads say that this is not helping the industry at all. There should be a different approach to categorization and percentages should be allocated based on the post occupied. For example, a driver should be given per cent, but a supervisor or superintendent should get two per cent and a manager three per cent while a general manager can get four per cent. That will help sustain Omanis in their work and will encourage companies to keep Omanis if they know they are counted as two or three per cent. They will strive to keep them because they help with their levels of Omanisation. At the same time, the authorities should also look at the years of experience. If there is a driver who has been working for more than six years he should not be counted as 50 DOSSIER July - September 2012

One should keep in mind that about 25,000 Omanis are joining the job market every year. For this, the members of the OSC and the Ministry of Manpower decided to prepare a proper career plan for Omanis working in the private sector. As per the mission statement of OSC, the development of Oman work force is an important aspect. The OSC will be engaged with the Ministry of Manpower to set up a specialised training centre to meet the sector’s requirements. It has also been emphasised that Omanis should

By the end of 1999, the number of Omanis in government services exceeded the set target of 72 per cent and in most departments reached 86 per cent of employees The government is ready to support any initiative to achieve the Omanisation target and the Ministry of Manpower would come out with more plans for higher education and training for Omanis working in the private sector. The ministry anticipates that more than 50,000 new jobs for Omanis would be created in the construction industry. The demand for Omani engineers, supervisors and skilled workers is high in the infrastructure sector. The Ministry of Manpower has also agreed to support the OSC in streamlining the construction industry by allowing the OSC to screen ‘non-serious contractors’ in the Sultanate. It also agreed to provide OSC members additional leverage on the practice for labour clearance.

acquire proper qualifications and training to be able to work in the top and middle levels of companies. OMANISATION HERE TO STAY The country has always been working on a sustainable economic model and has been not very rapid in its development pace. Instead, Oman moves slowly and steadily and more importantly, it is stable. Despite challenges, the Omani construction industry is seeing a steady movement forward. According to recent statistics, the active backlog of construction projects in Oman is worth $95.1bn, or some 144 per cent of GDP. Most of 2011’s contracts included large-scale projects, with expansion ongoing at some of the country’s most important industrial sites.

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Quality Solutions Harsco, one of the leading scaffolding and formwork companies provides quality solutions to construction projects world over and isrepresented by Khimji Ramdas Building Material Division in Oman

Duqum Port Road project


himji Ramdas LLCs one of the pioneers among the corporates operating in Oman has been in existence since 1870 and hae over 30 divisions across 4 groups. Each of the groups represent world renowned brands in their respective areas of operation. Khimji’s Building Material Division (BMD), under the KR Infrastructure Group represents Harsco Infrastructure for Scaffolding and formwork products. The Building

52 DOSSIER July - September 2012

Material Division of Khimji Ramdas, has been associated with leading international brands for the last several decades in the following product categories: Cement, Sanitaryware and bathroom accessories, Tiles – floor & wall, Structural Waterproofing, Formwork & Scaffolding, Decorative Ironmongery, Construction Chemicals, Vinyl Flooring, Plumbing Material, Timber & Ply, Access Manhole Covers and Hand Rails. It has been a one-stop shop for all prospective builders, be itr Villas, Residential/Commercial

Complexes or Mega Projects. KR reaches its customers through their showrooms in Muscat and Salalah, extensive dealer network across Oman and through their direct sales force. One of the leading brands that the division represents is Harsco Infrastructure (Formerly SGB Scaffolding & Formwork). Harsco designs, manufacture and supplies products ranging from simple shoring accessories to sophisticated Formwork and Falsework systems designed to provide the high

productivity solutions demanded by today’s international construction projects. KR represents the prestigious Harsco Scaffolding &Formwork products in Oman offering Sale, Rental and Contracts. Supported by a highly experienced design and sales network, using the latest CAD technology, Harsco has had a key involvement in many of the world’s most complex and demanding construction projects. Harsco has considerable experience in project and site supervision on major construction and refurbishment schemes. Their project management and design teams work in close partnership with customers to ensure programmes are completed on schedule and within budget. The company has operating subsidiaries in many countries, employing over 3500 staff with worldwide sales of over £600m. The company is operating in the Middle East region for over 30 years and currently has subsidiary companies or agents in the U.A.E, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Kuwait. The Scaffolding unit of the Building Material Division of Khimji Ramdas offers Cuplok System, Form Work Systems-MKII Soldier System, Manto Panels, Columns, Special Steels, Access Support ,Light weight Aluminium Towers, Props , Swedish Laminated & Scaffolding Boards. Some examples of the Scaffolding and formwork systems that KR offers: Cuplok Support to slabs: The Cuplok system scaffold is a modular scaffolding system, used with suitable primary and secondary beams. It can be designed to suit almost any support project which requires support systems. The quick fixing method for components ensure a faster erection time when compared

