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Publication licensed by Dubai Production City


JUNE 2017


gateway to a masterpiece

Big Project Me is invited on an exclusive tour of the new visitor centre at sheikh Zayed grand mosque

© 2017 LACASA Architects & Engineering Consultants All Rights Reserved

I’m Ahmad Jaber and I am a

Site engineer

“I have always been fascinated by construction. A sketch becomes a concept, which then becomes a shop drawing, and eventually leads up to a fully functional building. As a student, I knew the theoretical aspects of overseeing the construction of a development, however, the hands-on experience was one that I was only able to witness firsthand as an intern and now as a site engineer. At LACASA, educational and professional development is highly emphasized; inspiring us to learn more, to perform better, and to continue building on our clients’ success.

Ahmad Jaber Site Engineer

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

S C C r e v o c s Di

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For over 35 years, our software solutions have been developed for contractors by contractors. At the leading edge of industry trends, Candy and BuildSmart put you in complete control of your project: from check-in to check-out, a 7-star experience. CCS proudly partnered with contractors involved in landmark hotel and hospitality projects including Burj Al Arab, Emirates Palace, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Madinat Jumeriah and Atlantis the Palm. Let us help you find your piece of paradise today. “CCS is the best construction estimating and project control software I have come across. Saving half the time coupled with the accuracy and efficiency it provides, easily surpasses similar software applications.� David Baker, Estimating Manager, Habtoor Leighton Group, Qatar.

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Issue 135 June 2017 07






06 ME Construction

14 Planning Ahead

36 Virtual Reality and BIM

07 Arabtec to build 2020 Tower

18 Labib Matta

42 The Path to Sustainability


The biggest stories from Big Project Middle East’s home on the web The bIg pIcTure

Arabtec Construction wins $398m contract from Wasl to build 2020 Tower

10 SNC-Lavalin buys WS Atkins InTernaTIOnal news

Canadian construction giant acquires global consultancy for $3.14 billion

12 RAK Q1 Key Market Sectors MarkeT OvervIew

CBRE report analyses the performance of two key market sectors in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah

news analysIs

Tom Duncan and Charles Pacey look at why project delays happen and how to mitigate for them In prOfIle

Gavin Davids meets Labib Matta, chief business officer of NXN Group

24 Gateway to a Masterpiece sITe vIsIT

Big Project ME tours the new Visitor Centre for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

34 Paving the Road to Success cOMMenT

Mike Tapley and Ian Flynn discuss the selection and installation of deck systems


Suhail Arfath writes exclusively about how combining BIM and VR is the way forwards wasTe ManageMenT

Nivine Issa explains why waste management is crucial for the GCC

52 Top Tenders Tenders

Big Project ME lists the Middle East’s biggest construction tenders for June 2017

56 Preventive Measures lasT wOrd

Dr Gary Vastag of Grayscale Interiors lists five simple design factors that can help to deliver a superior project June 2017 3


Visiting a masterpiece


ne of the most memorable experiences you can have while driving to Abu Dhabi is passing the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at sunset when you enter the city. With its gleaming white domes and its distinctive silhouette, it is a photographer’s dream, and I must confess that I’ve been quite happy to pull over and snap off a few photographs for the Instagram when I’ve had the opportunity to do so. So, it was quite unexpected to get the opportunity to conduct an exclusive site visit to the new Visitor Centre being built near the Mosque. Constructed underground, this huge space will be home to an entirely new experience for those coming to walk the marbled halls. Not only will there be a retail and recreational element for visitors, the Visitor Centre will also house a library and auditorium for guests to educate themselves and learn about Islamic culture and history. The space will also hold events periodically, which will certainly provide a dramatic venue and backdrop to proceedings! Certainly, none of this would be possible without the efforts and leadership provided by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MOPA), and they certainly deserve the kudos for this wonderful project.

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4 June 2017



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I also spoke to Labib Matta in this month’s issue. I’m sure some of you will remember him from our Smart Infrastructure Summit, where he gave a very well-received presentation about how we can shape the future of our cities through Smart Districts. Following that presentation, I sought him out for an interview, and this month’s In Profile is a must read if you’re interested in the concept of Smart Cities. Amongst the many things we spoke about, one thing that caught my attention was when he said that the changing financial climate has pushed forward the adoption of the smart cities concept. I’m sure many of us would agree that times are tight, but what’s interesting is how companies and governments are now more willing to take risks and embrace change before it’s too late to do so.

Gavin Davids editor @MecN_Gavin



CPI Trade Publishing FZ LLC licensed by TECOM PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 375 5470 Fax: +971 4 447 2409 FoUNDer DOMINIC DE SOUSA (1959-2015) PrINteD By PRINTwELL PRINTINg PRESS LLC © Copyright 2017 CPI. All rights reserved while the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.







Dubai Holding unveils $1.7bn Marsa Al Arab megaproject

I loved reading about the news that Dubaiheadquartered consultancy AESG and global technology research organisation Tecnalia have formed a partnership for the Middle East to deliver solutions for sustainable development in the region (‘AESG in sustainability partnership with Tecnalia’, May 9). Such stories give a bit of an insight on how Dubai seems to convert these energy and sustainability ambitions into reality in such short timeframes.


Nakheel awards $408m The Palm Gateway contract

In pictures: On-site at Cayan Cantara, Dubai

John, comment posted to website


Emaar completes ‘sky bridge’ feat in Dubai



Aldar awards $462m Yas Acres contract


Abu Dhabi’s Aldar ‘to issue tenders for four projects’ 6 June 2017

Video: big Project ME Contractors Cup 2017

There was some useful advice in your recent article (‘Wake up to truck safety: Strategies for Gulf fleet operators’, February 8). As the article points out, a tired driver behind the wheel can turn a very safe and modern truck into a dangerous or hazardous truck. But let’s not forget that not all trucks on the roads of the region are ‘very safe and modern’. It is time to take older trucks off the roads for the safety of all – and, of course, the environment. Name withheld, via email

The Big Picture

Arabtec to build 2020 Tower in Dubai Arabtec Construction wins $398m contract from Wasl for high-rise tower

2020 Tower underway Arabtec Construction was awarded the 2020 Tower on the back of its track record of delivering world-class mixed-use developments, Hamish Tyrwhitt says. (Picture for illustrative purposes only)

Arabtec Construction has been awarded a $398 million contract by Wasl for the construction of the 2020 Tower, a mixed-use high-rise tower in Dubai, according to a statement by its parent company. Hamish Tyrwhitt, Group CEO of Arabtec Holding, said: “Arabtec continues to play an important role in the development of the UAE’s social and economic infrastructure. The contract for the construction of the 2020 Tower has been awarded based on our track record of delivering world-class mixed-use developments, adding to Arabtec Construction’s existing portfolio of over 22 projects we are currently building in the UAE.” “The long-term outlook for the construction and engineering sector in our key geographic markets remains positive, especially in the UAE, where the majority of our projects are

located. With the combination of the strategic repositioning of the business, strong industry fundamentals and catalyst events such as Expo 2020 fast approaching, we believe that the year ahead will see Arabtec continue on its path to a successful and sustainable future.” Arabtec has a project backlog of approximately $4.62 billion, equivalent to over two years of revenue, and the awarding of the project marks the latest key milestone in its three-phase strategic plan to return the group to growth. Last month, it was announced that Arabtec Construction had appointed Boyd Merrett CEO. Merrett will assume his role in July 2017, according to a statement to the Dubai Financial Market. He joins Arabtec from CIMIC Group, where he was GM for Leighton Asia in Hong

“The long-term outlook for the construction and engineering sector in our key geographic markets remains positive, especially in the UAE, where the majority of our projects are located”

Kong, responsible for winning and delivering major building, MEP and infrastructure projects worth over $7 billion. “His expertise stems across an array of specialisms in the industry with more than 24 years of experience in international construction, spanning the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa,” a statement said. “Boyd will join Arabtec at a fundamental time of restructuring the business. His role will be pivotal in building our capabilities and increasing our profitability and returns. “Boyd’s operational expertise will aid in the delivery of our goals to improve our margins and manage our relationships to their fullest. Most importantly, I believe that Boyd will also play a role in creating opportunities for Arabtec Construction in the future,” said Tyrwhitt. June 2017 7

The Big Picture

Cooling technology The refurbished Khalifa International Stadium has been installed with the cooling technology promised during Qatar’s successful bid for the World Cup. Officials said the pitch was kept at 20ºC and the stands at 23ºC.

First 2022 World Cup stadium launched Khalifa International Stadium hosts 40,000 people for Emir Cup final in Doha Qatar has launched the first 2022 World Cup stadium – five years before the tournament begins – at an event attended by more than 40,000 people in Doha. Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani cut the ribbon and officially launched the new Khalifa International Stadium at an inauguration ceremony that included a light show from newly installed LED lights, a performance from the Emiri Guard and a fireworks display for the sell-out crowd. This was followed by the kick-off for the final of the Emir Cup, Qatar’s biggest domestic tournament. The final was the first sporting event held at the stadium and saw Spain’s Xavi Hernandez lift the trophy for his Qatari club, Al Sadd. “As organisers, to see a 2022 World Cup stadium already delivered and fully operational is a great joy, besides giving us 8 June 2017

confidence regarding the level of preparations in Qatar. There is undoubtedly strong commitment from the local authorities through the Supreme Committee, and although five years seems a long way off, the benefit of time will make sure Qatar delivers an amazing tournament in 2022,” said Gianni Infantino, FIFA president. Expanded to seat 40,000 spectators, the stadium has undergone extensive renovation works ahead of the tournament, when it will host matches until the quarter-finals. These include the installation of cooling technology


The stadium’s cooling technology uses 40% less energy than traditional methods

that was promised during Qatar’s successful bid. Officials said that it keeps the pitch at 20ºC and the stands at 23ºC, while using 40% less energy than traditional cooling methods. “The completion of our first stadium more than five years before the Qatar World Cup begins is an important milestone that reflects our determination to deliver a tournament the entire Arab world is proud to be a part of,” said Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC). “As we promised in our bid, our innovative stadiums offer an unrivalled experience to fans and players alike. I’m proud we can show these off to the world and welcome fans with the hospitality this World Cup will be remembered for.” The other new features at the stadium include the installation

of a larger roof over the entire spectator area, while an intricate net of German- and Italian-made steel tension cables weighing 4,000 tonnes has been installed, which will hold 92 panels in place. The stadium will also be the first World Cup venue and the first stadium in the region to be lit by LED lighting, which is both more sustainable and more versatile than traditional lighting. “Khalifa International Stadium is close to Qatari hearts and has seen some of Qatar’s biggest sporting occasions over the years since it was first launched in 1976,” said Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, Qatar Football Association president. “It was therefore a fitting venue for the biggest match of Qatar’s football calendar, the 2017 Emir Cup final between Al Rayyan and Al Sadd. I’m glad the fans got to enjoy this event in such a magnificent remodelled stadium.”

