ROOM FOR INNOVATION

Abu Dhabi 2019 | URBAN PLANNING, REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Yasseen Owaidat, CEO of Secure Engineering, on trends in the sector, innovative approaches to construction, and retaining its people.

Have you experienced any significant changes in the UAE's construction market over the past few years?T

The UAE is the land of opportunity and advancement, which is evident when we look around this beautiful country. I have not perceived a drastic change per se, but rather a reorganization of the market and technology advancements with integration of various processes. Over the years, the UAE has been more focused on sustainability and green construction, which is a growing field in construction. Many projects and plans are incorporating green technology into the construction process. It is a way of building projects in an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient way from planning to design, to construction, maintenance, and demolition. These methods are not that diverse from the archetypal building methods since the economy, efficacy, and durability are all important facets of the process; however, sustainable construction can include the conservation of the environment, an efficient use of resources, with an eye to social progress and culture. Another growing trend is modular and prefabricated construction projects. Modular construction is a prefabricated approach to building repetitive structure because of the amount of material, time, and flexibility of it. Technology is also at a peak currently. Construction PM Software is getting better and better with addition of new features. Many PM solutions are bundling scheduling, project management, and time in order to better serve construction companies.

How does innovation impact the real estate and construction sector in Abu Dhabi?

Sustainability remains a key issue, and it is now part of the design of every new building. However, there is always space for innovation in construction. One of the main trends is the adoption of various technologies as a part of innovate construction. Secure Engineering has implemented building information modeling (BIM), which not only increases association, but also reduces construction costs and promotes a safer building process that will result in faster construction and minimize safety incidents. Use of BIM seen to increase in the last year and moving forward it will be a part of the construction and building codes since it is now a 6D approach. Another new innovative approach is the use of drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which helps to access remote locations, collect data, complete safety inspections, and capture project progress. Surveyors use them to create 3D mapping or images that later can be used to depict an area. As a growing organization, we need to take advantage of new technologies and embrace change to position ourselves in the growing market.

What practices and methods do you have in place to develop local talent?

Since the inception of Secure Engineering in 2010, we have grown and entered into different facets of engineering field. We think about developing local talent in many ways. One way is to give our staff a clear idea about the industry by training them on new construction methods, market performance, and project management. We also encourage employees in positions that will allow them to develop their skills and advance in their career. As a result of these practices, we now have more than 10% local employees out of our workforce of 1,000-plus people.

Where do Secure Engineering's priorities lie in the coming years?

We have already entered and expanded our operations into the other Emirates, particularly Dubai and the Northern Emirates. We believe it is the right time for us with our right resources & infrastructure, particularly in the hospitality and real estate segments. Secure Engineering has established its roots in the capital city Abu Dhabi; in addition, our three priority segments regarding infrastructure will be road construction, bridges, and storm water, which we will focus on in the following years. We have already undertaken major development projects and have diversified our offerings into hospitality, real estate, construction and facilities management.