After months of preparation and anticipation, the winners of the MEP Middle East Awards 2007 have been announced. Over 200 top industry professionals gathered at the Grosvenor House hotel in Dubai Marina on 5 December to find out who would take home the trophies, before enjoying a sumptuous three-course dinner and partying into the night.
A total of twelve awards were presented, with categories ranging from Project Manager of the Year to Major MEP Project of the Year. Big winners on the night included Atkins, who picked up a total of four awards, while MEP contractors ETA M&E Division and Drake & Scull both came top of two categories.
The awards were judged by an independent panel based on the information provided on the submitted entries. And the high calibre of submissions made across all awards categories made this a particularly challenging task. All of the short-listed finalists must be congratulated on their achievements over the past year and the quality of work that they have completed throughout this period.
The MEP Middle East Awards were launched to celebrate and reward the outstanding efforts of those operating within the region's mechanical, electrical and plumbing sectors. The awards event was made possible thanks to the generosity of our sponsors Ducab, Faisal Jassim Trading and Milwaukee.
Congratulations to all the 2007 winners and finalists. And if you weren't successful this year, maybe 2008 will be your year for glory...
The judging panel
Bassel Anbari is the immediate past president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Emirates Falcon Chapter. He has been a member of ASHRAE since 1985 and has worked in the MEP sector for over 20 years. He began his working career as a consultant engineer at Furlow Associated in Philidelphia, USA where he was responsible for the design and construction of complete hvac systems for a variety of projects including hospitals, schools, office towers and shopping malls. He is currently the vice president of Abu Dhabi-based Energy International.
Anbari supports and promotes ASHRAE Standard 62: Indoor air quality for the reduction of outdoor air needs and has conducted many ASHRAE seminars and organised conferences related to the sustainable design of air conditioning, district cooling and other construction industry topics.
Dr Bassam Abdel-Karim Abu-Hijleh
Dr Bassam Abdel-Karim Abu-Hijleh is head of the Institute of the Built Environment, Faculty of Engineering at the British University in Dubai. He is also a fellow senior lecturer at Cardiff Univerity, UK.
He has a PhD in mechanical engineering from the Ohio State University, USA and has won several international scholarships. He has held several academic positions in the MEP field, including professor of mechanical engineering at Jordan University of Science and Technology and senior research fellow at RMIT University, Australia.
His 17-year post-PhD career has focused on several aspects of the MEP sector including mechanical engineering, computational fluid dynamics and renewable energy sources. He also has strong interests in the fields of energy auditing, conservation and management, plus advanced energy production practices such as co and tri-generation.
David Hughes is the immediate past president of the UK-based Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). He has been a CIBSE member since 1963 and in his current role he is responsible for international co-ordination, a position that has seen him visit the Middle East on several occasions to reinforce the Institution's ties with the region.
He has over 40 years experience in the MEP sector, joining UK-based design contractor Matthew Hall as an apprentice in 1963 and progressing through the firm to become divisional director, where he was responsible for the design, co-ordination and construction of many large building projects throughout the UK. In 1976 Hughes established an expatriate multi-disciplinary office in Iran that proceeded to undertake the design and construction of projects in Tehran and on the Caspian Sea Coast.
He is currently chair of Professional Institutions UK (PI-UK), a group of 15 professional bodies working within construction and the built environment. He is also a director of consulting engineer Jaros Baum & Bolles.
Emirates Green Building Council
The Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC) joined the panel for the judging of the Sustainable Design of the Year award. Chair Dr Sadek Owainati and technical committee co-ordinator Jeff Willis represented the EGBC for the task.
The EGBC is a not-for-profit organisation, headquartered in Dubai and serving the entire UAE. It was formed in July 2006 with the goal of protecting the environment and achieving a sustainable built environment through the promotion of high-performance green buildings and environmentally friendly technologies.
