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'Saudi facilities management 5 years behind UAE'

by Hadi Khatib on Feb 13, 2016

Graham Howat, JLL.
Graham Howat, JLL.

Billions are spent developing an iconic skyline in the new Saudi landscape, but how much of it is trickling down to manage these assets once they are built?

“There is an emerging FM industry in Saudi which is becoming more sophisticated,” said Graham Howat, Regional Director, Head of Property Asset Management Services MENA, at JLL.

He told Construction Week in a recent interview that Saudis are realising more and more that buildings need to be looked after more carefully.

“But there isn’t yet a mature investment market there; thus, the prevalence of FM over property or asset management.”

Convincing the owner on which service to get would depend on the asset function and purpose, the quality of the build, and the size.

“The owners’ intentions could be to build great value and then sell off the investment or simply create a cash cow that delivers income streams,” said Howat adding, “you have to match the service against the building that you build.”

Historically, the owner/builders in the region looked at FM as a least cost solution with a preferred “do it myself” option for caring after the building.

“But there is a growing awareness over the last 12 months from older managers who are recognizing that least cost solutions are causing their building systems to come to an early end,” said Howat, adding “and fixing it comes with a hefty price to pay.”

Howat estimates the Saudi FM market is five years behind its UAE counterpart.

Howat will be presenting his views at the March 7-10 Saudi Big 5 in Jeddah, in a workshop entitled “Introduction to property and asset management”.