Dubai’s Real-Estate Sector Sharpens its Act with Asset and Facilities Management

Stuart Baggaley
Pre-recession, Dubai’s construction industry was fast paced, focused on completing as quickly as possible for maximum impact, often with little thought for the long-term prospects of the building. The volume of building work undertaken in this manner has left a sizable legacy of issues to be addressed.

Many buildings were completed and opened without any strategies to underpin their efficiency and long-term wellbeing. The volume of building work undertaken in this manner has left a sizable legacy of issues to be addressed.

The design itself is the root of many problems. Before the downturn, design decisions were usually based on short-term aesthetics and a lack of awareness of the long-term operational and financial impacts. This led to a culture of defects, poor maintenance regimes and costly operating schedules.

Over a 30 year period, only 20 per cent of a building’s total costs are incurred during the construction phase, with a huge 80 per cent associated with the operation of the building. So it makes sound financial sense to ensure that operational costs are known and understood. The physical assets need to be managed professionally through a robust Asset Management Strategy.

Facilities management has been something of an after-thought in Dubai until now. It’s also tended to come on board late in the project’s schedule. It’s very difficult to achieve the building’s full efficiency when facilities management hasn’t typically figured in the design stage.

Facilities management and Asset management are now attracting much more interest as owners face up to the long-term maintenance and sustainability of their building stock.

We’re now seeing a more measured approach in the region, and new ways of working are emerging. Facilities management and Asset management are now attracting much more interest as owners face up to the long-term maintenance and sustainability of their building stock. An understanding is emerging around the need to plan this process from the outset, and an awareness that the value of the building will ultimately be enhanced.

The region has suffered from a lack of skilled facilities management and asset management professionals to advise and support building owners and influence the myriad of facilities management companies which have sprung up in the region.

These concerns have been publicly reinforced by HE Marwan Bin Ghulaita, the CEO of RERA. Speaking at the MEFMA Annual Conference 2012 held at the World Trade Centre, he confirmed that RERA had collated anecdotal evidence of many common defects and problems. Ghulaita commented, “Buildings may have been completed, but it needs a great job to keep them going and to be there for at least 50 to 60 years.”

He called on the FM industry to help advance the agenda of responsibility and accountability, also engaging in education and awareness-raising to support the culture change needed.

Faithful+Gould helps organisations, constructors, landlords and tenants to look at their building or property portfolio from an overall operational perspective. We enable maximisation of the value of their buildings by putting facilities management and asset management strategies in place - from the design stage if  possible, but also for existing buildings.