Increased integration essential, says MEP panel


By Gerhard Hope

The sharp downturn, combined with additional regulatory requirements, has placed huge pressures on the construction industry — and the only way for the industry to cope is to work much closer together, from designers to contractors, said Buro Happold director Kevin Mitchell at the Construction Week conference in Abu Dhabi.

“The construction industry is a team sport. Construction projects are no different. People need to work much closer together, and BIM is one way to do this,” said Atkins MEP head David Crowder.

Crowder said Atkins had deployed a BIM approach successfully on the Dubai Metro, and carried this through to its work on major metro projects in Makkah and Calcutta.

Al-Futtaim Engineering MEP division head S.S. Murali said that “the construction industry, which is inherently inefficient, is facing increased competition.

It has to ensure that it delivers the necessary quality. The downturn has forced us to look much more closely at our cost base.”

Imad Eldurubi from the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal affairs said that the emirate’s new international codes will require mechanical, electrical and plumbing drawings to be submitted.

“This means a shift of responsibility in the industry. There will now be one document from the designer to the code official at the municipality reviewing the plans to the inspectors in the field.

“This is based on an internationally recognised standard. I am confident this will bring in new business, as it will encourage developers to get projects designed and built smoothly. It really is a positive thing, and I am predicting a very bright future,” said Eldurubi.

Crowder said ‘partnering contracts’, as used in Hong Kong, were a potential model to nurture closer relationships between all construction professionals.

Hyder Consulting regional director Stephen Oehme said “the UAE had a history of importing ideas; now it was at the stage of customising. The UAE represents an enhanced platform to achieve something extraordinary.”