CW Oman Awards 2018: Atkins outlines impact of big win at 2017 event
Marco Malpiedi, managing director of Atkins' Oman operations, what it means to win top honours at the sultanate's premier construction event
Marco Malpiedi, managing director of Atkins' Oman operation, talks to Construction Week about how winning Construction Week Oman 2017 honours impacted the firm last year.
Atkins won top honours under the Residential Project of the Year category at the Construction Week Oman Awards 2017 for its work on Al Habib Suqoon Garden.
Shadha Al Balushi, assistant project architect at Atkins (pictured; far-left), and Masood Raza, Atkins' principal architect (pictured; far-right), collected the trophy at the ceremony last year.
The project has been designed to enable residents and community members to live, play, and shop in the development without creating congestion or reducing circulation in the surrounding streets.
One member of Construction Week's panel of judges said that Al Habib Suqoon Garden for its impressive use of space and design, which he said has resulted in great levels of interaction with the local community.
Ahead of the Construction Week Oman Awards 2018 ceremony, which will be held on 12 March in Muscat, Malpiedi outlines how the honours have reshaped Atkins' focus in Oman over the past 12 months.
How did winning the Construction Week Oman Awards honour impact Atkins’ prospects and performance in 2017?
At Atkins, we look to add value to our clients’ business. Securing a project for an organisation like Al Habib that covers contracting, development, and real estate in its portfolio of companies is a clear acknowledgement that our value-add is real when it is sought after by a professional company in the industry.
Winning the award shows that we can, and do, provide bespoke services responding to the client’s aspirations and working within business parameters.
How has the size and type of Atkins’ project portfolio changed since it won the award?
Al Habib Suqoon Gardens is smaller than a typical Atkins project; however, we have shown through the success on this project, that our services, respected by professional clients can be applied to projects of any size. The award showcased the value of consultancy services as a function of product versus cost, and not just the latter.
We can, with confidence, discuss our offerings to a broader catchment of clients, particularly in the private sector, and use this project and award as testimony.
NEXT PAGE: Malpiedi offers his predictions, and reveals Atkins' plans, for Oman in 2018
What is Atkins’ forecast for the Omani construction market in 2018, and what are the company’s plans for this year?
All in all, we see 2018 as being a more active construction market than 2016/17, with a marked shift towards private funding models. We plan to continue our focus on using the Omanisation programme as an opportunity for us to grow in a very positive manner. We will continue investing in the career and talent management of responsive staff and seek them to design and build their future.
Our efforts outside Oman have picked up momentum as well, with our office carrying out work both in the regions supporting our Atkins offices and in East Africa. We anticipate this to continue to grow and expect to be posting some of our maturing talent in Kenya, and possibly Tanzania, for periods of time to deliver services locally.
What are the kind of projects that Atkins will look to work on this year?
We see a continued focus on private-sector hospitality, with single hotels and resorts as well as medium- to large-scale integrated tourism complexes (ITC) incorporating high-end residential rental, lease apartment, and villa options. This, in addition to leisure facilities, office and shop units, and food and beverage outlets.
Atkins will seek to expand its portfolio of work in this area by building on the experience we have internationally, in this region, and in the country. Such commissions are ideally suited with our ability to offer international-level urban and master planning, civil and infrastructure, architecture-led design and build engineering from the same business.
These ITC developments can often be in a public-private partnership (PPP) format, and we are geared to working on such often under the main contractor and/or the main investor. From a public-sector angle, we see infrastructure generally as being a strong work stream, with Atkins working mainly on the contractor side. Additionally in this space, we see the affordable housing requirement being implemented, and with our recent and ongoing work in the region and East Africa, we are positioning ourselves as being a preferred partner for PPPs targeting this sector.
What are your top tips for the nominees of Construction Week Oman Awards 2018?
Personally, I see a few contractors that have risen above the masses and are producing real value for money, working closely with us as being deserving of public recognition and accolades. I wholeheartedly recommend these companies to clients and other stakeholders.
From a consultant’s perspective, I am very proud to honestly say that I see Atkins staff, some of our rising Omani stars, as sweeping the board for individual awards. I am also hopeful for project related awards for Atkins with some quite special tailored projects being successfully completed in the last year.
As for consultant of the year, I cannot see any consultant that has come close to what we have and are doing in-country. We have an amazing group of talented, both young and experienced, staff who work seamlessly as a team and provide bespoke services, so I am confident that we will secure this award.