Big 5 Booms

Spending on construction projects in Dubai is running at us $4 billion a year and no end in sight.

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By  Eudore Chand Published  November 27, 2003

|~|big5_200.jpg|~|Dubai World Trade Centre, the venue for the show.|~|By Construction Week staff
SATURDAY 29TH NOVEMBER: The Big 5 throws its doors open to visitors today to the most important UAE and regional exhibition for the construction industry. GCC construction activity is currently running at its highest level for 20 years. In Dubai alone, spending within the construction industry is running at $4 billion a year, and it shows no sign of letting up.

There are known to be some 125 projects approved by the Dubai government up to the year 2010, and only some 25 of them have actually been announced, the latest of which was DubaiLand (see pages 13-15).

All these construction activities are fuelled by the region’s oil wealth and a desire for Dubai particularly to move the economy away from its reliance on natural resources. Tourism is a key development industry for the Emirate and much money is being spent to develop the industry, and DubaiLand is just one example. There are many hotel projects underway, the airport is getting a $2 billion new terminal; new schools, residential properties, hospitals, streets and parks are planned. There is much to play for this year.
The show itself is an excellent meeting place for the industry. It takes place at Dubai International Exhibition Centre between Saturday 29th December and Wednesday 3rd December across eight halls. The ‘five’ are seven in reality, with sections on bathrooms & ceramics and marble & machinery joining the original five: building & construction, water technology & environment, air conditioning & refrigeration, and cleaning & maintenance.

The organisers has built in some quiet time too, so that, if you have a big deal to make, you can do it after the first day between 1 pm 5 pm anywhere you choose because the show shuts between those times. On the first day, the show is open all day.

This year India, Hungary, Palestine and Brazil have representations for the first time, joining a total 26 national groups. Germany has had a pavilion at the show for many years, but this year it is the first time one of the stands on that pavilion has been organised by the German Industry & Commerce Office (7D358) through a programme it calls Company-Pool|Dubai. “We consider the Big 5 show as an essential part of a market entry strategy for Pool-Companies. It is an excellent opportunity for these companies to offer their high-quality products and services to the Middle East market, and to establish valuable business contracts,” Dagmar Abdelatif, Pool Manger Dubai says. Companies on the stand include: Brand (interior design and fittings); Team Sunprotection Verotex & Warema, Eric Simon Art & Design (surfaces for interior architecture) and Aquapoint (swimming pools, spas, wellness and whirlpools).

The Company-Pool concept offers small and medium-sized German companies a permanent and cost-effective presence in the UAE. Its major goal is to support a powerful and effective presence in the UAE and so provide efficient market entry into the wider region. A key success factor for the Company-Pool idea is the careful selection of the participating companies. The services and products of these companies have to complement each other and to constitute and effective entity.

The UK too is putting on a large showing at a new stand position. This year the pavilion is in Hall 2 and the stand is 2A63 and is organised through the Construction Products Association (CPA). It is over 230 m2 larger than 2002 with 47 companies, 17 of which exhibited with us last year and 30 new companies, demonstrating the huge interest in the Middle East as an export market. “Support is offered to eligible companies in our group from UK Trade & Investment and we work closely with the British Embassy to promote UK awareness in the marketplace,” Michael Ankers, chief executive of the CPA.||**||Water technology is highlighted this year.|~|big5_2_200.jpg|~|Water technology is highlighted this year.|~|This event is the largest exhibition for professionals and traders in the building and construction industry in the Middle East. The Big 5 show is an essential business tool for architects and engineers to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in technology, materials and techniques across all the critical sectors.

The show is so important to Zamil Industries that the company is using the occasion to demonstrate the active and successful involvement Saudi Arabian business in the global construction industry.

“The ZIIC businesses will showcase a selection of leading and internationally certified air conditioning, pre-engineered steel buildings and processed architectural glass solutions which fulfil the needs of the construction industry in Saudi Arabia as well as in more than 70 international export markets,” says Abdulla Al Zamil, senior vice president, ZIIC Corporate Shared Services.

According to Al Zamil, the conglomerate’s participation in the most comprehensive trade exhibition for the contracting industry in the Middle East region is a perfect platform to showcase its leading solutions for the construction industry.

Concrete is one sector of the industry that is working so hard that reports suggest that the commodity is in short supply. But if you have got it, you need to mix it, and Saudi Arabian company Kifah Batching Plant (Stand 3A106) is at the show offering the equipment. The company has plants operating in most Middle East countries.
The company’s plants are wet or dry, or a combination of both and can be supplied manually operated or with computer batching systems, tailored to suit requirements. Control cabins can be sited at mixer platform level or in a suitable position on the ground.
This year the show organisers is putting an extra emphasis on water technology. Over the next 25 years, the UAE is planning to spend over US $7 billion to develop its water resources. Desalination represents 80% of the capacity required and a series of new plants are planned throughout the Emirates.

The marble and stone sector is growing massively. Many of the projects under way are large scale and require the high-quality finish and luxury that using natural stone provides. Most marble and granite is imported from abroad, a market worth some US $100 million in 2002. Demand has been growing at around 6% for both marble and granite, which comes into the UAE largely as uncut blocks or rocks and slabs.
There is no building in the Middle East that can survive without air conditioning 24/7 every day of the year, even if it is the non-mechanical cooling towers of old. Air conditioning & refrigeration plant are a major industry in the region, with all the major international companies represented, even if they are not at the show.
Both LG and Samsung have a very large presence at the show, both also showing new technologies that aims at saving money. This is LG’s biggest ever stand at the show and the company is to launch its multiconcealed duct system: the first of its type with linear external static pressure controls. LG is on stand 1A11.

Cleaning & maintenance is a must in an environment that has extremes of heat and direct sunlight. The sector is growing fast as more and more buildings are put up. There are more opportunities too in building repair and restoration as the region rediscovers its heritage buildings and prepares them for use as tourist attractions.

There are a couple of companies at this year’s show that are offering glass technology that is environmentally friendly. Glas + Spielgel-Schulz Kiel (7D344) is offering a glass called Voltralux. You cannot see through it fully, its semitransparent, but then it also generates electricity for you as well. Another German company, Salzer (7F340), has glass that uses a four-step absorption system integrated into its windows and doors that enable it to withstand blast pressures from bombs. The glass also looks perfectly normal, which, says the company, is half the security battle.

Not only are there many hotels going up in the UAE, all needing bathroom fittings and tiles, but there is also massive housing construction, particularly in Dubai. It is planned that the Jumeirah corridor in the Basha area of Dubai and its surrounding area will eventually be a new city in its own right with a population that is expected to reach 2 million. That is more than double Dubai’s population today. The construction of villas in the area has boomed on both sides of Sheik Zayed Road. Companies like RAK Ceramics are at Big 5 with its range of ceramics expecting to cash in on this boom. Besides the normal and designer range of ceramics, the company has a tile that has been designed for hospitals. It has an antimicrobial glaze that permanently neutralises viruses, bacteria and fungi.

The show is sponsored by the Federation of the UAE, the UAE Ministry of Electricity & Water, the UAE Contractor’s Association, Department of Economic Development, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Dubai Municipality.||**||

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