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Wed 23 Mar 2011 06:51 PM

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UK trade group upbeat on Mideast construction prospects

Chartered Institute of Building opens new Dubai office after it sees demand for managers grow

UK trade group upbeat on Mideast construction prospects

The UK's Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) said on Wednesday it remained upbeat on construction prospects in the Middle East despite the impact the global slowdown had on the industry.

It said that despite the slump in some areas of the region, most notably Dubai, it was seeing an influx of construction professionals into the Middle East.

The trade organisation announced on Wednesday it was opening its first full-time office in Dubai due to growing numbers of its members now working in the region.

Before the global recession, the Middle East was touted as the number one hotspot for construction activity.

But as the world's financial order is restructured some areas within the UAE have suffered and China, Eastern Europe and India are now seen as the main regions for growth in the construction sector.

The CIOB said it now had more than 500 members actively working across the region, prompting the need for the new office.

Amy Gough, head of International at the CIOB said: "The expectation is that China, India and Eastern Europe will be the new magnets for construction activity. But we are still seeing our own members, and other construction professionals, migrate towards the Middle East.

"The new Dubai branch is in direct response to that demand and it also gives us greater capacity for growth in line with future construction activity. People on the ground will see a more active CIOB that will be promoting the value of professionalism at industry, government and education levels."

The CIOB will use its new foothold in Dubai to launch a number of initiatives that connect together its existing presence in Abu Dhabi, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, it said in a statement.

The Institute, which has more than 47,000 members worldwide, said it expects to see regular growth in demand for professionally qualified construction managers throughout the region.

Last week, a report by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics said a total of $4.3 trillion is forecast to be spent on construction in the Middle East and North Africa region over the next decade, representing growth of 80 percent.

The report predicts growth in global construction will outpace world GDP growth over the next decade.

The study, Global Construction 2020, forecasts that global construction will grow by 67 percent from $7.2 trillion to $12 trillion annually by 2020.

The MENA region is expected to outpace the global growth rate, driven by population increases, economic growth, the desire for diversification and, in some cases, preparations for global sporting events, particularly the 2022 World cup in Qatar.

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