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No. 9 - NOV 2013


High-Rise Bank, High-Level Challenges PROJACS ACADEMY

Targeting The World PROJACS QATAR

Tenfold Expansion

Projacs International Newsletter

"Projacs is embarking on a new phase characterized by internal changes and external focus."

Message from the


The recent political upheaval in the region, massive investments in infrastructure to cope with demographic growth and demand, and the shrinking of the private sector, force us to look for ways and means to adjust our focus, and reshape our services. Projacs is embarking on a new phase characterized by internal changes and external focus. Internally, a new breed of leaders is taking the mantle of the company, and will lead it into the next decade. An ESOP program is being instituted, and more than two dozen new partners will be introduced from the ranks of the company. It is our held belief, that the survival of our company, requires a regeneration of new blood, and the ascendancy of the young and talented staff. Moreover, and to counter and adapt to the external conditions, the growth of our new units is inevitable. I foresee a growth in activity for our PMCS Solutions, Contracts, Projacs Academy, CM@risk, Engineering and Supervision, and BIM units. Projacs will always continue to set the tone for project management innovation, and leading the pack in its chosen field.

Dr. Nabil Qaddumi, Chairman




NBK New headquarters


High-Rise Bank, High-Level Challenges

18 THE Project manager

Proven Skills Erase Gender Prejudice "I have to take decisions and take responsibility for their consequences..." Issue 9 | November 2013 PUBLISHED BY Rimal Publications Ltd. Editor Gerald Butt DEPUTY Editor Fadia Shawwa Editorial Advisor Leonard Harrow PHOTOgraphy Editor Falak Shawwa design Wissam Itani Rimal Publications Ltd. P.O. Box 57017, Limassol 3311, Cyprus

CommuniquĂŠ is the official Projacs International Newsletter. For further details please contact



Message from the chairman 3 Young And Talented Staff To The Fore

Projacs at a glance 6 Propelling Forward: New Project Highlights 7 Meet the Board

Projacs at large 8 Projacs Qatar: Tenfold Expansion 14 NES: Back from the Brink 15 Facilities Management: Spreading the Word 16 Projacs Egypt: Riding Egypt's Storms

"... a modern, tall structure, 300 meters high, which will command sweeping views out to the Gulf and Kuwait City."

20 NQP: Innovative Architectural Design 21 Contracts Division: Life at the Sharp End 22 The PM: Proven Skills Erase Gender Prejudice 24 The Architect: A Man of Priorities

Feature projects 26 New NBK HQ: High-Rise Bank, High-Level Challenges 30 Palestinian Museum: Sharing The Past, Present And Future 34 KHCC: Expanding Healthcare With Expanding Skills 36 Kaloti Gold Refinery: Golden Days in Dubai

moving with the times 40 Projacs Academy: Targeting the World 42 BIM: More Than Three Dimensions 44 PMCS: User-Friendly and Efficient

Staff 45 Projacs Staff Statistical Charts

13 Projacs Egypt over the past two years has faced arguably greater challenges than any other office in the region.

46 Projacs Talk

interview with ahmed osman

Riding Egypt's Storms



projacs at a glance

Propelling Forward Project Highlights


Al Majdoul Tower

Abu Dhabi & Al Ain, UAE

Riyadh, KSA

The 8 two-level schools across various locations in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain will total a GFA of 132,099m². All classrooms are supported by offices, halls, gymnasiums, cafeterias, toilets, and swimming pools, in addition to outdoor spaces, playgrounds, landscaping, roads and parking. The buildings are intended to achieve 2 Pearls Estidama rating and equipped with CCTV Security System, PA/Music System and the BMS System together with all MEP services including fire alarm/fire fighting and more.

A 53 level commercial development. This 230m high type (A) office Tower is positioned on a 10,000m² area along King Fahad Road in Riyadh. With a total built-up area of 83,800m² above ground and 39,672m² four basements. The Al Majdoul Tower will comprise of a ground floor, 3 mezzanines, 40 office floors, 3 technical floors, 1 restaurants floor and 4 car parking basements.

Sheraton Cairo Renovation Project

Arab Town Organization HQ

Giza, Egypt

Shuwaikh, Kuwait

Projacs Egypt has been awarded a project to renovate the Cairo Sheraton Hotel and Casino. The project includes renovation of all public areas, the creation of new food and beverage outlets, new guest services, as well as a complete replacement of all hotel infrastructure and MEP systems.

This 10 floor office building is designed to accommodate the expansion of the functions and activities of the Arab Town Organization and provide additional office spaces for members and staff, including ceremonies and conferences. Additionally to provide administrative space for rental and investment revenue to support the activities of the organization. Located in Shuwaikh, the project plot area totals 4,246m².

Established in 1984 in Kuwait, Projacs International is the largest Pan-Arab project management firm with over 20 offices across the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, Europe and North America and over 600 professional staff offering customized services to clients worldwide.



Meet the board

Dr. Nabil H. Qaddumi Chairman, Kuwait B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1976

Omran Hayat Director, Kuwait B.S. Architecture, University of Miami Master in Project Management & Finance, Northeastern University

M.S. Civil Engineering (Construction Management), Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, 1977 Ph.D. Civil Engineering (Project Management), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1982

Mohammed Al-Mijren Al-Roomi

Dr. Fuad Al-Saleh

Director, Kuwait

Vice Chairman, Saudi Arabia

B.S. Business Administration Azusa Pacific University Los Angeles, California

B.Sc. Civil Eng., St. Martins College, Washington, 1971 M.Sc. Civil (Construction Management), University Of Washington, Seattle, 1976 Ph.D. Civil Enginerring (Construction Management), University Of Washington, Seattle, 1980

Luay S. Khoury President & CEO, Bahrain B.S. Civil Engineering, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait, 1982 M.S. Civil Engineering (Construction Management), Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, 1984

Omar A. Shawwa Director, Kuwait B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 1979

Jawdat A. Shawwa Director, Kuwait B.S. Civil Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, 1982



Tenfold Expansion



Projacs Qatar over the past decade has seen its operations expand impressively, with the number of employees rising from 10 in 2003 to 110 today.



For the past six years Dr. Hani Fidawi, in his capacity as VP/ Area Manager of Projacs Qatar, has personally managed this growth. “My main focus,” he says, “is to run the operation smoothly, continuously improving our services through hiring qualified staff, maintaining in-house training, encouraging staff to earn additional certificates in their own field of work, and searching for new project opportunities through building contacts with new clients.” Hani, who holds a PhD and an MSc from Loughborough University of Technology in the UK and a BSc from Beirut Arab University, says his main challenge is to “keep the operations in Qatar running smoothly, keep hiring professionals to maintain our reputation as the leading pan-Arab project management company in the Middle East. Which mean also a big challenge in securing new projects in this very competitive market.” Setting up an operation in Qatar in the first place, he adds, “was a wise strategic decision from our top management. Projacs was established in 1984 in Kuwait and the concept of Project Management was new in the construction market. Thereafter, and due to the Gulf war in 1990, there was a decision from the top management to explore new markets in the region, and they opened a new branch in Saudi Arabia. This was followed by other branches in the region UAE, Bahrain and Qatar.” Projacs Qatar has been involved in a number of projects of which it is proud. These include the Khalifa Stadium the Aspire Zone, part of a programme management contract for the Asian Games which was opened to the public in 2006, and the World Trade Centre in the West Bay Area on the east coast of Qatar.



Dr. Hani Fidawi Vice President/Area Manager Qatar



Right: World Trade Centre

"...our success relies on good staff – on hiring professional engineers/managers with good calibre staff, and following systems and procedures. This is definitely the key to success."

Other important ventures are ongoing: • Katara Project, programme management, at West Bay Area. Four and five-star hotels, residential villas, wide open spaces, restaurants, cafes, unique sculptures, an amphitheater for live performances, an exhibition hall, cinemas, museums, traditional souq, and many other supporting facilities including Opera hall, Music Academy and Flacon clinic. Expected completion: February 2014. • Doha Oasis Development Project, PM/CM, in Musheirib area of central Doha. Residential rental condominium buildings of nine floors, arranged in an elliptical shape with one high-rise tower GF + 28 floors, sky view restaurant, together with a shopping mall that includes retail shops, cinema halls, theme park and food & beverage shops. Expected completion: January 2017. • World Trade Centre Project, PM/CM, in West Bay. High-class office accommodation and recreational facilities, total built-up area of approximately 142,000 square meters. Four basements for parking, a podium from ground floor to third floor, and the Tower from fourth to 46th with typical office floors. Two recreational floors for the Panoramic Restaurant (47th-48th) and two technical floors (49th and 50th). Expected completion: October 2013.



