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Drake & Scull CEO: Necessity now key driver in UAE

UAE developers are beginning to prioritise necessity over the need to launch iconic projects, according to Drake & Scull CEO, Wael Allan

Drake & Scull’s Wael Allan (pictured above) says that necessity is becoming an increasingly important driver among UAE property developers.
Drake & Scull’s Wael Allan (pictured above) says that necessity is becoming an increasingly important driver among UAE property developers.

Necessity is becoming an increasingly important driver within the UAE’s construction sector.

This is the opinion of Drake & Scull International’s (DSI) chief executive officer, Wael Allan, who told Construction Week that UAE developers are beginning to prioritise projects that add value to their local communities.

This trend is reflected in DSI’s current project portfolio, according to Allan.

“I think that projects are becoming driven by need, [in contrast to] the attention-grabbin, iconic nature of [some historic UAE developments],” he commented.

Speaking during an interview with Construction Week, Allan explained: “I have been reviewing some of DSI’s historic UAE projects. Many of them were huge, but [did they offer] value for the community and for the country? In some cases, I would say maybe not.

“However, there is great experience in this market today. We’ve learnt so much since [the 2008/09 financial crisis] in terms of what works and what doesn’t. I’m pleased to report that DSI’s current projects are high performing, both from profit and loss (P&L) and cash perspectives.”

Despite his caution when it comes to the iconic, Allan is confident that events such as Expo 2020 Dubai will serve as drivers for long-term growth.

“DSI does not look at Expo 2020 as an end in itself,” he said. “Instead, we see it as a catalyst for economic growth.

“I always use the analogy of The Crystal Palace and The Great Exhibition in London in 1851. The value for Britain actually came after the event had taken place; what followed was expansion of the UK’s transport infrastructure and the growth of its economy.

“I truly see the same for the UAE. Expo 2020 is a catalyst for growth. Hopefully, it will drive investment in infrastructure, employment, tourism, and other [facets] of the UAE’s economy,” Allan concluded.

To read the full interview with DSI’s Wael Allan, check out issue 644 of Construction Week.

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Construction Week - Issue 749
Sep 15, 2019