Muscat International Airport - MC3

to other modular systems available. ‘Pre assembled shutters’ can be mobilised in large sections to the next area on the project. MK II Soldier and Beam Double Sided Shutters: The structure is assembled using the MKII Soldier system backed with either Aluminium or H20 timber beams. Numerous accessories are available to tailor the system to suit any project requirements. These are suitable for retaining walls, shear walls and core walls. Manto Panel System for walls: The Manto Panel system consists of a steel frame with plywood face, pre drilled holes for ties and a fast clamping system to ensure rapid erection times on site. The 80kN/ m2 concrete pressure rating means they are suitable for all Building and Infrastructure projects and the plywood face reduces the quantity of plywood the contractor needs to purchase. Pre-assembled shutters can be mobilised in large sections to the next area on the project. WHY HARSCO? Harsco being one of the leading Scaffolding & Formwork companies has the required resources in terms of equipment and design/technical

personnel to undertake any major projects anywhere in the world. All Scaffolding and Formwork equipment has been researched, designed and developed to meet the very exacting needs of construction projects. Harsco is equipped with experienced technical staff to design special formwork equipment and provide on-site supervision during its installation. The local operation is supported by a team of trained and experienced staff to provide all working drawings/technical assistance during execution of the system on site. All equipment is manufactured/assembled under stringent quality control. Harsco Scaffolding & Formwork equipment conforms to relevant British Standard where applicable and are designed to suit site requirements. At Harsco the emphasis is on two vital aspects, quality and safety in terms of equipment, design and service for any major construction projects.

Contact: Nidheesh K Mani GSM: 99240962 Tel: 24852723 Fax: 24852730 Email:



What are the major projects you are currently working on? On the industrial front, our Switchgear factory is getting ready and will be operational in two months’ time in Sohar. Another important project nearing completion is a 190-villa project in Yiti. That will be a great achievement for us considering the number of challenges we are facing. We had to encounter a difficult working condition in a very difficult terrain. We are proud that we have performed better than the international players who were given similar projects. In addition, the Al Amerat water supply project which we have started recently is going on very well. And most of the projects we have taken up are in the stage of completion and it is the time we are looking at some new projects to be awarded to us. Could you elaborate on the features of Switchgear factory? It is speared over almost 4000 square metres of area. We will have double the capacity compared to the existing facility. We intend to export it to some other gulf countries. In addition, man power requirement has been augmented. The people are already trained and the machinery has been brought as the first phase of the factory will be operational in two months’ time. And the second phase of expansion will be done within six months 54 DOSSIER July - September 2012



then the plant will be fully operational. What about your expansion plan in Qatar? We are operating very well in Qatar and are looking forward to some of the good projects as the country is gearing up to host the World Cup in 2022. A lot of projects are going to start soon. Mostly, the projects are in the design stages and it will take time before they are getting awarded. How competitive are the market now? Market is very much competitive. I would say in the last 10 to 15 years it has never been as competitive as it is now as more international players especially from European and far eastern and other Asian countries are seeking to get a foothold in the market. How much it has affected your profitability? We won’t say it has affected. But certainly our margins have gone down because being a local company we have more responsibilities to the society such as Omanisation. This is not the case with the foreign companies who come for one or two projects and disappear after completing them. The local companies have the longterm responsibility of supporting the local community and contributing to create and empower the local talent. Therefore certainly we have extra cost to be incurred. As a local company we are here to stay and we don’t hire and fire people at will while international companies can get rid of their local staff as and when they leave after completing their projects. You said you are doing a lot in terms of Omanisation. What about your percentage of Omanisation? We always maintain the Omanisation ratio required for the construction industry in various

categories. In addition, we provide them constant in-house and on-job training in other skills.

with some European companies and I hope the projects will be awarded soon.

