Kuwait kicks back

For a region where facilities management is nearly nonexistent, Kuwait's State Audit Bureau (SAB) has put the industry on the map.

COMMENT, Projects

For a region where FM is nearly nonexistent, some would argue Kuwait's State Audit Bureau (SAB) has just put the industry on the map. And I think I'd agree.

Last month, I visited SAB to discover how it was operated and maintained. Whilst I was aware that FM and Kuwait were not (and still aren't) as closely linked as say, Dubai and FM, SAB was impressive to say the least.

From the outside, the government owned building was aesthetically pleasing. On entering, the clean, calm and professional environment reflected a well-run operation. And when going behind the scenes to meet the FM team, it was clear to see the building was in safe hands.

Facilities management Middle East has featured numerous stories, features and case studies on sustainability, but from a personal point of view, this example really does stand out from the rest. Why?

It's simply refreshing to see another area of the Middle East start to take sustainability seriously.

Although the UAE's governments, in particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi's, have announced their commitment to the sustainability cause, Kuwait has quietly sat back. Until now.

Robert Wood, general manager of Emcor Facilities Services in Kuwait, manages the SAB operations contract and he believes the government in Kuwait is going to use the SAB as a benchmark for future developments.

While it is a positive step in the right direction, there is still the underlying issue of FM still not being widely recognised in the region.

"I'd say they are 10 years behind the European market place. The Kuwait market place is used to having M&E based type companies that give you a reduced cost service due to very low paid engineers or technicians with low skills levels.

If they planned the maintenance and work properly, they wouldn't need to think about employing cheap and unskilled labour," says Wood.

But the lack of international companies operating in the region isn't helping and until more of the big players start entering, FM could well continue to be an afterthought.

Becca Wilson is the editor of FM Middle East.

RELATED LINK: Servicing the SAB

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