Here is a look at the top 5 MEP consultants of 2018.
Building Services Director
Number of years in role: 12
Total number of years in company: 12
Number of years working in Middle East: 26
Aecom had a global revenue of approximately $18.2bn during fiscal year 2017. A few of the projects it completed in 2017 include Midfield Terminal Complex, Abu Dhabi; Al Maryah Central, Abu Dhabi; Dubai Tram Extension – phases 2 & 3; Tatweer Schools Program, Saudi, etc.
When talking about the Aecom’s largest markets that include the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Georges Basmaji, building services director, says: “We have recently put a lot of effort and investment in Saudi Arabia, which is seeing the introduction of a leisure and entertainment industry.”
The number of full time staff working for the company in the Middle East is 3,783, with around 213 qualified MEP engineers working for the firm.
On current sustainable business practices, Basmaji says: “One of the areas our MEP specialists are being approached by clients is to advise on the feasibility of using photovoltaic panels on their buildings to generate energy.”
Most recently, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Company inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aecom Middle East. As part of the MoU, Aecom will provide services covering project management and construction management; master planning, including urban and infrastructure planning; sustainability and energy conservation; infrastructure design; buildings and landscaping design; modular construction solutions; and cost consulting and value engineering.
Talking about the company’s focus on training staff, Basmaji says: “Our graduate programme continues to thrive, so much so that it was recently expanded Middle East wide. Originally launched in 2013 in the UAE and Oman, the programme combines on-the-job learning, mentoring, and online and classroom learning. The two-year graduate programme provides meaningful career-focused experiences that support the growth and development of our graduates whilst contributing to the shared success of our business.”
Regional Director of MEP Solutions
Arcadis Middle East
Number of years in role: 1
Number of years in company: 3
Number of years working in Middle East: 11
Globally, the gross revenues for Arcadis in 2017 was around $4bn. Aracdis’ Middle East business currently employ 2,175 people based across its offices in the GCC, as well as its Global Excellence Centre in Manila.
Bill Jolly, regional director of MEP Solutions, Arcadis Middle East, says: “We estimate that GCC nationals account for around 5-10% of our total workforce located within the Middle East region. The nationalisation agenda is something that we’re supporting as a business, particularly in Saudi Arabia where we’re investing in local leaders and talent at all levels of the organisation.”
Some of the projects that Arcadis is involved in 2018 are Dubai Creek Harbour Retail District; Dubai Hills Estate Mall; Tilal Mall & Hotel in Sharjah, etc.
When it comes to the challenges that the business faces in the next 12 months, Jolly says: “Traditionally, engineers have always been technically very strong and excellent at coming up with design solutions that meet a client’s need. This skillset will continue to be vitally important.
However, in the current economic climate, there’s a growing need for MEP engineers to become more commercially aware in terms of the design solutions they develop. This may require additional training for some professionals. People need cost-effective designs that work, and things that can be delivered for clients in a shorter timeframe.”
Jolly says that digital technology will play a big part. The transition from computer-aided 2D designs to BIM is already transforming MEP design practices. Over the next 12 months, BIM and Revit 3D modelling will be more widely applied on all MEP systems.
He says: “Embracing this will help engineering teams to collaborate more effectively around construction and design decisions, find solutions to key project design integration challenges and create higher quality buildings with consistent and coordinated information.”
Mark C. Wilson
Regional Building Services Engineering Practice Lead and Associate Director
Number of years in role: 7
Number of years in company: 13
Number of years working in Middle East: 13
In 2017, Atkins witnessed the practical completion of some major projects. The building services team in the region have been involved in the Marsa Al Seef development and a residential component of Dubai South. Mark C. Wilson, regional building services engineering practice lead and associate director, says: “Other key commissions were from Emaar and a framework agreement with Dubai Airports ensuring that 2017 was a productive year for the company.”
Talking about the year ahead, Wilson says: “The recent renewal of the Dubai Airport Framework agreement will ensure that Atkins have multiple commissions in 2018 which, in totality, will secure a significant pipeline of work. Another new work stream is for projects with Atkins’ new parent company, SNC-Lavalin; the projects are in the pharmaceutical, oil and gas, and rail and transit sectors.”