A member of the World Green Building Council, it was the eighth such council to be formed worldwide. It recently launched a building sustainability assessment system that is based on the US Green Building Council's LEED rating system, with modifications to account for the local environmental conditions. A pilot programme is underway with the aim of having the system ratified by September 2008.
Sponsor: Faisal Jassim Trading
Atkins took the honours in this category for its continued commitment to training and the professional development of staff at all levels of the company. The judges were particularly impressed by its implementation of a staff development framework and the focus on tailoring training programmes to meet the needs of the local market while maintaining international standards.
Atkins appointed a training manager and launched a regional training schedule in May 2007 to oversee staff development in the Middle East. By the end of October 2007 over 680 staff had attended the various programmes offered.
The firm's development framework focuses on four key areas: technical and professional competence; managing performance, change and interpersonal relationships; project, business and commercial management; and increasing knowledge and skills in the key areas of selling professional services and creating and managing relationships with key clients. A combination of local and UK-based training providers support the initiative.
All new staff attend a corporate induction programme, with over 500 staff having undertaken the programme in 2007. The firm aligns its learning and development programmes to the competency framework laid down by international professional associations such as the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditoning Engineers (ASHRAE).
- Al Habtoor Engineering
- Dewalt Industrial Power Tools
Sustainable Design of the Year
Sponsor: Faisal Jassim Trading
Winner: Pacific Control Systems Hq
With sustainability currently top of agenda in the region, this was among the most hotly contended awards. The judges singled out Pacific Control Systems Headquarters as the winner for its successful mix of new and existing technologies to optimise the energy use in both the construction and operation of the building. This is the first building in the Middle East to achieve Platinum rating under the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
The design uses solar energy to provide electricity and air conditioning. An array of photovoltaic panels supplies around 50kW of electricity, providing up to 70% of the peak lighting load. Solar thermal collectors supply hot water to an absorption chiller, which in turn provides the building with around 90 Tonnes of air conditioning.
The materials used in the building were chosen to minimise energy use in operation. The facade is formed from low emissivity glass to maximise the use of daylighting, while minimising the solar heat gains, hence cooling loads. All materials for the construction were sourced from within a 200km diameter of the building and many of those used are from recycled sources.
Water efficiency has been catered for with a sewage treatment plant installed on site and all wastewater recycled for reuse in irrigation or mechanical plant processes. It is estimated that the building will use 35% less energy and 40% less water than a conventional building.
- Iris Bay - Atkins
- Wafi City DCCP One - Green Technologies
Innovation of the Year
Sponsor: Faisal Jassim Trading
In a category with one of the largest numbers of entries, Atkins stood out as the winner for its design of the Bahrain World Trade Centre (BWTC).
The firm prepared a multi-disciplinary integrated design solution for the building that included a number of passive and active low carbon features. The most prominent of these solutions was the incorporation of three 29m-diameter horizontal-axis wind turbines into the building structure.
The Norwin turbines have been installed on bridges between the two main sail-shaped office towers of the BWTC and play an active part in reducing the mains electrical load. They are expected to generate up to 675kW of electrical power and around 1,350MWh of electrical energy annually, which is equivalent to 11-14% of the building's electrical needs. The towers have been designed to funnel the onshore breeze between them to maximise the turbine output.
The judges deemed the design truly forward-thinking and innovative, highlighting the inclusion of wind turbines in the building structure as a bold move.
- Hyder Consulting Middle East for a pipework system that can reduce the cost of drainage in high-rise buildings by up to 40%
- Reem Emirates Aluminium for an intelligent energy saving mock-up building
- SDT International for the installation of MEP services at West Bay Lagoon, Doha
- Voltas for the installation of MEP Services in Raffles Dubai to a design by Hyder Consulting Middle East
Small MEP Project of the Year
Winner: Reem Emirates Aluminium
Entries for this category were accepted for projects completed in the past year with an MEP services value of up to US $15 million (AED55 million). Reem Emirates Aluminium stood out as winner for its intelligent energy saving mock-up building in Abu Dhabi.
