Engineering Inc. - March/April 2008 - (Page 6)

market watch Dubai, Abu Dhabi Surge as Emerging Development Markets By Joe Salimando T he development boom in China is still in full swing. But for international marketers, China isn’t the only game in town. International business also is booming in regions such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where billions of dollars are being spent on new construction. Oil exports have fueled a culture of prosperity and expansion with many engineering opportunities. Arabian Boomtowns What’s already happened in Dubai is legendary. Engineers created a livable, man-made island where land didn’t previously exist. Dubai also is now home to the world’s tallest building and to state-of-the-art technology, including a futuristic rotating skyscraper. Last year, more than 30,000 construction cranes dotted the small emirate’s modern landscape. Those cranes represented 24 percent of operational construction cranes in the world and worked on construction projects worth more than $300 billion combined. Still in the planning stage, the Dubai Mall project soon will be the largest shopping complex in the world. Dubai, which recently used its oil wealth to create its own commercial airline, Emirates Airline, and a major aircraftleasing company, known as DAE Capital, now has plans to join the $41 billion global aircraft-maintenance industry. Step 1: Build the world’s 6 eNGINeerING INc. largest facility for jetliner maintenance, repair and overhaul. Dubai also is creating a 140-square-kilometer (about 56 square miles) aviation center and airport. As part of that development, known as Dubai World Central, the government is investing $1.5 billion to build an aircraft-upkeep complex capable of handling as many as 400 aircraft. There are opportunities here. Engineering firms that can offer innovative ways to construct the new cities, houses and commercial buildings will find huge demand. Clients will hold at a premium building methods heavy on efficiency but light on manpower. Abu Dhabi Makes Its Move to construct the new Abu Dhabi.” Oil wealth justifies much of the expansion in the UAE. Still, the scale of what’s planned is shocking. According to the CIA World Factbook, UAE’s population is 4.4 million. In late 2006, Dubai Waterfront Co. announced plans to build—on what the International Herald Tribune described as “vacant beachfront”—“a selfcontained community larger than Manhattan, with housing for 700,000 people.” Innovation Needed Chris JaCkson/Getty imaGes “Abu Dhabi will have the highest concentration of wealth on the planet” by 2020, said Kito de Boer, managing director of global development and consulting firm McKinsey & Co.’s Middle East office, during a conference last fall. Between 2005 and 2020, de Boer projected, the UAE capital city would accumulate an oil surplus of $800 billion. Middle East news website reports that there is “$2.4 trillion worth of active and announced projects in Abu Dhabi” alone. Here, from the same report, is yet another eye-opener: “The Chief Operations Officer of Al Jaber Group, Fatima Al Jaber, already has 30,000 workers under her control, and was gearing up for the estimated workforce of 700,000 that will be needed Reading that snippet about going from 30,000 workers to 700,000, it’s easy to become skeptical. From where will these people come? How can any city or nation accommodate $2.4 trillion in construction? One answer is prefabrication—and it’s a niche where engineers likely will play a key role. Paul Arneill, an executive for Al Naboodah Laing O’Rourke, told Construction Week magazine in November that his firm’s “ambition is that 70 percent of everything will be prefabricated in the future.” Jim Young of Realcomm .com, a commercial and corporate real estate technology website, wrote this about UAE after a late 2006 visit: “During a presentation at Festival City, we heard how the Building Operations Center will serve as the hub for the building automation requirements in this 180-building project, as well as the central point for management of pub- lic utilities, traffic and safety systems. Their goal is to run all of these traditionally disparate systems over one standard IP network. “Another subtle yet significant presence of innovative technology was found in restaurants, where servers arrived at your table with a small wireless device ready to take your order. Before they even left the table, your drink order was placed and on its way.” The November issue of Arabian Business, which keeps tabs on construction trends in the region, featured an interview with Arab real estate expert Khalid Esbaitah of Al Mazaya Holding. Esbaitah’s contention: “The current real estate boom is likely to expand to other neighboring markets in the Middle East, as we are currently witnessing mega-projects being launched in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, with more projects to be announced in these countries and others in the future.” Opportunity is knocking. Joe Salimando writes frequently on the construction industry at He can be reached at march / aprIl 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - March/April 2008

Engineering Inc. - March/April 2008
Table of Contents
From ACEC to You
News & Notes
Market Watch
Legislative Action
Election Preview
Bottom-Line Strategies
From the Ground UP
2008 Annual Convention Primer
Across the Federation
Business Insights
2007 ACEC/PAC Honor Roll
Membrs in the News

Engineering Inc. - March/April 2008