The UAE’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has announced plans which seek to drive technological progress within the region’s construction sector. The National Guide for Smart Construction – fittingly unveiled at celebrations for the department’s Innovation Week – will aid and accelerate the UAE’s transition towards digitalisation and support the government’s wider aspiration of incubating innovation to achieve global leadership status.
Practically speaking, the guide calls time on paper-based systems in the UAE’s construction industry. It recognises the potential benefits of digital tools and ushers in a new age of improved productivity, cooperation, safety and sustainability.
Saudi Arabia is treading a similar path with its Building Technology Stimulus Programme, which seeks to address the Kingdom’s housing shortage through the application of digital tools. As well as providing comfortable housing, the Saudi government believes the programme will decrease costs, save time and increase build quality.
The barriers cited to digitisation are strikingly similar throughout MENA – and indeed, the world over – regardless of how technologically advanced a country’s construction industry may be. You might well recognise phrases such as ‘fragmentation across disciplines’, ‘habitual resistance to change’, ‘the cost (or perceived cost) of implementation’ and ‘lack of drive from senior management’.
And while the barriers might feel familiar, so too should the solutions. The key recommendations from industry experts tend to be that governments should do more to encourage digital adoption within their respective nations. As we have seen in places like the UK, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, such governmental guidance is a real driving force for positive change when it comes to modernisation.
The Middle East and North Africa would certainly have much to gain from more widescale adoption of digital construction tools. In November 2020, an estimated $4.3 trillion worth of projects were either planned or underway in the region. With such throughput, better working processes and collaboration could have a very significant impact on profitability, sustainability and build quality.
As it has all around the world, the dual pressures of COVID-19 and climate crisis have accelerated the demand for digital construction tools in the Middle East. Out of necessity, developers, architects, engineers and contractors are finding smarter, more efficient ways to work. BIM, AI, digital handover and document management and remote visual tools such as drones and laser scanners are all becoming more common place.
Riad Bsaibes, CEO of Dubai-based developer Amana Investments says: “Construction companies have to invest in digital transformation to future-proof their business and boost profitability in a dynamic market. One of the most significant trend stories of 2021 will be the convergence of manufacturing, technology and construction as it reduces waste, cuts project costs and timelines, while complying with new on-site health and safety protocols.”
At Zutec, we’re proud to have worked with our valued Middle Eastern clients on some very prestigious developments. For example, back in 2018, we commenced work on the Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi airport, providing digital O&Ms, Asset Register systems and Snagging & Defect Management on the 10.8 billon AED project. With the aid of our Work Inspection Requests, our client, ADAC, was able to reduce project request turnarounds by as much as 19 days.
In a similar project, we helped TAV Construction and Taisei Corporation deliver an award-winning airport in Doha, Qatar. The Zutec Commissioning team led the documentation production and controls for all MEP Commissioning test-packs and method statements. Zutec also provided specialist team members on the project to facilitate training, firewall penetration and Building Management System (BMS) integration.
With digital tools providing so much opportunity, this is an exciting time for the Middle Eastern construction sector. Zutec are excited to play our part in facilitating progress.
For a free customised demo with one of our locally based team-members, contact Zutec today.