Middle East's top three consultancy trends to watch in 2018

Technology is among the key trends that construction consultancies must keep an eye out for in 2018, Aurecon Middle East's Ermis Marques tells Construction Week

Consultancy trends will evolve in the Middle East's construction sector this year [representational image].
Consultancy trends will evolve in the Middle East's construction sector this year [representational image].
Consultant-client collaboration is likely to increase this year [representational image].
Consultant-client collaboration is likely to increase this year [representational image].
The uptake of technology is set to grow [representational image].
The uptake of technology is set to grow [representational image].
A long-term view of designs will be taken, according to Aurecon Middle East's Marques [representational image].
A long-term view of designs will be taken, according to Aurecon Middle East's Marques [representational image].

As construction activity increases in the run up to Expo 2020 Dubai, construction consulting is likely to witness changes in 2018. 

The GCC alone has 22,680 active construction projects, worth $2.43tn, figures revealed by a report this November showed. 

BNC Network's GCC Construction Analytics report revealed that the urban construction sector has the highest number of projects (17,912), with their value estimated at $1.21tn. 

READ: GCC construction market records 30% growth in 2017

Government mandates such as UAE Vision 2021 and Saudi Vision 2030 are also supporting the steady uptick in regional construction activity. 

These developments are likely to affect the regional construction industry's consultancy sector, according to Ermis Marques, regional director for Aurecon's Middle East operation. 

In the following pages, Marques talks to Construction Week about the top three trends that he expects the regional consulting sector will witness in 2018. 

Collaboration

"In 2018, I expect to see more collaborative approach to solving the client’s problems," Marques says.

"The typical Gulf construction project is larger than life, seeking to be unique in the land of the outstanding. This means that all parties on the project – designers, cost consultants, project managers, contractors, and suppliers – are on the same side, working to achieve the client’s vision." 

READ: Masdar to develop world's largest floating solar plant

"As I always like to say, there are no winners in a losing team."

Technology

According to Marques, technology will play an even bigger role in the regional construction industry this year.

"What we need to figure out is how we engage with the new technology partners to deliver next generation solutions to bring our clients’ ideas to life," he continues.

READ: Tech tools can boost construction site security in the GCC

"Helping our clients harness the power of digital is part of Aurecon’s global strategy and 2018 will see us play a bigger role in the digital space in the Middle East.

"To help our clients on this getting the most out of digital innovation, we have appointed Kevin Miller as our digital practice lead." 

Long-term view

The dynamics of construction consultancies will also change in the region this year. 

Marques says engineers are likely to be thinking more often about "how to keep the client’s asset relevant after commissioning, and not just build and forget" about it.

READ: Why architects need to consider better façade maintenance

He adds: "Clients are seeking advice on how to continue to extract value during their asset’s entire life span.

"Helping clients understand how to keep their asset relevant and alive in the changing context of its community, technology and/or economic purpose is going to be an important role of a consulting engineer in a construction environment." 

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