From the above, it might seem that Projacs Qatar has plenty on its plate to keep it going. But aside from work inside the country, the Doha team is also working on two projects in North Africa: Tozeur large resort development in Tunisia; and Bab Ezzouar in Algeria. Keeping ahead of competitors is a constant challenge, Hani says, in particular those “companies backed up wellknown sponsors. As a PM company, our success relies on good staff – on hiring professional engineers/managers with good calibre staff, and following systems and procedures. This is definitely the key to success.” Projacs Qatar’s impressive performance, Hani adds, has been helped by the use of the iPromis Projact Management Control System. “This has definitely improved the flow of communications,” he says, “which enables us to address any management issues early enough before they become problems so that corrective actions can be taken.” Hani, who is married with two daughters (19 years old and nine) and a son (15), sees plenty of professional challenges in Qatar in the years ahead and is not looking for a new posting any time soon, adding: “As my family is well settled here, for the time being I would prefer to stay.” If one word encapsulates Hani’s outlook on life it is ‘patience’. He says he passes on this piece of wisdom to new recruits to Projacs: “I advise them to learn and seek advice from their superiors, work for the company as if it were their own. Above all, they should be patient. If they are I am sure they will be rewarded.”v



Back From The Brink Jihad Usta NES General Manager

Nassar Engineering Services (NES) was brought back from the brink of collapse when it was acquired by Projacs in 2009. It has since changed its focus from pure Project Management “into providing consultancy design services in general and management advice for specified tasks,” according to General Manager Jihad Usta. NES was established in Beirut in 1997 by the late Nabil Nassar and became involved in the management of residential, commercial and civil projects in Lebanon, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Jordan. The company set up a branch office in Abu Dhabi in 2005. After the death of the founder in 2009, a successor among the beneficiaries could not be found and NES was starting to drift towards collapse when it was acquired by Projacs. Jihad recalls this traumatic time for the company and its staff. “The most challenging aspect,” he says, “was dealing and sorting out the employee HR issues. No proper records were made available reflecting the dues and right of the employee.” For two years, NES employees had been nervous about the future because of “unclear vision due to the illness of



Nabil Nassar. We had to set rules and standard, applied to all employees, to sort out their files. Some were positive, while others raised cases against the company. But everything was sorted out within a period of six months.” In the end, the acquisition process was completed to everyone’s satisfaction. In Jihad’s view, this was due to a number of factors – but above all “the support and guidance of Projacs’ top management, a willingness all round for the acquisition to be a success, and the dedication of the staff working and supporting the move.” As proof that NES is now safely back from the brink, Jihad points to one of its ongoing projects: Rotana Amman, which “will establish a new landmark on the city’s skyline.”v

facilities management

Spreading the Word Ramzi Qumsieh Asst. VP, Facilities Management

The coming year will be a busy and challenging one for Projacs’ Facilities Management (FM) Unit as it expands operations from its current centralized base in Qatar. “The objective is to set up FM business in other Projacs offices,” says Ramzi Qumsieh, Assistant VP, Facilities Management. “We have started now in Bahrain and we aim to continue to expand in other areas.” The FM Unit was established in 2009, and Ramzi summarizes his role in its inception and development as follows: • Develop the FM Unit plan and strategy • Align the FM Unit strategy with the overall organization strategy • Preparing the policies, procedures and practices related to the FM Unit • Conduct meeting and presentation for potential clients The main objective of the FM Unit, Ramzi explains, is to “sustain in the market and generate profit. The FM Unit delivers consultancy and management services to cover the project life cycle.” The main unit capabilities and services can be summarized as follows: • Operational Design Review • Preparation of Facilities Management Plans • Preparing Operational Budget and Life Cycle Costing • Management services during the operational phase At present the FM Unit is staffed by seven employees in Qatar and three in Bahrain. Clearly the number is set to rise over the coming months – although Ramzi says that one of the challenges he faces is “to find qualified resources.” Facilities Management, he believes, is vitally important for the future success of the company and he would like to see FM Unit services added to the existing Projacs SOC and promoted among existing clients. Ramzi graduated from Birzeit University in Palestine in 1995 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and

joined Projacs in 2006. He holds a number of professional qualifications: Project Manager Professional from PMI; Certified Facility Manager from IFMA; Sustainability Facility Professional from IFMA; and Certified Energy Manager from AEE. One of Ramzi’s first assignments at Projacs Qatar was a huge and prestigious one: the Asian Games project. He describes it as “a very valuable experience that shaped my skills in communication, leadership, presentation and management.” Another flagship venture was the Barwa AlBaraha workers’ housing scheme – “a huge and complex project. It added a lot to my knowledge and experience in mechanical engineering.” Experience Plus Study Much can be learned from hands-on experience, but Ramzi also believes that it should be seen hand-in-hand with continuous study. Indeed his advice to anyone joining the FM Unit is to “continue reading about FM practice.” To underline the point, Ramzi says the latest book that he read was Law For Professional Engineering, and one of his ambitions for the year ahead is to achieve Six Sigma Black Belt Certification. In the course of his work, Ramzi is in regular contact with a whole range of departments and units in Projacs, so he is in a good position to assess the company. In his view, Projacs stands out from other PMCs because of its friendly working environment, the fact that no doors are closed and the way that horizontal and vertical communications are smooth. One change he would like to see: the conducting of a staff satisfaction survey. In his time off, Ramzi, who is unmarried, likes to play football and chess. In the coming year he may not have much time for these activities as the FM Unit spreads the word around the Projacs offices.v



Riding Egypt’s Storms



Projacs Egypt/Sudan over the past two years has faced arguably greater challenges than any other office in the region, with the Egyptian revolutions resulting in a sharp economic decline. Nevertheless, according to Ahmed Osman, Vice President/Area Manager Egypt and Sudan, “we were able to overcome these challenges with great management support and the flexibility of our staff.�



"...the statement we uphold, which is 'We Understand the Culture', clearly states how we think, react and work at Projacs."

It has not been easy. Ahmed points out that he and his team have witnessed “two waves of uprisings in 30 months which have affected our business. On the more local level, our Cairo office is five minutes away from Tahrir Square and we have had to close down on a number of occasions as we could not guarantee the safety and wellbeing of our staff. However, hopefully things will get better soon once we have a stable government.” Nobody could have been better qualified than Ahmed to deal with the succession of crises that Egypt has experienced. He says he heard about Projacs from a family friend and joined the company in 2000, becoming “one of the early recruits for our Cairo operations. I worked on the initial business development in Egypt from a temporary location. I worked closely with Eng. Luay Khoury, who headed Saudi Projacs back then, on writing proposals and presenting our services to potential clients. After we were awarded our first contract, we started looking for an office and setting it up and we’ve been in the market now in Egypt for nearly 14 years.” Ahmed’s Cairo office oversees operations in Sudan as well as Egypt. When Projacs was established in Egypt the company employed only three people. Today the staff consists of 32 full-time employees. In seeking to maintain Projacs’ position as a leader in the field of Project and Construction Management Ahmed is personally involved “throughout the project life cycle, starting with prospecting of potential projects, business development, recruitment and resource allocation, and then keeping a close eye on operations to ensure client satisfaction and protect Projacs’ interests.” Prestige Projects Over the years, the Cairo office has been involved in a number of prestigious Egyptian projects, such as Vodafone Headquarters at the Smart Village and the renovation of the historic Sofitel Cataract Hotel in Aswan, which was built in 1899. The company recently handed over the new headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Cairo and is now working on several ventures in both Egypt and Sudan.



