Leaders UAE 2018: Strategies revealed for collaborative success


Jack Ball , September 12th, 2018

Establishing an agreed framework and aligning corporate cultures from the get-go between project stakeholders is crucial to ensuring collaborative success, an expert panel of Middle East contractors and consultants said at Construction Week: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit 2018.

“You have to pick your partner very carefully and I think you have to complement each other,” Kez Taylor, chief executive officer of UAE contracting heavyweight ALEC, told an audience on 12 September.

“If you put two similar people together, often they clash. But if both are complementary to each other and maybe slightly different, at the end of the day you work well together."

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His comments came during an expert panel, moderated by Andy Syms, Hill International’s vice president for Middle East sales, at Construction Week’s conference.

Joining them on stage was Boyd Merrett, chief executive officer of Arabtec Construction, who argued the “number one barrier to collaboration is a lack of trust – not being open or sharing information”. Meanwhile, co-panellist Pierre Sironval, managing director of Six Construct – a part of Besix Group – said that finding the right partner is a critical aspect of construction project collaborations, adding that the right partner will lead to “a win-win” situation for all stakeholders.

Steve Edmondson, senior director for Dubai at Beirut-headquartered engineering consultancy Khatib and Alami, said he believed the “biggest battle is the battle to set up the rules”.

“Once you’ve set up the rules for engagement, you’ll know how to work within that environment, and then collaboration will come. So often the speed of what we’re doing here – in Dubai especially – means that we don’t have time to set up solid foundations to be able to build a platform for people to collaborate solidly.”

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Aligning the company culture between parties is also a critical touchpoint, according to ALEC’s Taylor.

“Culturally, parties need to be alike – the culture in business and the way that you operate. It’s important to have those factors properly aligned.”

He concluded: “Even though you have come up with a great technical solution, if you operate on fundamentally different ways, you’re not going to get the proper outcome.”


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