Five minutes with: Anthony Pereira, CIOB
Anthony Pereira, chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Building and <i>CW</i> Oman Awards 2017 judge, offers his assessment of Oman’s construction market
Anthony Pereira, chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and Construction Week Oman Awards 2017 judge, offers his assessment of Oman’s construction market…
How would you assess the performance of Oman’s construction market in 2016?
The oil price crash and the world oil surplus, which continued throughout last year, meant that 2016 was a tough year for Oman’s construction market. This was reflected by the many retrenchments that were made in the sultanate.
Prior to 2016, the industry was driven by strong government infrastructure spending, as well as oil and gas development projects. It is nevertheless important to note that several important projects were delivered last year, such as Oman’s 400kV main grid networks, sewage treatment plants, Salalah Airport, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, and the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC).
What are the main challenges currently facing construction companies operating in the sultanate?
The construction market in Oman has been [shifting towards], and will be increasingly sustained by, public-private partnership (PPP) and private investment projects. This shift should help to diversify the market away from infrastructure developments.
The challenge for construction companies and engineering consultancies is to adapt to these changes, and develop the capabilities and skill sets necessary to win and deliver multifarious project types.
However, competition is tough in Oman, so the current market may suit domestic and regional companies more soe than major international firms.
What would you say are the main opportunities within Oman’s construction sector at present?
There are ongoing opportunities within the field of PPP, such as Al Mouj Muscat. Construction companies may also wish to target private investment projects.
Moreover, residential and affordable housing are sectors in which there are both significant ongoing projects and upcoming opportunities. In line with Oman’s Vision 2020, through which industrial and tourism sectors have been prioritised by the government, there are a number of large-scale projects that are about to break ground, including Port of Duqm. There are also large-scale projects that are currently in the groundworks phase, such as Liwa Plastics Factory.
I enjoy reading about, and keeping up to date with, new technologies in the industry, such as building information modelling (BIM), 3D printing, solar energy advancements, and the use of drones within construction. While some of these technologies are already being used by those working on large-scale projects, further investment and adoption in cutting-edge tools could give contractors and consultancies an advantage in the market.
How do you expect Oman’s construction market to perform in 2017?
It will continue to be a tough year for the construction industry in Oman. We are still feeling the effects of the oil price crash and the budget deficit that it created. Despite that fact, many large-scale developments will be delivered this year, such as the completion of Al Batinah Expressway and, hopefully, [the expansion of] Muscat International Airport.
We should also see some major new projects get underway, such as the construction phase of Mall of Oman, and the Salam Yiti golf resort. Private investments and PPP projects will continue to provide opportunities. As long as market sentiment and oil prices continue to gradually improve, by the end of the year, I believe the outlook will be far more positive than it was at the beginning of 2017.
Which of the Construction Week Oman Awards 2017 categories are you most looking forward to, and why?
Coming from a building construction background, I am most looking forward to this year’s project categories. I enjoyed reading about some of the exciting projects that were completed in 2017, and assessing how they enhanced Oman.