Expert: Lack of collaboration raises costs, causes project delays

Members of the construction community in the Gulf region are not collaborating enough, leading to high project costs and construction delays, says Khaled Ismail of e.construct

Khaled Ismail is principal structural engineer at e.construct [image: Dubai Creative Clusters Authority].
Khaled Ismail is principal structural engineer at e.construct [image: Dubai Creative Clusters Authority].

Members of the construction community in the Gulf region are not collaborating enough, leading to high project costs and construction delays.

Speaking with Construction Week, Khaled Ismail, principal structural engineer at Dubai-based firm, e.construct, said structural engineers are usually brought in after the developer and architect have completed the design of the project.

The structural engineers, he noted, are then left to come up with solutions to structural problems that are design-related – problems that could have been addressed early on if the structural engineer had been involved in the design process.

Architects tend to get caught up in producing “fancy designs”, only sharing them with the structural engineers at a later stage, he said, adding: “As structural engineers, we will analyse the design and try to solve any problems we see, but sometimes, the solutions are not the most sustainable options and require more materials.”

Ismail pointed out that his experience has shown him that if structural engineers are brought in early, as much as 35% savings can be achieved on materials alone.

“I think that collaboration is very important and should be implemented from the early stages of the project, even from the pre-concept stage,” he said. “Everyone involved – architects, structural and geotechnical engineers, developers, and regulatory authorities – should have a session during which they’ll discuss the master plan and give their feedback.”

Stressing the importance of having regulatory bodies involved in the process early on, Ismail explained that there have been cases when authorities asked for changes to be made to projects that were already undergoing construction. 

Elaborating, he said: “At a certain stage in the project, it becomes too late to go back and make any changes to the design. You cannot change the layout, for example. And even when changes are possible, they tend to be very costly.

“Often, as a structural engineer, you only have two options when the required changes affect the load. You either resist the [additional] load or avoid it. Avoiding means changing the layout. So if you cannot avoid, then you have to resist.”

The latter option “means using more materials like concrete to better resist the load”, he added.

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