Is it hard to source new local talents? Skilled local workers are what we always lack. A lot of effort is required to build up the local skills. That is a continuous process where, I would say, we need to work in tandem with government.

What are the main projects you are looking forward? We are likely to get some new projects in different areas such as water supply projects, road projects, sewerage projects and building projects. These are the four areas where we are expecting something to happen soon.

What about your plans to foray into real-estate/ hospitality sector? We have the plans. We are thinking of developing integrated projects which includes hospitality services similar to some other projects that are coming up in the country. But we are still looking at the market situations

What are the new challenges? The challenges are always related to what the local companies cater for and what the intentional companies have to do or not do. This is not exactly a level playing field. While

We are operating very well in Qatar and are looking forward to some of the good projects as the country is gearing up to host the World Cup in 2022. A lot of projects are going to start soon and could not take a bold decision to a certain extent. The real-estate sector is yet to recover and we are waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel. Whatever is happening world over does affect the local market to a certain extent. What about your future plans? We are looking to consolidate the existing businesses and explore new areas with joint venture partners. We have some joint venture partners and we will be able to expand our partnership to other areas. The new fields include road projects and oil and gas sector. We already have a couple of projects as a joint venture

working in Oman, it is always easy to get the registration; and it is much easier to get a foot hold in this country for new players compared to any other country in the GCC. But when we go to other countries we don’t get the reciprocation. Are you planning to open operations in other countries as well? We have the plans. But the market situations have to improve. Or the sentiments have to improve, to be exact. Really the jobs are there but I think they are getting affected by the current crisis in the Eurozone and other parts of the world.




he logistics and supply chain sector in Oman continues to grow and benefit from significant investment in infrastructure, warehousing and transportation. The recent third TransOman conference provided valuable insights into a sector with great potential to help in diversifying the Oman economy and increasing GDP. The growth prospects and job opportunities in this positive sector are considerable as Oman seeks to take advantage of its strategic location outside the Straits of Hormuz and close proximity to major shipping routes. Particular decisions and initiatives to note that will drive forward the development of this sector include: the proposed GCC railway network will open up new, efficient and cost effective transport routes into the GCC market, particularly the region’s 56 DOSSIER July - September 2012

dominant market of Saudi Arabia. The development of the railway network is perceived as a “game changer” by the logistics industry. • the proposed GCC customs union, which is currently scheduled to happen in 2015, will be vital to allow the free movement of goods within the GCC. • the recent decision to move freight Cluttons considers that the recent decision to move freight traffic sea borne freight traffic for northern Oman from Port Sultan Qaboos to Port of Sohar is a positive step which provides greater structure and certainty for the development of the light industrial and logistics sector in the Sultanate. • the continuing development of Oman’s ports, roads and airports is constantly increasing Oman’s logistics efficiency and capabilities.

The current and projected growth of the sector is and will result in significant real estate requirements as evidenced by the on-going development of international quality warehousing along the highway between Naseem Gardens and Barka. We see particular growth and potential in the following industrial/ logistics hubs: • following on from the development of the industrial port at Sohar, the adjoining freezone is now developing rapidly and the PEIE industrial estate has recently announced a further expansion (Phase 7) of 8.5 million square metres. We see a significant and increasing demand for warehousing in Sohar, particularly as freight traffic is pushed up from Port Sultan Qaboos and the freezone develops. • Port of Salalah has developed rapidly to become a major global transhipment hub.

With the focus now shifting to further development of the neighbouring freezone, Cluttons sees a significant opportunity for warehousing development. • the development of Duqm as a new industrial port and city is still in its nascent stages but Cluttons sees increasing interest in this location as the development plans become clearer. We would expect large scale logistics facilities demand and development in Duqm over the coming years. • the current development of Muscat International Airport includes increasing the freight handling capacity from 100,000 to 260,000 tonnes per year. Proposed development includes a logistics hub in the Eastern Sector which will require extensive development of warehousing.

