Home / INTERVIEWS / Face-to-Face: Yousef Ali BinZayed, Al-Futtaim Engineering FM Division

Face-to-Face: Yousef Ali BinZayed, Al-Futtaim Engineering FM Division

by Nikhil Pereira on Aug 2, 2017

Yousef Ali BinZayed, general manager facilities management division, Al-Futtaim Engineering.
Yousef Ali BinZayed, general manager facilities management division, Al-Futtaim Engineering.

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Al-Futtaim Engineering Facilities Management Division (Facilities Management Division) has a rich legacy as it has the comfort of sharing its credentials with one of the GCC’s reliable brands in MEP works. Al-Futtaim Engineering was founded in the late 1970s following the UAE’s official formation to address its then growing need for mechanical and technical services.

A few decades later, the company built a strong following, which prompted the diversification to a dedicated FM division. The company has found direction under its general manager Yousef Ali BinZayed.

He explains how the FM division came into existence: “In 2012, the parent company came to a decision that they wanted to have the MEP project and maintenance divisions separated. This is where the facilities management division came in to existence. I joined Al-Futtaim in 2013, and was looking after business development, for all the divisions under the wider engineering umbrella.

“In 2016, I was appointed as the general manager of the Al-Futtaim Engineering Facilities Management Division. The need was there, as the opportunities arose, and we needed to look at them with more seriousness,” he tells fmME.

BinZayed admits its natural for onlookers to assume that the relatively newer FM division acts as an extension of the more established engineering division. “When you go behind the scenes and see the depth of services we offer ­­— the FM side of the business comes to the fore,” he says referring to the host of hard and soft services offered by the company, and it’s the latter that BinZayed has focused building on.

He concedes that the Facilities Management Division has some amount of catching up to do compared to its peers in the market. “The FM industry is constantly evolving and developing, and we are a slightly behind the market leaders. Over the last year though, we have recruited several senior management ‘A’ players and overall our business has grown by 43%,” BinZayed says.

The company, which bears no direct correlation to Majid Al Futtaim Group, owns and operates several of its assets that spans across sectors — automotive, retail and real estate — to name a few. The Festival City in Dubai, Cairo and other major cities in the region are wholly owned subsidiaries of the group.

BinZayed explains that while the Facilities Management Division gets preference to manage the group’s owned assets, the decision is not a forgone conclusion. “The Al-Futtaim Group has a lot of developments and properties across the UAE and overseas. However, our external (non Al-Futtaim related) projects constitute over 65% of our business,” BinZayed says indicating that the Facilities Management Division is looking to sign on more clients.

He adds that there is a lot of diversity in the projects managed by the FM division within the group: “From shopping malls, shops and brands represented by the group and looking after the residential and office spaces that we own,” he says.

“If you own your own property, and had an FM business in the larger scheme of things you wouldn’t look at hiring from outside, but I don’t deny sub-contracting certain tasks. Security, for example, is a discipline we are developing in the Facilities Management Division. Currently, services like these are awarded to other companies that specialise in security services. “Surely, when it comes to hard services offered by Al-Futtaim Engineering, we are given the privilege and priority to be the facilities management service provider. but we remain part of the tendering process.” BinZayed reveals

He says the Facilities Management Division evolved over the last 12 to 18 months and has grown its soft services as well. “We have hard and soft services — we were established in the former, starting from AC maintenance contracts to MEP maintenance contracts. The majority of my contracts are hard services.

“In 2016, we began providing total facilities management to our existing clients. Some of our patrons have been with us for more than 12 years, many of whom renew their contracts automatically. In some cases our competitors say, ‘there is no point in participating for the tender process, Al-Futtaim Engineering Facilities Management Division will end up winning it’ — that’s the level of quality and trust we establish wherever we go.”

BinZayed says the decision to broaden the Facilities Management Division’s scope of services was down to the confidence shown by existing clients. “[The endeavour is] to ultimately move up the food chain by offering a better level of service,” he notes.