Al Futtaim sees growth in Qatar's FM, MEP market

Dubai firm says lack of skilled operators provides chance for growth

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Al Futtaim divisional heads reveal their plans to Construction Week
Al Futtaim divisional heads reveal their plans to Construction Week

One of Dubai’s biggest engineering firms has revealed it expects to make major in-roads into the Qatari facilities management market over the next few years.

“There are a lot of technical skills in the UAE that are not available in Qatar, which we have,” said Subramanya Rao, divisional manger for Facilities Management at Al Futtaim Engineering.

“There are very few good FM companies in Qatar who provide the quality services required.”

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He was speaking during an exclusive interview with Construction Week due to be published this Saturday (31 Aug), where Al Futtaim Engineering’s divisional bosses offer their vision for future growth in the Middle East - especially Qatar.

The company already has a 700-strong workforce in Qatar built up over 10 years but says it is bidding for work there on an unprecedented scale.

Rao says that Qatar is severely lacking some of the key skills needed to satisfy the huge growth going on in the country, including the servicing of MEP plant.

He said: “There are a lot of technical skills in the UAE that are not available in Qatar, which we have. For example, we are very good in electro-mechanical works: rewinding, motors generators, rectifying pumps and all those things.

“For HVAC, we can rebuild chillers, there are very few who can rectify these chiller issues and maintain them.”

The company has an eye to opportunities from World Cup 2022 as well and among AFE’s full range of air HVAC options, it can offer stadium air-conditioning – and it has already installed it.

Rajesh Bhatia, the divisional manager for the air conditioning division, said: “With specialised diffusers, we are the only company that has done an open-site air conditioning system in Qatar.

The company has installed 39,000 diffusers to air condition the football field at the 13,000-seat Al Sadd open-air football stadium in Doha, proving it can be done and that it can work. “We are the only supplier,” said Bhatia.

Scaffolding is another area where AFE expects to score highly as the complex architectural designs are turned into reality for the World Cup.

Al Futtaim has a reputation for setting up scaffolding in difficult to reach places. “Everyone says they can do it but they always seem to come back to us to get it done,” said Francis Lee, divisional manager for scaffolding and formwork.

“The curve face in front of Burj Al Arab, only Al Futtaim could do it. The dome in the Mall of Emirates, it needed scaffolding, tonnes of scaffolding. But people needed to be able to work underneath. Al Futtaim did that.”

Read the full interview with Al Futtaim Engineering’s managing director and all of the divisional heads in issue 481 of Construction Week.

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