“Facilities Management in the Middle East will be one of the world’s leading FM industries”
Dated: 22-04-2012

Donald Trump made this bold statement at the annual MEFMA (Middle East Facilities Management Association) Conference

Donald Trump, the US-based real estate business tycoon inaugurated the first edition of Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA) Conference predicting that the industry will be one of the leading FM industries in the world. He stressed that the nature of recent developments will have a profound effect on facilities management and therefore on core services such as healthcare, education and retail.

Under the theme of “The Middle East, The New Economy,” Donald Trump was joined by CEO of RERA, H.E Marwan Bin Ghulaitha who testified to the contribution facilities management has on the economy, pointing to the value that can be retained in a property through best practice in FM.

Ghulaitha said that investors are not speculating these days like they once were but are now investing over a longer period, so they will be concerned about the load schedule for electricity, the finishing and operations to keep a building “going and to be there for at least 50 to 60 years”.

However and throughout the course of the conference, speakers alluded to the challenges facilities management faced within the Middle East before it could be considered a world leader in best practice. This included the trend of annual re-tendering in the Middle East, whereby projects are being reviewed every year rather than on the global average of 5 years. Other notable issues included the lack of reserve funds, otherwise known as sink funds for emergency maintenance, benchmarking and the correct implementation of building control systems.

Bernie Devine, regional head of service at EC Harris reflected on the contribution facilities management has on the economy by emphasising a rising trend in financiers seeking valuations on buildings that support loans, because of a growing concern that poor maintenance and a lack of tenants is devaluing the bond from its original estimation.

Sustainable efficiency was also brought to the fore by Ali Al Suwaidi, MEFMA Board Member and vice president of Idama. He highlighted that green building codes can significantly increase a property’s asset value and produce a much healthier indoor environment. It is estimated that buildings in the UAE use an average of 30,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month and 70 per cent of the electricity is delegated towards air conditioning. However, green buildings reduce water and electricity consumption, delivering huge cost savings, up to 50 per cent, for owners over the long term.

Speaking about the FM market, Al Suwaidi, said in summation, “Five years ago, complaints within property and real estate in the Middle East revolved around delivery dates and contractual issues at the time of hand over. Today it’s about sustainability, maintenance and value which is rectified by working with a professional partner in facilities management who can handle the complete management of a building’s day-to-day operation, thereby leaving its tenants to concentrate on the job in hand – whether that is saving lives in a hospital, teaching children in a school or creating a comfortable environment of families in their own homes.”