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Efficiency, sustainability, key to building construction, says expert

DUBAI, March 18, 2019

Developers and construction experts should design, engineer and construct a building with not only sales in their minds, but also consider the environment, efficiency, manageability, user comfort and wellbeing, said Abdulmajid Karanouh, the head of Interdisciplinary Design and Innovation, at Drees & Sommer, a leading international real estate and construction consultancy Drees & Sommer.

Karanouh was moderating the first in a series of high-profile roundtable discussions being hosted by Drees & Sommer where leading construction professionals were outlining the best practice for the implementation of technology and smart design.

The roundtable, which was chaired by the company's general manager Bob Hope, brought together 12 construction industry experts from a diverse range of companies.

It included architects, consultants, engineers, contractors, facility managers and developers who discussed and identifed the most effective way of implementing technology and smart design into the construction sector.

A leading European consulting, planning and project management enterprise, Drees & Sommer has supported private and public clients and investors for almost 50 years in all aspects of real estate and infrastructure – both analog and digital.

The company recently released the findings of the first in a series of studies addressing the issues impacting the construction industry.

"Satisfied tenants bring more value to developers than just a one-time purchase, they become endorsers of projects both present and future," said Karanouh.

The four key findings of the discussion included the importance of bringing representatives from across the industry into the early planning stages to maximise efficiency; the need for sustainability; the ease of tech use; and cost implications.

It was identified there is a desire by developers and investors to implement new technologies into their buildings, however, many are reluctant first, due to concerns related to maintenance of the smart systems throughout the service life of the building and second, the possibility of them becoming obsolete.

“There is a need for construction and real estate professionals to communicate the value of new technology in a market that doesn’t yet have benchmarks. Society needs to adapt and find new improved ways of living and as developers we understand this, but we need solutions to last long term,” said Sami Elmadalla, COO of First Invest Group.

This sentiment was echoed by Fadi Nwilati, CEO of Kaizen Asset Management, experts in real estate and property management who has witnessed building management systems that simply don’t work and due to poor construction quality, which then creates difficulties retrofitting the existing digital solutions, further underscoring the need to bring industry professionals together at the initial stages.

From a sustainability perspective it was agreed developers want to implement the best solution for their projects, however, the challenge is keeping operational expenditure low.

Muhammad BinGhatti, the chief executive of Binghatti Developers, who have an investment value of Dh3 billion ($816 million), said: “There are two ways to justify this, the first is using sustainable building materials that will last with minimal maintenance and the second is to implement technology that helps by keeping operational costs low – such as light motion sensors.”  

It was also outlined that developers can no longer rely solely on a brand name on the quality of products and that Dubai tenants in future will be looking for added value, including savings on energy consumption that contribute to more sustainable living or operating a business.

Neil Doe, CEO of QI-Energy, experts in the innovation and renewables space, said: “Smart or renewable energy considerations are often an afterthought when it comes to construction and, as a result, buildings don’t operate to their full sustainable capacity. We need to change our overall way of thinking about how to create solutions that will serve future needs. We must focus more on what else our buildings can do for the environment in which they are built.

Rounding out the discussion it was agreed that digitalisation of buildings needs to be feasible and pragmatic, key criteria of Drees & Sommer’s approach to development and implementation of smart technologies.

"We don’t want buildings filled with overly technical gadgets that are not easy for tenants to use," remarked Stephan Degenhart, the Associate Partner of Drees & Sommer and Managing Director of Middle East office.

"Each element used when revitalising or digitalising a building must be carefully planned to serve the building and its tenants now and for the future," he added.-TradeArabia News Service




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