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Interview with Amer Bin Ahmed, Managing Director, Knauf Middle East & India

IQPC had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Amer Bin Ahmed, Managing Director, Knauf Middle East and India for an interview at the THEME PARKS & ENTERTAINMENT DEVELOPMENT FORUM, Middle East conference held in April where they were the platinum sponsors, to get an insight into the role of fire safety in these sectors

Mr, Amer, if you had to simply explain the connection between Knauf and the Entertainment & Theme park industry how would you explain it?

Knauf is a family owned company. As a result of this, we are inspired to ensure our products and solutions are designed to keep families and children in mind and help provide a safe, sustainable and durable environment. An example of this is a project we delivered, the IMG theme park, in which we installed the encasement of steel columns and high impact resistant walls in the public traffic areas as well as an acoustic solution for the indoor rides. At all points our key focus was safety, sustainability and durability.

Fire safety and acoustics performance are also fundamental. The Dubai Opera project for example, where Knauf provided drywall solutions for high rise walls and delivered impeccable performance in acoustic ratings. We also delivered the Bollywood Theme Parks where drywall solutions were required for indoor rides that demanded high fire and acoustic performance; we also designed and supplied the high acoustic walls for Rajmahal theatres that met the required fire ratings. This was all testaments to our commitment of delivering high quality products and services.

Being able to adapt to the expectations of the end user and meet the demands required from such a dynamic industry and to achieve the desired results is what we strive for.

The Entertainment and Theme park industry is a key area for growth for both local and regional economies. With investments worth US$3.54 billion being made to boost the Gulf’s film industry, around 2500 cinemas screens are expected to be installed in KSA itself in the next 3-5 years. Therefore it is imperative that you partner with the right products and solution provider who can cater to the fast tracked projects and challenging cinema projects where time is of essence.

In a competitive market such as this (Entertainment & Themepark), how does Knauf stand out as compared to other solution providers in the region?

Our strength lies in providing faster lead time and deliveries, site support and training for the installer. In over 6 years we have delivered more than 100 cinema screens throughout the UAE and GCC region. That has given us vast experience and local know how of tailor-made solutions in the entertainment sector.

Knauf creates and manufactures world class fire rated and acoustic products for the entertainment industry. We have a specialist team to cater to the demands and design requirements of the consultants, architects and contractors. Our products and materials are tested and certified by third party that meets the ASTM, DIN and ENBS standards which are also approved and certified by Civil Defense.

We have dedicated systems and solutions for the entertainment sector which is superior in quality and substantially reduces the time of completion in

comparison to traditional construction practices. This is of paramount importance to the client, and is why we are the preferred choice for these projects.

What is the future of Knauf in the entertainment industry in the region in regards to product offerings and the role of technology in it?

All our products and solutions are tested and approved by various private and government bodies that keep pushing the boundaries of regulations and standards which can be challenging to meet, but at Knauf, we not only meet but exceed those standards. We do this by leveraging our vast local and technological competence and expertise in this segment.

The local government’s vision for the future is towards sustainability and rapid economic growth, and this can only be achieved by industry leaders’ cooperation and embracing disruptive innovations. As technology advances, this changes both the requirements of building materials in being able to accommodate this in physical sense (building for the future and allowing flexibility and adaptation of design later in the building life cycle), but also in advancing our own operation and efficiency through investments in technology in our facility. We have been significantly improving and furthering automation and digital measurement of productivity in our manufacturing process to become even more sustainable and reduce waste from manufacturing in terms of time and material.

Beside this, integration of BIM (Building Information Management) which is a collaborative construction platform, is allowing developers to see the exact timescale and performance of their projects is the greatest opportunity for building material suppliers and building owners in GCC. It allows us to not only make the construction process more efficient but also to improve management of the building throughout its operation. The end benefit being a building not only designed and constructed efficiently but also a building that is maintained well and sustained to increase its lifecycle and service customers for a longer time period.

Continuing with the theme of innovation, our proprietary “Spekbuild”, a browser based proposal builder is available for all users to build their own specifications online. It has built-in all Knauf products and system specifications, helping the individual to configure solution themselves instantly.

We are German quality that is made in UAE. This allows us to deliver world-class products and systems sustainably, as well as meeting and helping to develop standards locally. As we always say, we do not just deliver products, we deliver solutions.

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