The Big Picture

Plans unveiled for Sharjah’s tallest tower Jannah Al Khan Hotel & Spa will have a height of 57 floors once it is completed Developer Jannah Hotels & Resorts has announced plans for what will be Sharjah’s tallest tower upon its completion. The Jannah Al Khan Hotel & Spa mixed-use development will have 57 floors once completed, and be located at the Al Khan Lagoon, in Ras Al Khor, Sharjah. The hotel will mark the developer’s debut in Sharjah and will offer world-class facilities including a spa, children’s playground and parks, indoor and outdoor swimming pools,

state-of-the-art fitness facilities, a helipad and several cafés, as well as restaurants and retail units. The development will also offer executive business lounges and conference rooms featuring the latest amenities. “The Jannah Al Khan Hotel & Spa will be the tallest tower in the emirate of Sharjah. It rises to a gargantuan 57 floors and offers unencumbered views of the ocean, its turquoise waters and the sophistication of the urban Sharjah skyline,” said

Nehme Imad Darwiche, Jannah Hotels & Resorts’ CEO. The hotel will also have the largest royal suite in Sharjah. It will feature a private pool, a sweeping terrace with a private dining area, a contemporary kitchen and large living areas. “We are delighted to announce Jannah Al Khan Hotel & Spa in Sharjah, a city where Arabian tradition meets suburban metropolis. The development’s signature aesthetics are matched by the bastion of

prestige attached with Sharjah. “This massive project expects to set a new high watermark for superlative experiences, which creates the ideal market for which the mixed-use Jannah Al Khan Hotel & Spa will cater to,” added His Excellency Mohammad bin Abdulaziz bin Rubaya al-Muhairy, chairman of Al Rubaya Group and partner of Jannah Hotels & Resorts. The developer said it expects the hotel to become one of the leading destinations for corporate and leisure travellers visiting the UAE.

“The Jannah Al Khan Hotel & Spa will be the tallest tower in the emirate of Sharjah. It rises to a gargantuan 57 floors and offers unencumbered views of the ocean, its turquoise waters and the sophistication of the urban Sharjah skyline”

Sharjah debut The launch of the hotel will mark the developer’s debut in the emirate of Sharjah.

June 2017 9

The Big Picture

3 1 4

1. SNC-LavaLiN to aCquire atkiNS for $3.14bN Canadian construction and engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Group has announced that it is acquiring UK design, engineering and project management consultancy WS Atkins for $3.14bn. According to SNC-Lavalin, the deal has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies. SNC-Lavalin will acquire the entire issued and to-be-issued share capital of Atkins for $26.88 per share in cash, as per the agreement. “We are very pleased to announce this proposed acquisition that is fully aligned with our growth strategy, creating a global fully integrated professional services and project management company – including capital investment, consulting, design, engineering, construction, sustaining capital and operations and maintenance,” said Neil Bruce, president and CEO, SNC-Lavalin. He added that combining the two “highly complementary businesses” will enable the depth and breadth of services to be increased and position the merged entity as a premier partner to public and private sector clients.

10 June 2017


A subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation will buy a majority stake in a Hudson Square development site

2. turkey’S yukSeL wiNS $506m CoNtraCt for riyadh brt projeCt Turkish construction giant Yuksel has won a $506.3 million contract from the Saudi Arabian government for its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, which will pave the way for the construction of 34 stations, 1,353 community bus stops and six pedestrian bridges in Riyadh. The project will also create

feeder lines for the metro stations being built in the capital and in the suburbs. Backed and financed by Ar Riyadh Development Authority (ADA), the completion of the BRT project will mark the completion of Riyadh’s transport infrastructure plan, said Emin Sazak, chairman and chief executive of Yuksel. He added that the new lines, along with the new transport information management system, will improve accessibility

to public transport. “Every element of the BRT project is contributing to a more efficient, more sustainable and greener transport future for Riyadh. “The project will include the much-needed bus terminals, passenger hubs, parking facilities and maintenance depots. This will generate an enormous shift from private cars to public transportation.”

The Big Picture

4. wSp | parSoNS briNCkerhoff uNveiLS New braNd ideNtity


India has approved construction of a package of 10 additional nuclear plants 2

457,665 Australia’s residential sector has seen ground break on 457,665 new houses and apartments over the last two years

3. uk’S peLL friSChmaNN CompLeteS deSigN of $700m iraqi water projeCt Pell Frischmann, a UK engineering, development and management consultancy, has said that it has completed the design of a $700 million water infrastructure rehabilitation project in Iraq. The Water Supply Sector Loan Project involves the refurbishment of aging

facilities and the construction of new infrastructure to support the public health of residents in the Ninewa, Anbar and Salah El Din governorates of Iraq, it said in a statement. The firm also pointed out that the entire water system had been long overdue for a major upgrade. In 2012, the Iraqi Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works used financing from the Japan International

Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the redesign and reconstruction of water intake facilities, water treatment plants, transmission facilities and distribution pipelines. Pell Frischmann was awarded the design project following an international tendering process. The company has been active in Iraq since 2004 and has been recognised for its work on the country’s infrastructure.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has become WSP. The new brand identity is effective immediately. The company became the largest professional services firm in the world after it purchased New York-based Parsons Brinckerhoff in October 2014. In October 2016, the firm also purchased Mouchel Consulting from Kier for $96 million. “Our business has expanded significantly in recent years, both organically and through the acquisition of many different businesses. Today we are over 36,000 people in 40 countries around the world. We believe it is the right time to focus on our shared vision for the future and what that means for our people, clients and partners,” said Greg Kane, managing director for WSP in the Middle East. “Our new brand represents a business that is focused on our people, on helping our clients find solutions to complex issues and celebrating our local expertise. “The new brand is a statement of who we are now and where we want to be,” added Kane.

June 2017 11

Market Report

RAS AL KHAIMAH Q1 2017 Key MARKet SectoRS ReVIew

CBRE report looks at performance of two key Ras Al Khaimah market sectors Positive growth RAK’s tourism sector continued to see positive growth in visitor numbers, buoyed by increases from the Russian, Polish and Indian markets, the report showed.

The RAK tourism sector continued to see positive growth in visitor numbers, buoyed by significant increases from markets including Russia, Poland and India. However, demand from the largest international source market, Germany, was down quite notably, with a 30% decline in the number of tourists recorded during the first quarter. According to data from RAKTDA, the emirate’s tourism market has witnessed a 35%

increase in Indian visitors during the first quarter of 2017, making it the fourth largest international source market for the emirate. The average length of stay of Indian guests also grew by 10.6% during the same period. Indian tourists now account for 8% of total visitors, behind the UAE, Germany, Russia and the UK. RAK’s hospitality market has witnessed a solid start to the year, with over 193,000 visitors recording more than 758,000 guest nights. This reflects growth of 8.3%

and 18.7% growth in visitor arrivals and guest nights respectively on a year-on-year basis. RAK’s encouraging tourism trends have also translated into solid hotel occupancy and revenue performances. According to data from STR, average occupancy rates were up 6.8% year-to-date (Jan-Mar) from 71.3% to 76.3%, versus the same period last year, while RevPAR rose 2.3% during the same period. This was despite a 4% decline in average ADR, which continued to fall. Overall

room revenues also rose, up 8.1% on the same period last year. Part of RAKTDA’s long-term tourism strategy has been to change the composition of guests, increasing the number of international visitors versus domestic, and also to increase the length of time spent by individuals in the emirate. This is already having a noticeable impact, with the average length of stay up 9.6% year-on-year from 3.58 to 3.93, underlining the rising prominence of leisure guests as part of the emirate’s tourism demographic.

“Despite the softening market conditions, RAK is expected to see an increasing number of new residential developments under construction, with new mixed-use developments currently in varying stages of planning across the emirate’s master plan locations”

12 June 2017

Source: CBRE Research / RAKTDA

Hospitality Market

Market Report

RAK Visitors and Guest Nights (Q1 2016 vs Q1 2017) Q1 2016

700,000 600,000 500,000 400,000 300,000 200,000 100,000 Number of Visitors

Guest Nights

Future Hotel Supply (2017-2019) 600

Residential Market New Hotel Room Supply









Residential Apartment Rates (Q1 2017) Low (AED/per annum)

High (AED/per annum)

80,000 Residential Rental Rates (AED/unit/annum)

RAK’s residential market continues to experience modest deflationary pressures. Average rental rates in freehold locations including Al Hamra Village and Mina Al Arab have experienced a dip of around 1% during the first quarter, taking the full-year drop to around 5%. Average rentals for studio units in Al Hamra Village and Mina Al Arab range from around AED22,000-30,000/unit/ annum, one-bedrooms from AED35,000-55,000/unit/annum, and two-bedrooms from around AED60,000-70,000/unit/annum. However, with around 1,440 new units at the Pacific project on Al Marjan Island expected to be delivered in phases over the coming quarters, there could be further deflationary rental pressures in the short term. This situation may be compounded by rising supply levels and ongoing rental declines in the Dubai and Sharjah markets, which could have a knock-on effect on housing performance in the emirate. Despite the softening market conditions, RAK is expected to

Q1 2017


Number of Guests / Guest Nights

After the completion of the Jannah Resort and Villas in Q1 2017, close to 500 new hotel keys are expected to be completed during the remainder of 2017. A similar figure is anticipated during 2018, with just over 600 keys penned to be delivered. The new supply will include the Hilton Garden Inn (formerly the Hilton Ras Al Khaimah City Hotel), the expansion of the Cove Rotana and the Bin Majid Beach Resort, all due to open in 2017, and the CityMax hotel, which is expected to be delivered in early 2018. Supply in 2019 is likely to be far more limited, with a number of planned resorts seeing their completion dates shifted back to 2020.

70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 Studio

1 B/R Al Hamra Village

2 B/R


1 B/R Mina Al Arab

2 B/R

see an increasing number of new residential developments under construction, with new mixed-use developments currently in varying stages of planning across the emirate’s master plan locations. This trend has been driven by rising interest levels from a number of local and international developers, looking to exploit the comparatively low price point of waterfront land in the emirate. As a result, there has been an increasing number of land plots sold in locations such as Al Marjan Island, underling the rising prominence of the emirate as an alternative leisure and hospitality destination for the UAE. With a new wave of new hospitality developments in the offing, we expect to see demand levels for residential properties start to increase in the medium term, with a portion of the new apartments likely to be taken up by the accommodation requirements of senior hotel staff. RAK’s hospitality market continues to outperform the UAE and much of the wider region, posting occupancy and RevPAR growth despite the challenging conditions. This trend is anticipated to continue during the remainder of 2017, with minimal new supply and positive visitor growth expected to drive forward performance. Based upon current forecasts from RAKTDA, tourist numbers could reach close to 900,000 visitors this year, with solid growth in international visitors the driving force. The residential sector looks set for further modest declines in rental performance in the short term at least, due principally to rising completion levels both inside and outside the emirate. However, we expect rental deflation to remain quite constrained.

June 2017 13

News Analysis

Planning ahead: PreemPting Project delays in the middle east Following the news of Abu Dhabi’s $1bn Reem Mall being delayed by two years, Tom Duncan and Charles Pacey of Mayer Brown take a look at why project delays happen and how to mitigate for them

It has been reported that Abu Dhabi’s $1 billion Reem Mall has been delayed by two years to 2020, with design issues and delays in receiving approvals cited as the cause. There is always a risk of issues arising on large projects in the Middle East (and elsewhere), but this risk is becoming more prevalent in the second half of this decade. There are a number of reasons for this, and a number of ways to try to mitigate it. 1. Funding Gaps:

As a result of the sustained slump in oil prices, state funds are under greater pressure and projects that were intended to be state-funded may end up being shelved unless alternative funding can be found. This alternative funding might in part come from the private sector, such as through a public14 June 2017

increasing risk The risk of large-scale projects becoming delayed is becoming more prevalent in the second half of this decade.