This project successfully integrates several intelligent building components and technologies, enabling energy savings of over 50% compared to a standard building design. Higher occupancy comfort has also been measured, as well as a 30% increase in acoustic values. Now successfully tested, the design is being implemented in large-scale to create the firm's Abu Dhabi hq.
One of the building's main components is an intelligent, mechanically ventilated double-skin green wall. This comprises of low emissivity double-glazing on the outer side, a ventilated cavity and clear single glass on the inner side. Treated fresh air enters through the cavity base and is extracted through the top at a low velocity to remove heat before it penetrates the building, hence lowering internal cooling loads. Tests have shown a 40% U-value improvement.
The integration of intelligent motorised daylight tracking blinds has maximised the use of daylight and produced a 25% reduction in lighting loads. Further technologies integrated into the overall system include light emitting diode lighting, active chilled beams and a central building management system.
The winning project was chosen for its application of new technologies and innovative approach to the issue of energy use in buildings.
- Pacific Control Systems Headquarters
- Thermo - American Hospital Dubai outpatient and administration building
Medium MEP Project of the Year
Winner: Drake & Scull
A double-finalist in this category, Drake & Scull was announced as winner for its work at the Kuwait State Audit Bureau hq.
Entries were accepted for projects completed within the past year with an MEP services value of US $15-35 million (AED55-128 million). Drake & Scull's scope of works on the Kuwait State Audit Bureau hq comprised the full MEP installation including central air conditioning and ventilation systems, domestic water services, firefighting and electrical power distribution.
One area of the installation that particularly impressed the judges was the inclusion of an underfloor air conditioning system. A new technology to the Middle East, the judges noted that with such systems the MEP contractor had to be closely involved with the project team from the design stage to ensure its effective implementation.
The Hiross system installed supplies conditioned air by using a raised floor void directly as the distribution plenum. By implementing the system the on-site installation time was significantly reduced and a more energy efficient operation has been ensured for the building's air conditioning needs.
In addition, this turnkey project involved the installation of an advanced technology smart building system. This included the supply, installation, systems integration, operation and maintenance of various building systems such as IP telephony, cctv, access control, network management, a central clock system and routers and service servers.
- Drake & Scull International - Rashid Hospital emergency, accident and trauma centre, Dubai
- Trans Gulf Electro-Mechanical - Emirates Flight Catering Facility, Dubai
Major MEP Project of the Year
Winner: ETA M&E Division
In the face of a particularly high standard of finalists, ETA M&E Division won this award for its work on phase one of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) new exhibition facilities.
This project was completed to an extremely high standard within a very tight schedule.
Designed as a major commercial, entertainment and leisure hub, the project comprised 28,000m2 exhibition floor space, mezzanine level meeting rooms and 16 modern business centres. The work was completed in a challenging eight month schedule, with ETA executing the project as the MEP subcontractor to Al Habtoor Engineering.
The firm undertook the detailed engineering, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of MEP and specialist systems. The initial contract included the exhibition hall, concourse, atrium and link building, however during the construction phase the Grand Stand was added to the scope of works, with the final completion date remaining as original.
The contract was mobilised with ongoing design development, ETA working closely with the consultants throughout to ensure that the final installation met the design intent. The firm utilised off-site prefabrication to ease onsite installations and progressed design, co-ordination and construction work in parallel to ensure the completion date could be met.
The logistics involved to ensure that the project was completed to a high quality within the tight deadline was highlighted by the judges.
- BK Gulf - Marsa Plaza, Dubai
- Drake & Scull Internaitonal - Zayed University Al Ruwaiyah Campus, Dubai
- Voltas - Raffles Dubai
MEP Project Manager of the Year
Winner: Basheer Massad, BK Gulf
Basheer Massad came top in an awards category that is intended to reward an industry individual who has been deemed to have made a real difference in the completion of MEP installations.
