RMJM plots regional success
Geographic expansion and service delivery are key, say new directors
RMJM is using the recession to step back, regroup and emerge stronger, say two of the firm’s newest directors.
In fact, according to Nick Haston, director of global emerging markets at RMJM, expansion is crucial — especially during the economic downturn.
“We think [an expansion] strategy will position us nicely when the market does turn around,” said Haston in an exclusive interview with Middle East Architect. “We see broad stroke expansion as a physical demonstration of our commitment to the region.”
According to Haston, RMJM’s first priority is to sustain its presence in its current markets, which include, the UAE, Hong Kong, New York and Glasgow. “Take the UAE for example, we’ve got 30 years experience here; it would be madness to not try to sustain that,” said Haston.
And, while sustaining its place in the market is important, part of Haston’s remit is to actively court new clients in new, and in some cases, untested markets.
“We opened an office in Qatar two months ago and we’ve got two ongoing projects in Tripoli right now — one education and one infrastructure. Our Libya office should be up and running around the end of August,” said Haston.
“We opened an office in Istanbul two or three weeks ago, which came with a flood of interest,” continued Haston. “And, Bahrain is an interesting market for us as well. There is a lot going on there and, from what we’ve seen, it is a market that has a lot to offer.”
Haston is quick to point out that in addition to its identified markets, RMJM continues to explore opportunities in places like KSA, Oman and Kuwait, where local contacts and consultants hold the keys to the respective markets.
“The Middle East is — and needs to remain — a hub for the rest of the RMJM Group, agrees managing director Hugh Mullan.
“For a long time, this region saw a large-scale shortage of skills, which allowed transient architects to switch firms and double their salaries at will,” said Mullan. “The result of this was personnel that were overpaid and over-promoted and a build quality that was simply dismal.”
But, according to Haston and Mullan, all of that is changing and the way to distinguish oneself in emerging and resurging markets is by doing what you promise.
“Delivery has suffered across the region,” said Mullan. “RMJM’s design expertise is renowned, but once we’ve won these projects, we’re looking for people and processes that allow us to deliver them on time and on budget.”