News Analysis

private partnership (PPP). If this option is pursued, some delay is likely, but ensuring that the construction documents – when negotiated and agreed at the outset – are in a form acceptable to most lenders should enable revised funding structures and alternative lenders to be put in place without needing to renegotiate the existing construction documents. This underlines the importance of the careful selection of internationally recognised forms of contract (for example, FIDIC) tailored to suit the needs of the project, and making sure that the construction documents are freely assignable by way of security among lenders. 2. Design Development:

Difficulties encountered at the design development stage, particularly for high-value and complex projects, are not peculiar to the Middle East. Nevertheless, given the high concentration of large projects in the Middle East, they can be one of the key reasons for project delay. On many contracts, the programme pressures exist from the start, but spending time at the very early stages of the project developing the design can avoid unexpected surprises during the construction phase and mitigate the risk of protracted disputes. One option is the use of pre-construction services agreements, so as to involve the various stakeholders in the design process from an early stage to produce a design which is practically achievable within the constraints of the project budget and programme. 3. Changes in Law:

As the construction industry in the Middle East matures, so too do the local laws in its constituent jurisdictions. This is particularly June 2017 15

News Analysis

tom duncan Risks can be mitigated if all parties on a project are made sure where responsibility lies when it comes to compliance with changes to local law, and who bears the cost and time implications of such compliance.

the case, for example, with respect to local laws relating to building standards and safety, which can change quickly. This can require complex changes to project design and implementation, leading to delays and disputes. This risk can be mitigated if the parties make sure that responsibility for compliance with such changes in local law, and who should bear the cost and time implications of such compliance, is clearly allocated in advance and reflects a realistic appraisal of the likely impact of the change on the budget and programme. Some changes which may have a relatively small impact are likely to be more appropriate risks for the contractor; others which materially increase the costs of performing the works and are outside of the contractor’s control are not. While negotiating away all risk at the outset may be perceived to be the optimal outcome, an unrealistic risk assignment often leads to relationships breaking down, threatening the delivery of the project. 4. Obtaining Statutory Approvals:

Delays can occur to projects in attempting to obtain the necessary permissions and 16 June 2017

“When contracts are negotiated, thought needs to be given to the appropriate governing law and which court or tribunal will have jurisdiction over the dispute. Projects in the Middle East often involve state entities, and therefore local law may be a requirement”

charles Pacey International contractors not embedded in the local market are advised to engage professionals from an early stage who are familiar with local customs and laws.

approvals required to commence the construction phase. Much is to be gained in recognising the Middle East as a series of culturally, administratively and legally distinct countries, rather than as a homogenous bloc. For international contractors not embedded in the local market, it is advisable to engage professionals from an early stage that are familiar with local customs and what is required to obtain the necessary permissions and approvals in the particular country where the construction project is taking place. 5. Conducting Disputes:

Of course, delays do not only lead to disputes – disputes can be a cause of delay. When contracts are negotiated, thought needs to be given to the appropriate governing law and which court or tribunal will have jurisdiction over the dispute. Projects in the Middle East often involve state entities, and therefore local law may be a requirement. International contractors may prefer to use a governing law with which they are familiar; this may be acceptable to the owners, but even if it is not, the laws of a number of jurisdictions in the Middle East are clearly

codified and provide protection for contracting parties. Indeed, they may be more favourable to contractors, given the principles of good faith that exist. Therefore, the more important question is likely to be who is going to decide the dispute. The use of international arbitration remains the most favoured means for large projects in the region, and a number of arbitral institutions can be selected to oversee the dispute, with the ICC and LCIA remaining the most popular. However, in the Gulf region the Dubai International Arbitration Centre is also an option, with rules which are generally in line with the other international bodies. The other advantage of arbitration is that awards are now generally enforceable across the region pursuant to the New York Convention. Finally, the use of an interim dispute resolution mechanism can allow the temporary resolution of disputes so that projects can continue. Most internationally recognised contracts now include forms of interim dispute resolution, for example the Dispute Adjudication Board process in FIDIC.

In Profile

“Digital cities are connecteD cities, certainly, but they’re not necessarily going to give you the ability to make intelligent or preDictive Decisions. anD that’s the Difference between a smart anD Digital city” Big Project ME sits down for an exclusive interview with NXN Group chief business officer Labib Matta, who outlines how the firm is helping shape the future of smart cities in the GCC. Gavin Davids reports 18 June 2017

In Profile

June 2017 19

In Profile


smart city is defined as an urban development vision that integrates information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology in a secure manner, so as to manage a city’s assets. With the advances made in mobile and internet technology, the willingness to embrace the technology around smart cities has grown rapidly, with countries and cities looking to adopt and integrate them within their systems and processes across the board. Improving the quality, performance and interactivity of urban services is a crucial component of smart cities, and nowhere is this more evident than in Dubai. As an early adopter of the concept in the GCC, the Dubai government has implemented several forward-thinking initiatives that have positioned it as a leader in the development and operation of smart cities. Established with a mandate to collaborate with both the private sector and government partners, Smart Dubai is one such initiative that has borne fruit for HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE. Tasked with delivering and promoting an efficient, seamless, safe and impactful city experience for residents and visitors to Dubai, the quasi-government body has developed a tiered partnership framework from across the government, private sector 20 June 2017

a natural evolution NXN’s move into the managed services space was part of a natural evolution that the company was undergoing, Labib Matta says.

and institutions of the UAE. One such partner is the NXN Group, formerly known as neXgen, which has been working with the Dubai government on the Smart Dubai project for a number of years. In addition, this Dubai-based advisory and consulting services organisation has also been working with the likes of Aldar and Dubai Silicon Oasis to create expert strategy and deliver practical results in the development of smart cities. Speaking exclusively to Big Project ME at NXN Group’s offices in Business Central Towers, Dubai Media City, chief business officer Labib Matta relates how the company got started, and how it has grown and evolved over the years to become one of the companies leading the regional push towards smart cities. “NXN Group started back in 2008 as a consulting

“Consultancy had led us to a certain place, but with our consulting work, a lot of our customers were saying, ‘OK, great. You’ve done the work, now come and help me execute it”

organisation, focusing mainly on consulting for smart city services as well as smart district services. At the time, the concept was still relatively new and was not very well accepted yet. People were just thinking of digital cities or digital services as the norm. “However, we had some notable early successes – people were listening to what we had to say. We focused on working with governments, specifically the government in Dubai. We also started in Qatar with some of the private developers there, who were early adopters of the concept,” Matta says. From there, the company’s growth was rapid, culminating in the launch of its Managed Services division last year. Matta explains that this arose from a desire to provide more than just consulting services. “What we felt was that since we did a lot of the consulting work – and because we understood very well the smart cities services and the challenges that come with them – then it would be good for us to start moving into delivering those services and moving into the managed services model, which is what we started doing a year ago. “Today, we’re balancing both businesses. We still do consult, but we also deliver for smart districts – by that we mean Energy Management, Facilities Management, Incident Management – which comes under Smart District Public Areas Management, Parking Management and so on. We’re also moving into Smart Security and some of the verticalised or niche service offerings. “It was just the next step; it was the typical evolution of the business. Consultancy had led us to a certain place, but with our consulting work, a lot

In Profile

of our customers were saying, ‘OK, great. You’ve done the work, now come and help me execute it.’ We’ve started doing a lot of supervision work as well for the execution of the strategy or consulting work that was done. So the next step was to say, ‘Well, hold on. We can do this ourselves.’ That was basically the next step for us.” This is all enabled by the platform developed by NXN, which has got the ability to collect data, analyse it and then take the appropriate action, such as generating a report or enacting a control action to improve things, he explains. Developed as part of a strategic partnership with Zain Group, the platform is employed by NXN in the UAE, Kuwait and

Saudi Arabia. In February 2016, Zain Group, a leading telecom innovator operating in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announced a strategic investment in NXN. This led to the establishment of a specialised business unit that delivers smart city solutions and managed services to governments and major real estate developers across Zain’s regional footprint, with both companies holding strong opinions about the power of mobile internet and how it can be a driving factor in improving lives and transforming the performance of cities in the region. Keeping this in mind, Matta is keen to discuss the potential of smart cities in the GCC and how Dubai is setting the

standard for the region to follow. “Dubai is a little ahead of the curve, but we also see a lot of interest from other economies. The reason for that is the change in the financial model. It’s not only about smart cities or smart districts. There’s also the Commercial Engagement Model, this was completely rejected at an initial stage. As you know, most of the governments and private sector were more capital budgeting-based. “They are now more open to listening to different business models – OPEX-based models, BOT models or BOO models – where we build it, own it and operate it. Now they’re more open to listening to this because of the financial crunch, and of course the OPEX model gives

more value to the client. “That allowed us to start gaining more momentum in the market. Initially, this was a challenge. The tendering structures that are available with the governments [of the GCC] limit your ability to push a managed service. It pushes you towards a CAPEX model. That’s one of the things that we’re starting to see shift, even at the government level, the acceptance of such models. Of course, the private sector is much more receptive,” he asserts. Conversations about smart cities first began appearing in the early 2000s, Matta says, but only recently has there been a global change in attitudes towards their viability. It was only around 2008/2009, in the wake of the

ahead of the curve Dubai is ahead of the rest of the GCC when it comes to the smart cities concept, thanks to the introduction of initiatives like Smart Dubai.

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In Profile

global financial recession, that international bodies started looking at the concept seriously. “Smart cities emerged from a concept of digital cities, but the reality is – and there’s still a lot of confusion in the market that’s now being cleared up – that digital cities are not smart cities necessarily. Digital cities are connected cities, certainly, but they’re not necessarily going to give you the ability to make intelligent

or predictive decisions. And that’s the difference between a smart and digital city. “A smart city, on the other hand, is a connected city with the ability to read data from various sources, which include technical or non-technical sources. That is, it can be sensors, cameras or even people using their mobile or social media. It’s about taking all of this input, digesting it and then making sense of it, and then taking corrective or

predictive actions, in order to improve the quality of life and living in that city,” he continues. Stressing that services make a smart city, Matta says the governance model must be the conductor of an orchestra – an entity must be responsible for making sure that all government and municipal departments are working together to achieve a common goal. “That’s what really makes a smart city or a smart district.

At the heart of it is still the smart services and the various sectors, such as environment, energy, water, waste, utilities, infrastructure and services related to people. Smart cities have two key dimensions – governance and people.” People play a big role in smart cities, he adds, pointing out that NXN strives to make sure its strategies and plans include the local population. “It’s about driving innovation

“However, we had some notable early successes – people were listening to what we had to say. We focused on working with governments, specifically the government in Dubai. We also started in Qatar with some of the private developers there, who were early adopters of the concept” plan for people When coming up with smart city strategies and plans, it’s crucial to remember to include the local population.

