Home / INTERVIEWS / Face to face: Berk Pasinler, Emirates Buildings

Face to face: Berk Pasinler, Emirates Buildings

by Michael Fahy on Apr 19, 2014

RELATED ARTICLES: 3D Abu Dhabi model to be created | Jotun Paints creates 3D pond through art project | Abu Dhabi safety regulations lead the way

RELATED ARTICLES: 3D Abu Dhabi model to be createdJotun Paints creates 3D pond through art projectAbu Dhabi safety regulations lead the way

Berk Pasinler, the general manager of Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Buildings and its sister company Dome General Contracting, has a lot of confidence in his firm’s product – a 3D system of building panels used in low-cost housing that can be cut to defined shapes on site.

The system is made from a polystyrene insulation core bound by either stainless steel or galvanised iron wires. These can then be either coated in precast concrete or sprayed with concrete pumps on site, offering a range of advantages over traditional block works.

Indeed, his belief in its potential knows no bounds, with demand for low-cost housing rocketing across the region. His firm, whose product has already been used to build over 2,000 villas in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, is not only looking to grow its footprint in the UAE by opening in Dubai, but seeking partners in Saudi Arabia, selling to Uganda and targeting opportunities in Kenya and Tanzania. It even has a developer’s licence and could move into building low-cost homes itself.

The only thing thwarting Pasinler’s ambitions at the moment appears to be money. The company, which was set up in 2000, operates a factory of around 100m x 100m in the Musaffah industrial area of Abu Dhabi, close to United Precast Concrete’s base.

It has a capacity to produce enough units to make around five villas per day, or close to 2,000 a year.

Some of these systems are then used by its own contracting arm, Dome General Contracting, on villa projects containing 10 units or more.

Smaller orders (including those for single villa projects) are handled by a number of qualified sub-contractors.

The firm is currently in negotiations with a developer of a national housing project to supply up to 3,000 units. To deliver this and other ambitions, however, Pasinler is going to have to convince the company’s current broad base of shareholders to reinvest.

Emirates Buildings employs around 500 staff. When asked for a turnover figure, Pasinler declines to give one, saying it is “not an indication of our success”.

He said that profitability is his target, as it has a base of 75 different shareholders to whom it needs to pay dividends. All of these are Emirati nationals.

“And very high-profile people,” he adds. “We have some from the Royal Family, and we have some from some very wealthy people – in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”

He argues that the company can be judged as a success because whatever initial capital had been invested into the business had been paid back in cash to shareholders over a ten-year period.

“My aim is to reduce this to seven years,” he says.

However, for now he needs more capital, and is hoping that at the company’s general meeting in June he can convince shareholders to fund growth plans, as he believes the product has a lot to offer in terms of affordability and sustainability.

Its conventional system, which is covered with concrete on site, is light enough for the component parts of a single villa to be loaded into a container. It is already shipping to Uganda, where it was one of only three firms chosen from a shortlist of 40 by the Ugandan government for building low-cost housing.

Article continued on next page...