2018 Construction Week Power 100: 41-50
Construction Week’s annual ranking of the Middle East’s most influential construction leaders
41. Raed Al Nuaimi, Dubai Properties
Anew entry on the list this year is the group chief executive officer of Dubai Properties, Raed Al Nuaimi, who was appointed to his role in February 2018. Formerly the chief executive officer of North25, Al Nuaimi has a strong track record in the development field, having previously worked as chief executive officer of DXB Entertainment.
Since his appointment, Al Nuaimi has overseen the launch of projects including the biggest “living green wall” in the Middle East, which the firm says will offset four tonnes of carbon. In addition, the company’s under-construction 1/JBR residential building in Dubai was 40% complete as of April 2018.
42. Navin Valrani, Al Shirawi Group
Navin Valrani is the chief executive officer of 11 companies within the UAE-based, family-owned industrial conglomerate Al Shirawi Group, which includes several businesses operating in the UAE’s construction sector: Al Shirawi Contracting, Al Shirawi Electrical & Mechanical Engineering, Al Shirawi Interiors, Al Shirawi Infrastructure Construction, Al Shirawi Facilities Management, and the joint-venture Al Shirawi US Chillers. Between July 2017 and June 2018, these companies anticipate revenue of $450m (AED1.65bn). The companies within Valrani’s remit have been working on projects such as 118 Downtown, a luxury residential project in Downtown Dubai.
43. Abdallah Yabroudi, DCC Group
Having served as the chief executive officer of DCC Group for about 15 years, Abdallah Hasan Yabroudi has vast experience in the UAE’s – and especially Dubai’s – property and construction markets.
Over the years, he has witnessed these sectors contend with and overcome difficulties including the 2008–09 economic downturn, which is why Yabroudi considers settling legacies from that period as one of the biggest challenges facing the industry. He has previously said that “working with employers who will treat us fairly and pay us on time” is the single biggest opportunity for his company. DCC Group’s portfolio of construction projects includes Dubai Properties’ 46-storey tower, 1/JBR.
44. Shaun Killa, Killa Design
Killa Design specialises in the areas of architecture, project management, interior design, engineering, and master-planning. As design partner, Shaun Killa oversees a team of 56 staff, including 37 qualified architects.
A new entrant in the Construction Week Power 100 list for 2018, he has 19 years of experience as an architect in the UAE, having previously worked at Atkins for 16 years, as regional design director.
Killa Design’s recent projects include work on iconic and high-profile developments in Dubai, such as the Office of the Future, the first occupied 3D-printed building in the world; the Museum of the Future; and the Vida Hotel & Serviced Apartments in Dubai Marina.
Killa Design will also be the lead consultancy and architectural designer on projects including the Aykon twin towers on Sheikh Zayed Road, and a 400-bed beachfront resort in Dubai.
45. Burak Ç Kizilhan, AE-Arma Elektropanç
As the chief executive officer of AE Arma-Elektropanç, and a member of its board, for the past five years, Burak Ç Kizilhan has led the sub-contractor on a number of notable projects. The most recent of these include Abu Dhabi Marina City and, in Dubai, Phase 4 of the shopping and dining destination Al Seef, and Wasl District – a large-scale development featuring a souk, residences, offices, a hotel, and a museum.
The coming months will see Kizilhan and his team of about 7,500 workers – 600 of whom are qualified engineers – implement mechanical, electrical, and plumbing works on several major developments, such as Dubai’s Bluewaters Wharf Retail project and the expansion of Al Maktoum International Airport’s passenger terminal building.
Having secured $230.3m (AED845.8m) in project revenue, AE Arma-Elektropanç anticipates actual revenue during the 2018 fiscal year of $300.2m (AED1.1bn).
The company introduced a more effective and fair system of staff assessment last year, and this year productivity growth will be an area of focus when it comes to employee development, Kizilhan tells Construction Week. He adds that although there is tough competition in the UAE market at present, the company places an emphasis on producing projects that “add value to society”.
The sub-contractor strives to “produce projects that create added value”, in areas such as community development, as well as the “social, environmental, historical, and educational fields, where we have speciality knowledge and experience”, Kizilhan explains.
46. Cheriyan Alex, National Piling
Chief executive officer of groundwork contractor National Piling, Cheriyan Alex, has cracked the Construction Week Power 100 ranking for the first time – and this is not without good reason. The firm has been a piling sub-contractor for some of the best-known real-estate developers in the UAE, including Dubai-headquartered Azizi Developments and Damac Properties, and Abu Dhabi’s Bloom Holdings. National Piling also recently secured pre-qualification from Emaar Properties, which is set to boost the contractor’s books, as the developer is widely expected to require significant enabling work for its Dubai Creek Harbour project.
Now that it is firmly established as a contractor of choice for several prominent developers, Sharjah-based National Piling expects to increase its revenue by 15% this year, as demand for taller towers and deeper basements keeps its order book full.
