Kiwi timber floats Abu Dhabi's boat
Engineered timber building solutions could transform Middle East
Poured concrete and glass façades have multiplied to dominate the new bustling metropolitan city centres of the Gulf, and have done a remarkable job at transforming skylines and cityscapes in astonishing timeframes. However, urban designers and architects alike are looking for a fresher, more aesthetically appealing, but economical choice of building material to make their project stand out.
David Moon, UAE manager of Global Timer Homes Group, saw intense interest in timber engineered building solutions from New Zealand on days one and two of Big 5.
Day one saw the timber building solutions, and in particular the photo presentation of the Abu Dhabi project, draw interest from across the Gulf and much further afield.
“We’ve had a lot of enquiries from Jordan, India and Sudan, as well as the expected turnout from the GCC countries,” beamed Moon.
“We already have one major project in execution for a hotel in Abu Dhabi. It’s a waterfront restaurant and the company was after something prestigious but practical, and timber offers the ideal package.”
Moon says that the Middle East is an ideal market for timber structures, and local developers and contractors just need to rethink their approach to see real, cost effective benefits. “The dominant approach to construction in the UAE is based on poured, in situ concrete slabs. This is expensive, labour intensive and very time consuming. Comparitive cost analysis of in-situ reinforced concrete slab construction with a timber engineered system has shown that the timber product is always significantly more economical.”
Global Timber Homes established its UAE office 18 months ago, but has really seen activity build in since summer this year. “I moved out here six months ago with the sole ambition of changing perceptions in the region with regards to timber building. Changing perceptions and taking the opportunity to educate developers a little outside their comfort zone is my priority,” said Moon.
A combination of warm weather and light rainfall means the building structure is guaranteed for 50 years, but will probably last much longer. The company is looking to build up contacts and relationships with developers and designers of higher-end villas and hotel buildings at this year’s Big 5.