The trust in any relationship

While in discussion with a number of contractors over the last few weeks, all alluded to being in talks with other firms about partnering.

COMMENT, Business

While in discussion with a number of contractors over the last few weeks, all alluded to being in talks with other firms about partnering.

Some contractors were looking into forming an alliance with an industry contender of a similar size and status to pool resources for the execution of a one-off project.

Others saw it as a solution to overcoming problems of capacity constraints, tight construction schedules and meeting the insatiable regional demand for complex mega-projects.

The companies they were looking to partner with had two things in common: they were an internationally-recognised brand and came with a track record of successful ventures with local partners on high-profile local projects.

Intense competition and the strain on resources has now reached a stage where for many developers, contractors and suppliers, consolidation may be the only road to survival. Alliances in various forms are emerging across all sectors, and the developer that seems to be making the most of it throughout the entire supply chain is Aldar Properties.

The company strongly advocates partnering across all of its projects, whether it be with contractors, subcontractors, suppliers or other developers.

According to its CEO, Ronald Barrott, the traditional approach of a simple contract binding a developer and contractor together for a project is something that should be consigned to history.

The main difference between partnering and the traditional approach is that the contractor gets involved in the project from the design stage - something contractors are beginning to demand more from clients as a way of avoiding delays.

But while a partnership brings some obvious benefits, it will be interesting to see just how successful some of these relationships are, particularly in a region that is more used to conducting business in closely-guarded quarters.

Financial stability, previous experience and access to resources and know-how may be important credentials to consider when partnering, but probably the most crucial thing is trust.

Mutual trust needs to be developed from the beginning - and maintaining that momentum for a project that's been phased over ten years or more will be the biggest test the relationship could face.

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