Atkins claims to have always placed a strong focus on developing employees’ digital design skills where it has made a significant investment. As of December 2017, Atkins ME has invested over $294,000 in regional training.
Wilson adds: “In the Middle East and Africa, our aim is to be the employer of choice; for example, our women’s business network played a leading role in the review of our maternity policy and flexible working policy.
“Annually, we invest in training programmes such as digital design engineering, change management, line manager skills, leadership training, business coaching and corporate programmes such as health, safety and ethics.”
Managing Director, MEP Engineering
Number of years in role: 5
Number of years in company: 5
Number of years working in Middle East: 9
KEO International Consultants has continued to expand its portfolio of projects adding to its established reputation as one of the leading consultants in the market. With over 2,400 multidisciplinary professionals, KEO continues to deliver some of the region’s most complex MEP projects, taking on the role of lead MEP consultant and building strong, trusted partnerships with its clients.
Over the past year, KEO strengthened its position in the MEP market place following the latest trends and using the BIM platform to deliver several large and challenging projects across the Middle East. The company claims to have started delivering clash-free models by using the clash detection capability within BIM and using the power of 3D tools to design and coordinate different disciplines to ensure faster and more accurate delivery of its projects.
Most recently, KEO obtained the ISO9001:2015 certification for the delivery of its Project Management and Construction Management (PM-CM) services across all the GCC markets.
The firm received a certificate from the Lloyds Register of Quality Assurance (LRQA), a certification body accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS).
Some of the projects that KEO has worked on include My City Center Masdar, SHAMS Residential Towers, Nareel Island Development, EXPO Village, etc.
Darrel Strobel, managing director MEP Engineering, KEO International Consultants, says: “There are a number of large events that are coming to the region which will require significant upgrade and/or new infrastructure alongside brand new facilities to meet the demand such as for Expo 2020. Such events provide multiple opportunities for companies to bid for innovative and prestigious new work.”
Commenting on the challenges, Strobel says: “Increased competition and reducing fees occurring simultaneously are making it a very competitive market. KEO is constantly looking for ways to improve efficiency to remain competitive in the market whilst still delivering high quality services. We use a BIM platform to deliver all of our new projects and this is starting to provide real benefits to us and our clients as we produce clash free federated models in 3D.”
Rob Charles Gregory
MEP Technical Director
Number of years in role: 2
Number of years in company: 2
Number of years working in Middle East: 16
Aurecon completed some the major projects in the UAE such as Bollywood Parks, where it was involved in the structural, façade, mechanical, electrical and plumbing works, and The Address Hotel, where it was involved in the civil, structural, geotechnical works including authority approvals.
The projects that the company is currently working on are Dubai Conference & Exhibition (CoEx) Expo 2020 Campus, Aqua Hotel, Jeddah, and Tall Tower at Dubai Creek Harbour.
Rob Charles Gregory, MEP Technical Director, says: “Technology will play an even bigger role in 2018. What we need to figure out is how we engage with the new technology partners to deliver next generation solutions to bring our clients’ ideas to life. Helping our clients harness the power of digital is part of Aurecon’s global strategy and 2018 will see us play a bigger role in the digital space in the Middle East. To help our clients get the most out of digital innovation, we have appointed Kevin Miller as our digital practice lead.
“Furthermore, there are opportunities this year for consulting engineers to think more about how to keep the client’s asset relevant, after commissioning; and not just ‘build and forget’. Clients are seeking advice on how to continue to extract value during their asset’s entire lifespan. Helping clients understand how to keep their asset relevant and alive in the changing context of its community, technology and/or economic purpose is going to be an important role of a consulting engineer in a construction environment.”
Gregory adds that some of the challenges facing the industry are from global economic uncertainty and the restructuring of GCC economies that lead to delays in decision-making. This, he says, has an impact on the ability to assess the project pipeline, and therefore, the allocation of staff and resources to deliver the projects. This affects both consulting engineers and contractors.
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