Manohar Raghavan, business development manager of Middle East and Africa for 3M Construction Markets, talks about the company's diversification into the construction industry.
Why did 3M decide to go into the construction segment?
As a diversified technological company offering solutions, products and services in various fields, it was a logical step to get into the construction sector, which we did two years ago.
We now manufacture a diverse range of products for specifiers, architects, contractors and also provide innovative technologies for building maintenance and repair.
The Middle East region needs to follow international guidelines for safety and fire protection and needs to look into implementing them.
How relevant are 3M products to the construction sector?
Construction is a very complex business so we have divided it into different market segments such as fire and safety, glazing and cladding, electro-mechanical maintenance and repair, facility management and interiors. We offer active fire protection systems, cabling solutions, window films, floor matting systems, specialty coatings for the floor and walls, apart from roofing protection.
What is the market like for your and similar type of products? Do you have growth figures in this product range or the size of the market for such products?
3M Gulf as a subsidiary has been in the market for the past 25 years, we have been growing by 25% over the past few years and we expect growth of 30% in the core areas in the future.
How relevant will be the implementation of safety standards to the construction industry in the Middle East in the future?
Construction projects and leading contractors in the Middle East do have safety procedures in place and have shown improvement over the past few years.
Safety is a continuous education process and achievement, and since international real estate builders and contractors are moving into the area it will definitely help the need to address safety. Government bodies are also promoting safety campaigns and putting datelines in place which will eventually help.
The Middle East region needs to follow international guidelines for safety and fire protection and needs to look into implementing them. The procedures might be in place, but they are not being implemented fully yet. But it is going in the right direction as one can see a lot of training and campaigns taking place.
Which regions in the Middle East do you see as areas for growth?
We have a couple of primary markets and the UAE is definitely one of them. There is a lot of activity in Saudi Arabia; Qatar is focusing on sustainable development, while Jordan and Kuwait are also coming up.
What is the importance of sustainable development and environment protection to the construction industry?
It is critical for the construction industry to look at sustainable development and environment protection has to be made a priority. This will help in addressing global warming, protect the environment, get more confidence from the investor, and improve the overall image of the company and country it is operating in.
Can you discuss the innovative technology that 3M offers?
We have introduced structural glazing and cladding tapes that are used for bonding glass into alumninium facades. This tape is used to attach glass to metal frames replacing commonly used mechanical fasteners, gaskets or structural silicone sealants.
Conventional methods of bonding the structural glazing glass units to a metal frame employ either single part or two part silicone structural sealants. In this system, a double-sided open cell foam tape (spacer tape) is used to give temporary holding of the glass and for creating the necessary space for the structural sealant.
The dimension of the spacer tape is decided based on the desired sealant bite and bead thickness. The bond should not be disturbed during the curing of silicone sealant, and it may take days to achieve handling strength. 3M's tapes provide an alternative bonding method that can provide the performance needed for the application with significant benefits.
We also have Novec 1230, an active fire protection product. The fluid does not contribute to greenhouse gases that harm the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.
The fluid balances industry concerns for human safety, performance and the environment whilst adhering to the perimeters set out by the UN's Montreal and Kyoto protocols addressing climate change, which call for the worldwide phasing out of halon by 2010.For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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