22 June 2017

In Profile

through people. How do you ensure accountability for those smart initiatives? It’s not just that we’re doing this great thing and everybody is going to be happy. The reality is that there are certain things that people may want, that you’re not going to be able to deliver. “We’re starting to see that governments across the GCC are starting to listen, or that they need to listen more to their citizens. That is a good way to gather input and data through various means, so as to be able to provide productive and meaningful services to their citizens. Improving government services to a certain area, improving city services in another area, infrastructure issues that come up… how do you deal with all of that if you don’t have a structured way of receiving feedback, analysing it, collating it with whatever you’re doing in terms of services or plans, and then improving your plans in order to achieve satisfaction for the people living in your city?” A good example of this approach is the work NXN Group is doing in Saudi Arabia, where it is involved in the Smart Riyadh master plan. Here, the firm is tasked with turning the Kingdom’s capital into a smart city, putting in place a master plan and a roadmap for services across the city. “There is the Ministry of Economy and Planning, the National Transformation Plan, Vision 2030… all of which are talking about turning Saudi Arabia into a smart nation. In Qatar, similar initiatives are also being put in place. So we’re seeing a major adoption and evolution of the concept across the region. “Of course, it varies from country to country, and

moving forwards NXN will be focusing on big data analysis and cyber security in the coming months and years, as they are growing market sectors, Matta says.

“We feel that this is where we want to go forward: big data analytics and cyber security. That’s what we’re really focused on. We feel that these two sectors allow us to differentiate ourselves”

of course, infrastructure varies. And when I talk about infrastructure, I talk about legal policy as well as technical or physical infrastructure. It varies from country to country. Take Kuwait as an example – of course, it has an established infrastructure, but it may require more work or more involvement from a smart cities perspective, or from a smart cities policy perspective. “Our region is a young region, it has new infrastructure and new developments, which makes it a lot easier to embed a lot of the technologies and requirements as part of the infrastructure that’s being built. However, on the government and city framework side, as well as the legislative policies, centralised orchestration and management may not be there. “There’s a technical side and technology side, but

there’s also a social and legal framework. While an emerging market may have an advantage on the technology side, from a cost and operational perspective it still has a ways to go on the operational and legal framework.” Finally, with the interview coming to a close, Labib Matta turns his attention to what NXN will do next. The company is already keen to move forward and evolve further. Of particular interest is data analytics, which is a key trend for the smart cities concept, driving change across a range of sectors and services. “We’re excited because this is an emerging region. It’s moving at varying speeds, depending on the countries and markets, but that means that the opportunities are there for years to come. Dubai is ahead of the pack, but other countries are starting their journey, and of course we’re looking at it from a regional perspective. We have operations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and we even have an office in Beirut, which looks at the Levant area. “So you can see that from a regional expansion perspective, the road for us is the GCC, the Levant and Egypt. We see a lot of potential opportunities happening in the smart cities area.” From a technology perspective, two major sectors being focused on are big data and cyber security, he adds. “We feel that this is where we want to go forward: big data analytics and cyber security. That’s what we’re really focused on. We feel that these two sectors not only relate to the job we’re doing, but they allow us to differentiate ourselves, while also being applicable to a lot of industry sectors that we want to get involved in,” he concludes. June 2017 23

Project Profile

The new visitor centre for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is set to create an enhanced experience for visitors to the iconic tourist site. Gavin Davids pays an exclusive visit to the site for Big Project Middle East

Gateway to a

24 June 2017

Project Profile


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Project Profile


ver since it opened for worship in 2007, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has been one of the most visited cultural and tourism landmarks in the UAE, with thousands of visitors passing through its marbled halls every day of the year. Designed to represent the unification of the world, the mosque combines architectural influences from across Arab Islamic history to create an extravagant and wonderful display

of craftsmanship and design. Large enough to accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers, the mosque is one of the largest in the world, and the main prayer hall alone can hold more than 7,000 people. Furthermore, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque complex also houses a library and a centre of learning and discovery, which holds educational cultural activities and visitor programmes. Because of all of this, the mosque is one of the most active cultural landmarks in the UAE. It is estimated that Eid prayers alone attract more than 41,000 worshippers. Coupled with the thousands of tourists visiting every day, managing the flow of people to and from the complex becomes a tremendously challenging task. It is precisely because of this

FACTS AND FIGURES Project Name: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Visitor Centre Overall Project Size: 110,000sqm Overall Built-up Area: 55,000sqm Workers On-site: 1,700 (2,000 at peak)

challenge that the Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MOPA), the government authority in charge of the mosque, decided that it would be necessary to develop a new visitor centre for the mosque. This new centre will not only help manage the smooth flow of visitors through the southern side of the mosque, but will also provide a commercial and educational space for visitors. “The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was designed to receive worshippers and visitors,” says Mohamed Al Mouenni, director of the Engineering and Technical Projects Directorate in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and the head of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Technical Committee. “There was a need for a visitor Under the dome The underground sections will contain the visitor centre, commercial spaces and retail outlets.

26 June 2017

Project Profile

Letting the light in The domes are made of glass to allow natural light into the underground spaces of the visitor centre.

“We’re next to a lot of major services, as well as the main mosque. We must make sure that there’s shoring all around the site. Since it’s horizontal construction, we needed to finalise all the concrete works ahead of stopping the dewatering, which is a very elaborate process”

centre to cater to the large number of tourists, prior to entering the mosque, to sort the visitors before they start their visit.” Divided evenly between two levels – basement and ground floors – the new visitor centre will cover a total area of 110,000sqm, divided between the two floors. The basement level will mainly contain the visitor centre and commercial spaces, which will include a retail component. The

ground level’s main use will be for landscaping and surface parking, while two glass domes that mirror the design aesthetic of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will provide the entry and exit points to the underground centre. These two steel-framed dome structures are supported on the ground level and have been designed to flood the spaces below with daylight in appropriate areas, which will allow light-

sensitive exhibitions and natural light into display areas. Talking about the design of the visitor centre, Al Mouenni says it was crucial to ensure that there was no distraction from the mosque itself. “The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is an architectural masterpiece. Therefore, the design of the visitor centre cannot compete with the importance and the architecture of the mosque. That’s why the idea came about to design the project underground, and to provide big glass portal domes, similar in shape and geometry to the ones in the mosque, where their functions shall be to be entrances and light wells to the project,” he explains. In addition to the retail, commercial and educational elements, the visitor centre will also link up with the Grand Mosque through a 500m pedestrian tunnel, which will provide visitors with an interactive experience as they walk to and from the mosque, along with giving them access

core and shell The interiors of the visitor centre were kept to core and shell to allow retailers to customise their spaces.

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Project Profile

to several facilities such as cafés, restaurants and retail outlets in a souk-style environment. Keeping the project underground and limiting the amount of above-ground construction is a key factor of the design, with the focus intended to be firmly on the mosque itself, adds Mohammed Majed, operations manager for Masri Engineering and Contracting, the main contractors on the project. “Visitors will enter the mosque from this centre. They’ll be able to go visit the mosque and then come back here for commercial issues. They’ll need a place for resting, eating and shopping. While it’s not finalised, it’s planned that the visitor centre will have an auditorium, a VIP lounge, a library, as well as offices for the centre and employees of the Grand Mosque,” he tells Big Project ME during a tour of the site. “Starting from the entrance of the centre, going through the underground tunnel towards the Sheikh Zayed Grand

Going to plan Work on the project is progressing smoothly, with DeSimone supervising the shop drawings and planning for the project.

Mosque, the entire history of the mosque shall be illustrated in the 360m-long tunnel, until they arrive at the visitor centre services complex in front of the main mosque entrance,” outlines Al Mouenni, as he explains the vision behind the project. “The entire ID design of the visitor centre has been inspired from the mosque itself, starting from the white marble colour, to the mosaic elements and the

engraved RCP. Visitors shall see the similarity of the ID elements between the mosque and the centre all through their journey.” Construction on the project has been in progress for the last two years, with completion of the project scheduled for later this year. With the project being built underground and consisting of huge open spaces, MOPA brought on board DeSimone Consulting Engineers to assess the structural reinforcement The project has a structural reinforced concrete skeleton system.

28 June 2017

structural engineering design. Although initially tasked with structural engineering design assist and peer reviewing all the structural elements, DeSimone’s scope of work grew to include the reviewing of the engineering construction documents, including the specifications. Additionally, the firm has maintained a presence on-site during the construction of the visitor centre to review the shop drawings produced by the contractor and ensure that everything goes per plan and as per the design requirements, says Ahmed M Osman, managing principal for DeSimone Consulting Engineers, also present during the site tour. “The project covers a very large area of 110,000sqm. The overall built-up area is approximately 55,000sqm – it’s considered as 55,000sqm below ground and another 55,000sqm up top. That’s 110,000sqm divided across two levels,” Osman says. “The project is comprised of a structural reinforced concrete skeleton system. The ground floor slab is a PT slab supported by concrete columns (500 columns) with drop panels that are resting on pile caps and piles. Furthermore, the basement slab is designed as a suspended structural slab, supported directly

Project Profile

on pile caps and piles. The vertical elements, such as the columns and the walls, are constructed out of reinforced concrete.” Mohammed Majid adds that the design and construction team were careful to ensure that the project contains a lot of spaces that are just core and shell, with plenty of leeway left for clients and operators to fit out the interiors as they see fit. “They’ll be bringing in their

own designs, so we needed to have big open spaces so that we could have the flexibility for fit-out and in how the space is used. There’s also one important thing to consider – the 55,000sqm has been made not to obstruct the mosque. It must be visible from every angle. These two domes are meant to direct visitors and indicate that there is something downstairs. One dome will be the entrance to the visitor centre, while the other

will be for the commercial centre.” Al Mouenni points out that the open area on the top of the centre has been designed as an open, landscaped space that will serve the entire community, as well as providing visitors with a space to walk around and view the mosque. With handover scheduled for the end of this year, 70% of the work on the project has been completed. This has been possible due to the considerable effort

made to encourage collaboration and communication on-site between all stakeholders. “From day one, when we were approached by the client, we all worked as one team at the client’s side. The contractor and us, we all worked as one team and we have had open conversations and discussions about all issues,” asserts Osman. “Nothing is really off the table, and it’s because of this collaboration

“The design of the visitor centre cannot compete with the importance and the architecture of the mosque. That’s why the idea came about to design the project underground, and to provide big glass portal domes, similar in shape and geometry to the ones in the mosque, where their functions shall be to be entrances and light wells to the project” serving the needs of visitors The visitor centre will offer a range of services and amenities to people visiting the Grand Mosque, including a library and an auditorium.

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Project Profile

Unrestricted view The top of the underground centre will remain undeveloped except for landscaping and parking areas so as to provide an unobstructed view of the mosque.

culture that this project has been really successful. Everybody understands what each team member’s requirements are and has respected that. I think we’ve worked well together.” Having that collaboration has been vital for the project team, given some of the challenges they’ve faced over the construction period, they add. “One very important issue is that this is a big site,” says Osman. “It requires shoring, and we’re next to a lot of major services, as well as the main mosque. We must make sure that there’s shoring all around

the site. Since it’s horizontal construction, we needed to finalise all the concrete works ahead of stopping the dewatering, which is a very elaborate process.” “In this case, you’ll not be able to start finishing activities till you stop the dewatering. There are high-end finishes in this underground structure, which is rare to find in buildings or structures that are submerged (i.e, below the water table). Usually, when you’re underground, you have service roads, parking and so on. You don’t have the water affecting high-end finishes, which you have over

here. You’ll rarely find that situation here in Abu Dhabi.” “We’ve started all the ceiling, cladding and all wall works. We’ve kept the flooring to end, which means that we’re taking the minimum risk before stopping the dewatering. This approach also changed a lot of sequences in the construction programme. We also had changes in the design, which was to incorporate structural design. That has also been delaying these finishes,” Majid continues, pointing out that the quality and safety of the high-end finishes was also a priority for the team.

