Sustainable growth is a tricky thing to adopt and follow. By definition sustainable growth is the realistically attainable growth that a company could maintain without running into problems. For example, if a firm grows too quickly, it may find it difficult to fund the growth, and if a firm grows too slowly, it may lose out in the long run.
Medha Sukthankar, general manager, Al Shirawi Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Company, says that the company’s main objective is to maintain a sustainable growth and be regarded as one of the most reputed MEP contractors, enhance customer and employee satisfaction, and maximise stakeholders’ values through profitability. In order to achieve this, she says: “We continue to work towards improving procurement and planning for both cost control and timely deliveries to our clients as well as the overall productivity of our workers.
“We now have a fool-proof procurement strategy with grading systems, feedback policies and more in place for selectively choosing suppliers with a low-risk profile. This is especially important for avoiding delays in project delivery. As part of our continuous improvement process, we also conduct internal reviews dubbed as project close-out meetings to take stock of how we handled each project and how we can better our best.”
She added that employee welfare and training are other important aspects that have helped the company have an edge over others. “Our training focussed on company policies, job functions, soft skills and technical training have led to increased motivation and productivity among our people.
“Our HR policies for worker welfare, including wellness programmes such as yoga for workers in labour camps, monthly lucky draws and bus tours on weekends are some of the simpler initiatives that have yielded big results.”
Dubai-based Al Shirawi undertakes MEP contracts encompassing design, engineering, supply, installation, testing and commissioning. Its scope of work includes air-conditioning and ventilation, electrical and low current system, plumbing and drainage, and fire-fighting and LPG work.
Sukthankar adds: “As one of the leading MEP building services contractors, we have invested close to AED100m into labour accommodation, pre-fabrication capabilities, offices and storage. We are fully equipped with modern IT systems and our design and drawing offices have state-of-the-art drafting facilities and latest CAD technology including BIM modelling.”
Talking about what Al Shirawi has been up to the previous year, Sukthankar says that the company is confident of achieving its targeted AED300 million in revenue by June 2018. She adds: “We are extremely satisfied to have successfully handed over a couple of major projects including the 118 Luxury Tower in October of 2017, Emirates Flight Training Organisation Facility at Dubai World Central and Tijara buildings in Dubailand.”
The future looks positive, according to Sukthankar. She says: “In the UAE, there is still significant ongoing work towards Expo 2020. We expect more and more projects in the design stage to kick off and go under construction in the near future. Besides, the UAE has a visionary and dynamic leadership, and you can always expect some exciting project announcements.”
Sukthankar expects an increase in commercial and infrastructure projects in the coming years. “We hope to leverage our expertise in this segment to continue to hand-pick our projects,” she adds.
“We have been especially successful in the commercial space having completed several projects in the past including The Business Village at Port Saeed, Meraas’ Office Development off Sheikh Zayed Road, Petrofac’s office towers in Sharjah, Commerical Bank of Dubai’s office in Al Quoz to name just a few. We are currently executing the MEP scope for two office buildings in TECOM area for Tamdeen.”
“Tiara United Towers at Business Bay is one of our major ongoing projects. We were also awarded two projects of Al Hathboor Group including a residential project in Dubai Silicon Oasis, and hotel apartments at Palm Jumeirah. More recently, we won the American School of Dubai’s new building and the second school of Arcadia Education.”
The MEP sector is not devoid of challenges. Sukthankar says that there are several challenges facing the sector such as lack of contractor classification and competition, lack of budgets for fire protection, lack of budgets for green building initiatives, delay in civil works leading to unrealistic recovery for MEP contractors, sourcing of skilled labour and rising labour costs, unrealistic deadlines and several changes in projects and delayed payment certifications.
However, the real estate market and government spending are still driving the market. She concludes: “Thanks to the blend of government and private sector spending in the UAE, we have an industry that has remained buoyant for a number of years.”