Plafond's MD on achieving steady growth
Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director of Plafond, talks to fmME about the firm’s foray into the regional FM sector
fmME: When was Plafond’s FM department launched?
Plafond launched its FM division in December 2015, and it has since gone from strength to strength. Since its inception, we have been awarded contracts by several prestigious clients, most notably Lufthansa, Transguard, Food Fund International, and Belhasa Hospitality, and we continue to expand our FM portfolio both here in the UAE, and beyond.
fmME: What were the strategies that led to the FM division’s formation?
Plafond, primarily being an MEP and fit-out company, has seen a rise in the number of enquiries from existing clients with regards to follow-on support for the properties we have worked on. Acknowledging that we possess the technical know-how gained from completing those projects, the fact that we retain these skills, and that they are readily available in-house, following [up with] maintenance and facilities support to those projects came as a logical step in our corporate strategy.
fmME: How do the FM division’s operations tie in with Plafond’s other teams?
Plafond’s MEP and FM division often have complimentary relationships. We gain a great deal from the knowledge available in house, such as that gained by completing our projects. We absorb or harness skilled and experienced people from both MEP and fit-out into FM roles once projects are demobilised, or we use the ready access we have to the detailed knowledge base from those projects – be it engineering drawings, unique or bespoke finishes, or an understanding of the challenges that certain built environments or clients can bring. Our MEP and fit-out relationships also give us unique access to the materials, tools, equipment, and training we often need to do our job.
fmME: What are some of the factors Plafond considers while employing technicians for FM operations?
Experience is the one thing which our people will always have from our MEP and fit-out projects. The majority of our FM professionals are also trained to be multi-skilled, which makes them more efficient in any job that they undertake. Client satisfaction being core to our business, we make sure our people are confident, capable, well-equipped, and possess the necessary skills to face clients and deliver the highest level of service.
fmME: Should the GCC increase collaboration between its MEP and FM teams?
More collaboration between those in the construction and FM industries would benefit the clients. The natural expertise that exists within the construction industry – be it from internal engineering or on site experience – and those external relationships that have been fostered during the whole process benefit FM operators and ultimately, the client.
fmME: Do you bundle your services while bidding on projects?
Indeed, while bidding on projects, we generally tend to incorporate our MEP, fit-out, and FM capabilities. It makes commercial sense – not just for us, but for our clients as well. They want the comfort of one team seeing the project through, and then also taking away any hassles during the initial operational period and beyond. It’s a very good tie up and something that often sets us apart in the market.