With around 1,700 workers currently on-site and some 2,000 workers there at peak construction, another challenge was maintaining health and safety, along with managing logistics and deliveries on site. Again, this was achieved through collaboration and cooperation, say both. While the project was obviously high-priority, the team took care to involve government bodies and authorities to ensure that progress was made in as stress-free a manner as possible. “During the two years of the execution of the project, we haven’t had many complaints

“The entire ID design of the visitor centre has been inspired from the mosque itself, starting from the white marble colour, to the mosaic elements and the engraved RCP. Visitors shall see the similarity of the ID elements between the mosque and the centre all through their journey” 30 June 2017

Project Profile

“The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was designed to receive worshippers and visitors. There was a need for a visitor centre to cater to the large number of tourists, prior to entering the mosque, to sort the visitors before they start their visit”

a collaborative effort Eng Mohamed Al Mouenni said that the project was a collaborative effort and praised the work done by all the stakeholders involved on it.

regarding the logistics and access to the site,” says Majid. “At the beginning, the main access road to the south parking was in the middle of the project, but we changed that and made another road, which is where people enter through now.” “Another road that we’ve made connects the south parking of the mosque to the main road. We’ve split the entrance from the site completely. We haven’t had any complaints about obstructions or anything since. It’s a very smooth logistics plan that we’ve had in

place since the beginning.” The team currently works 24 hours a day on the project, with two shifts a day. While they often work seven days a week, it’s not always the case, Majid adds. “We have a team of safety and HSE managers on-site. We also have fire safety officers and their teams, to make sure that all the construction activities are safe and that the logistics are safe. Obviously, we’re dealing with a very popular area, with VIPs coming to the mosque on Fridays and on special paying tribute The entrance domes for the visitor centre are meant to mimic the ones on the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

occasions. The site is exposed, and so we have to keep HSE to the highest standards,” he says. As the tour concludes, Engineer Mohamed Al Mouenni, highlights how he hopes the visitor centre will complement the Mosque. “The visitor centre services complex has been designed to serve the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, in terms of sorting the tourists, educating them prior to entering the mosque, and providing all the facilities and utilities a visitor would need. On average, visiting the mosque takes about an hour. We hope that visitors can come back and spend at least three to four hours enjoying the visitor centre. “In addition to the shopping and restaurants, there are dedicated cultural spaces, starting from the library through to the exhibition hall and the auditorium, where visitors can watch short documentaries about Abu Dhabi and the mosque. The exhibition hall will have periodic events as well. The library will hold a wealth of Islamic books, as well as all the records and documents relating to the Mosque. “This centre will one day be a destination for all tourists in the UAE,” he predicts confidently. June 2017 31


Mike Tapley

Ian Flynn

Bridge decks: paving the road to success In the third of four articles on long-span bridges in the Middle East, Mike Tapley and Ian Flynn of Aurecon discuss the selection and installation of deck systems For bridges whose main span is in excess of 500m, steel is typically the preferred choice for deck sections. These sections are usually prefabricated and assembled at an off-site workshop and then shipped to the job-site. There are several options for lifting the deck sections into place, with the choice largely dictated by the weight of the sections and the required speed of installation. If the section can be lifted directly from a barge, then a lifting frame can be used, whereas if the work is taking place over land, then either a large-scale falsework system or strand jacks may be used. 34 June 2017

Geometry control is critical for the placement of steel deck sections. Trial assemblies at the yard prior to installation are essential to ensure the segments fit together and for establishing reference geometry at the site. To facilitate this, the deck segments are fitted with brackets or keeper plates during the trial assembly so that the correct geometry can be quickly replicated onsite. These attachments can be quickly bolted together when one segment is matched against another on-site, prior to the deck being permanently welded. For lifting frames on cablestayed bridge constructions, the

frame will be sited at the end of the previously erected deck cantilever. Because the weight of the lifting frame adds to the overall weight on the cantilever during construction, it is essential that this be minimised. The design of the lifting frame should therefore incorporate trusses and A-frames rather than large plate girder sections. In addition, the forces applied by the lifting frame to the installed deck sections must also be considered. The large uplift forces that occur at the rear of the lifting frame are spread across the deck and resisted by strengthening the deck steelwork.

Time-sensitive If the bridge is to be constructed over a busy highway or shipping channel like the Red Sea, then lifting frames fitted with winches are preferred, as they deliver faster hoisting speeds. For example, during the construction of Hong Kong’s Stonecutters Bridge, there was a strict requirement for all lifting work to be completed within a fourhour window. Consequently, the contractor specified lifting frames with winches rather than strand jacks. With this configuration, typical lift time for deck sections was about 30 minutes. Alternatives to lifting frames


Fundamental considerations A fundamental consideration for the design of bridge decks is making sure that the design is as aerodynamic as possible.

“For the bridge deck, one fundamental consideration remains constant, and that is ensuring the design is as aerodynamic as possible”

include cranes or strand jacks. While cranes are generally preferred for positioning smaller precast concrete sections, strand jacks are better for hoisting larger sections, as they offer better control over both the load and its geometry at the lifting points. Large floating cranes might also be considered, but as these are often expensive, they are only a realistic option if the build schedule can make effective use of their time. For example, on the construction of the RionAntirion Bridge in Greece, a large floating crane was called in to help alleviate time pressure in the schedule. Once the decision

was made to bring in the crane, the contractor was able to revise its plans and make use of the crane to install both tower and deck sections, maximising its usage and efficiency. Concrete alternative For bridges with shorter spans and the back span sections of bridges, concrete may be an economical option for the deck sections. Here, the key consideration is whether to opt for precast or cast-insitu sections. With advanced software packages, significant efficiencies have been made in respect of the sizing of modern

falsework systems. Large-scale falsework systems do need to be well-founded, however, and piled supports need to be considered for safety and the avoidance of settlement as the wet concrete is applied. Whether steel or concrete is selected for the bridge deck, one fundamental consideration remains constant, and that is ensuring the design is as aerodynamic as possible. Wind forces on bridges can be extremely large, and minimising their effect – particularly over a long span – ensures deck stability and minimal disruption to traffic when winds are high. June 2017 35


The Rise of expeRienTial Decision-making

Suhail Arfath, industry manager – Consulting (India, Middle East and Africa) for Autodesk, explains in an exclusive piece how combining BIM and virtual/ augmented reality can be a saviour for developers in an increasingly competitive building industry

36 June 2017

The means of designing, making and using things is radically changing, and technology is the catalyst of this change. The building industry is not an exception. Today, we see three major technologydriven disruptions catalysing a new era for the building design and construction industry:

• Changes in the means of production – how owners plan, design, create and ultimately operate buildings and infrastructure assets • Changes in the nature of demand of owners and occupants – developers


are expected to deliver higher quality, on-budget, responsive and highperforming buildings. The decision-making of buyers and investors has changed and the criteria used in the past are not relevant anymore • Changes in products – as assets, equipment and building systems become increasingly complex, they allow valuable data-driven insights that give occupants more environmental, economic and social control over the lifecycle of buildings

Lately, we are witnessing an ever-increasing number of real estate projects being announced, built and commissioned, thus setting a high tone for the economic growth in the region for times ahead. Additionally, this benefits end users by giving them a vast number of choices. However from a developer perspective, this scenario creates a lot of pressure. In the past, property buyers would make buying decisions considering very few dimensions – such as price, location and potential ROI – and each real estate developer would address these dimensions with 2D drawings, ROI calculation sheets and maybe a sample mock-up of the end product. Now, in this new era, the buyers/investors want to be engaged and listened to throughout the project lifecycle, right from design to handover, to ensure a project is designed considering all demands, including lifecycle cost. This means developers have to be more creative and competitive than ever to make it easier for buyers/investors to understand how their real estate piece is designed, built and will operate in the future from a quality, cost and sustainability perspective. This is where virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) come in. Although the technology is new for construction, other industries are leveraging the full potential of VR and AR. Car manufacturers have been providing this experience to the buyers for a while now, using car configurators with VR and AR to help the buyer personalise and experience their car way before it leaves the factory. This not only reduces the buying cycle time but also helps the

“By giving the end users the ability to experience the property before it is built, developers can make the necessary design and architecture changes together with them beforehand, and are able to budget accordingly”

car manufacturer differentiate itself from the competition and also demonstrate value to the customer. Today, architects, developers and engineers have the ability to create realistic virtual places and worlds for people to experience, using software like Revit Live. Whether it is textures, shadows, lighting or more, designers can create realistic mock-ups of any environment, or in this case property, to give end users a realistic look at their potential investment. Imagine being able to visualise, walk and experience your community, building and villa/apartment in context. This experience not only will help you understand how spaces and materials/finishes will feel when you live there, but also how any change in the spaces or finishes will affect your costs and the schedule of the project. Traditionally, developers build a unit with their set specifications. Once the property buyer takes possession, they renovate based on their preferences, resulting in money and materials being wasted by both the developer and the owner. A recent report published by Frost & Sullivan stated that the total waste generated in the GCC is likely to increase from 94 million tonnes in 2015 to 120 million tonnes by 2020. In the GCC, waste composition has predominantly been construction, demolition and municipal. Furthermore, approximately 30% of material on every construction site is wasted. By giving end users the ability to experience the property before it is built, developers can make the necessary design and architecture changes together with them beforehand and are able to budget accordingly to

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potentially reduce almost all material wastage at construction sites, resulting in exceptional time and cost savings. We believe this experience provided to end users/buyers will become the key differentiator for developers and projects going forward. However, the intelligence received is not just restricted to quantity of material required. Software like BIM can provide exceptional insights from a variety of workflows available today, such as energy cost range, lighting analysis and solar analysis, to provide a holistic approach to building performance. These factors help developers and end users quickly identify key energy performance drivers such as lighting power density, HVAC systems and glazing properties, to forecast future expenses in maintaining their properties. By providing end users with the ability to not just experience the look and feel of a property before purchase, but also the operating expenses for a set number of years, a more informed decision is made, which

providing insight Software like BIM can provide exceptional insights from a variety of workflows available today.

also becomes an important differentiating component for developers looking to sell. Consider two property developers – Developer A and Developer B – both located in the same area and virtually identical in terms of the development and property being considered for purchase. Developer A lists its unit for AED 1 million and Developer B lists its unit for AED 1.2 million. Given that they are

Redefining the process Technology is now at a point where it has the potential to redefine the decision-making process by creating unique opportunities for developers and end users to conceptualise.

38 June 2017

virtually identical, customers would most certainly choose Developer A’s offering, as it is AED 200,000 cheaper. However, if we could predict lifetime cost, would things change? For example, and in its simplest form, if the end user is looking to sell the property after 10 years and the intuitive software is able to predict that operating cost (energy, maintenance, etc) for

Developer A is AED 500,000 and for Developer B is AED 100,000 for that duration, then the total cost of the projects increases. The new cost, taking into consideration the intention to sell the property after a decade, for Developer A is now AED 1.5 million, and for Developer B it is AED 1.3 million, making Developer B more attractive in this scenario. Technology is at a point where it has the potential to redefine the decision-making process by creating unique opportunities for developers and end users to conceptualise, visualise and experience their development or property. The potential of technology like BIM, AR and VR to create experiences in the construction and real estate sectors is virtually endless and extremely lucrative. However, the most important element of intuitive software is its ability to provide individuals with everything required – costs, sustainability and more – to make an informed decision about their purchase, to save time and money and ensure nothing ever goes to waste.