These include, for the Amer Group, Porto Cairo Mall in New Cairo, Porto Medical Center and Porto Cairo village. Among other projects: Hurghada City Center Mall; Mixed Use Building for the Arab Investment Company; Hilton Corniche, Alexandria; Hilton Plaza Hotel, Hurghada; Coral Hotel, Khartoum; and Cairo Sheraton Hotel and Four Seasons at First Residence, both in Giza. Ahmed is in doubt about the reasons for the success of the Egypt/Sudan office: “It all boils down to innovation. We are trying to test a number of project delivery methods and our staff utilization on projects is being managed closely so as to optimize the performance of teams and maximize our return on staff.” He concedes that the size of the Cairo operation, when matched against others in the region, is a contributing factor: “I guess as we are a small office, our staff flexibility to work in a matrix organization works well. Moreover, we have an internal culture which makes the organization flat and so communication has no barriers.” Furthermore, the office environment “is like a close family, where I am proud to say that all staff are keen to help each other and care for Projacs’ name.”

Ahmed Osman Vice President/Area Manager Egypt & Sudan

All these factors combine to make Projacs Egypt/ Sudan “known for delivering projects in a sensible and professional manner. Moreover, we can boast that we have established a very credible name in the local market.” Team Players Strong as the Cairo-based operation may be, Ahmed is keen to stress that he and his staff are very much team players, adding that the “standardization of all processes and the introduction of ProMIS have made life a lot easier. I think that the time and money invested in such systems have added value to our operations.” But Ahmed is not content for the Egypt/Sudan operation to rest on its laurels. He says he would like his staff “to get more certifications and training. We already have a good number of PMP credential holders. However I would like us to have certified Sustainability professionals as well as Value Engineering specialists. We are also introducing the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) as a quantity surveying tool, and it is helping us greatly in this aspect. We will start using BIM at the Design Management phase as well.” Ahmed Osman’s roots in the construction sector go back to the late 1990s, when he graduated from Birmingham University in the UK with a BEng. Civil Engineering with Honours, before going on to gain an MSc. (Eng.) Highway Management and Engineering from the same establishment. He recalls that when he joined Projacs he “never imagined staying in one company for long. However, touch wood, I start my 14th year at Projacs this September. On the achievement level, I would like to say that I started in the company as a fresh graduate with a couple of years of experience, joining as a Planning Engineer. I gained the trust of the management, and I climbed the ladder until I was promoted to VP/Area Manager in 2009 at the age of 32 which I guess is my greatest achievement.”

for a company like Projacs.” As a “fanatic supporter” of Liverpool Football Club (as well as Zamalek) a UK posting would be ideal in lots of ways. But until the political storms in Egypt subside it is hard to imagine Projacs wanting such a seasoned Egypt hand working anywhere other than Cairo.v

Previous spread: Sofitel Cataract Hotel in Aswan, Night View Top left: Four Seasons at First Residence Below: Hilton Corniche in Alexandria

Phenomenal Growth During his years at Projacs Ahmed has witnessed the company’s growth, which he describes as “phenomenal”. One of the keys to this success, he says, is “the Arab culture in Projacs. I think the statement we uphold, which is 'We Understand the Culture', clearly states how we think, react and work at Projacs.” Asked if anything more could be done to improve working conditions, Ahmed says he believes Projacs should invest in a pension fund for senior staff and consider reintroducing the staff benefits that were frozen during the 2008 financial crisis. Ahmed, who is married with two children (Omar 10 years of age and Alia 6), still has ambitions – one is to begin his doctorate degree, another is “to lose some weight”. He would also like to experience working in Europe, specifically the UK, “as I see great potential there



NQP Innovative Architectural Designs One of the key elements in the success story of Projacs subsidiary NQP is its skill in producing innovative architectural designs, according to Charilaos Gkikas, General Manager of NQP’s Design Unit. The Doha-based consultancy services company, established in 2010, also cites as reasons for its success: its competitive prices; its business development strategy; the effective communication of architectural and engineering solutions to clients, third parties and the project teams; and the superior organizational and negotiation skills of its qualified resources. In November 2012, NQP created a Design Unit, which is able to provide design services for all three disciplines: architectural, structural & MEP. Asked about the challenges that NQP has faced since its creation, Charilaos says the most difficult was “to become commercially and technically competitive in the design field against the other already established consulting companies. In order to overcome this challenge, NQP focused on its resources by recruiting experienced and hard-working architects and engineers, as well as investing in the enrichment of the department by acquiring up-to-date design programs.� Among its achievements thus far, NQP has developed the Concept Design Stage of two major MUDs (Mixed Use Developments), one in Al-Wakkra and the other in Salwa Road.v



Contracts Division

Life at the Sharp End Ziad H. Mouaswas Contracts Division Manager

Ziad H. Mouaswas thrives on overcoming challenges. As Contracts Division Manager at Projacs, Ziad welcomes the professional ones that come his way every day. “In my opinion,” he says, “the Contract Services Division deals with the most critical, sensitive and difficult issues of any project, starting with its contract agreement and ending with its final account.” Graduating with a BSc. in civil engineering from Kuwait University in 1982, Ziad began his career in the construction sector. He knew about Projacs from its inception through his friendship with Dr. Nabil Qaddumi, Projacs Chairman, and Mr. Luay Khoury, the company’s President and CEO. “I have had a long business relationship with Projacs as I was retained as a ‘Contracts Advisor’ for several years prior to joining on a full-time basis in 2011. Projacs, and its distinguished group of professionals, have always attracted me as an ideal work environment.” Ziad’s current position as Contracts Division Manager brings with it a wide range of responsibilities. His division provides services as follows: • On projects where Projacs is appointed as the Project/Construction Manager, the Contracts Division provides its services as a member of the team appointed by Projacs to the project; and • By offering its services directly to clients only requiring independent contracts and claims administration services. Asked about the purpose of the Contracts and Claims Department, Ziad said the aim was to “protect and safeguard the interest of Projacs’ clients and ensure the best outcome of all their contracts entered into with third parties, including designers and contractors.” The Contracts Division, he continued, “assigns members of its staff to provide its services to its clients. These range from ad hoc/hourly assignments to full-time ones.” Projacs’ Contracts Division is centralized and operates from the offices of Projacs Kuwait. As for some of the particular challenges of the job, Ziad says his department’s services “mainly relate to contracts and, consequently, to rights and obligations.

We need to be sure of the opinion and advice we give our clients and that the recommendations we offer are always in their best interest.” In Ziad’s opinion, given that the service offered by the Contracts Division “is unique and valuable to clients and projects, I would recommend that additional efforts are put into promoting and developing the business of the Division.” Flagship Projects The major projects in which Ziad has been involved are too many to enumerate here. But the list includes three flagship projects: • National Bank of Kuwait, new Headquarters Building, Kuwait. • Central Bank of Kuwait, new Headquarters Building, Kuwait. • Jordan Gate Project, Amman, Jordan. Ziad, who lives in Kuwait City, is married and is the father of three daughters: Ikram, who is 27; Dalia, 24; and Sara, 19. While endeavouring to spend as much quality time as possible with his family and friends, he also likes to read. The last book he enjoyed was Jerusalem: The Biography by Simon S. Montefiore. In terms of his general outlook on life, Ziad says he is “interested in efforts aimed at changing our societies to become more tolerant and able to accept others.” As for daily motivation, he always tries “to have something to look forward to, be it business, personal, or of public interest.” Asked about his goals for the coming year, Ziad says “at this stage of my career I find it difficult to draw a line between personal and professional. But I certainly look forward to successfully managing the Contracts Division.” In achieving this particular goal, Ziad is inspired by his favourite quote: “Life will give you what you have the courage to ask for.” Courage is something that Ziad has in plenty – thriving, as he does, at the sharp end of his profession.v



The Project Manager

Proven Skills Erase Gender Prejudice

Project Manager Tamara Snobar had two points to prove when she joined the Projacs Jordan office: that she was skilled at her job; and that her gender was no barrier to professional success. “In the beginning," she says, “there was resistance from some of the projects parties to accept a female engineer in a leading position, especially as some of the team players were older and more experienced. However, this was overcome in time by using open dialogue channels and proving my skills through good planning, hard work, long hours, meticulous diligence and a friendly attitude.” With an MSc. in Engineering Business Management from Warwick University in the UK, a BSc. in Chemical Engineering from the Jordan University of Science and Technology and a string of professional qualifications under her belt, Tamara joined Projacs in early 2011. “I was looking for a company specialized in project management where I could apply my previous experience,” she recalls, “while acquiring additional skills on larger-scale projects. I came across Projacs through word of mouth and highprofile projects in Jordan.” Tamara’s latest assignment is as Project Manager for the Palestinian Museum at Birzeit University on the West Bank. Her role entails: • Overseeing the Design phase of the Project via monitoring the time, cost, risk, communication and quality management areas on behalf of the Owner. • Liaising all communication channels between the owner, designer, local consultant and local authorities to keep the related parties apprised of the progress of the Design and to proactively tackle critical issues to keep proper alignment and a streamlined operation. • Implementing the Project Management Plan to



Tamara Snobar Project Manager

• •

ensure that the Design phase time and budget are adhered to. Preparing and updating budgets for the project. Managing the team members through instilling proper accountability through assigning detailed tasks responsibility along with approved authorities.