Being able to continuously provide quality projects while meeting tight deadlines is a sign of a good project manager.
Massad has worked for BK Gulf since graduating from university in 1995 and has carried out a number of successful projects for the firm. The judges were particularly impressed by his introduction of modern working strategies, such as labour incentive schemes and client-subcontractor partnering agreements to ensure that tough time and budget deadlines can be met on projects.
He has proven capable of meeting challenging project deadlines, while ensuring a high quality of workmanship. While project manager on Chelsea Tower, Dubai he devised a labour incentive scheme that enabled measurable work targets, increased staff productivity and achieved project goals profitably. Having proved successful, the firm has continued to implement this system on its following high-rise projects.
Recognising the balance between the bottom line and productivity, he has been heavily involved in creating an evolved partnering system undertaken by the firm with its key suppliers.
Massad is currently operations manager at BK Gulf overseeing the project management of a number of jobs including the Index Tower in Dubai International Financial Centre. Here he has ensured that partnering agreements have been implemented across all MEP services and with client Union Properties to enable build efficiency on this 85-storey tower.
- Rachid Ghamraoui, Besix
- Paul Winfindale, Hyder Consulting Middle East
MEP Consultancy of the Year
The judges singled out Atkins as the winner of the 2007 MEP Consultancy of the Year award from a strong field of contenders.
They were impressed by Atkins' continued high quality design work in the region. They highlighted its dedication to providing leading-edge solutions that incorporate new as well as existing technologies to ensure optimum building operation, as well as its dedication to sustainable engineering.
Atkins has designed the MEP systems for a number of prestigious projects that have been constructed throughout the Middle East. In 2007 its design of the Bahrain World Trade Centre was implemented, this including the world's first building-integrated wind turbines. It is also undertaking the MEP services design for the under construction Dubai Metro, a project that requires the integration of a mix of specialist services including tunnel ventilation and power interfaces with the rail system.
Further designs completed during the past year that impressed the judges included that of Iris Bay, which comprises a mix of passive and active measures to ensure sustainable operation of the building.
Here the fan energy requirements will be reduced by using the natural prevailing winds in the region to assist in the ventilation strategies. Ease and speed of onsite installation has also been considered in the design, with prefabricated valve modules forming a significant part of the MEP services installation.
- Deerns Middle East
- Hyder Consulting Middle East
- SDT International
- Specialised Engineering Consultants
Specialist Contractor of the Year
Winner: Al Shirawi US Chillers
This category was open to firms that operate within MEP-related areas and consistently deliver world class projects in their field of operation. Al Shirawi US Chillers was singled out by the judges in recognition of the highly specialised work that it carries out in the district cooling sector.
The firm is a joint venture between USA-based US Chiller Services and Al Shirawi from Dubai and has operated in the UAE since 2002. It specialises in the repair, maintenance, retrofit and service of chillers ranging from 200 to 10,000TR, performing services on centrifugal, screw, absorption and reciprocating liquid chillers, irrespective of the manufacturer.
It currently has over 200,000TR of district cooling plants under full operation within the UAE and has maintenance service agreements supporting some of the sector's largest providers including Tabreed, Palm District Cooling and Emaar District Cooling. It also provides services to some of the region's most prestigious buildings and major hotels including Grand Hyatt Dubai, Burj Al Arab and Emirates Towers.
The firm's entry demonstrated that it has successfully implemented trouble-shooting solutions to a number of projects in the region that have ensured major cost and energy savings to the clients. It provides a full energy conservation approach to give a complete solution to ensure that district cooling plants operate at or below the design kW per TR rating. The judges remarked that you can design and build the most efficient plant, but if you don't maintain it properly the efficiency will ultimately reduce.
