2017 Construction Week Power 100: Top five MEP contractors
A round-up of the five highest-ranked mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) contractors on Construction Week's 2017 Power 100
1. Wael Allan, Group CEO, Drake & Scull International PJSC (Power 100 ranking: 20)
Drake & Scull International’s (DSI’s) overall revenue for fiscal year 2016 fell to $898m (AED3.3bn), from $1.1bn (AED4.2bn) in 2015, with the company noting that its operating performance was affected by cost overruns and revenue reversals on disputed legacy projects.
Despite the drop in the company’s revenue, Wael Allan and the rest of the DSI team are optimistic about the market, with the company’s CEO noting that he’s expecting 2017 revenues to be consistent with DSI’s historical trading levels.
“As of 31 December, 2016, DSI’s order backlog has reached $2.2bn (AED8.1bn),” said Allan. “We believe that the demand for our MEP engineering services remains strong. We are qualified for key opportunities in the region and are well-positioned to secure prospects in the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) segment in 2017.”
According to DSI, the total value of projects that it secured in 2016 stood at $221.9m (AED815m), with the UAE and the engineering businesses accounting for 23% and 71% of the backlog, respectively. These figures, Allan said, reflected the company’s “strategic and renewed focus” on its home market and core engineering business.
DSI’s team of 19,000 full-time staff is presently kept busy working on a host of projects in the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, and Kuwait, among other locations. In the UAE alone, the company is involved in more than 15 projects that are under development, including the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi, for which it has been brought on board to implement all MEP work and incidentals within the 64,000m2 museum complex.
DSI is also implementing the MEP contract for the Presidential Palace in Ras Al Akhdar, in Abu Dhabi, a project valued at $93m (AED340m). It has also been engaged to work on the Jewel of the Creek and Fountain View projects in Dubai.
In addition to its high-profile projects, DSI has identified corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities as another area of focus through the Drake & Scull Foundation.
Allan said: “The Drake & Scull Foundation is an integral part of our commitment to improve the conditions of society and empower people to achieve their dreams.”
2. Burak C Kizilhan, CEO and board member, AE Arma-Elektropanç (Power 100 ranking: 52)
In the four years that he’s served as the CEO of AE Arma-Elektropanç, and a member of its board, Burak C Kizilhan has led the company on a number of notable projects, the most recent of which include the University of Dubai, Legoland Dubai, Riverland Dubai, and Bab Al Qasr Hotel & Residence.
The coming months will see Kizilhan and his team of around 5,000 workers – 400 of whom are qualified engineers – implement mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) works on several major developments, such as the expansion of the Al Maktoum International Airport passenger terminal building; Phase 4 of Marsa Al Seef; Bluewaters Wharf Retail; Wasl District; and Plot B of Abu Dhabi Marina District.
With the projects it has lined up, the Turkish firm has projected revenues of $250m for fiscal year 2017. While this is slightly lower than its recorded revenues for 2016 – $265m – the company holds an optimistic view of the market, with Kizilhan noting that Expo 2020 would continue to create new opportunities in the construction sector.
Recognising that there’s tough competition in the market, Kizilhan said that the company places emphasis on producing projects that “add value to society”.
He added: “We consider the provision of values to the society in which we [operate], through a standpoint that has been [developed], by being one of the important players of the international construction sector.
“In this context, we produce projects that create added value in topics that [encompass] communal, social, environmental, historical, and educational fields in relation to the contracting business, where we have knowledge, experience, and speciality.”
Furthermore, the company has identified a set of employee training objectives that consist of, among other elements, a training programme customised to specific employee requirements.
“There should be a customised training programme for each employee [according to his or her] needs. This kind of training programme, which has targets for the right employees to get correct training at the right time, is being prepared,” Kizilhan added.
3. Masood Raza, general manager, Jumbo Engineering (Power 100 ranking: 82)
Masood Raza is currently in his fourth year as the general manager of Jumbo Engineering Ltd (JEL), a UAE-based mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) contracting specialist.
The company’s portfolio of projects includes a distribution centre for Swedish giant Ikea and the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority’s data centre in Umm Ramool.