A Day In The Life For anyone contemplating a career as a Project Manager, Tamara describes a typical day in her working life: “I usually wake up early; check my E-mails at home and prepare my to-do list for the day. I arrive at work at 8:30 and have my morning coffee, while thinking of my tasks for the day. I read the E-mails in details and reply to them. I then communicate with the team members on their daily tasks and any difficulties they are facing in completing them, offering my input to assist. Thereafter I attend meetings and set up meetings, and communicate with the different parties involved in the project.” Tamara says she thrives on the responsibilities that a Project Manager has to shoulder. She loves “the sense of

ownership. I have to take decisions and take responsibility for their consequences. I also enjoy being surrounded by an experienced talent pool and company resources, as well as acquiring continued skills through mentorship and company-sponsored training.” As for her advice to newcomers to Projacs, Tamara says: “Our field of work is very diverse and only time, eagerness to learn and hard work will make a competent Project Manager. Therefore, my advice is to be goaloriented, be eager to learn and to find good mentors for guidance and advice.” She points out that Projacs “continuously invests in the training of its staff”, with a focus on well-rounded leadership, project delivery and client relations. Also, “by refining company processes and procedures, Projacs ensures that the organization remains lean and competitive.” Potential Snags In any assignment for a Project Manager, there is always a need to be alert to potential snags, she continues. At the time of agile project management, “managing deadlines delivery sometimes becomes challenging across time zones and dependency on technology, which sometimes falls short.” Specifically on the Palestine Museum project, one of the challenges was that the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) “was requested by the owner to be incorporated at a developed design stage. This affected the previously planned time schedule of the project. However, in order to alleviate the impact of such change, the order of priority has necessitated activating constant follow-ups with the LEED consultant and shifting other project resources to other tasks to mitigate the potential slippage of the project launch date.” In addition, the “political atmosphere and turbulence within the Occupied Territories lends its share to the

"by refining company processes and procedures, Projacs ensures that the organization remains lean and competitive." difficulty of acquiring the necessary approvals and the streamlining of the design.” On the other hand, despite the political factors affecting the West Bank that impact the Museum project Tamara is aware of the huge significance of the venture. For, she says, the Museum will be “a landmark that reminds the world of the history and struggle of a resilient nation, and also embodies the dreams and aspirations of a proud people, and an inspiration for future generations to continue the fight for their rights.” Yoga And Piano Tamara, who is based in Jordan, was married in September 2012. Aside from being a Project Manager she is also a certified yoga instructor and a certified piano teacher. “I love cycling, singing and travelling,” she says. “My role model is my father from whom I have learnt to keep a good balance between working hard and maintaining a good personal and family relationship.” Or, to put it another way, Tamara has become skilled at managing complicated professional problems and showing that gender is no barrier, while maintaining a happy and balanced personal life. It is a formula that every would-be Project Manager would do well to emulate in an increasingly competitive world.v



The architect

A Man Of Priorities

Establishing a list of priorities to be accomplished each day is one of the techniques that Architect Abdallah Kabbara, a self-confessed perfectionist, has honed to enable him to cope with the pressures and challenges in his successful working life. “I am a multi-task engineer,” says Riyadh-based Abdallah. “At the start of any day, it is important for me to review what tasks need to be done and establish a priority list.” Abdallah categorizes the tasks variously as urgent and important, urgent but unimportant and non-urgent but important. Then he draws up that day’s list. With the pattern of the hours ahead mapped out, Abdallah gets down to work – as one of the Head Office core team in Projacs’ Riyadh operation, working mainly in the Design Management & Business Development Departments. His duties include: management and coordination of all design aspects; coordination and control of the Design Consultants to ensure that the design works are conducted within the established budgets, planned deadlines and quality standards contract; overseeing project design development in all its phases, from conception to executive project – and much, much more. Courage, Strength, Stamina The work is varied but extremely demanding. Among the challenges that Abdallah faces, he says, are “dealing with some difficult clients who have no idea what Project Management is. So I am always trying as a first step to get my client acquainted with our scope of services and the benefit he will get from having Projacs as his sole agent managing his project from A to Z and providing the required services based on the project’s magnitude and type.” Hard work has its rewards: “On a personal level, I am always motivated through my clients’ satisfaction and by the appreciation of the work I do for them. This has given me the courage, strength, and stamina to cope with the daily stress



Abdallah Kabbara Architect

and tension, especially when my schedule is too hectic.” Some of the stresses are visible in Abdallah’s current assignment: the Infrastructure Rehabilitation of four Ministry of Health (MOH) hospitals built 25-30 years ago in central Saudi Arabia. “There have been many challenges during the progress of work,” says. “These include working in a Joint Venture with an offshore international consultant and his non-presence in Saudi Arabia, leading to a constant miscommunication between the Projacs team and the JV international consultant team.” Abdallah listed a number of other challenges: • Late actions and follow-up by the JV international consultant regarding critical design concerns. • Difficulty of dealing with MOH employees during the time of survey and data collection, as the cooperation and inadequate support from some key personnel in MOH/Hospitals. • Official authorities’ bureaucracy and timeconsuming formalities. • Ongoing construction works on site for new

• •

extensions in two of the four Hospitals. Constant modification by MOH until today in many areas in the Hospitals. Working under pressure on a very tight time schedule.

Challenge Of Responsibility Aside from the work on the hospitals, Abdallah says he is “involved in everything that happens in the Head Office. This responsibility is a big challenge to me and it feels great too. To fulfil my obligations and be fully responsible, I always need to build an accurate thorough understanding of the work I am assigned to and what’s going on within it, and sometimes I might need support and assistance from my colleagues to complete the work properly.” This can mean extra hours at work: “I am accustomed to working long hours during the week, usually until at least 7 p.m. as I get a lot done after close of business at 5:30 p.m. I sometimes make arrangements to be available on weekends. I admit to being a bit of a perfectionist in what I do, I take a great deal of pride in my work and I am committed to producing the highest quality work I can.” For a newcomer to Projacs, matching Abdallah’s energy and commitment might be difficult at first. This is the advice that Abdallh himself offers to someone starting out in the company: “From the personal side I’d say, don’t try to act like a manager from day one. Be humble because no one cares where you went to school or how great a student you were. Get over yourself and try not to be arrogant.” From the technical side, Abdallah advises new recruits not to “excessively rely on others, at the same time don’t be a control freak and work individually. Try to dedicate some of your works to others when working under pressure.” A Personal Priority Abdallah joined Projacs in 2008 after completing his

"...first step to get my client acquainted with our scope of services and the benefit he will get from having Projacs as his sole agent managing his project from A to Z and providing the required services based on the project’s magnitude and type." post-graduate studies, having earlier received a degree in architecture from the Lebanese American University in Beirut. On his arrival at Projacs he was impressed by the “unique friendly and family environment” in the company – a factor he still believes to be key in making Projacs distinct from its competitors. The work environment “has a positive impact on the performance of Projacs employees and the business itself. Since we spend a large part of the day at the office, it is very important that we enjoy the work and perform to our potential. It’s an environment that promotes high productivity and rejects unethical behaviour.” The coming year, Abdallah hopes, will see his frenetic work schedule allow him time to achieve the key aim in his personal life: to find a wife and have a child. “I hope I won’t be single much longer,” he says, “as I’m approaching my 34th birthday!” For someone so organized and motivated in his professional life, finding the right wife shouldn’t be too difficult, once it’s found a place on Abdallah’s list of priorities. But getting onto that list might not be easy.v





