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Leaders UAE 2018 Preview: Poor contracts remain a hurdle

by Jack Ball on Sep 11, 2018

Poorly drafted contracts are the underlying cause behind construction industry challenges in the UAE.
Poorly drafted contracts are the underlying cause behind construction industry challenges in the UAE.
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Poorly drafted contracts are the underlying cause of the challenges faced by the UAE construction industry, according to Beau McLaren, partner at HFW's Dubai office and head of the law firm's construction and construction disputes practice in the Middle East. To learn more about the Construction Week: Leaders in Construction UAE Summit 2018 and how you can attend the exclusive conference in Dubai, click here.

What do you think are the main challenges facing the construction industry in 2018?

The main challenges in 2018 are, in many ways, the same challenges faced in the UAE construction industry over the last few years.  Late payment, unrealistic pricing, incomplete design, poor contract administration, and the time and costs associated with big construction disputes all remain as relevant as ever, but often have their roots in one underlying cause – a poor contract.  One of the biggest challenges facing the UAE construction market remains taking the time to get the basics right – who is responsible for doing what, when and how – to avoid such issues arising. 

What most excites you about the UAE construction industry in 2018?

The UAE remains at the forefront of global construction, both in the ambition of its vision and its drive to push boundaries and incorporate innovative technologies.  It is a market that has become steadily more sophisticated over the years but is poised to step up a level. One of the most exciting things about the industry is its potential and how that can be realised – the use of new technology, pricing models and partnering arrangements are all likely to be significant factors and propel the industry forward.

What are the main topics you expect to come up at the CW: Leaders in Construction Summit?

Payment, pricing and funding models are likely to be key topics for contractors and employers alike, along with mechanisms to streamline cash-flow in the supply chain and mitigate risk. Disputes and effective alternative means of resolving claims are also likely to be of significant interest.

Why is it important that you support the CW: Leaders in Construction Summit?

HFW has a long-standing and committed presence in the UAE, with over 25 years on the ground. Construction is one of our core sectors and we are firm believers in the benefits of listening to industry concerns first-hand and sharing industry knowledge for the improvement of the wider market. The Leaders in Construction Summit attracts key industry figures from across the UAE and wider region and is the perfect forum for discussion of these issues. We are proud to be Gold Sponsors of this event.   

What are the latest product/service launches from your company?

HFW's UAE team goes from strength to strength and we are delighted that, at a time when many firms are contracting their presence in the market, we have launched our new, full-service Abu Dhabi office to better serve our clients in the emirate. The launch reflects our growing Middle East presence and commitment to the UAE market. 

What other news can we expect from your company in 2018/2019?

In addition to our new Abu Dhabi office, HFW's regional teams continue to grow in strength and depth. We strive to be leaders across our sectors and 2018/19 will see HFW consolidate its position as one of the region's top, and fastest-growing, law firms.