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Fri 25 Jun 2010 04:00 AM

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Inclined to excellence

Mohammed Masadeh, Mace Group project manager: MEP speaks about the challenges of being involved with some of the region's most iconic projects.

Inclined to excellence

Mohammed Masadeh, Mace Group project manager: MEP speaks about the challenges of being involved with some of the region's most iconic projects.

What is your background?

I have ten years' diverse experience in the construction industry. During this time I have worked as a package manager/senior engineer within the MEP sub-contracting sector.

As such my experience is wide-ranging, and includes some significant projects in hotels and resorts, commercial offices, retails, educational institutes, exhibition centres, electrical substations, serviced and residential apartments, multi-storey car parks and various others.

I joined Mace Group in September 2008. Based in Abu Dhabi, I am MEP project manager on Capital Gate tower, owned and developed by ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company).

I am well-positioned to work effectively in all MEP sectors, bringing a dynamic approach to bear backed by my wealth of experience. I graduated in 1999/2000 from the Jordan University of Science & Technology (JUST) with a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering - Thermal Power.

I am a member of the Jordanian Engineers' Association, a member of the Project Management Institute, and a member of Build Safe UAE. Recently I attended a training course for LEED AP at American University at Sharjah, and will sit this exam during the summer.

The MEP sector has changed a lot?

Yes, the type of projects that are being tendered in recent years have been large-scale, requiring technical innovations and involving high risk. Fast-track jobs were the norm, mainly in Abu Dhabi, which brought its own risks to bear as well.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities?

The MEP industry currently faces a shortage of quality contractors that have significant experience in the local region; this was mainly an effect of the exponential growth in demand in the MEP sector over the last few years, and the inability of the existing firms to meet the market demand.

In addition, the lack of skilled labour in the region is a big challenge to the development of the MEP sector. The boom in the regional construction sector has led to a wide-scale scarcity of materials, which could potentially cause delays in contract completion.

What impact has the downturn had?

Business is not easy right now, but some companies are still performing well - not only just surviving, but reaching a new level of performance. I believe those companies managed to deal with the risk by spreading it beyond the borders of the UAE, and ensuring that they have a foothold for example in KSA, Qatar, Oman and other countries within MENA like Egypt.

Some companies established independent functioning units focusing on infrastructure, civil contracting, water and power beside their core business of MEP. Moreover, cash-control know-how, adding value to customers and flexibility are essentials in order to survive.

What impact have green building and sustainability had?

The use of sustainable design methodology has now become mandatory on all new construction in Abu Dhabi; as such, the MEP systems design has to be updated regularly to reduce the construction costs and time, to minimise the operational energy consumption, and to ensure full compliance with the latest regulations from the authorities.

What is your view of latest technologies such as BIM?

The application of BIM software will give a chance for MEP contractors/engineers to reduce costs, save the time needed to complete the detailed design stage and enhance quality by improving the build ability and reducing the total number of errors.

For the time being, it is impossible for MEP contractors to go beyond 3D modelling, since the databases include broad aspects of electrical work such as lighting and junctions, but do not include specific pieces of conduits. Software vendors are working to improve the functionality of the BIM software, and have not given a specific timeframe for completion.

What are some of the projects that the Mace Group has worked on?

Mace Group has, and continues to, deliver some of the most inspiring projects around the world: from international airports such as Heathrow's Terminal 5 and the New Doha International Airport, to leisure facilities such as Ski Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Current projects also include Europe's tallest building, the Shard London Bridge and Port Baku Residences, where Mace is delivering an integrated consultancy and construction service offer, and the largest construction project in Syria, the Yasmeen Rotana Hotel.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Off the back of our successful delivery in the UAE, we are now working from Azerbaijan to Oman. The company's growth has been founded on the development of strong relationships and early involvement in its projects.