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How are formwork firms adapting to their customers’ changing needs?

by James Morgan on Oct 28, 2017

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The formwork community represents an essential component of the Middle East’s construction sector, providing the moulds that allow regional developers and contractors to realise their ambitious visions.

But like most vital segments, it could be argued that the Gulf’s formwork segment is often taken for granted by the wider industry.

Having experienced years of high-quality service and support, companies further up the supply are sometimes guilty of assuming that formwork suppliers will continue to deliver effective systems regardless of how they are treated. However, this segment is as susceptible as its peers to factors such as squeezed profit margins, low liquidity, and late payment, and many regional formwork suppliers are having to become more selective about the firms with which they do business.

Nevertheless, if this Special Report proves anything, it’s that the Middle East’s formwork community is more than willing to work with its fellow stakeholders in a bid to alleviate some of the pressures that are hampering project progress. In this week’s roundtable , experts from Meva KHK Formwork Systems, MFE Formwork Technology, RMD Kwikform Middle East, and Trimble Buildings explain how they are adapting their products and processes to enable projects to be delivered in spite of financial constraints (page 22).

In recognition of the fact that contractors are also suffering from the adverse effects of low market liquidity, such companies have been working to secure involvement earlier in the development lifecycle, helping their customers to price projects more competitively at the tender stage. These forward-thinking firms have also developed a raft of novel technologies that are allowing formwork systems to be tested and tailored in line with individual project requirements, thus driving onsite efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.

Construction Week’s Knowledge Partner for the Special Report, Acrow Formwork Technology, is also working diligently to ensure that it is well placed to capitalise when regional construction activity begins to pick up (page 20). As Mohamed Farag, the company’s chief executive officer, explains, his team has developed a diverse suite of region-specific formwork systems to cater to its client base’s ever-changing requirements.

Ultimately, one could argue that the Gulf’s formwork community has legitimate reason to feel aggrieved, but the industry’s leading players are not wallowing in self-pity. On the contrary, they are proactively adjusting their product lines and business practices to ensure prosperity in the longer term.