High-Rise Bank, High-Level NEW NBK HEadquarters Challenges The new NBK Headquarters is a combination of three structures: two low-rise podium structures and a high-rise building. The latter is a modern, tall structure, 300 meters high, which will command sweeping views out to the Gulf and Kuwait City, while integrating the structural, environmental, functional, and operational requirements for a modern high-rise office tower. It will be a powerful statement of NBK’s prominence as the ‘Best Bank’ in the Middle East and of Kuwait’s important position in the global economic network. The high-rise building is formed of three basements and 56 occupied floors, with around 3,500 employees utilizing this space, plus two mezzanine levels. The tower is shaped like a shell, with a tapered bottom and the top terminating in a soft pointed tip. Iconic Structure Not surprisingly, such an exciting and ambitious project presents challenges. According to Hassan Helmy, Assistant VP – Design Management, Projacs Kuwait, the “first challenge we faced was the iconic structure and the tower’s geometry, with the fins being developed as two-dimensional, visually continuous profiles rising elegantly from the tower’s base in reaction to the building geometry and terminating as an open calm shell, with a visually dramatic glazed connection at the crown of the Chairman’s club at Level 56.”

Hassan Helmy Asst. VP – Design Management, Projacs Kuwait



Right: NBK New HQ Left: NBK Construction Site

Furthermore this complex tower’s geometry “raised many coordination problems between architecture and structure and other trades, and identifying those problems proved to be difficult with the traditional 2D CAD tools. Being responsible for performing design review services, we had to find a solution to this problem.” To do this, Hassan says, Projacs “advised and persuaded the client to appoint a third-party BIM consultant to develop a design BIM model.” Throughout the BIM modelling process, design conflicts, clashes, discrepancies in drawing details and design documentation, lack of information and coordination issues were identified and documented as technical queries(TQ’s). In Hassan’s view, “the use of BIM and the TQ’s proved to be a useful design validation tool and assisted our design management process.” Budget Challenge Another challenge was the budget. In its role as Cost Consultant, Projacs is responsible for determining project budgets and cost estimate updates. Hassan says “the challenge was that this project has many unique features such as ‘twin elevators’ – a new technology provided by only one company in the world, and the project is targeting LEED gold certification that will entail additional cost premium in addition to the complexities associated with high-rise towers.” Furthermore, the long duration for design phase led to a “potential increase in prices, and the need to add appropriate contingency to account for the unquantifiable effects of unknowns.”



Projacs Kuwait overcame these problems by developing a cost management system based on risk management and structured estimate review. This comprised a series of reviews with internal estimating team reviews to ensure that the basis of estimates was correct. Then, Hassan continues, engineering/project team reviews were carried out to evaluate the estimate in terms of accurately representing the project scope, along with management reviews and periodic ‘reality checks’ to make sure that the costs developed were within reason: “Our construction cost budget in 2008 was KD 113,553,857 and the project was awarded to the contractor at the end of 2012 with KD 113,722,439, a variance of + 0.01% from our estimated budget.” Working With The Other Side It was on the recommendation of a friend that Hassan joined Projacs in 2000. Having worked on the design and contracting side of the industry he “thought it might be interesting to explore working with the other side (i.e. project managers and client representatives), and since then I have been with Projacs and experienced career development.” As Assistant Vice President for Design Management, Hassan is responsible for managing the overall performance of the firm’s services throughout the preconstruction phase in Kuwait (i.e. pre-design, design and tender stages). “My work at this senior management level,” he says, “involves various responsibilities related to the centralized and coordinated management of projects under the unit’s domain that ranges from providing

"...the use of BIM and the TQ’s proved to be a useful design validation tool and assisted our design management process."

project management support functions to actually being responsible for the direct management of large-scale challenging projects.” Projacs is well equipped to cope with such challenges, Hassan says, because it is “one of only a few Project Management firms in the region who can offer a complete and integrated range of professional services that are tailored to the individual client’s requirements.” Also Projacs’ ability “to mobilize and fill the various staff assignments immediately upon the receipt of the notice of commencement is advantageously enhanced by the size and regional presence of the company in the Gulf Region and Middle East.” Furthermore, Projacs remains ahead of its competitors because of diversification both in services offered and geographical locations covered. It also has in place “systems and procedures that meet international professional standards, and we are flexible and we have an understanding of clients’ needs and culture.” High Regard Hassan points, too, to the fact that Projacs is “held in high regard and trusted by clients because of its fair and honest business practice. Also, the company has a good corporate culture and ethics that make clients and employees like to work with Projacs.” But on the company side he outlines four opportunities for improvement. He believes that Projacs should: permit flexible hours; provide better canteen and rest-room facilities; encourage sports and social facilities; and improve physical working conditions. As a married man with three children ranging in age from under one year to 11 years, one can imagine Hassan being as busy at home as he is at work. There will be little chance, then, to pursue the top item in his list of personal interests: travel. Such a luxury will be out of reach until his children grow a little older – and will certainly be out of the question until 2016, when the demands and challenges related to the fabulous new NBK Headquarters have been successfully overcome.v



Palestinian museum



Sharing The Past, Present And Future

The Palestinian Museum under construction at Birzeit in the West Bank will be, in the words of its vision statement, “a leading, dynamic and innovative forum for creating and communicating knowledge and new thinking about Palestinian society, history and culture.” Projacs is proud to be providing Project Management services, on a pro bono basis, for this huge, prestigious and ground-breaking venture that will benefit Palestinians in every corner of the globe. The $18 million Museum is scheduled to open its doors to the public in the spring of 2015. While nothing on this scale has been attempted before, Palestinians are not new to the concept of museums. As Jack Persekian, Director of the Palestinian Museum and Head Curator explains, “there have been museums in Palestine since the 1930s, and there are currently about 30, most of them rather small private collections. Yet there doesn’t seem to be much of a culture of museum-going among Palestinians.” Jack is confident that the new Birzeit museum will change traditional attitudes: “We hope we will meet the expectations by making the museum-going experience a rewarding and fulfilling one for all, and by making it possible for the Palestinian voice and story to resonate locally and internationally.”



The concept for the Palestinian Museum project started in 1997 when members of the Welfare Association’s Board of Trustees recognized the need to establish a modern historical museum in Palestine. This would be dedicated to preserving and commemorating the recent past, in particular the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948 – the watershed event of 20th century Palestinian history which led to the creation of Israel and the displacement and dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians.

This, in its essence, the Museum’s Director continues, “is the antithesis to what we’ve been witnessing in Palestine – and for a long time now – from divisions to ghettoization to fragmentation, dispersion and dispossession. As I’m planning the program and the shows for the museum, I am determinedly pushing myself to think across borders and barriers, not succumbing to the restricted geography and mobility, and cordoned territories imposed by the Israeli occupation and internal divisions.”

Focus On Celebration The concept of the museum has changed since then, reflecting a shift in focus from commemoration to celebration of Palestinian culture and history. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in Birzeit on 11 April 2013 and the construction started soon after that. Birzeit was selected as the site of the Museum, Jack says, “because of the town’s central location, and because Birzeit University was willing to give us a long-term lease of a piece of land adjacent to their campus. Being located next to Birzeit University will help provide opportunities for students to participate in the Museum’s research projects and program activities.” The Museum will build a collection in its Birzeit headquarters of objects, documents and histories that date from the beginning of the modern period to the present day. However, Jack is keen to point out, “the deep value of the Palestinian Museum lies not only in its mandate to build a hub in Birzeit, but more importantly in connecting and linking Palestinians around the world, by establishing partnerships and affiliate centers in various countries.”