• Barka has already seen the development of several international warehousing facilities and we expect this area to develop as a logistics hub to serve the Muscat capital area and interior. As can be seen from the above, the potential for warehousing development in the Sultanate is significant. Currently the majority of warehousing/light industrial units in Oman remain owner built and occupied. As a result, there continues to be a very limited supply of light industrial/warehousing units available for rent. Our experience of the Muscat and Batinah markets is that demand for warehousing facilities is good with the result that rental values for warehousing have remained stable while all other GCC

countries have seen a drop in rental values since 2008. We consider that there is an evident gap in the market for modern warehousing and light industrial units to service the needs of the expanding manufacturing and logistics sectors. In addition to speculatively built warehousing units, we also see a significant future requirement for build to suit warehousing facilities where a developer constructs a warehouse to the tenant’s specific requirements on the basis of a long term lease. With current and proposed developments, Cluttons considers that Oman has the potential to become the dominant entry and exit point for goods for the GCC. The future of the logistics sector in the Sultanate is bright, and Cluttons dedicated logistics team foresees significant and exciting real estate opportunities resulting from this.

INFRA OMAN 2012 The Sultanate’s Second Infrastructure Exhibition to be held from October 2-4, 2012


nfra Oman 2012 which will be held from 02 – 04 October, is organized under the cooperation of the Ministry of Transport and Communications and supported by the Muscat Municipality, Supreme Committee for Town Planning, Oman Tourism Development Company SAOC (OMRAN), Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), German Near & Middle East Association (NUMOV), Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ghorfa), Singapore Business Federation (SBF), UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), Global Omani Development & Investment Co. SAOC (Glorei), Concrete Sawing & Drilling Association (CSDA), German Industry & Commerce Office (AHK), Embassy of the Republic of

Italy, Sheida International Co. LLC, Spanish Economic & Trade Office and Vietnam Association of Construction Contractors (VACC). The Diamond Sponsors are Consolidated Contractors Company Oman LLC (CCC), Doka Muscat LLC, Nafal Contracting & Trading Co. LLC and T-Track Saudi, Platinum Sponsors are Oman Arab Bank, Strabag Oman LLC and Wagon Pars Co. (Iran) and Gold Sponsors are JCB, PERI LLC, Amiantit Oman Co. LLC, Al Anwar Ceramic Tiles Co. SAOC and Target LLC. The Exhibition has 40 local and international companies that have already confirmed their participation, representing the following countries: UAE, Iran, China, Korea, KSA, Turkey, Belgium, Austria, Lebanon, France,

Netherlands, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Germany and UK. The expo will put the spotlight on Oman’s new fiveyear spending plan (2011-2015). The exhibition will focus on Construction Requirement, Infrastructure Projects, Power & Water Technologies, Renewable Energy & Environment, Heavy Equipment & Technology, Transportation & Logistics, Industrial Equipment and other Development Projects. Special Sections include, Affordable Housing, Interior and Design and Building Materials. To get more information about Infra Oman 2012, please visit

Media Partner for the event



Business Development of Grundfos emphasized the role of an effective partner like Omanpumps and hoped that launch of ‘No Compromise’ Sewage pump will prove to be the game changer in the Market. With the S-tube impeller, Grundfos sets new standards for wastewater hydraulic design. The S-tube impeller offers better hydraulic efficiency than any other type of wastewater impeller, without compromising free passage, thus ensuring trouble-free operation.

Basim Hamed Al Riyami - Senior Executive Director of Al Riyami Group


manpumps, the leading pumps and pumping systems company, launched Grundfos Sewage pump with ‘S’ Tube impeller at a Seminar held on 12th June at Grand Hyatt. Opening the Seminar Mr. Basim

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Hamed Al Riyami - Senior Executive Director of Al Riyami Group emphasized the fact that “Omanpumps, an Al Riyami group company, is the only Authorised Partner of Grundfos in Oman and their association with Grundfos goes back to more than three decades.” Mr. Rajat Mathur - Director-Sales &

In the S-tube impeller, the efficiency is higher compared to other wastewater impellers, as there are no edges, dead zones, cutting functions or alternative constructions that will get worn over time to remove clogging problems. Furthermore the S-tube impeller features an innovative and patented labyrinth and sealing system, for years of trouble-free operation. “A wastewater pump has to fulfill two seemingly conflicting properties: In addition to being as efficient as

possible, it must also pump media containing large solids, rags and fibres without clogging the pump. The very nature of wastewater is challenging, with dry solids content varying over time. Similarly, water use has not remained static either. The S-tube takes on these challenges, making unnecessary the traditional trade-off between hydraulic efficiency and free passage that varying wastewater composition typically requires,” said Mr. Mikael Nedergaard, Product Manager, Grundfos. The S-tube impeller is a tube-shaped channel impeller in a pump housing that matches the tube shape through the entire pump. The simplicity of the S-tube impeller eliminates the need for advanced and costly add-on assemblies that in a static or dynamic way are designed to cut, shred or treat the wastewater as it flows through the pump.