Supplier Focus What has the last year been like for Grundfos? What is your view on the regional market situation?

2016 was what we’d call a satisfactory year for Grundfos, and that’s overall for the group. We’ve also been able to maintain or gain some market share across the globe. Some of the areas in Europe are actually performing quite well. China is also doing quite well again after a stagnant period. In fact, East Asia is doing quite well overall. Looking at this area, things were also quite good. It was certainly a tough year, as it was for many companies, not least due to the whole oil situation and the relative instability seen in the region. A lot of it was driven from Saudi Arabia. It is a challenging situation there, and I think it is for a lot of companies working over there. But here in the Middle East, I think we have a solid performance. I would claim that we’re not losing market share even though sales were a little bit below last year’s performance, compared to what they were the year before. Overall though, there are many areas that are performing fine – in the UAE, and also in some of the surrounding countries.

PumPing uP the market

Big Project ME speaks to Poul Due Jansen, group executive vice president – Group Sales, Marketing and Services for Grundfos, to learn how the pump manufacturer is adapting to regional demands 40 June 2017

Can you describe the Grundfos strategy in the Middle East? How are you positioning yourself in the market?

We will never be just another ‘me too’ player in the Middle East market. We’ll never do just what everyone else is doing. We’re running a differentiating business, setting new technological heights in what we do, and introducing new innovations. We’re putting ourselves at the high end of the market place. I think here, as anywhere else in the world, you’re going to have that medium-base market that

Supplier Focus

is growing. You’re going to have local and Chinese manufacturers coming in to take a share of that. So, for me, market share is relative – when you don’t compete in those areas, how do you measure it? But certainly, when you compare us to some of our great competitors, then we believe that we’re maintaining our market share in the high-end space. With the lower part of the market, it’s also a strategic decision to not have a pump that will just move water from point A to point B in a non-energy-efficient way. That’s not who we are. What has Grundfos done recently to help drive innovation and advancement of energy-efficient technology in the regional market? How do you approach sustainability?

Innovation drives our position. We’re trying to help governmental bodies to understand the benefits of sustainability and energy efficiency. We spend a lot of time to help governments understand that. The water supply in this nation – the water authorities must supply water that is healthy. There are some new technologies that are coming up primarily for the Middle East, and we’re invested quite heavily in this. Due to our position in the Middle East, where many years ago we were very strong in irrigation and farming, where pumps were outside and exposed to the harsh climate, since then the region has always had a high position in our design testing. In general, the energy efficiency agenda is one we’re doing for the whole world. That’s who we are, where we come from, and it’s benefiting everyone here. Also, going forward with that agenda is becoming bigger and bigger here. There’s a lot of urbanisation going on in this region, which

interest in efficiency There is a strong amount of interest in highly energy-efficient products in the Middle Eastern market.

“There’s a lot of urbanisation going on in this region. There’s no doubt that the interest and drive for highly energy-efficient products is there. That belief in the way of doing things, it’s fantastic to realise that people care about that here”

is something we’re looking for. There’s no doubt that the interest and drive for highly energy-efficient products is there. That belief in the way of doing things, it’s fantastic to realise that people care about that here. As a company, we have high values and standards when it comes to sustainability. We transfer that to down here. Both in the GCC countries and Turkey, the governments of these countries have a high level of understanding that they need to change. So we don’t have to modify anything, but we can take our technology that has high standards and convince users, authorities and suppliers to use them. What are your thoughts on Dubai’s drive to introduce sustainability and energy efficiency measures to the way the city’s buildings operate and function?

We’re working closely with the Supreme Council of Energy under the Dubai government here. We’re

trying to help them out, firstly by explaining what is possible from a technology point of view. Then take Dubai as a city – Sheikh Mohammed has announced that he wants to have Dubai as a sustainable city by 2030. We’re trying to contribute and see how we can help as a technology provider. We have dedicated teams that try to partner up with Dubai municipality and other authorities. In fact, we have created a small hub now, which is called the Green Hub of Dubai. That’s actually been built by us – we try to promote Danish technologies in Dubai. We’re doing that right now with a combination of Danish companies and the government. So, of course, we can influence the world by working with our partners, trying to get on their agenda to sell the right products. We spend a lot of time on training our partners – the contractors, the consultants, the designers and specifiers – to try and push the right agenda. What is Grundfos doing to help push the smart cities concept?

I think it’s on everyone’s lips, digitalisation and the smart agenda. But what is actually going to happen? What does it mean for many parts of the world? What we have done is establish a separate unit for digitalisation that goes across all our products, group and R&D. We’re trying to establish it and say, ‘What is our agenda? What field do we want to play in?’ We can go in so many directions, so you must find out exactly! It’s very high on our agenda, because the pump as we know it is not going to be a pump anymore. It’s going to be connected to various systems and will help individuals in a different, easier way than it’s been doing in the world so far.

June 2017 41

Waste Management Creating awareness The first step governments in the region face is overcoming the lack of awareness in the region about the solid waste management industry.

The PaTh To SuSTainable WaSTe ManageMenT Nivine Issa, Environment Division manager at AESG, explains why waste management must be considered as a crucial issue for the governments of the region

42 June 2017

Waste Management Growing populations and the increasingly consumeristic mentality of the populace means that managing waste is now a significant issue. Everrising landfills and depletion of resources cannot be overlooked, and the application of technical, organisational and financial strategies to implement sustainable waste and resource management is the need of the hour for the region.

Luckily, achieving sustainable waste management is in fact a realistic goal – provided, of course, that the right targets and implementation plans are set in place and executed. It must be part of the urban planning element to ensure that the right waste handling infrastructure is incorporated right from the early stages of the design for any development. There are also pressing issues relating to changing behavioural patterns in the region. This is perhaps the main criteria for success and will only be achieved through policies and plans, urban planning codes, building codes and awareness campaigns across the solid waste value chain. The Challenges

Governments in the Middle East face a number of challenges when it comes to developing and implementing integrated waste management systems. The first step is to overcome the general lack of awareness – Middle Eastern communities are not particularly informed about many aspects of the solid waste management industry, including the importance of incorporating the 3R principle: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Most people in the region do not know what happens to their waste after it has been collected from their house. In fact, some Middle Eastern countries

generate the highest volumes of solid waste in the world. These high consumption patterns will only change when initiatives are put in place to tackle the root of the problem, which is influencing behavioural patterns. The Role of Government

“To overcome these challenges, governments in the Middle East need to draft regulations and policies enforcing certain practices, as this will help organisations understand the concept of an integrated solid waste management system and implement relevant standards in their projects”

To overcome these challenges, governments in the Middle East need to draft regulations and policies enforcing certain practices, as this will help organisations understand the concept of an integrated solid waste management system and implement relevant standards in their projects. In addition, subsidies for recycling projects or recovery plants, for instance, could help encourage developers and investors to move towards more sustainable solutions for dealing with solid waste. Equally important is to set in place awareness campaigns on the country’s overall goals for reducing solid waste, in order to improve public health and environmental consciousness. Also, while the government plays a key role in drafting, ratifying and enforcing regulations that translate best industry practices in the operation of all waste generating activities, private organisations too must play a major role in implementing these regulations, pushing the industry towards technological advancement and promoting awareness in the communities in which they operate. Improving Waste Management

There is much that can be done to improve waste management and achieve the goal of sustainability. In line with the 3R principle, the first step is to reduce the generation of waste by reducing consumption. This is largely related to influencing

June 2017 43

Waste Management Specific strategies Governments can optimise their waste management strategies by applying country-specific research.

“A sustainable approach to waste management benefits everyone – businesses as well as the public. It will take the collaboration of government and private institutions, and commitment to the cause from citizens” behavioural trends. Once strides have been made in the right direction, emphasis should be placed on reusing through the proper segregation of waste at source to facilitate recycling. Given that waste management is not currently a priority for the average citizen, developers must do their very best to make the process of segregation as convenient and streamlined as possible. This means ensuring the right design elements are incorporated into a master plan or building design, so that tenants and occupants have the appropriate facilities that encourage them to segregate and recycle. Examples include using double waste chutes or trisorter chutes in tower buildings, and providing space for special waste such as used batteries to be collected for reuse or disposal. Developers can actually

44 June 2017

reduce the size of the main waste room for more efficient space planning in the building by using a mobile compactor, and convert food waste into valuable compost that can be used for landscaping, by using on-site composting machines of varying capacities. It is also worth implementing an automated waste transportation system through underground piping connecting the building chutes and outdoor loading stations to a central sorting facility within the community itself, which will ensure proper segregation of waste and improved recycling rates. The Importance of Research

In addition to common global best practices, governments can optimise their waste management strategies by applying countryspecific research. GCC countries such as the UAE, Qatar and

Saudi Arabia have the technical ability, economic prosperity and basic infrastructure to build and operate integrated solid waste management systems that enforce the 3R principle. Research plays a major role in tailoring the right solution to each situation, be it city scale or development scale. Through AESG’s work with Tecnalia, for instance, we are able to investigate modelling tools that help assess and determine the most efficient system tailored to each mega project. On a smaller scale, we currently work with tools such as WRATE modelling software, which assesses the lifecycle impact of different solid waste management and treatment options to help project teams determine effective solutions for achieving their objectives. Such modelling is an efficient and cost-effective way of evaluating new management strategies.

Shining Examples

While there is much that is yet to be done to achieve sustainable waste management in the Middle East, countries can take inspiration from those that have made noteworthy advancements in the field. The UAE is a leading example, as it has set targets for solid waste volume reduction and has plans for improving infrastructure. Sharjah, for instance, has already achieved more than 70% diversion of waste from landfills through collection, handling, treatment and recycling facilities. A sustainable approach to waste management benefits everyone – businesses as well as the public. It will take the collaboration of regional government and private institutions, and commitment to the cause from citizens. In the end, every action counts.

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Industry Focus Knock-on effect The drop in oil prices has had a knockon effect on spending across the GCC, with large projects across the region to feel the after-effects of the slump.


Big Project ME finds out how the slump in oil prices is affecting the construction industry

2016 was the worst year on record in terms of the value of project contracts awarded across all sectors in the GCC region – construction, transport, oil & gas, power, chemicals, industry and water – according to data compiled by Meed, a business

46 June 2017

information company. This was because of the slump in oil prices, which is likely to have a knockon effect on spending across the GCC, with large projects in the region expected to continue to feel the after-effects of the slump, despite signs of recovery.

Data shows that the value of infrastructure contracts awarded slipped by 44% to $100 billion, compared to the year before, which itself was down to $178 billion from a high of $186 billion in 2014. The drop in oil prices from late 2014 has resulted

in depressed spending across the board, the data shows. However, the start of the year showed a rebound of sorts, which was expected to help reignite project spending. This has been helped by GCC governments’ commitment to helping diversify

Industry Focus

Volatility of global oil prices Global oil prices saw a drastic fall during the second half of 2014 and continued to drift downward in 2015 and 2016. Crude oil price witnessed a major decline in October 2015, where it fell from $51 per barrel to less than $30 per barrel in mid-January 2016. The World Bank pointed out that the underlying demand and supply dynamics for oil regulate long-run trends in prices; however, short-run movements in market sentiment and prospects played a major role in driving price fluctuations.

