Five minutes with: Sasa Popovic, WME Consultants

While 2017 saw an initial slowdown in the Gulf's construction sector, site works will be on the rise in 2018, WME's director of structures tells Construction Week

Sasa Popovic, WME Engineering Consultants.
Sasa Popovic, WME Engineering Consultants.

Sasa Popovic, director of structures at WME Engineering Consultants, talks to Construction Week about contemporary market conditions, and his team's support for the CW Awards 2017.

WME is a Silver Sponsor for the CW Awards 2017. 

The winners of this year’s event will be presented with their accolades during a gala dinner and awards ceremony at Rixos Premium Dubai on Wednesday, 6 December, 2017.

Why is it important that you support the CW Awards 2017?

The construction week recognises the best in our industry. We want our peers and clients to recognise that we support excellence within our industry in both our own company and in others.

It is events like this that allows us not only to review our status in the market, but challenge ourselves to be the best.

The event is also a great opportunity to network, meet colleagues, and debrief them on the year and the challenges both behind and ahead of us. 

What are the main challenges faced by the regional construction industry in 2017?

2017 has been a very competitive year, with construction costs dropping while clients expectations for perfection are increasing.

The UAE is now an established market and this is when true excellence is recognised and standards are challenged.  

Building information modelling (BIM) has been an amazing tool that has really come to bloom in 2017 – with clients acknowledging the importance of such evolving tools in our industry, it has become an active process that should make things easier going forward.

NEXT PAGE: Popovic reveals how the regional construction sector may perform in 2018

How would you rate the GCC construction industry’s performance in 2017?

2017 has seen a bit of a slowdown initially – some government bodies have merged and some large-scale projects went on hold.

There has been a big emphasis on Expo 2020 Dubai, and a lot of time and money has been diverted to ensure its success.

The market is definitely more competitive than ever and clients are seeking the most value for money in both design and execution, which is challenging.

How do you expect the Gulf's construction sector to perform in 2018?

Site execution will be very busy in 2018, with the pace being ramped up for completion of projects [by] 2020.

I expect a few new master plans to come online next year. The Gulf's governments and planners are always thinking 10 years ahead and have amazing vision for planning way beyond what we see.

This is what makes this such an exciting and inspiring place to live.  

We have seen a big growth in proposals from Saudi Arabia, which is promising for regional diversification. We expect 2018 to be interesting, but as always, we are optimistic that well-established companies that deliver excellent products will retain a place in the market.

Please list the top three categories that you will look out for at the CW Awards 2017.

We will be looking out for the Consultant of the Year and Contractor of the Year categories. These categories really give you a feel of the benchmark in the market and how to measure yourself against these as standards. 

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