Five minutes with MEP Awards 2016's Mechanical Project winner

Chris Barry, general manager, BK Gulf, talks to MEP Middle East about winning the a trophy at the awards last year and where the journey has taken him since then

Chris Barry, general manager, BK Gulf
Chris Barry, general manager, BK Gulf

How was it winning a few awards last year?

Following on from winning the MEP Contractor of the Year award in 2015, we were delighted to see the Opera House project recognised as the Mechanical Project of the Year 2016 along with some of our engineers, Abegail Habunal, Alin Epure and Muayyad Abu Khashabeh winning in their respective fields. I would say this really was a testament to the hard work and effort from all of our staff members.

How has the journey been since then?

Since the MEP Middle East Awards back in November 2016, we have successfully delivered the hotel development Jumeirah Al Naseem, comprising 387 rooms and 42 suites, along with more than 10 restaurants, a beach club and a turtle lagoon. We recently became the first company in the Middle East to be awarded the BSi Kitemark for building information modelling (BIM).

A five star rating from the Taqdeer Award was received in December 2016, which is the world’s first points-based award programme aimed at setting international benchmarks in labour welfare and honouring excellence.

On 17 May 2017, BKG FM was awarded the CSR (corporate social responsibility) Initiative of the Year at the FM Middle East Awards 2017, along with our team member, Supuni Sithara Marasinghe winning the Young FM of the Year awards and Muhammad Waqas winning the Unsung Hero of the Year award for his commitment as a security professional.

What are some of the current projects?

We continue to have an extensive portfolio of prestigious projects in the GCC. These consists of container terminal 4 in JAFZA for DP World, the refurbishment of the Address Downtown Dubai, the Dubai Mall Fashion Avenue expansion, the Midfield Terminal Building in Abu Dhabi where we are the lead JV partner, and several other projects.

What are your company’s future plans?

We will continue to service our existing client base, improve our already excellent health and safety records and focus on staff development. We are committed to explore innovative construction methods and project management systems and build upon our strong BIM capability. Our divisions, BCL ELV and BKG FM, along with BK Gulf Modular Services Division will continue to support BK Gulf on its major projects and deliver projects for clients externally.

How is the market shaping up?

The market in the UAE remains strong, with opportunities in all sectors. As a business, we will continue to be selective, pursuing only projects that meet our selection criteria in terms of risk and reward.

What market trends have you noticed this year?

BK Gulf has seen an increased interest in design and build projects, which will allow early engagement of the contractors with the developers and design teams, leading to enhanced sustainability in cost and programme certainty. BKG continues to develop and use its expertise in BIM and off-site manufacturing with MEP multi-service modules and modular wiring which has been in use by BKG for the last decade, all of which combined with the support of our ELV, Fire and FM divisions offers a one-stop shop in self delivery from concept through to operation.

What are the main opportunities and challenges in the market?

The single main challenge is the remnants of a liquidity concern that is putting increased pressure on the contractors and their supply chain in the form of cash flow. This hampers timely delivery of projects.

The opportunities exist in the form of innovation and introducing new technologies into this market, which will continue to happen when the contractors can be integrated as part of the development and design teams.

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