Under Occupation Some of the key challenges that Jack and the teams working on the Museum project face result from its location on the West Bank. “We are living under occupation, and the simplest things anywhere else can be a big issue and problem here,” Jack says. One such problem is obtaining permission for people from outside the country to work for the Museum – particularly Palestinians who have certain expertise and who are more than willing to come and volunteer. “If we’re lucky,” Jack says, “Israel will issue them a visa once to visit and only for a short period of time. This won’t help at all. But if it’s a Palestinian or any other person carrying a ‘wrong’ passport (i.e. one not recognized by the state of Israel), there is no way this person would ever be able to come to Palestine.” As a result, the pool of expertise and know-how is “very shallow locally, and very expensive and unaffordable if we’re considering the West as a source.” Aside from the difficulties associated with hiring outside expertise, the project is also facing some delays because its determination to strive for global



environmental standards, specifically Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This has sometimes required Palestinian contractors and workers, who are accustomed to old ways of construction and site maintenance, to adopt new methods. Jack is confident that adopting these new standards will be worth the effort. For when the Palestinian Museum opens its doors, visitors will be able to “experience Palestine’s first energy-efficient green building, striving for a LEED silver rating.” Water and energy consumption in the building will be reduced by 23% by using green solutions in design and constructions. The Museum building’s orientation is such that it will be able to maintain adequate and comfortable temperatures in both summer and winter months. Overwhelming Support Other green solutions include collecting rainwater from the rooftop of the building in large water containers for reuse. Solar energy will be used to heat water for public use, while wastewater will be refined and reused for irrigating the gardens based on an automatically controlled water system. Moreover, the gardens of the Museum will be planted with indigenous plants, which tend not to require large amounts of water. The Museum will also encourage staff and visitors to use bicycles to get to the building. Wheelchair accessibility has been integrated into the building’s design. At the same time, the Museum obliges contractors

"...experience Palestine’s first energy-efficient green building, striving for a LEED silver rating."

to operate in a limited area on the construction site to avoid environmental damage that might occur to the land surrounding the building during construction. So, while Jack Persekian doesn’t pretend that the project has been easy going, he has absolutely no regrets about having embarked on such an ambitious and globally important venture: “The reactions to the establishment of the Museum are overwhelmingly supportive on all levels. People are willing to take part and volunteer to make sure this project is a success, not only for the people working on it but for all Palestinians.” In short, “it’s exciting and a great privilege to be part of the effort of establishing” an institution that will enable Palestinians for the first time to share the past, the present and the future.v



King Hussein Cancer Center

Expanding Healthcare With Expanding Skills Healthcare facilities available to Jordanians will be significantly enhanced when the King Hussein Cancer Center expansion project in Amman is completed in 2015. The $120 million scheme involves the construction of a new East Building and Outpatient Tower. The project is unusual in that it is mainly funded by donations which are managed by a board of trustees. Projacs won the Project Management contract for the venture in 2010 – covering the pre-design and design management phases, and the management of the construction phase. The new facilities, being built on a plot area of around 9,000m2, will accommodate 138 beds. The extension buildings’ features include: • Outpatient Tower (10 floors) • Inpatient Tower (12 floors) • Atrium (with bridges) • Family lounge • Servery for dining • Three basement levels • Elevated connector bridge • Generator building

Sameer Abu Shanab Sr. VP Projacs Kuwait Managing Operations in Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq



For Sameer Abu Shanab, Senior VP Projacs Kuwait (managing operations in Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq) the challenge in this project is the same as that in all others: “To provide uninterrupted professional services to the client, with a healthy business environment among all project team members. By achieving this and by auditing the performance of our team’s results we enhance the quality of our team. We also draw up a Quality Assurance plan, helping us to follow up on project requirements and deliverables.” Sameer, who graduated from Kuwait University, College of Engineering & Petroleum in 1983 with a BSc in Civil Engineering, joined Projacs in 1990, having heard from friends about the career opportunities in the company. “I started work with Projacs on the Amiri Diwan, Crown Prince and Council of Ministers project,” he recalls, “as a member of the Turner-Projacs JV Team responsible for the project and construction management. I started as office engineer with the PCS team.” Regional Responsibilities Today, Sameer is responsible “for the overall direction of Projacs’ operations within Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, overseeing and managing the performance of PM and CM teams. I also monitor the implementation of setup systems and company standards including PMCS, Business Development, Human Resources and staff resource planning, financials and annual budget controls.” A further responsibility is to “maintain business relations with clients and explore new business opportunities in coordination with the company’s corporate management, making sure that the company’s image is maintained and respected through all operations.” Another challenge for Sameer is the fact that Iraq is still far from stable, and Jordan is being affected by both the Syria crisis and economic woes. “In particular,” he says, “Jordan has been affected by a shrinking in foreign investments in the country due to the recent financial crisis. In addition, Jordan is very sensitive to the geopolitical situation in the region, which in turn has a marked effect on business and the economy.”

Fighting Off Competition Nevertheless, through perseverance and hard work, Projacs is maintaining its profile in the three countries that Sameer manages. He lists the elements of the company’s success there under difficult circumstances: “Honesty, high-level performance, and professionalquality resources and deliverables.” These qualities have enabled Projacs as a whole to fight off competition. Sameer says that in his more than two decades in the company the main change has been the transformation of its image – from a regional player to an international one, thus “putting Projacs at a higher level of competition, with other international rivals.” Sameer also acknowledges the role that new systems and technologies have played in Projacs’ successful development. “Implementing these,” he says, “is a top priority of the company's management including utilizing state of the arts applications such as LEED, Green Buildings requirements, and Building Information Modelling (BIM).” Taking these steps “will enhance and improve the quality of deliverables and keep us in line with the latest international quality standards.” Showing Commitment Years of experience with Projacs has put Sameer in a good position to advise newcomers to the company. He says they should show commitment first and foremost, and then be ready to learn from their superiors and develop multi-tasking skills. There is always scope for improvement at Projacs, and Sameer believes the company should do more to help individuals advance up the ladder. Sameer is married and is the father of four daughters ranging in age from six to 23. His personal interests focus on sport, and on football in particular. Motivation is no problem for Sameer. He says he is driven each morning to successfully complete the items on that day’s agenda. So when the King Hussein Cancer Center is complete he will be eager to get stuck into the next big project – whether it is in Kuwait, Iraq or Jordan.v





Kaloti gold refinery

Golden Days in Dubai February 2015 will be a golden month for Projacs Dubai, for it will see the completion of the US$60 million Kaloti Gold Refinery within Jumeirah Lakes Towers Free Zone. For this landmark venture, Projacs is providing full Project Management Services, including Pre-Contract Services, Design Review, Construction Management and Cost Engineering. The Kaloti Refinery, covering an area of 15,000 square meters, is the biggest and most technologically advanced of its kind, with the capacity to produce 1,400 tons of gold and 600 tons of silver and other precious metals a year. It will also have a mint department to produce gold ingots and coins. For Hassan A. Nasereddin, VP & Area Manager, UAE, the project is one to be proud of because it takes Projacs into new territories. Projacs and, for that matter, most other PMC companies, he says, have had “no experience with projects of this kind because such facilities are so rare. The project involves new technology which is not standard in Projacs’ experience. But we managed to win the contract because of the dedication and hard work of the project team.” Then there is the complication that “more than five consultants are working on the project because of the authorities’ requirements and the complexity of the production lines. NOCs had to be obtained from several departments and managing all those parties was a real challenge.” But Hassan stresses that while this sophisticated industrial project requires the use of very hazardous, corrosive and toxic chemicals, the finished plant will be

Hassan Nasereddin and Mr Munir Kaloti



environmentally friendly, meeting the most rigorous of standards. Indeed, it will be the first refinery to implement green building standards stipulated by the Dubai Municipality covering areas including the environment, fire and life safety. Successful Track Record Little wonder, then, that the Projac Dubai team are proud of their achievement. But in Hassan’s view, Projacs

managed to secure this contract and others only because of its proven track record: “I believe that Projacs is ahead of its competitors because of clients’ trust in us and the success stories of previous projects.” These days, with continuing global economic woes and market turbulence continuing, even Dubai is feeling the chill. For this reason, Hassan says, “it is very important for us to diversify our portfolio and project sectors to include oil and gas and industry, and we should pay more

From left to right: Nancy Tudoc, Lily Aljentera, Adrian Mihailescu, and Aylin Peker



" is very important for us to diversify our portfolio and project sectors." attention to health and educational sectors to cope with market demands.” Hassan graduated from Mansura University in Egypt in 1981 with a BSc. He met the current CEO, Mr. Luay Khoury on a training course in 1984, the year the company was established. In 1992, Hassan joined Projacs, working in the Kuwait office. He subsequently left Projacs for a time for personal reasons, but rejoined the firm in Kuwait in late-2004, before taking up his post in Dubai. Hassan is certain that he made the right move in returning to the company: “Working with Projacs is not the same as working with any other company. In short, Projacs, is a home rather than an employer. Management and staff are a family, rather than co-workers.”