The company has had to adapt to the changing market trend for multi-storey basements. However, the machinery that it owned at the start of the year did not have the capacity to meet this rising demand for deeper basements. Now, National Piling has recognised the opportunity and will invest approximately $4m (AED15m) in new equipment this year to add two diaphragm wall cutters and four vibro hammers to its 16-strong fleet of drilling rigs and cranes.
Acquiring this equipment will ensure that the contractor has the operational capacity needed to deliver the end result that developers are demanding, Alex told Construction Week in April.
47. Donna Sultan, Keo International Consultants
For 35 years, Donna Sultan has played a significant role in positioning KEO International Consultants within the market. She has served as the president and chief executive officer of the planning, design, engineering, and project management specialist for 27 years.
KEO’s aim is to develop and implement “commercially scalable, innovative design and construction solutions for the protection and enhancement of the environment and the sustainability of natural resources”, according to Sultan. To that end, the firm launched its City Information Modelling (CIM) Initiative in 2017, as she explains: “At the KEO CIM Lab, we believe data is one of our most valuable untapped environmental resources. We use the power of information modelling to understand and shape the city in new ways, to solve sustainability problems and improve lives.”
She continues: “Environmental and sustainability management is a major component of KEO’s business strategy and will be a principal consideration with respect to all of the company’s work activities.”
Moving forwards, KEO will continue to provide various consultancy services to projects in Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE.
48. Brian Johnson, Godwin Austen Johnson
Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) has helped to deliver a number of iconic buildings in Dubai during the practice’s nearly 30-year history. As managing partner of the firm, Brian Johnson recognises that one of the biggest challenges the company faces lies in helping clients to find a balance between quality contracting and value for money.
“There is no substitute for having a good contractor on board to help both clients and architects to achieve their dreams, on time and on budget,” he tells Construction Week.
Johnson adds that he has high expectations of the impact that Expo 2020 Dubai will have on business activities: “We are especially proud to be playing a significant role as part of an international team of specialist consultants who are engaged to monitor the sustainability targets that have been set in place by the expo organisers.”
GAJ’s ongoing projects are under way in Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
49. Gumeet Nanda, Voltas Oman | Lalvol
Gumeet Singh Nanda is a new entrant in the Construction Week Power 100 rankings for 2018. Having served as general manager of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) contractor Voltas Oman and the main contractor Lalbuksh Voltas Engineering Services & Trading (Lalvol) for three years, Nanda currently oversees a workforce comprising 795 labourers. He plans to recruit a further 200 in the coming months, in order to cope with the company’s project pipeline.
With a backlog of $57m (AED209.4m) as of 31 March, 2018, and revenue of about $42.3m (AED155.2m) in 2017, Nanda tells Construction Week that in the fiscal year from April 2018 to March 2019, he projects revenue of $50.4m (AED185.1m).
This year, approximately $1m (AED3.7m) is set to be invested by Voltas Limited – the parent company of Voltas Oman and Lalvol – in technology for the Middle East operations.
This will “help in controlling cost and time overruns and improving productivity”, says Nanda, who led his team to earn Contractor of the Year honours at the Construction Week Oman Awards 2018.
Focusing on regional markets such as Oman, the UAE, and Bahrain, Nanda explains that “MEP works for upcoming four- and five-star hotels […] and water treatment plants for the food-processing industry” present key opportunities, enabling the business “to support tourism […] and food security initiatives in Oman and the GCC”.
The current projects that Nanda and his team are tackling in Oman include MEP works for the Oman Across the Ages Museum in Nizwa; heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning, and sewage treatment plant (STP) elements for Al Araimi Boulevard Mall in Muscat; a water treatment, reverse osmosis, and biogas plant at the Mazoon Dairy Project in Buraimi; and STPs for Haya Water and Petroleum Development Oman.
50. CK Khanna, Bahwan Engineering Co
Another new entry in the 2018 Construction Week Power 100 is Chander Kant (CK) Khanna of Bahwan Engineering Company (BEC). As BEC’s general manager for corporate, Khanna reports to the vice chairman of the BEC Group, which is part of Bahwan Holding, a firm that operates in Oman and the UAE. BEC has performed well in the past year, seeing an approximate average annual turnover “to the tune of $700m–800m” (AED2.6bn–2.9bn), according to Khanna. “BEC Group has a healthy order book position and we have approximately one year’s business in hand and under execution,” he says.
BEC’s recently completed projects in Oman include two mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) packages at Muscat International Airport, valued at $750m (AED2.8bn); and air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation works at Salalah Airport. Currently under way in the sultanate are MEP works at the Mall of Oman; an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the Sohar Desalination Independent Water Project; and an EPC contract for a power plant for Petroleum Development Oman at Saih Rawl. The construction of Duqm Refinery also presents a significant opportunity for BEC, Khanna says.