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Complex world of FM in healthcare

Alexandre Mussallam, CEO of Enova, discusses the recent rebranding exercise, as well as the firm’s foray into healthcare

ANALYSIS, Facilities Management, FM, Health, MAF Dalkia, Middle east

The year 2014 proved a monumental period for MAF Dalkia. In addition to landing major contracts, which included Doha City Centre, Qatar’s largest shopping mall, the energy management and FM service provider was also recognised as the first ESCO-accredited company by the Regulatory and Supervisory Bureau (RSB). It also nabbed the number seven spot on fmME’s 2014 Power 50 list, breaking into the top 10 for the first time.

Now a year on, one might have expected the company to slow its upward progress and consolidate its operations and services. Breaking expectations however, the firm has expanded its regional presence with the addition of the Egyptian market into its portfolio, as well as diving head first into the complex world of FM in healthcare. It also found enough time to engage in a rebranding exercise. Say goodbye to MAF Dalkia and hello to Enova.

“In terms of the company itself, the shareholders are the same, the structure of the deal is still exactly the same — management has not changed,” beams Alexandre Mussallam, CEO of Enova.

Unveiled back in June 2015, Enova’s rebranding came following a split of the Dalkia energy services joint venture, between French utilities company Électricité de France (EDF) and environmental resource management firm, Veolia. While EDF retained all of Dalkia’s operations in France, Veolia took over the helm for global energy operations, while remaining joint venture partner of Enova with Majid Al Futtaim Ventures.

“The MAF Dalkia name was well-recognised in the market. We are trying our best to ensure that there is a link between MAF Dalkia and Enova, and to make it clear that the service is the same,” explains Mussallam.

While the CEO is adamant that the service is unchanged, he does admit that market demand for energy management bundled with FM is becoming more prevalent.

In addition to its technical services, Enova is finding increased traction with its adoption of energy performance contracts (EPC). An alternative financing mechanism in which an energy services company is remunerated solely from proven energy savings, Enova is one of the first facilities management providers to adopt the use of EPCs.

“The clients are giving us the flexibility to organise and to present the organisation with the best approach,” comments Mussallam.

Highlighting the company’s success the CEO shares that Enova has, over the last five years, enjoyed a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 20%. Additionally, the energy management company inked numerous contract agreements that contributed roughly $68mn (AED 250mn) to its 2014 portfolio.

The four major contracts that constituted 80% of the company’s growth last year were City Center Doha, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and two separate contracts with Musanada in Abu Dhabi, to manage school and government buildings.

To date, Enova’s energy savings centre, the fifth of its kind implemented by Veolia, has connected 5,000 different points into its grid with notable properties under the Majid Al Futtaim portfolio.

In terms of regional expansion, Enova has made significant headway breaking into the Egyptian market. In April 2014 the company secured two technical management contracts with the City Centre Malls in Cairo and Alexandria.

Deploying 150 staff members to the North African nation, the newly founded branch will deliver a variety of energy and FM services to each mall.

Enova’s venture into Egypt is not the firm’s only step into new territory. As Mussallam reveals, the energy management and FM company has also entered the healthcare market.

To date, the company primarily services clinics owned by the Majid Al Futtaim Goup in City Centre Me’aisem and City Centre Deira in Dubai, but it is an arena that Enova’s team believe to be on the verge of substantial development.

“We strongly believe in the growth of this sector… We bring with us to the table, the experience of Veolia worldwide — over 220,000 beds managed in hospitals where we provide services. We will have the local experience here in the Middle East,” asserts Mussallam.

As one would expect however, operating FM within healthcare poses its own distinct set of challenges. For example, responding to breakages in equipment or any underperforming facilities, needs to be a higher priority, more so than what is expected within the commercial environment. An example of this is ensuring the maximum availability of hospital equipment, minimising risk of failure, while also devising procedures to respond, should a failure occur.

Another common challenge found by Enova is overseeing the efficient and uninterrupted delivery of power. On the one hand, FM technicians need to frequently test and maintain electrical installations and emergency generators, in order to ensure minimum risk of power failure.

Equally as important, is managing energy consumption, as hospitals and their 24/7 operation, typically consume a huge amount of power.

“Enova can help these facilities tackle this issue by providing a commitment on energy efficiency through our performance contracts, ensuring optimised energy use,” assures Mussallam.

The CEO further explains that FM providers need to take additional care in maintaining the air conditioning systems at medical facilities. Diligence in testing air quality should be mandatory, as well as proper maintenance of HVAC and filtrations systems, in order to avoid the spread of disease and contamination.

“A building that looks and smells clean, is efficiently run, and functions with patient care as the overarching goal. It can work wonders in easing stress and giving the body a chance at a full and fast recovery. In particular, air quality is one of the top priorities in healthcare facilities management,” explains Mussallam.

Possibly the biggest challenge in the operation of hospitals lies with monitoring and maintaining pressure differentials across various critical areas. Specialist units such as operating theatres or treatment centres for patients with immunodeficiencies, require an overpressure of the environment in order to prevent unfiltered air leaking into the room.

Similarly, patients with infectious diseases need unpressured environments to stop airborne contaminants spreading to other wards of the hospital.

Despite the challenges, the team at Enova are confident that they’ll be able to meet the demands of the market.

“We estimate that 15% of our growth will come from the health sector in the next five years,” says Enova’s CEO.

Eyeing the 2016 year ahead, Mullsallam predicts that energy management will continue to be one of the key trends impacting the regional market.

It is a contrast to the reaction Enova experienced two to three years ago, when the market was mostly ill-informed about the benefits of energy management and EPCs.

In fact, both national governments and private organisations are quickly becoming aware of how much more costly energy consumption can be over the initial development costs of buildings.

“It is a market that has a lot of potential to grow. We are seeing more and more clients demanding us to provide a strategy of energy management and some of the clients are asking for guarantees for energy management on site.

“What is important for us is sustainable growth. It is very important to grow but also very important to not lose clients… that is key for us and we are fully committed to our clients,” concludes Mussallam.

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