Face to face: Speaking out

What did you achieve from this year's CW Dubai conference?

Habib Mikati, Ejar Cranes and Equipment technical manager.
Habib Mikati, Ejar Cranes and Equipment technical manager.
Grahame McCaig, Dutco Balfour Beatty general manager.
Grahame McCaig, Dutco Balfour Beatty general manager.

What did you achieve from this year’s Construction Week Dubai conference?

Habib Mikati, Ejar Cranes and Equipment technical manager, answers We are a new company and we wanted to introduce ourselves to the contractors. We have one of the biggest and youngest fleets and we want to make ourselves known. Also, we spoke about the safety and training programmes that we have in place for labourers using our equipment. It has to address problem solving. The dream is over and we should face reality.

Grahame McCaig, Dutco Balfour Beatty general manager, answers Hopefully the various participants and disciplines of the construction Industry acknowledged that everyone has been affected by the downturn. The construction Industry is not just about contractors - it’s about a complex heirarchy of consultants, clients, subcontractors and project managers as well. We need to foster better relationships at all levels and have a common focus - to ensure the ultimate success of a project for all parties.

What did you speak about at the conference?

Habib Mikati answers We talked about how companies should be ready to take what they gained from their previous experience and carry it over to
new locations. In addition, we talked about the companies who will financially sustain during this tough period.

Grahame McCaig answers I acted as the chairman of the conference. I wanted people to acknowledge the issues and the causes of the chaos, but at the same time to focus on the future and areas where we should be looking to change so that we don’t experience these impacts again.

What message did you hope to get across to delegates?

Habib Mikati answers The construction industry had seen similar crises before. It happened in the 1980’s and mid 1990’s of the previous century. We hope, like before, it will pick up again.

Grahame McCaig answers In times of good we need to prepare for times of struggle. We need to get back to basics, revisit the principles of teamwork and synergy and acknowledge that they are relevant to the construction Industry.

What were the general themes of the conference?

Habib Mikati answers Financials dominated technical discussions but also covered availability of equipment, the boom of Oil and Power projects and the construction industry in Abu Dhabi. In addition, it addressed problem solving. Instead of addressing the construction boom and shortage of equipment it addressed issues like funding, accurate and intelligent bidding and exploring new markets.

Grahame McCaig answers The construction Industry has been hard hit by the economic downturn and I’m sure most of the delegates looked for ideas and strategies on how to deal with the impact of the downturn. Hopefully many of them came with an open mind to discuss and agree positive ways of moving forward.

How optimistic are you about the construction industry as we head to 2010?

Habib Mikati answers I am very optimistic. In fact, I think that when the third quarter of 2010 comes around we will all be busy and smiling for years to come.

Grahame McCaig answers Unfortunately there is an old saying that construction is the first industry to enter a recession and the last to leave it. I think 2010 will be another tough year for construction in general.

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