Over the next 12 months, the company will provide MEP and annual maintenance contracting (AMC) services for 70 of Sharjah Government’s facilities, the UAE’s Ministry of Culture, and RTA’s data centre.
Raza said the last year has been about “consolidation and diversification […], rather than pure expansion”.
He added: “Energy-efficient cooling solutions and automation have been added to JEL’s portfolio to align with the shifting regional focus on energy efficiency and sustainability.”
4. Stuart McGregor, general manager, Trans Gulf Electromechanical (Power 100 ranking: 88)
Trans Gulf Electromechanical is the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) arm of Al Naboodah Construction Group (ANCG), part of the UAE-based conglomerate, Al Naboodah Group Enterprises. Trans Gulf’s revenues in 2016 were recorded at $272.2m (AED1bn). The same volume of revenues is expected this year, of which 80% has already been secured.
Stuart McGregor has been the general manager of Trans Gulf Electromechanical for three years. The company’s number of employees stands at 2,200, of which 1,560 are labourers, and 350 are engineers.
Trans Gulf’s portfolio of recent projects includes the Emirates Flight Catering Centre, an exhibition hall at Dubai World Trade Centre, and Dubai Creek Harbour’s sales office and advance promenade. Over the next 12 months, McGregor’s team will be part of the development teams of City Centre Ajman, a specialist rehabilitation hospital in Abu Dhabi, and infrastructure for Jebel Ali Hills and Satwa Zone S.
McGregor said the UAE and Oman are Trans Gulf’s most important markets, adding that the company’s biggest opportunities over the next 12 months would be the number of developments being implemented in these countries.
“The single biggest opportunity for Trans Gulf over the next 12 months is the sheer volume of work that is being put out to tender,” he explained.
“We are seeing an encouraging increase in opportunity, particularly with projects mandating the use of different technologies and taking advantage of our building information modelling (BIM) capability to create efficiencies.
“Our new civil defence division is also attracting significant and high-profile deals,” McGregor told Construction Week.
However, certain challenges will persist in the regional MEP industry, and McGregor said these would require intelligent business practices to resolve.
“The biggest challenge for the MEP industry in general will be managing project financing and payment delays, aligned with unrealistic client budgets,” he added.
“We welcome more design-and-build projects, enabling us to lead the design-to-cost solutions for our clients, whilst also ensuring that quality and technical operability are not compromised.”
5. Chris Brookes, managing director, Haydon (Power 100 ranking: 91)
Haydon's managing director, Chris Brookes, is optimistic about its growth over the next 12 months. The company’s revenues were recorded at $48.4m (AED178m) in 2016, and estimates for this year are nearly double that figure, at $93.1m (AED342m).
Up to 5.5% of last year’s amount was registered as Haydon's net margin, and 62% of project revenues for this year has already been secured.
The company, headquartered in Dubai, employs 46 engineers, in addition to 465 direct labourers, and 915 sub-contracted workers. Haydon's training budget for this year is “just shy of $272,300 (AED1m)”, Brookes told Construction Week. In addition, the firm is a member of the Emirates Green Building Council and the British Safety Council.
The company’s recent project portfolio includes the Four Seasons Hotel in Abu Dhabi, where it delivered value engineering services and full design-and-build (D&B) installations for the project’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems.
Haydon's will deliver similar MEP-focussed services over the next 12 months at Dubai World Trade Centre, Marsa Al Seef, the Springs Mall Expansion site, and Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa.
At the latter development, the company is delivering a full energy upgrade package.
“In addition to winning projects in the UAE, Haydon has also been awarded projects in Turks and Caicos Islands, Greece, and Monaco,” Brookes said.
“We are looking at expansion in both the GCC and further afield.”
However, Brookes admitted that cash collection and payment issues are a contemporary market challenge faced by contractors and subcontractors alike.
Regardless, he added, there are certain growth niches in the region that may be capitalised upon for further growth: “We are looking very closely at information technology (IT) infrastructure as a potential growth area.
“Sustainable projects remain one of our top priorities, and we believe we are going to see an even higher demand for higher self-sustainability and environment-friendly developments,” Brookes continued.