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Name: Ian Roberts

Job title: Facilities operations manager

Responsible for: Daily operations of Emrill services

Company: Emrill

Core services/products: FM consultancy and delivery of services

Based in: Dubai

Background: Over 25 years experience of property and FM in the Middle East The overriding driver behind the facilities management market locally for the foreseeable future will be costs.

Cost will remain a key driver in UAE FM as developers are forced to stay competitive, i.e. service charges (for owners of villas and apartments).

Owners associations will have an increased voice in controlling their FM expenditure and market forces in residential supply and demand will make FM pricing a critical part of the service delivery to customers.

In Commercial Office premises cost is still king.

Specialist niche clients such as financial services, medical services, airports, hotels, serviced apartments and exhibition facilities however, will specify and impose their requirements based on international standards.

Service providers will have to match these onerous requirements before being considered for bidding.

In Retail, providers with efficient and competitively costed services with the ability to respond to client requirements, will be one driver in this fiercely competitive market.

Local Government regulations demand competitive tendering, ‘e-commerce initiatives’ and these will apply to all facility management services bids in the Government and associated part owned Government/developer bids.

The cost of labour is increasing, reflecting the increasing high cost of staff accommodation and housing, fuel, transport costs and traffic snarl ups in the UAE.

This is allied with the shortage of skilled FM manpower at all levels throughout the Middle East.

Other local countries, for example Saudia, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, are also expanding rapidly and will require increased FM capacity in the near future, putting cost pressures on available labour markets.

Recent legal court cases have placed liability on both individual managers and their companies, holding them responsible for losses (both human and material).

This is where during construction and maintenance works, work practices have led to damage, loss, injuries, disruption and in some cases loss of life.

FM companies will have to take such risks into account, plan their activities in accordance with international regulations and best practice and also anticipate increased local legislation.

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