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Fit-out firms talk retrofitting demand in the UAE

by Paromita Dey on Sep 4, 2016


ISG Middle East carried out the $100m refurbishment works at Kempinski MOE.
ISG Middle East carried out the $100m refurbishment works at Kempinski MOE.

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With Dubai’s Expo 2020 approaching quickly, the country’s infrastructure is undergoing a complete overhaul. Along with a slew of new real estate projects, refurbishment of existing structures has also gained prominence – still considered as one of the most challenging tasks in the construction industry.

For a hospitality project, it is always economically difficult to close down the hotel for a long time, whereas for a residential one, the tenants and owners will face a difficult time. But with the falling oil price, many developers in the region are looking forward to providing a facelift to their existing project structures to meet new demands and people.

Local fit-out contractor ISG Middle East recently completed the $100m renovation of the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, the first property of the hotel chain in Dubai. The refurbishment began in 2012 and was done in multiple phases, including the complete renovation of the public and dining areas, and 373 rooms and suites, followed by the upgrading of the conference facilities.

The firm’s newly appointed managing director, Steve Ramsden, points out that they have their hands full with many refurbishment projects in the country, especially hotels. “It is quite well known within the industry that a number of five-star hotels, in Dubai in particular, are up for refurbishment.

“Clearly, many property owners and hotel operators see the value in refurbishing their assets to stay up-to-date and be able to compete with new hotel rooms coming to the market, especially in the lead up to important events, such as Expo 2020.” The contractor, shortly after the completion of its works on the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, has started the refurbishment of another established four-star hotel in Dubai.

Ramsden says: “We are also involved in a number of corporate office upgrades for blue-chip companies and international clients. We are doing significant technology upgrades and engineering-led work for these clients.”

ALEC Fitout, a subsidiary of the UAE-based Al Jaber Group, has successfully delivered projects across retail, leisure and hospitality sectors for key clients in the UAE and Qatar, according to its business development manager, Tom Gilmartin. He says: “Although there are prevalent challenging conditions in the construction and fit-out industry, 2016 has been a solid year for ALEC Fitout.

“We have successfully delivered projects across retail, leisure and hospitality sectors for key clients in the UAE and Qatar. We have also secured large-scale hospitality and residential projects, which will ensure that our order book for 2017-18 is looking good.

“We will continue to focus on successful delivery of projects for key and repeat clientele and maintain our strong relationships with consultant teams and supply chain partners in the region and internationally.”

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