Expert says Middle East clients still wary of retrofits

More regional clients prefer to rebuild rather than retrofit properties, Plafond Fitout's Dimitri Papakonstantinou told ConstructionWeekOnline

Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director atPlafond Fitout.
Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director atPlafond Fitout.

More Middle Eastern clients opt to rebuild a property than to retrofit, according to Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director at Plafond Fitout. 

Papakonstantinou added that the belief that a new property is better than a retrofitted one is a prominent theme in the Middle East.

He explained: "In Europe, or in the States, you see more retrofitting [programmes planned for] buildings, and in fact, it’s even more desirable to have a classic 1920s building that has a history behind it.

"However, here in the Middle East, and possibly also due to the aggressiveness of the environment, it [is often preferred] to knock things down rather than refurbish it."

He added: “But there's a likelihood that, going forward, legislation, incentivisation by the government, and education within the general public will help [change this trend].

"It also has to make financial sense for the developer – all these factors have to sort of converge and come together. Because at the moment, going green is expensive." 

Papakonstantinou expressed his views in a retrofit roundtable organised by MEP Middle East, which was was attended by Bruno Pessoa, director of technical services, Minor Hotels, Middle East and Africa; Martin Mueller, regional director of engineering, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Alex Yoo, director of design & project management, Marriott International; Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director, Plafond Fitout; Stuart McGregor, GM, Trans Gulf Electromechanical; Ramy Boufarhat, COO, James L Williams Middle East; Azzam Messaykeh, CEO, Faisal Jassim Group; Raffi Kazazian, energy solutions director of Taqeef; Ian Fail-Brown, CEO, SESC Group; and Anil Mangalat, design director/partner, MMAC Design Associates.

To read the entire retrofit roundtable feature, check out the issue #1211 of MEP Middle East, which will be published in the first week of November 2017. 

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