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Paving the UAE: Wade Adams chooses Volvo CE

Wade Adams Contracting discusses the positivity demonstrated in infrastructure works currently underway in the UAE, and the importance of issues such as fuel consumption in machine selection

ANALYSIS, PMV, Fuel, Fuel consumption, Infrastructure, Machinery, Uae, United Arab Emirates, Volvo CE, Wade adams, Wade adams contracting

As the United Arab Emirates pushes gamely forward with an optimistic flurry of mega projects, Wade Adams Contracting is paving the way in the truest sense — in that it is laying down the very roads themselves.

The early signs of a country about to experience a construction boom are not mega structures soaring into the sky, but the more humble preparations: the installation of water and waste pipes, power and communication lines, roads and bridges — often laid before building work even begins to get underway.

The ongoing project list of Wade Adams Contracting demonstrates that the UAE is once again in a growth phase. With a very healthy backlog on its books, the company is involved in projects ranging from providing shallow services and internal roads for the Reem Oasis Development to building roads and a sewage network for the huge man-made Deira Island project. In February the firm was awarded an $81.7m contract by Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) for infrastructure work in the city, and the company is currently involved in work on and around Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road.

Wade Adams notes that once this work is completed, Dubai’s secondary arterial route will deliver renewed connectivity to the various communities along its length, including International City, the Arabian Ranches, Dubailand, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Global Village and Sports City.

“Confidence is back but winning work is still difficult,” says Issa Ayoub, plant manager for the UAE and Qatar. “Competition is tough and pressure on prices is very high. Fortunately for us quality is the biggest criteria for winning contracts — roads and bridges can’t collapse — and Wade Adams has a reputation for quality in the bridge building, water works and asphalting. Our history of completing on time is another key criterion.”

A major factor in the maintenance of the contractor’s reputation and speedy delivery is the deployment of reliable machinery, and to this end Wade Adams has invested heavily in premium machines and large support crews.

Ayoub, who has been working in the UAE for over 20 years, notes: “We prefer to focus on just the leading brands. In the boom of 2006 there were almost no machines available, so — not by choice — we ended up with lots of brands. Now that things are calmer, we are focussing on just the key brands in each product type. Of our 17 pavers 90% are now Volvo, and we are also using Volvo for wheel loaders and excavators. In recent months the company has taken delivery of multiple 30t Volvo EC300 excavators, and ABG Titan 325 and ABG Titan 7820 pavers — the latter fitted with a MB122 screed that allows up to 9m wide paving.”

The ABG Titan 325 and ABG Titan 7820 are Ingersoll Rand models that Volvo acquired in its $1.4bn acquisition of the US group’s speciality paving division back in 2007.

Both machines can lay asphalt up to 300mm thick, and with hopper capacities of 45t, lay up to 700t/hr.

The transport speed of the machines is 3.5kmph, while the maximum pacing speed is 16m/min for the Titan 325 and 20m/min for the Titan 7820.

Plant manager Ayoub also notes how fuel, and its effective use and budgeting have been instrumental to the contractor’s success in securing tenders and ongoing profitability, and how this has fed into the machine selection.

He explains: “Fuel is a major factor in our type of work, and can make the difference between winning or losing a tender, and making or losing money. But fuel is not always easy to calculate, as fuel consumption can vary by up to 35% between heavy and light work, and the differences on fuel use between brands can be even greater — up to 70%. The operator can also have a big impact. However, Volvo CE has a good reputation in fuel efficiency, and that was ultimately an important factor in our decision to select those machines.”

An additional measure that Wade Adams has undertaken to control and measure its fuel consumption has been the introduction of a fuel management system the combines its selection of the most fuel-efficient brands with economically geared operator training.

Ayoub affirms: “Operator training is vital. With machines becoming more sophisticated, operators need to be taught how to use them properly, in order to lower fuel use, reduce breakage and increase productivity. Thankfully our regional Volvo CE dealer, FAMCO, is supporting us well in this area.”

In order to the most out of the machines, the contractor has also been rigorous with its maintenance routines, and employs over 450 people in its maintenance department alone.

The company also tries to undertake as much of the maintenance as it can in-house. Ayoub continues: “With the increasing use of sophisticated electronics this is getting harder, but, again, we are well supported by FAMCO, who faithfully supply parts and technical training, and where needed, maintenance.”

Overall, the staunch brand loyalty is strong testament to the performance of both Volvo CE and its UAE distributor, FAMCO.

The harsh realities of machine and part shortages in 2006 coaxed many contractors, just like Wade Adams, to diversify their fleets.

For veteran plant men like Issa Ayoub to put their weight so consistently behind Volvo says a lot more than any figures on a page.

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