Crude oil, average, spot US$ per barrel (2010-2020f) $120 $100 $80 $60 $40 $20








17(f) 18(f) 19(f) 20(f)

Source: World Bank reports - Commodity Markets Review (2012), Commodity Markets outlook (2016)

Factors contributing to the decline in oil prices Shale revolution Development of the latest techniques, including horizontal drilling and fracking techniques, mean shale gas and oil is now a less expensive and more efficient substitute for crude oil. Strong US dollar US currency appreciation has caused a dip in commodity values priced in dollars. A strong dollar weakens the oil sector by decreasing prices.

revenue streams within their economies. One of the key nonoil sectors benefiting from this has been real estate, hospitality and construction (RHC). While the oil price dip has had a negative impact on the RHC sector across the GCC, causing

Global slowdown Continuous sluggish global growth (2.9% growth forecast in 2016) has resulted in a drop in global oil price demand. The Institute of International Finance (IIF) even predicted that 2016 would see a 19.4% drop in the hydrocarbon exports from the GCC region. Iran nuclear deal The US nuclear deal with Iran removed Western sanctions and allowed more Iranian oil exports. Investors were anxious that it would add to the global oil oversupply, and markets have responded to this scenario by decreasing the crude oil price.

a slowdown that is expected to continue for at least another year, a report from Ernst & Young (‘The Impact of Decreasing Oil Prices on the GCC RHC Market’) indicates. However, with events such as Expo 2020 Dubai and the 2022 Qatar World Cup on the horizon, along with a number of other initiatives in place, the RHC sector is expected to see a boost. Looking at the construction industry value as a percentage of GDP between 2014 and 2017, the E&Y report states that the GCC construction industry value is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.1% during 2014-2017. “Positive demographics, government initiatives and rising tourism activities drive the growth of the industry,” it explains. “Economic diversification keeps the commercial real estate market resilient to external pressures, although regional tensions may intercept potential investment.” David Clifton, regional development director at Faithful + Gould, adds that oil prices have steadied in the $50-55/ barrel range, following broad compliance with the first round of OPEC production cuts. With the potential for further cuts on the horizon, a range of $50-60/ barrel for 2017 is probable. As a result, Saudi Arabia is looking to rebalance its budget deficit by 2020, with further government spending reviews undertaken to achieve this and various funding and bond options examined. In contrast, oil prices have underpinned the UAE’s federal level surety in budget forecasts, Clifton points out. The UAE’s fiscal position remains positive thanks to significant local and overseas reserves, along with prudent budget allocations, he adds. “Overseas real estate

June 2017 47

Industry Focus

investment was down 41% from 2015 to 2016, which has meant sale prices have been under sustained pressure,” he says. “This is partly due to the strong dollar [that the dirham is pegged to], which has led to numerous schemes being slowed. 2017 is beginning to see a small increase in investments, which will start to drive growth, especially when combined with new funding streams coming to market.” “The start of 2017 (Q1) has been poor in terms of contracting awards in the UAE and the wider GCC, with some of the lowest volumes on record. However, the pipeline and sentiment in general is more positive. With Dubai committed to $2.99 billion of awards for the Expo 2020 site and the private sector likely to take a positive view on this, Q2 should see improvements. “The danger of delays to contract awards is compounded by the approach of Ramadan and the summer months of low activity. This could see our $45bn forecast of awards for the year compressed into Q3+Q4, constraining construction capacity and possibly delaying some schemes.” Speaking during a ‘LiveTalk’ organised by F+G and hosted by Clifton, Ranya Afifi, network director – MENA at the Economist, adds that oil prices are moved by a variety of factors, such as supply and demand, the value of the US dollar, investor perception and the pricing strategy of oil producers. “Supply and demand is an extremely fluid scenario. We don’t know how profitable shale oil producers are anymore. Once upon a time, when oil was going at $110 a barrel to $50, we saw a lot of shale oil producers pulling off the market. But today, they’re in the market and they’re actually pumping more. Which leads us to believe that their profit – or their breakeven point – is

48 June 2017

Crude still the cheapest Despite a shift towards alternative energy, crude oil still remains the cheapest source of energy.

becoming lower and lower. “Technological advancements are changing the supply side of the story. When we look at demand – it is growing. There is population growth worldwide, and even though there is a drive towards alternative energy, crude oil is still the cheapest source of energy,” she asserts. Looking at how the real estate and construction sector might be affected in the GCC, Afifi says it’s important that expectations be lowered for the coming few years, while alternative financing methods will have to be considered due to the lack of funding in the market. “We can’t expect there to be the same volume of business that we had previously. There are opportunities, but these opportunities are going to have to rely on the private sector. Basically, they will have to contribute more than just ticking a project

“When oil was going at $110 a barrel to $50, we saw a lot of shale oil producers pulling off the market. But today, they’re in the market and they’re actually pumping more. Which leads us to believe that their profit is becoming lower”

award and then completing the process without contributing any financing themselves. I think the whole point of PPP is to add that liquidity or to add that financing, so that the government doesn’t have to bear the brunt of it.” Clifton adds that alternative financing solutions such as independent water & power projects (IWPP) and public-private partnerships (PPP) are firmly on the agenda in Saudi Arabia. “The first quarter has seen some significant tenders on this basis. They include IWPPs and PPPs for GACA for three key airports – Hail and Al-Qassim, as well as PPP tender submissions for Taif Airport. This bodes well for the short term as the industry hunts for positivity and work. This trend is expected to increase, although with some caution as over-exposure to alternative finance can cause long-term fiscal issues,” he concludes.

Show Review

Project Qatar 2017 raises disability awareness

2017 edition of show focuses on accessibility issues for people with disabilities Under the patronage of HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, this year the 14th edition of Project Qatar attracted 545 exhibitors and co-exhibitors from 33 countries around the world. Inaugurated by HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce, in the presence of HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry, on May 8 at DECC, the business event greeted topranking officials and key players

introducing accessibility issues Project Qatar partnered with Accessible Qatar, an SA SOL initiative, to introduce the Accessible Qatar Conference and Award ceremony.

50 June 2017

from the Qatari construction industry, as well as regional and international stakeholders. The four-day exhibition welcomed more than 14,200 unique local, regional and international visitors. This year, Project Qatar partnered with Accessible Qatar, a SASOL initiative, to introduce for the first time the Accessible Qatar Conference and Award Ceremony. The conference raised awareness on accessibility issues for people with disabilities, aiming to influence project developers towards making their existing and future venues accessible

to all, while the ceremony recognised and awarded Qatar’s current most accessible venues. Additionally, this year Project Qatar introduced the Innovation Series, a unique platform combining the show’s popular Workshop Series, where industry experts discussed the latest and most pressing issues in the construction industry in Qatar, and Live Demo Theatre, where exhibitors showcased their latest products and innovative solutions to a wide interactive audience. Exhibitors at Project Qatar are already excited about next

year’s edition! “Really happy to start looking forward to Project Qatar 2018,” said Tim Piggott from Click Scolmore, UK. Major highlights also included the concurrent events Qatar StoneTech 2017, the sixth International Stone and Stone Technology Show; Heavy Max 2017, the 14th International Exhibition for Heavy Machinery; and the Business Intelligence Series, including the fourth Annual LightingTech Qatar conference, the Qatari lighting industry meeting place for key officials and industry players.

Show Review


Foreign investment rises as international exhibitors showcase developments Cityscape Abu Dhabi saw a 10% increase in visitor numbers on the opening day of the show, year on year. Middle East investors were joined by those from India, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, the UK and more, filling the halls of the capital’s largest real estate event, which concluded on 20 April at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, a strong international presence was reinforced at the three-day show as 13 different countries were represented across the 18,000sqm sold-out exhibition space. Bahar Duzgun, Sales and Marketing manager, Dreamland Baku Golf Villas & Residences, said: “We are seeing a huge rise in GCC people wanting to invest, especially UAE nationals. There are lots of cultural similarities, we are conveniently located and Baku is a safe and clean area with lots of things to do, therefore it is no surprise that it is becoming a popular destination.” “This is our second participation at Cityscape, and it is the best platform for us to reach out to potential investors and showcase our unique project. We are slowly putting Baku on the map and we are confident that our Dreamland Baku Golf Villas & Residences will be at the heart of this.” Ensuring luxury was at the top of the priority list, Turkish

Increased visitor numbers Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2017 saw a 10% increase in visitor numbers on the opening day of the show, organisers said.

exhibitors were out in full force, showcasing a range of projects in prime locations across the country. Mounis Akkad, GM, Liderlik Development, said: “This is our first time participating in Cityscape Abu Dhabi and we have received a really positive response. The capital has financial capabilities and the stability needed to encourage residents, both nationals and expats, to take one step forward and invest in a property, especially overseas.” “We have received a lot of interest in our two projects, which are priced between $2,000 to $4,000 per square metre, and the drop of the Turkish lira and the positive benefits put in place by the government to facilitate overseas purchases have certainly made Turkey attractive.”

With hundreds of new launches at the three-day show, leading developer Eagle Hills revealed its latest UAE project in Fujairah. CEO Low Ping said: “Our participation in Cityscape this year marked the unveil of our second mixed-use project in the UAE, Fujairah Beach, which consists of The Palace, a luxury five-star hotel and 84 villas providing exclusive amenities within Fujairah City.” In other news, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) made a formal agreement with the UAE’s leading property companies, committing them to a major community initiative for Year of Giving 2017. Nine real estate developers will contribute a collective total of $879,390 in building amenities to benefit the capital’s communities, such as

mosques, public parks, walkways, playgrounds and sports facilities throughout Abu Dhabi, as well as honour the UAE’s martyrs. The 11th edition of the show saw Cityscape Abu Dhabi Conference return, bringing hundreds of delegates and industry experts together to look at Destination Abu Dhabi and the impact of free zones in the capital. Cityscape Talks also proved a popular hit this year, as visitors, investors and buyers came together to discuss the real estate sector and the future direction of the market. The 12th edition of Cityscape Abu Dhabi returns to ADNEC next year, 17-19 April 2018. For more information on Cityscape Abu Dhabi, visit June 2017 51


Top tenders Al MubArAk AirbAse upgrAde project budget $319,000,000 project Number WPR1763-K territory Safat 13001, Kuwait client Name Department of State (Kuwait) phone (+965) 2259 1464 Fax (+965) 2259 1938 email description Carrying out upgrading of an airbase comprising additional facilities such as a main operations centre, hangars, training facilities, barracks, warehouses, support facilities and other infrastructure required for a fully functioning airbase status New Tender tender categories Airport, Construction & Contracting, Military & Defence, Roads, Bridges & Infrastructure tender products Airports

