The little interview: Jason Hird, Saint-Gobain Gyproc Middle East
Jason Hird, senior technical development manager at Saint-Gobain Gyproc Middle East, explains how the increasing attention that is being paid to fire and life safety in the region is influencing market demand for fire prevention & fire protection systems
How would you assess current levels of demand for Saint-Gobain Gyproc’s fire protection and fire prevention products in the Middle East?
The importance of fire and life safety cannot be underestimated. The good news is that, across the region, this relevance is realised more and more, year on year. As such, Saint-Gobain Gyproc Middle East now provides more technical support and specification guidance to major projects than ever before. This results in a high level of demand – which is steadily increasing – for our products and fire-rated systems.
In which countries is demand for your products and services the highest?
The UAE is, of course, a key market for us. However, with major projects in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman, we have had to increase our headcount, to keep up with the demand for guidance and support for our fire-rated systems.
What would you say are Saint-Gobain’s most popular fire-rated systems in the Middle East?
Our fire-rated systems are typically split between partitions and linings, as well as ceiling systems, and provide fire resistance and fire protection for up to three hours.
What were the factors that drove market trends in 2017?
Fire safety is an integral part of building design and a performance that architects always consider when designing the building. In the UAE, the topic has gained more importance over the years due to a number of unfortunate incidents, and now there are conversations happening at government level. New regulations and a new code are being put in place, which is putting more focus on fire-safety materials.
What are Saint-Gobain Gyproc’s priorities for 2018?
We are continually adding to our range of fire-rated and acoustic systems. From standard partitions to high-performance fire walls and ceiling systems, and from fire protection to structural steel framing and high performance ShaftWall and bulkhead details, Saint-Gobain Gyproc is pushing forward like never before to ensure the Gulf has class-leading systems available, along with technical support.
What would you say sets your company apart from its competitors?
We offer a complete service, which is what one would expect from the world’s largest manufacturer of drywall systems. We pride ourselves on class-leading technical support, commercial excellence, and great customer service – on top of providing a complete range of fire-rated drywall systems.
What are your expectations from the fire protection and prevention sector 2018?
I am expecting to see a similar focus through 2018, hopefully with more control of implementation and increased sector knowledge. Understanding and using established and common fire engineering principles, rather than a contractual need to reassign liability, would hugely improve our fire-protection market, leading to greater efficiencies in time and cost.