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Leaders UAE 2017: What’s on the agenda?

by James Morgan on Sep 10, 2017




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Later this month, the eighth iteration of Construction Week: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit will take place in Dubai. The event will see more than 200 construction professionals gather to discuss the contemporary trends, challenges, and opportunities within the region’s construction sector.

As ever, this year’s summit will feature a broad array of high-profile speakers from both the public and private sectors. The event’s keynote address, for example, will be delivered by Ahmed Al Khatib, Expo 2020 Dubai’s senior vice president of real estate and delivery. Andrew Jeffery, partner and managing director of capital projects at Deloitte Middle East will then take the stage to present his economic review and outlook, ‘A Region Rebounding’. Jeffery will consider how the UAE’s diversification efforts have aided economic resilience in the face of declining oil revenues, and explore future accelerators within the country’s construction sector.

The first panel discussion of the day will take place in two parts. ‘The New Norm – Adjusting to Today’s Market Conditions’, will feature representatives from the region’s contracting, consultancy, surveying, and legal segments. Panellists will discuss the ways in which our industry has adapted to reduced public spending, and debate financial models that could herald a new era of growth.

The second portion of the discussion, ‘Facilitating the New Norm and Shaping the Future of Construction’ will see engineers, project managers, and technology experts debate the tools that are currently being used to expedite the sector's transition to the post-oil era, and the methods that could help to secure a sustainable construction sector in the longer term.

Following a brief interval for networking and refreshments, experts will take to the stage to discuss the third panel topic of the day, ‘Recruiting and Retaining Tomorrow’s Top Talent’. As the UAE’s project activity continues to accelerate in the lead-up to events such as Expo 2020 Dubai, construction firms will need to build and maintain workforces that can support development and cope with the country’s evolving labour requirements. Within this context, representatives from the  recruitment, contracting, and legal segments will debate the ways in which the Emirates – and the Middle East in general – can avoid brain drain and attract tomorrow’s leaders.

This has been an important year for fire and life safety regulations in the UAE and, with an updated code that is significantly larger and more comprehensive than its predecessor, it is vital that the country’s developers, contractors, and consultants understand what is required of them. Within this context, Peter Van Gorp, director of fire and life safety at AESG, will deliver his solo presentation, ‘Understanding the UAE’s New Fire Codes’.

In the penultimate panel discussion of the day, ‘Shifting Tides – Re-evaluating, Revising, and Reprioritising’, industry experts will focus on the UAE’s constantly evolving real estate landscape. Panellists will outline the ways in which developers have adapted to market changes during recent years, and how the industry is meeting – and capitalising on – the shifting requirements of end-users looking to get a foot on the Emirates’ property ladder, and investors looking to grow their regional portfolios.

Unveiled in 2016, Dubai’s 3D-printing strategy is as ambitious as it is forward-thinking. The Emirate has stipulated that, by 2025, 25% of each new building should be 3D-printed. While there has been significant interest in the fledgling technology during recent years, the current percentage lies in low single figures. As such, if Dubai is to achieve its vision, the local construction industry will need to step up to the plate. In his case study, ‘Innovation in Construction – 3D Printing’, Ben Piper, principal and partner at Killa Design, will outline the challenges and opportunities on offer.

In the final presentation of the day, financial experts will address what is, perhaps, the most pressing issue facing our industry: the 2018 implementation of value-added tax (VAT) in the GCC. Everybody knows that the change is on the horizon, but is the construction sector ready?

In addition to the aforementioned speakers, Construction Week: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit 2017 will feature representatives from Aecom, ALEC Engineering and Contracting, Arada, Beaver Gulf, Bentley Systems, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Middle East (CSCEC ME), ECC, Faithful+Gould, Laing O’Rourke, Mott MacDonald, Parsons, Pinsent Masons, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Select Group, Taylor Sterling Associates, and Woods Bagot.

Sponsor interviews will be published ahead of the event in CW 668, which will be released on 16 September. For full coverage of Construction Week: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit 2017, check out issue 669, which will be published on 23 September.



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