The winning team promotes Grundfos product in Oman

“Innovation has always been a cornerstone of Grundfos Philosophy. Omanpumps believes in working together with the customer to find innovative solutions for their Pumping needs,” said A. K Srivastava, General Manager, Omanpumps.

the industry is that it is the only company having a manufacturing and testing facility in the Sultanate and offers Total Solution from ‘concept to commissioning’ to a client and acts as ‘Total Solution Provider’ in the industry.

Technical Presentation was attended by more than 100 Engineers from Public Authority for Electricity and Water, Haya Water, Rural Area Electricity Company, Sultan Qaboos University, Royal Oman Police, Ministry of Defence, Diwan, Dhofar Municipality, Water Supply Division- Salalah, Salalah Sanitary & Drainage Company – Salalah, Sohar Development Office- Sohar and a large number of Consultants, Contractors and End Users.

All pumps manufactured go through rigorous tests in the factory at Rusayl in compliance with ISO9906. The performance of pumps up to 1000m3 per hour can be tested at Rusayl.

Oman Pumps’ factory at Rusayl offers contemporary facilities for manufacturing, assembling, and fabricating Pumps and pumping systems matched by advanced infrastructure for testing and quality control. What makes Oman Pumps different from the other players in

This factory is well-equipped with trained technical personnel and cutting-edge plant and machinery to produce quality products. Oman Pumps takes pride in engaging a team of engineers and technical staff for marketing, manufacturing, fabrication and services, which has earned a reputation for rendering admirable service and being the most skilled in the Sultanate. The aftersales service team provides prompt and effective service to individual market segments. Oman Pumps keeps an excellent inventory of spare parts to ensure minimum down-time.




lthough modern vehicles are equipped with the latest technologies that minimise accident rates to a great extent, most drivers do not know how to react to vehicle fires. The causes for vehicle fires can be put down to high temperatures, negligence of maintenance, driving for long distances without stopping, individual acts etc. Vehicle fires put the role of fire fighters in the spotlight, a role ever so important but hardly highlighted. Equipment required to deal with road accidents include turnout gear (protective clothes like insulated pants, insulated jackets, insulated gloves, steel-toed insulated boots, helmet with a face shield and the SCBA) ; extrication tools (Hydraulic cutters, Hydraulic spreaders or Jaws of Life) ; forceful entry tools (fire ax, halligan tool, insulated fire boots) ; ladders ; ventilation fans etc. “Since fire fighters respond to all sorts of emergency situations including road accidents, they require the proper equipment to meet the need of the situation. The Traffic Safety Expo 2012 will be featuring a whole range of equipment related to fire safety including Detection and Control Devices, Fire Safety and Protection Equipment, Fire Fighting Equipment, Personal Protective Equipment and Weather Management and Information Systems” says Mr. Alawi Al Murazza, a representative of Traffic Safety Expo 2012. Although some countries maintain

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that every vehicle should be equipped with an extinguisher, drivers are advised against its use, instead the following precautionary measures must be undertaken. Drivers must pull their vehicle over to the side of the road and warn other drivers about the problem. They must then shut the engine off and proceed to evacuating the car of its passengers to about 100 feet to avoid inhalation of toxic fumes and the endangering of passengers due to car explosions. Next the emergency services such as the police, medical team and the fire department must be notified.

from the hood of the car, the hood must be popped and the fire must be extinguished through the gap, but no attempt must be made to lift the hood. If the driver suspects that the fire is near the gas tank he must stay as far way from the vehicle as possible and await assistance.

Should situations force the driver to use his extinguisher, he must be aware of its use and application well in advance. If the fire is small and within the interior of the driver’s car, simply using the extinguisher or shutting the door may rid him off the fire. In case the fire is coming

For more information on Traffic Safety Expo 2012, kindly contact Mr. Alawi Almurazza, Traffic Safety Expo at 99886681/

In a bid to promote safe driving habits among drivers in the country, the 3 day Traffic Safety Expo 2012 will feature safety products, services and solutions covering the sectors of Road Safety, Fire and Safety and Accidents and Emergency.

Official Local Trade Publication