CW Awards 2016: Spotlight on sponsors

With just days to go before the grand finale, sponsors of the Construction Week Awards 2016 shine a light on current trends within the Middle East’s construction market


Kez Taylor

“At the moment, the [GCC] construction sector is very positive, and there will be plenty of opportunities in the next five years and beyond,” notes Kez Taylor, CEO of ALEC. “The main challenge, and also the biggest opportunity for the construction community, is to work in alignment to achieve project success. All stakeholders must take responsibility and accountability for their respective roles, and work together to achieve the project outcomes. Alignment and collaboration is a challenge but, when done correctly, they open the door to many other opportunities.”

Bishoy Azmy

“In the UAE, ASGC has witnessed a significant upswing in project announcements and releases [in 2016], compared to the previous two to three years,” says Bishoy Azmy, CEO of ASGC. “Much of this improvement is coming from Dubai, and is being propelled by the Emirate’s continuous drive to promote and establish [itself] as a key tourist destination in the region. Furthermore, we feel that investor confidence and improved cash flow among many private major developers have also encouraged [them] to press ahead with project plans and market releases.”

Campbell Gray

“The region is in a period of slowdown and re-assessment,” explains Campbell Gray, managing director – Middle East for Faithful+Gould. “Dubai and, to some degree, Abu Dhabi are highlights; mature markets representing approximately 25% of the overall GCC market. The combination of government cut backs, project reassessments, declining liquidity, and falling real estate prices are placing constraints on new project launches. There are schemes in delivery, but awards of new schemes are suffering from delayed decision-making and procurement.”

Gary Adams

“Hyrdocarbon revenues contribute significantly to government budgets in the Middle East and Africa which, in turn, fund most major infrastructure projects,” says Gary Adams, MEA president of Parsons. “Consequently, our customers’ planning parameters are impacted by fluctuations in oil and gas prices. GCC countries’ efforts to diversify their economies away from a disproportionate dependence on oil and gas revenues, and their focus on infrastructure development for tourism, trade, and finance, present opportunities for Parsons to provide solutions in multiple [non-oil] sectors. We are equipped with the thinking and technology necessary to support these diversification efforts.”

Al Manader
Amir Hamza Khan

“The construction industry, as a whole, has experienced a contraction over the past couple of years,” says Amir Hamza Khan, corporate strategy manager for Al Manader Road Contracting. “At present, demand is in creasing as the economy adjusts to the [new] economic climate, and as residual over-supply diminishes. Over the next 12 months, we expect to witness some consolidation in the industry as companies look to strengthen their resources and learn through the acquisition of specialty construction firms. As the industry consolidates, and demand depletes in the excess supply from previous years, we are likely to see growth in the region’s construction sector.”

Hervé Hamelin

“Overall, the region is still relatively cautious, although plans, profits, and jobs seem to have improved since 2015,” says Hervé Hamelin, Aconex’s general manager for Southern Europe and the Middle East. “The UAE and Qatar are accelerating execution plans for major programmes. Saudi Arabia is gradually picking up the pace and looking towards new and diversified development plans for the future. Oman is also pushing forward with a few large-scale programmes, while the Kuwaiti construction market remains relatively quiet.”

Bas Degeling

“Although there are challenges in the region, overall, the Middle East has a lot of potential,” notes Bas Degeling, new equipment business director for Kone. “The lack of cash flow represents a major challenge for the region, and this is a direct result of some markets’ dependency on oil revenues. But the biggest opportunity lies in the exploration of ways to increase sustainability. Cities [in the GCC] are quickly becoming more green, and this has served to increase awareness within our industry of the importance of protecting the environment.”

Dale Potts

“At present, the Middle East’s construction sector is full of contrasts; it is both challenging, and replete with opportunities,” observes Dale Potts, director of marketing and communications for Atkins Middle East and Africa. “The latest digital technologies represent one of the biggest opportunities. For example, there is an urgent need to understand the full impact of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) on our cities. Greater connectivity and autonomy will have a profound impact on our transport, energy, and communication networks.”

Richard Beard

“Challenges continue, with the lack of liquidity in certain areas of the market, project cancellations after protracted tendering, and the very competitive arena in which we work,” says Richard Beard, managing director – Middle East. “Nevertheless, we believe the fundamental demographics of the region are solid, with economies maturing, young educated populations, and governments working to diversify their economies away from oil-related revenues. This will continue to drive demand for world-class infrastructure which, together with the ability to deliver projects quicker than in mature markets, still makes the Middle East an exciting place to be.”

Raymond George

“Due to the decline in crude oil prices, the construction sector in the GCC region has faced – and will continue to face – some challenges,” says Raymond George, managing director of Soprema Middle East. “There are nearly 20,000 active projects in the GCC at present, but approximately 21% of them are currently on hold, according to research conducted by BNC Network. However, there are also many opportunities, [...] especially in the hospitality sector. Increased tourism related to events like Expo 2020 in Dubai and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will lead to the development of new hospitality projects and resorts which, in turn, will entail more infrastructure spending.”

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