Five minutes with: Anthony Crowley, Driver Trett

Speaking ahead of CW’s Leaders Kuwait 2017, Driver Trett’s Anthony Crowley offers his assessment of the Kuwaiti construction market

Anthony Crowley (above) is Driver Tretts country manager for Kuwait.
Anthony Crowley (above) is Driver Tretts country manager for Kuwait.

Speaking ahead of the Construction Week: Leaders in Construction Kuwait 2017, Driver Trett’s country manager, Anthony Crowley, offers his assessment of the Kuwaiti construction market…

CW: What do you think are the main challenges facing the Kuwaiti construction industry?

Anthony Crowley: The 2015 five-year development plan set out Kuwait’s intent in respect of a period of significant growth, and this has provided considerable opportunity for all involved in the country’s construction sector. However, as with all opportunities, there are considerable challenges to be overcome, notwithstanding the wider global challenges of oil price, appetite to invest, increased costs, and related obstacles.

Such challenges include the impact of public-private partnership (PPP) projects, an integrated transport policy, a lack of skilled and unskilled resources, cash flow difficulties, inappropriate allocation of risk between parties, onerous contract conditions, extensive losses on projects, delays… The list is endless.

CW: What most excites you about the Kuwaiti construction industry?

AC: Kuwait is a key market in the GCC, and Driver Trett has been active in the country during the past few years. In this short period of time, we have been able to see – at first hand – the scale of change, the number of projects awarded, the launch of megaprojects, the extent of construction activity across all sectors of the industry, and the variety of work that the country’s construction market currently has to offer.

However, this activity is mainly in the public sector, and this is a cause for concern in the long term. As we are all aware, the extent and scale of public contracts are well documented and put together, even though the conditions can be onerous for many of the contractors currently working in Kuwait.

In our experience, there is a general inability to complete projects on time, and for contractors to maintain the margins that were anticipated at bid stage. From Driver Trett’s perspective, this is extremely good business but, from an industry standpoint, it is extremely worrying. With this in mind, our team is also working to assist clients and contractors alike to deliver projects to programme and within budget.

CW: What topics are you looking forward to discussing at CW: Leaders Kuwait 2017?

AC: I think there are many topics that will be discussed, and I am sure – given the participants attending the summit – that the discussions will be perceptive.

I am particularly looking forward to discussing the future prospects for Kuwait; the ongoing impact of the oil price on project financing, or the impact of diminishing demand as more and more countries announce bans on new diesel and petrol cars (2040 is going to come round quicker than you imagine); arbitration and the lack of any alternative dispute resolution; how PPP will assist Kuwait, and how the PPP model can be adopted in the future (especially given the issues in its adoption, for example, in the UK); the availability of skilled and unskilled labour; the problems involved in bringing labour into Kuwait; issues relating to productivity and on-time completion; and the losses that are being encountered by many of the contractors, including their supply chain, in delivering projects in Kuwait.

CW: Could you outline some of the latest services that Driver Trett has introduced?

AC: Driver Group is growing Diales, its expert witness brand, across the region. I look forward to offering these services to my clients in Kuwait during the coming year.

CW: What news can we expect from Driver Trett in 2017/18?

AC: During this period, we are looking to conclude the registration of our Kuwait business, such that we can formally open our Kuwait office. We are obviously looking forward to our launch event, and the date for this will be confirmed in due course.

We have been involved in a number of prestigious projects for clients, contractors, and sub-contractors alike, and Driver Trett is looking forward to expanding its client list throughout the forthcoming business year.

Driver Trett is also active in supporting the work of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and other similar institutions, whether this is through presentations at seminars, involvement in membership bodies, or participation in similar marketing events with local and international lawyers in matters of project services, claims, and disputes.

One of our key initiatives will be the introduction of periodic claims clinics, where companies can bring their problems to us for an initial consultation and advice about how they should proceed.

CW: Why is Driver Trett supporting CW: Leaders Kuwait 2017?

AC: Driver Trett, as a business in the GCC, has had previous involvement in Construction Week’s Leaders in Construction events, and it is imperative that we be involved in this – and any other similar events or initiatives planned for Kuwait.

Involvement in high-profile events, such as Leaders in Construction, is important for Driver Trett as it looks to develop market penetration in Kuwait, and position itself as a brand leader and consultant of choice in its service areas of expertise.

In this respect, the Leaders in Construction summit provides an excellent opportunity to connect with like-minded companies and business leaders from the Kuwait construction industry, and it is for this reason that Driver Trett is eager to participate.

This year’s conference will take place on Wednesday, 18 October, 2017 at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Kuwait. Visit our microsite get involved in Construction Week: Leaders in Construction Kuwait 2017.

Driver Trett is the Platinum Sponsor of Construction Week: Leaders in Construction Kuwait 2017.

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