Far East Horizons? When work permits it, Hassan enjoys time off with his own family – his wife (a pharmacist) and children (Ahmed aged 12, and Abulfattah, 10). His main hobby is reading, and he enjoys a wide variety of books – on politics, economics, modern history, travel and technology. As far as a possible change of horizons is concerned, Hassan has his eye on the Far East. He has visited a number of countries there over the past few years and would relish the opportunity to work and experience life in the region. The chances are that the unique experience gained from working on the Kaloti Refinery project will open up golden opportunities for Hassan, not just in the Far East but all around the globe.v



Moving with the Times: BIM

Targeting The World The Projacs Academy, headquartered in London, will expand the company’s reach worldwide from its strong base in the Middle East, according to Les Harvey, the Academy’s Managing Director. “The existing country structure in the Middle East will continue, but overall worldwide management will be London-based to give a clear differentiation, allowing development in many areas of the world where we have not ventured in the past.” The Academy is already up and running. Les describes how a “seamless transition” from the existing Training operation is underway: “We are currently finalizing the marketing and branding activities, but are already conducting courses under the new name. Our purpose in establishing the Academy is to differentiate it from the other Projacs activities, to focus on training and associated activities and to widen our offering to embrace new training methods and outlets such as public conferences.” Setting up the Academy without interfering with the smooth operation of Projacs as a whole presented a challenge to the new team. It was important, for example, to ensure that “the existing team were kept informed at all times of the change. Their commitment and enthusiasm was at all times considered critical. Other challenges were the major re-branding into a global company whilst at the same time reassuring our current client base that they would obtain greater service and benefits.” Above all it was essential, Les says, to “maintain quality standards and introduce new topics and training topic and training formats, while expanding into new territories.”

Les Harvey Managing Director Projacs Academy



Enviable Track Record The Academy’s Managing Director adds the main target audience initially will be companies in the construction, engineering and oil and gas sectors, focussing on “all levels of management from new graduates to senior board level people. We have an enviable track record in delivering value for money in these areas but we see that as a springboard for our more ambitious plans in different industries and locations and delivering in different formats.” Les stresses that the Academy has as its foundations the experience and skill of Projacs itself over 30 years: “We have a reputation in our existing areas which

is second to none, and we have a first class team of managers and trainers. The new Academy is adding to this with additional skills and management expertise so that our reach is truly global.” The Projacs Group is “highly qualified and unique in being able to transfer this knowledge and know-how through Academy training programs.”

New Directions for Learning

Online Accesss The latest technological and IT developments will help Projacs Academy increase its worldwide reach, offering online courses, presenting webinars and live links to public conferences through Twitter hashtags and the like. “We foresee,” Les says, “mixed courses, with delegates in the room being joined by others from remote locations. As part of our marketing mix we will soon be launching our new website featuring blogs from some of our experienced trainers discussing up-to-the-minute developments.” But at the end of the day, the Academy still hopes to focus mainly on human-to-human encounters. Les says he sees online training “as a cost-effective alternative for small numbers of delegates where the cost of travelling can be disproportionately expensive. However, we still believe that face-to-face training, allowing trainers and delegates to interact and which also presents opportunities for networking, social gatherings and so on to continue to be a vital part of our total offering.” Commitment To Training With economic difficulties still affecting many parts of the globe, one might question the wisdom of launching the Projacs Academy at this time. Les accepts that, inevitably, training budgets have suffered as businesses cut costs. However, he continues, “we have found that many of our existing customers, as well as those in our target markets, are aware of the benefits of training in terms of added value and have retained their commitment to training. We see the slow global recovery as a great time to launch our new adventure.” Les Harvey lives in Bolton in the north of England – a far cry from the warm and sunny Middle Eastern locations of the overwhelming majority of Projacs employees. Bolton itself is several hours away from London, so Les has plenty of time, usually on planes and trains, to read a lot. Also, “technology allows me to indulge in my love of classical music and jazz, on the move as well as at home. Whenever possible my wife and I like to head off to the Lake District or other areas for some serious walking.” Daily motivation for Les is not a problem: “Being part of an exciting new venture – every day brings new challenges and solving them is one of the most rewarding things possible.” Helping others to learn how to solve problems will be one of the aims, too, of the new Projacs Academy in the coming years.v

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Download our app for free from the App Store NOVEMBER 2013


Moving with the times: BIM

More Than Three Dimensions Hassan Helmy Assistant VP, Operations Kuwait

When it comes to discussing Building Information Modeling (BIM), Hassan Helmy is an unashamed enthusiast. The Assistant VP – Operations, Kuwait, describes it as “one of the most promising developments in the architecture, engineering and construction industries.” BIM, he explains, is “a digital database of physical and functional characteristics that also contains information about a building that can be viewed in more than three dimensions.” So it is possible to virtually build the building as it would be constructed on-site before the actual construction has started. This helps to eliminate many of the inefficiencies of the construction process. The information updated in the BIM at each phase by the team members, Hassan says, can be transferred to the next phase without any loss or duplication of information. The model can be accessed by any stakeholder for entering, updating, or extracting information at any point during construction. Upon completion, the data–rich model can be delivered to the owner or the facility manger. This model can then be used for operating the building throughout its entire lifecycle. Hassan adds that “with BIM technology, one or more accurate virtual models of a building are constructed digitally. They support design through its phases, allowing better analysis and control than manual processes.” When completed, these computer–generated models contain precise geometry and data needed to support the construction, fabrication, and procurement activities through which the building is realized. The result is “a more integrated design and construction process that results in better quality buildings at lower cost and reduced project duration.” Every Player Benefits Hassan points out that BIM has “proven to have benefits for every key player in the construction process – from design to construction to facility management. Owners can realize significant benefits on projects by using BIM processes and tools to streamline the delivery of higherquality and better-performing buildings. BIM facilitates



collaboration between project participants, reducing errors and field changes and leading to a more efficient and reliable delivery process that reduces project time and cost.” BIM has been put to use with good effect by Projacs Kuwait in the new National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) Headquarters project (see NBK New Headquarters article). Hassan says that the Design Management Department in Kuwait “used to perform interdisciplinary coordination review and clash detection manually using 2D drawings. This was done by overlaying individual discipline drawings on a light table, in early days, or using traditional 2D CAD tools to overlay CAD layers to visually and manually identify potential conflicts.” But such manual methods are not only timeconsuming, but also “prone to error and depend on the use of up-to-date drawings. However, two years ago, we introduced BIM-based clash detection in the NBK project through a BIM consultant where this approach proved to provide many advantages over traditional 2D coordination methods.” The BIM–based clash-detection tools allow automatic geometry-based detection to be combined with rule-based analysis for identifying qualified and structured clashes. New Technology, New Challenges Introducing BIM is not without its challenges. Hassan says that while the technology offers new methods for collaboration, the NBK experience shows that it introduces “other issues with respect to the development of effective teams. Determining the methods that will be used to permit adequate sharing of model information by members of the project team (i.e. designer, contractor and third party BIM consultant) was a significant issue. In fact, the selection of the BIM software to be used for the project was an issue.” Legal concerns are also “presenting challenges, with respect to who owns the multiple design, fabrication, analysis and construction datasets, who pays for them and who is responsible for their accuracy. In the NBK

