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Local contractors must shape up or lose out

Local contractors must improve professionalism to survive, says UAE Contractors Association

Local contractors must shape-up their ideas if they are to survive in the UAE’s cutthroat construction market. The aggressive timetable of freehold projects is attracting a growing number of international companies to the UAE, and putting the squeeze on local suppliers.

According to Dr Rashed Ahmed Rashed, general manager, of the UAE Contractors Association, many local companies must reinvent themselves if they are to survive.

“The construction industry here is feeling the effects of globalisation. So local players need to advance their operations, they need to advance their performance and develop quality standards if they are to remain in the market,” he explains.

“There are more companies coming to the market with high quality standards. [Middle East] companies must match those standards, or they will depart from the local market,” Dr Rashed adds.

In an attempt to boost quality and match international standards entering the market, local companies are turning to information technology. The deployment of IT, including everything from e-mail to more sophisticated project management tools, is essential if contractors are to meet the quality standards and tight deadlines of project work in the UAE.

“We’re recommending to our members, and other organisations, that they get prepared for the competitive market. Part of that is making sure that they have these systems in place,” says Dr Rashed.

“Companies are being forced to use IT by the situation they are in — the speed at which these projects have to be delivered requires the use of information technology,” he adds.
In the relatively short period of time since freehold properties became available, they have shaken the local construction industry’s foundations. Freehold has sparked furious growth in both the real estate and infrastructure construction market.

“The changing law in the UAE has had a massive impact on the local industry,” says Roland Asaker, business development manager, CCL Stressing Systems, a specialised engineering firm, based in Dubai.

“Not only has there been a series of high profile real estate projects, such as Emaar, Nakheel and Damac, but it has also sparked infrastructure work,” he adds.

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