Development & Management, Infrastructure, Warehouse Construction

keMpiNski Hotel MAdiNAH project budget $200,000,000 project Number WPR1826-SA territory Saudi Arabia client Name Kempinski Hotels SA (Geneva) Address 28 Boulevard du Pont d’Arve, Geneva 1205, Switzerland phone (+41-22) 809 8888 Fax (+41-22) 809 8800 Website description Construction of a 4-star hotel comprising 300 guestrooms, including 50 branded condominiums, a ballroom and conference centre period 2019 status New Tender

tender categories Construction & Contracting, Hotels tender products Hotel Construction

HAMAlA Mixed-use project budget $105,000,000 project Number WPR1792-B territory Manama, Bahrain client Name Seef Properties (Bahrain) Address Bldg 2102, Road 2825, Block 428, Seef District phone (+973) 1758 1111/ 1758 2888 Fax (+973) 1758 1900/ 1758 1888 email Website description Development of a mixed-use scheme offering shopping and leisure facilities period 2018 status New Tender tender categories Construction & Contracting, Leisure & Entertainment tender products Retail Developments

Hotel & oFFice buildiNg project – AdNec budget $35,000,000 project Number WPR1803-U territory Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates client Name Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) Address Khaleej Al Arabi Street phone (+971-2) 444 6900 Fax (+971-2) 444 6135 email Website description Construction of an office building comprising 4 basement levels, a ground floor, 2 podium levels and 16 additional floors, as well a hotel offering a total of 234 guestrooms with associated facilities period 2019 status New Tender tender categories Hotels, Prestige Buildings tender products Commercial Buildings, Hotel Construction

tHe pulse toWNHouses project – dubAi soutH budget $35,000,000 project Number WPR1874-U territory Dubai, United Arab Emirates client Name Dubai South (Dubai World Central – DWC) phone (+971-4) 814 1236 Fax (+971-4) 814 1313 email Website description Construction of (24 Nos.) tiered townhouses period 2019 status New Tender tender categories Construction & Contracting tender products Villas Construction


52 June 2017

PROJECT INTELLIGENCE, TENDERS & SUPPLY CONTRaCTS IN ThE MIDDLE EaST is used by: • Contracfors & Sub-Contractors • Consultants, Design, FEED & EPC Companies • Manufacturers, Suppliers & Traders • Service Providers, Insurance & Banking Sectors • Recruitment, Logistics & Facilities Management and many more.... Tel: +9712 - 634 8495 Fax: +9712 - 631 6465 Email:


Middle East tenders UAE MArriott resort project – rAs Al kHAiMAH project Number WPR1847-U territory Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates client Name ASQ Holding LLC (Ras Al Khaimah) description Construction of a 5-star hotel resort comprising 300 guest rooms period 2019 status New Tender tender categories Construction & Contracting, Hotels, Leisure & Entertainment tender products Hotel Construction

Saudi Arabia iNdustriAl VAlley deVelopMeNt project (pHAse 3) – kiNg AbdullAH ecoNoMic city project Number WPR1878-SA territory Jeddah, Saudi Arabia client Name King Abdullah Economic City (Saudi Arabia) Address 2338, Bay La Sun, Juman Street Unit No. 1, King Abdullah Economic City 23964-6992 phone (+966-12) 510 6600 Fax (+966-12) 510 6900 Website description Development of an industrial valley period 2017 status Current Project tender categories Communications / Telecommunications, Construction

& Contracting, Industrial & Special Projects, Power & Alternative Energy, Roads, Bridges & Infrastructure, Sewerage & Drainage, Water Works tender products Electric Power Transmission & Distribution, Industrial Zones, Roads Construction, Sewage Treatment Plants & Equipment/Spare Parts, Sewerage/ Drainage Pipelines & Pumping Stations, Telecommunications Networks, Water Transmission & Distribution Networks

irrigAtioN pipeliNe NetWork exteNsioN project – jubAil iNdustriAl city budget $20,000,000 project Number WPR1884-SA

territory Yanbu Industrial City, Saudi Arabia client Name Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu (Saudi Arabia) country Saudi Arabia phone (+966-4) 321 6000 / 6021 Fax (+966-4) 321 3402 / 6092 / 396 8001 email Website description Expansion of an irrigation water network and main transport lines period 2018 status Current Project tender categories Water Works, Agriculture & Irrigation tender products Irrigation Pipeline Network & Pumping Stations, Water Transmission & Distribution Networks

Oman Al Mouj rAyHAAN by rotANA Hotel project budget $75,000,000 project Number WPR1831-O territory Muscat, Oman client Name Golden Group Holding (Oman) phone (+968) 2460 0335 / 2460 3611 / 2460 2766 Fax (+968) 2460 0335 / 2460 2766 / 2460 0564 email Website description Construction of a new hotel comprising 250 beautifully appointed guestrooms, suites and apartments along with worldclass amenities and services


54 June 2017


period 2020 status New Tender tender categories Construction & Contracting, Hotels, Leisure & Entertainment tender products Hotel Construction

HAbHAb oNsHore oil Field deVelopMeNt project – block 6 project Number MPP3124-O territory Muscat 113, Oman client Name Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) Address Mina Al Fahal Street phone (+968) 2467 8111 Fax (+968) 2467 7106 email Website description Development of an onshore oil field status New Tender tender categories Gas Processing & Distribution, Oilfields & Refineries tender products Gas Exploration & Production, Oilfields

status Current Project tender categories Airport, Construction & Contracting tender products Airports Development & Management, Commercial Buildings

Qatar resideNtiAl buildiNg project – lusAil MAriNA budget $20,000,000 project Number WPR1881-Q territory Doha, Qatar client Name Lusail Real Estate Development Company (Qatar) phone (+974) 4497 7770 Fax (+974) 4497 7775 email Website description Construction of a residential building comprising 2 basement levels, a ground floor, a mezzanine floor and 16 additional floors

period 2017 status Current Project tender categories Construction & Contracting tender products Residential Buildings

tender products Infrastructure, Roads Construction

Lebanon sAiNt jAcques plAzA project – burj HAMMoud city

roAds & iNFrAstructure Works project – HAMAd port budget $15,000,000 project Number WPR1859-Q territory Doha, Qatar client Name Qatar Ports Management Company (Qatar) phone (+974) 4499 3325 Fax (+974) 4499 3335 Website description Construction of roads and infrastructure period 2018 statusCurrent Project tender categories Power & Alternative Energy, Roads, Bridges & Infrastructure, Water Works

project Number WPR1853-LE territory Beirut, Lebanon client Name Municipality of Burj Hammoud (Lebanon) Address Armenia Street, Burj Hammoud phone (+961-1) 260 155 Fax (+961-1) 260 156 email Website description Construction of three residential buildings, shops and a multi-level parking facility period 2019 status Current Project tender categories Construction & Contracting, Leisure & Entertainment tender products Residential Buildings, Retail Developments

Bahrain oMAN Air creW reportiNg buildiNg project – MuscAt

jAbAl el-zAyet WiNd FArM project project Number WPR1821-E territory Cairo, Egypt client Name New & Renewable Energy Authority (Egypt) Address Extension of Abbas ElAkkad, Hay el-Zohor Street, Nasr City phone (+20-2) 2271 3173 Fax (+20-2) 2271 7173 email Website description Construction of a new wind farm with capacity of 250MW period 2018 status New Tender tender categories Power & Energy tender products Wind Energy

budget $19,000,000 project Number WPR1814-O International Airport territory Seeb PC 111, Oman client Name Oman Air (S.A.O.C) Address Oman Aviation Services Bldg phone (+968) 2451 9953 Fax (+968) 2451 0805 email Website description Construction of a crew reporting building covering an area of 25,000sqm at Muscat International Airport period 2018


June 2017 55

Last Word

Preventative Measures

Paying attention to five simple design factors will help in delivering a superior project, says Grayscale Interiors’ Dr Gary Vastag One of the factors that drove me to launch my own enterprise was that fit-out contractors are uniquely positioned; we can spot a design flaw and flag it with the managing job-site entity, or leave it alone. I’ve received mixed responses here; some clients are pleased to nip a design misstep in the bud, while others choose to shoot the messenger.

I am often presented with designs that are illequipped for end users, and that’s just one problem. We, in our position in the construction chain, can only hope that these designs have been properly extrapolated from client briefs. I find that posthandover issues are due to a lack of experience somewhere in the food chain. My suggestion is that both consultants and general contractors check for a few simple elements (listed below) at the design stage. Interface between elements: Take a look at the designer’s consistency

56 June 2017

“Retroactive correction of flawed designs negatively impacts delivery timelines, and ultimately starts to blow the client’s budget postcontract award. Closely examining these factors will save clients time and money”

and neatness of borders and joints. You should be looking for a seamless interface between different finishes, resulting in an allround neater project. This is complemented by using simple, readily available products from the local market. The second part is asking whether the design is smart. Smart design means that space planning with realistic tolerances creates massive dramatic impact when delivered. Choose finishing wisely: Pay attention to the materials used in the design specifications. Often, the reality is that the immediate appearance is only noticed by industry professionals, while clients and end users are none the wiser. Hence, after some time, the resulting interiors demonstrate a product failure that is visible to the end user. Unfortunately, this becomes an issue shouldered by the client, who must then invest money in corrective measures.

Eyeball lighting suggestions: Ensure that the correct lighting is planned for the interior spaces. Lighting, if used effectively, can create the ‘wow’ factor; conversely, it can also result in an ordinary result that fails to meet client expectations. How and where you position the lighting is critical – although it still comes down to budget, as better lighting isn’t cheap. Examine height of space: Perspective changes depending on the design, but better planned ceiling levels often result in better spaces for both aesthetics and acoustics. For example, a dropping bulkhead can limit the visual impact of any interior, and often reduces the end user’s feeling of a comfortable, open space. Compared to a flat ceiling, a raised ceiling can open up the space, increasing the designer’s lighting choices, as well as the acoustic benefits. Consider fit for purpose: This should be

raised by any contractor. Ask yourself: “Is the design the right answer to the question?” A great example is industries that dictate confidential space requirements. Some designs have simple wall configurations and ceilings for commercial spaces – law firms, financial institutions, etc. Mitigating reduced privacy can be achieved by choosing the correct wall systems, be it solid or glass, or door treatments. Even plenum baffling comes into play here. I don’t need to stress that retroactive correction of flawed designs negatively impacts delivery timelines, and ultimately starts to blow the client’s budget postcontract award. Closely examining these factors will save clients time and money, and in our hyper-timeline-driven market, this is always welcome. Take a closer look, and your clients will thank you for it!


We now have a permanent base in the Middle East.

Purlins supply and support for the Middle East ยง Engineered Solutions: Metsec works closely with structural engineers and steel fabricators to add value and design expertise ensuring long term compliance and performance ยง Complete System Delivery: Metsec provides complete systems, including all accessories, that are compliant with quality accreditations including ISO9001, CE Marking and PAS 99 ยง Regional Experience: Metsec has already supplied a range of landmark projects in the Middle East ยง Reliable and Trustworthy: Metsec considers all work with customers as a partnership, priding itself on its superior customer service and technical support in all areas ยง Design software: Our free MetSPEC software optimises the design of our systems that are also covered by our Professional Indemnity Insurance

To discuss your purlin needs for the Middle East call us on +971 (0) 4 8870704 ext. 226 or visit the website:

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Leaders in Project Management

Big Project ME June 2017  

Big Project ME, your one-stop guide to construction developments in the region, The Big Project.

Big Project ME June 2017  

Big Project ME, your one-stop guide to construction developments in the region, The Big Project.