"...adopting BIM system involves more than acquiring software, training and upgrading hardware." project we used AIA guidelines for contractual language to cover such issues raised as result of the use of BIM technology.” Bright Future As the man responsible for developing a BIM business plan for the new BIM Unit, Hassan “discovered that adopting BIM system involves more than acquiring software, training and upgrading hardware. It requires some understanding of BIM technology and related processes and a plan for implementation which will include the people, processes, and platforms that will be used to execute BIM on our projects.” Hassan sees a bright future for BIM in Projacs’ future operations. He recommends that the company starts

using the system on “one or two smaller, perhaps already completed, projects at offices in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as a start. We should also extend the use of BIM to new projects every year and begin working with outside members of the project teams in new collaborative approaches that allow early integration and sharing of knowledge using the building model.” In general, he is keen that Projacs continues to integrate BIM capabilities into additional aspects of Projacs’ functions and reflect these new business processes in contractual documents with clients and business partners.” A world of more-than-three-dimensional computerized images, then, is here to stay.v



moving with the times: PMCS

User-Friendly And Efficient Nael Al-Achy IT Manager

A Project and Document Control Management System (PMCS), to the uninitiated, might seem like something very remote from the everyday world of normal daily life. Not so, says PMCS System Engineer Nael Al-Achy: “All a user needs to access the PMCS is internet connection. PMCS is an online document management system that does not need any installation procedure. It is user-friendly and efficient.” Nael, based at Projacs Qatar, is an IT Manager responsible for the PMCS, having participated in the early workshops conducted to develop the system. His responsibilities now cover: • Training Projacs employees in all regions. • Marketing and sales of the PMCS to external clients. • Training external users. • Supporting the current users (Projacs and external). • Defining and managing new upgrades and enhancements for the PMCS. PMCS’ design, he says, "is based on four major elements: integration, functionalities, control and collaboration.” Projacs’ ProMIS-PMCS is a specialized modular Document Management Control system, “designed with user-friendly and dynamic interface and processes that integrate between different construction phases and functionalities.” ProMIS-PMCS is designed to suit the construction work process in respect to managing and controlling portfolios, programs and projects of different sizes and complexities, from pre-contract to post-contract phase. Four Modules Each user, Nael continues, receives a username and password from the system administrator in his/her region, with the permissions according to his/her role in the project. The system is divided into four modules: project, contract, financial, and document modules. Each covers a specific part of the documents workflow. Nael points out that the workflow is “linked to a task management feature that will generate individual E-mail notifications to keep the users up to date and remind them of tasks that they have to finish. PMCS also has the ability to generate custom-designed logs and reports, which is an important tool to manage the progress of each phase of the



project.” Has Nael faced challenges introducing the system? “Yes of course,” is his reply. “I faced and I am still facing many challenges. The major one is convincing users to make the shift from systems and processes that they got used to into the PMCS. And make them accept it, understand it, and even like it as fast as possible.” He faces similar challenges when he tries “to market and sell the system to other clients. I also need to convince them of the advantages of PMCS comparing to other systems in the market.” Convincing Doubters In trying to win doubters over to the system Nael points out how simple and efficient it is: “Before designing the system we took the feedback of users of other document control systems in the market. The most common feedback we got is ‘it’s complicated’ or ‘it’s hard to use’. So that was what we tried to overcome while developing the system. We tried our best to make PMCS as user-friendly as it is possible but without losing its efficiency.” Technology changes fast. It is essential, Nael says, that Projacs keeps its PMCS up to date: “Every week we have new upgrades, new features and new inventions. We have to try our best to keep up with the latest technologies so we can compete with other products in the market.” Armed with a BSc. in Computer Engineering from Balamand University in Lebanon, Nael joined Projacs in April 2007. He had heard about the company from a family friend who had come into contact with Projacs through a construction project there. He started his Projacs career as a PCS trainee in the PMCS unit headed by Dr. Ammar Hazem. The best thing about Projacs, Nael says, “is its working environment, it is so friendly and everybody is easily accessible including the COO, and CEO.” Greater cooperation and coordination that the PMCS offers should play a significant part in improving that environment still further.v

Staff Statistics With a network of 24 offices across the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, Europe and North America; our professional staff offer customized services to a variety of clients worldwide.


CATEGORIES (Technical, Support, T&D)





TALK Mohammed Ayesh Senior Accountant - Dubai

Mohammad AlTouki Training Manager - Dubai

Rubbing Shoulders With Management

Helping Others Develop

Working in Projacs’ Finance Department gives Mohammed Ayesh a feeling that he is “close to management”, especially when he prepares the budgets and carries out the financial reporting for his territory. Mohammed, Senior Accountant at Projacs Dubai, first heard about the company from his college professor, Dr. Akram Habib. He has no regrets about deciding to join Projacs, praising “the friendly work environment that is integrated with the professional growth opportunities.” Asked to name the most influential person in his life, Mohammed replied: “Actually my direct boss at Projacs, Mr. Abbas Fssa.” This has been a good year for Mohammed – both at work and in his personal life: “Professionally I was promoted to be a Senior Accountant and personally I’m awaiting my first baby girl.” With an addition to the family imminent, Mohammed is likely to find himself staying in Dubai for the immediate future. That means that he will have to put on hold two of his key lifetime ambitions: to travel to New York; and to meet former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. In the meantime, Mohammed is happy where he is: “I’m very pleased to be a member of the Projacs Family and I’m happy with what I’ve achieved till now. I’m also enthusiastic about the future.”v

Mohammad, you’ve been with Projacs since the end of 2009 – how did you hear about the company? I knew about Projacs because it was well known in the UAE – well known both in the Project Management and the Training and Development fields. So it suited me well. What are the most important things for you to achieve this year professionally or personally? My goal for the months ahead is to improve my interpersonal skills. Because the way you present yourself, how you communicate with other people, whether it’s in market or with management at work, can make or break your personal brand. What do you find most rewarding about your job? I really enjoy making contacts, and spending time talking with people. The most rewarding part of being in Training, for me, is the time spent with participants, helping them developing themselves. What motivates you on a daily basis? My job motivates me. I like to imagine myself on both sides of the table, working with professional trainers on the one side, and then imagining myself with the trainees on the other. This motivates me to work and learn. Who was the most influential person in your life? My father. Where would you like to travel to – a place that you have not been yet? The United States and Canada.v



























Mohammed Anwar Mousa Assistant HR Manager - Kuwait

Spirit Of Teamwork Mohammed, you joined Projacs Kuwait in July 2006. How did you first hear about Projacs? I first heard about Projacs through a recruitment agency website which recommended me for this job and I was interested in applying. What are the most important things for you to achieve this year professionally or personally? I look forward to getting a professional certificate within the field of Human Resources so that I can enhance my professional career. On the personal level, I want to provide the very best for my family. What do you find most rewarding about your job? What I really like is the work atmosphere, There’s a great spirit of teamwork, plus I receive a strong level of support, encouragement and trust from my line manager and senior management. Who is one person in history you would like to meet? Taha Hussein, who is still considered one of the best and most influential writers in the Arab world. He was even nicknamed ‘the Dean of Arabic Literature’ for his celebrated works. I wish I could have had the chance to meet him, not only as a famous writer, but also for being a man with a serious disability. In spite of his blindness, he was motivated to accept the challenge that life threw at him and overcome his disability, to become a very popular and highly respected private individual and writer. Hussein was the first blind person to be appointed as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Cairo University. For me, he was a




legend. What motivates you on a daily basis? Firstly, seeing my daughters’ smile first thing every morning. Secondly, I believe that human relations play an important role in an employee’s motivation, job satisfaction and corporate culture. I believe that my success as an employee is linked to other employees in the company. When I assist them and am cooperative, there is a good chance that they will have a positive attitude towards me and be willing to help me meet my objectives. Who was the most influential person in your life? I believe in a proverb, which says: a father is a son’s first hero and a daughter’s first love. I think my father didn’t spare any effort to give me a good education and broaden my experience. I still remember consulting with him on various occasions when I had difficult issues to resolve. Where would you like to travel to – a place that you have not been yet? Paris, France. Everybody says that Paris is known as the City of Light. I hope that I will be able to travel to Paris and learn more about French culture.v Dear Communiqué Reader, We would like to know more about your opinion, feedback and expectations. please contact us at Thank you!



Manama Kuwait Doha Dubai Abu Dhabi

Riyadh Jeddah Al Khobar Erbil Baghdad

Amman Beirut Damascus Cairo Casablanca

Islamabad Tripoli Ramallah Toronto New Hampshire, USA

Communique issue#9 - Nov2013  

Communiqué is the official Projacs International Newsletter.

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