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Sunny outlook for GCC facilities management sector, says Imdaad

Jamal Abdullah Lootah

Jamal Abdullah Lootah

The facilities management (FM) sector in the Middle East is fast gaining round on more mature markets in other parts of the world, according to Imdaad, a leading provider of integrated facilities, waste and energy management solutions in the GCC.

The company foresees abundant opportunities for the UAE market in particular, despite pressures from the ongoing oil price slump, due to a projected 2.5 percent economic growth which was recently forecasted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

One of the challenges faced by the Gulf’s FM businesses is the growing emphasis on value for money while ensuring well-maintained buildings, Imdaad said in a statement.

There are also mounting concerns over fire safety amidst recent incidents involving high-profile facilities. Imdaad advises industry to brace for the business impact of upcoming new government regulations on fire safety and better measures for reducing fire and other hazards being demanded by clients.

A business confidence survey conducted by the British Institute of Facilities Management, on the other hand, has shown a clear optimism about the region’s FM activities among those directly and indirectly engaged in the sector.

A huge 61 percent of respondents believed that their workforce will expand within 2016 to meet growing demand. The UAE was also viewed as the Gulf’s most developed FM market, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia among other major growth areas.

Survey results point to the sustained momentum of outsourcing, with 36 percent of participants indicating that their FM is totally outsourced and 60 percent saying that more FM operations will be outsourced in the future.

Jamal Abdullah Lootah, CEO, Imdaad, said: “There is definitely a lot of room for growth within the GCC’s facilities management sector. We can expect more business from a diverse client base as the industry continues to mature and catch up with its global counterparts.

“FM companies operating in the UAE and other key markets can take advantage of opportunities such as the 2020 Dubai Expo to prove their expertise, engage potential clients, and reach out to a broader audience. The bottom line is that the industry needs to maintain balance between exercising caution amidst challenging market conditions and planning for growth in what is basically still an underdeveloped GCC FM landscape. The next few years will provide an important learning period for the business.”

Although slower construction activity is foreseen in 2016 for the UAE, Imdaad is confident that the market will quickly bounce back in the coming years. The company points to sustained business streams from buildings that have already been constructed as well as the positive market influence of Dubai Expo 2020.

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