- ETA M&E Division for its installations on the Emirates Airlines Hangars project
MEP Contractor of the Year
Winner: Drake & Scull
The judges announced Drake & Scull as the winner of the MEP Contractor of the Year award due to its work at Rashid Hospital emergency, accident and trauma centre and the Kuwait State Audit Bureau hq.
This category aimed to highlight and reward the MEP contractor that has proven to have delivered high-class projects in the region during 2007 that were valued at up to US $35 million (AED128 million). It was created in recognition of the outstanding quality of installations carried out on those projects entered for the Medium and Small MEP Project of the Year categories and all firms that submitted entries for those categories were considered for the award.
The judges were impressed by Drake & Scull's provision of high quality installations in both projects and its understanding and implementation of specialised and new technologies. For the Kuwait State Audit Bureau hq the judges noted that the contractor had been closely involved with the project team from the design stage to ensure the effective implementation of the systems installed such as underfloor air conditioning and the advanced technology smart building system.
Drake & Scull's work in Rashid Hospital involved specialist knowledge and installation techniques to ensure that the final building would function efficiently and effectively. The firm's role on this project involved the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of all MEP systems, including several specialist systems. With MEP work making up around 40-45% of the total project value, Drake & Scull acted as a second main contractor on the job.
The scale of work made logistics vital and the firm's knowledge in the selection and implementation of the specialist hvac equipment also played an essential role in the project's success.
Major MEP Contractor of the Year
Winner: ETA M&E Division
The judges singled out ETA M&E Division as the winner of the 2007 Major MEP Contractor of the Year award due to the quality of its work undertaken on both the ADNEC exhibition facilities and Emirates Airlines Hangars projects.
This category aims to honour the MEP contractor that has proven to have delivered high-class projects in the region during 2007 that were valued at more than US $35 million (AED128 million). It recognises the quality of installations that are carried out on the major developments in the region, which require excellent project management skills as well as technical ability.
The judges were impressed by the level of skill that ETA displayed in undertaking both of these projects. In the case of ADNEC exhibition facilities, the firm overcame the challenge of an evolving design and increasing scope of works while installing high quality MEP services to an immovable deadline. The tight deadline involved with this project was of particular mention.
On the Emirates Hangars Project, ETA installed MEP services that involved a number of specialist systems including 12 new generation technical pits that comply with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. The project's pre-conditioned air system originates in a fixed centralised unit located above the aircraft's nose dock, with an insulated duct carrying pre-conditioned air from here through underfloor pipes to the aircraft cabin to ensure comfortable working conditions for technicians inside this area. A special system of mixed index ducting was used by ETA, selected for its ease of erection and operation, light weight and low energy operation.
Supreme Judges Award
Top honours in the form of the 2007 Supreme Judges Award was presented to MEP consultancy Atkins.
Atkins has made a big difference in the Gulf's construction sector in terms of undertaking unique prestigious projects and training engineers.
The firm was singled out from the winners of all MEP Middle East Awards 2007 categories as that which the judges felt has contributed most to the region's MEP sector over the past year.
The judges highlighted the firm for its continued creation of unique prestigious projects over the year, its dedication to sustainable design and engineering, plus its commitment to training engineers to serve the local construction industry.
Atkins picked up three further trophies in the MEP Middle East Awards 2007: MEP Consultancy of the Year, Innovation of the Year and the Training Award. In all three categories the firm displayed characteristics that impressed the judging panel.
Its implementation of a regional training schedule and appointment of a dedicated training manager in 2007 was seen as a sign of its continuing commitment to the development of its staff at all levels within the firm. The judges were also impressed by its implementation of a staff development framework and the focus on tailoring training programmes to meet the needs of the Middle East market.
In the Innovation of the Year category, the firm's ability to produce an integrated design that utilised both existing and new technologies to ensure optimum building energy use was highlighted. Its design of the Bahrain World Trade Centre was deemed bold and innovative by the judges, who praised the firm for not being afraid to implement new technologies in its designs.