By TBY | Qatar | Nov 16, 2017
Facility managers come into play in a construction market thirsty for integral solutions to serve the country's infrastructure plans.
Investment in real estate and infrastructure development continues to gain momentum as Qatar inches closer to 2022, a key target date for most ongoing projects seeking to take advantage of the economic wave brought about by the World Cup. To fully realize the long-term benefits of the surge in real estate development, finding innovative ways to effectively manage buildings and facilities becomes critical.
In this regard, Qatar is experiencing a great demand for facility management (FM) services. Essentially, FM is the integration of processes to support and improve the effectiveness of an organization’s core activities. According to the International Maintenance Association (IMA), this profession encompasses many disciplines to ensure the functionality of the building environment through the integration of people, place, process, and technology.
FM services are divided between soft and hard services. Whereas the former involves services like cleaning, security, waste management, and catering, the latter accounts for the maintenance of lighting, plumbing, air conditioning, and overall building maintenance. This approach can be applied to all types of infrastructure, such as factories and production centers, hotels, healthcare and education centers, shopping malls, airports, stations, and banks.
An FM provider’s ultimate goal is to rationalize the use of internal resources and outsourced services. As Qatar’s public coffers and private businesses have been severely hit by the oil plunge, optimization and efficiency exercises have become a main topic of discussion on the table of the CEOs. According to IMA, while FM normally accounts for 30% of a company’s expenses, a good facility manager can optimize this spending by 20-30%, generating a positive impact on the company’s income between 6% and 9%.
The celebration of the World Cup in 2022 has opened a unique window of opportunities for FM providers in Qatar. Before thousands of fans head to the stadium, Qatar must ensure that all venues have formed a troop of cleaners, stewards, and technicians who will keep the show going. Mosanada, Aspire Zone Foundation’s FM provider, currently managing 16 venues for the Ministry of Culture and Sports, will be responsible for managing the Khalifa International Stadium, one of the venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a capacity for 48,000 spectators.
At the same time, the expansion of Qatar’s transport infrastructure will also require the provision of FM services. FMM Qatar, a joint-venture between Qatar Airways and Spain’s Ferrovial Services, delivers facility management and maintenance services to Hamad International Airport with its more than 3,000 employees. The expansion of the airport as well as the launch of Hamad Port constitute a suculent chance for strong FM players.
As a matter of fact, Qatar’s vibrant FM industry presents considerable opportunities for regional and global players thanks to the country’s strong infrastructure ambitions. Anticipating future demand, Lebanon’s MMG decided to foray the Qatari market in 2006 to capitalize on megaprojects such as Lusail City. Last April, it was awarded total FM services for Lagoona Mall, one of the latest mixed-used developments built by the state. Another example is Spain’s Eulen Group, an international company with over 86,000 employees working in 35 countries. The newly established Eulen Middle East expects to employ 5,000 people in Qatar and expand into 14 countries in the region. As the number of big projects will eventually decrease, several local contractors have already decided to shift part of their businesses to the FM industry, offering developers a wide range of services from construction to maintenance.
The maturation of Qatar’s FM market consequently has heightened customer expectations. Clients currently expect full service provision, which takes into consideration smart and green practices. FM actors are now contemplating new solutions, which can improve the long-term sustainability of the business environment as well as minimize its energy expenditure and carbon footprint. All in all, Qatar’s FM market is expected to grow in its number of players and sophistication in view of the country’s sustainable development.