fmME Supplier focus: Fabrizio Nicoli, Fila ME
Fabrizio Nicoli, commercial manager of Fila Middle East, talks to fmME about how sustainable and VOC-free chemicals will impact the GCC’s FM sector
What is your operational presence in the UAE? What is the extent of your FM industry services?
Fila Middle East is a branch of the Italian group Fila Chimica, and was established in Dubai in 2012. From Dubai, we oversee the GCC, Caucasian, and South East Asian markets. However, our products have been utilised for prestigious GCC projects since 2000.
Fila works with hotel chains and cleaning companies for FM works in the region. Our products have been used to protect the surfaces of projects such as Abu Dhabi’s New Presidential Palace, where the interior marble, cladding, and exterior natural stones use Fila material.
Have any other properties used Fila products for maintenance works?
At the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Fila protects more than 28 different types of natural stone, internal floors, and walls.
The Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa used Fila products for stone surface protection, and some of our products are still being used there for maintenance works. Fila’s products are also used at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Mall and Nation Towers for internal floor protection.
How is your supply chain organised in the Middle East?
Fila Middle East can supply products to any construction and FM stakeholder in the GCC and South East Asia through a well-established chain of distributors and retail chains. We have a full stock of products in Dubai, from where we oversee delivery to our local and international export markets.
How would you say FM operations are evolving in the UAE?
The UAE FM market is experiencing an important switch towards the usage of green and eco-friendly cleaning products. FM companies that approach Fila are typically looking for a system that can preserve stones, and solutions catered to the entire life cycle of the material, starting from the initial cleaning of the heavy construction dirt, to the protection of all the surfaces from inorganic and organic stains, all the way to the daily maintenance.
These days, we are also witnessing an increasing number of requests for anti-stain and high-quality sealers that can protect any kind of hard surface from heavy dirt. The zero-VOC and LEED-compliant chemical products we manufacture meet these requirements.
Should the ongoing slowdown in regional construction activity worry FM product suppliers?
The ongoing slowdown is not a cause for concern – in fact, it is creating new business opportunities. It is naturally improving the quality of the projects and therefore, the standard and quality of the products used for them.
In contemporary market conditions, a winning business strategy whilst dealing with clients is to deliver a high-value building that can maintain its beauty for a very long period.
What is the level of standardisation in the Middle East’s FM market?
Fila takes international certifications very seriously, and we have obtained certifications from Emicode, EC1 Plus standards, and LEED approvals. All these certifications are recognised in the UAE, as well as the wider Middle East’s FM industries.
We ensure that our products fulfill all the governmental requirements implemented in, for example, the UAE for both industry and retail products. Should a contractor request so, our products can also be tested by Dubai Municipality laboratories to obtain special environmental certificates for specific UAE projects.
Where do you see the Middle East’s FM market in the next five years?
The ongoing slowdown is causing a natural selection among the stakeholders of the FM industry. On one hand, we are noticing a rising price war brought in by low-quality companies that aim to achieve any potential contract available in the market.
This will reduce the income margins and might affect, in the long-term, the quality of the products offered by mid-range companies as they will try to make up for their losses.
The low margins might also create a natural entry barrier for new low-quality companies. As a result, contractors, developers, and architects that work on prestigious projects will turn more systematically toward specialised FM companies that can deliver services in the most efficient way and with the highest quality possible.
In time, the best performing and high-quality FM companies will remain in the market, while the mid-range and low-quality competition might eventually get absorbed.