AHEAD OF THE GAME

Qatar 2019 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

UCC has secured a name for itself by accomplishing superior results in delivering critical projects time after time.

Salim Jarrar
BIOGRAPHY
Salim Jarrar joined UCC in 2012 and has been the driving force behind its growth in the last seven years. Managing all the corporate departments from strategic business development to operations, Jarrar has become the company’s most priceless asset. Prior to joining UCC, he spearheaded several construction groups in the GCC and worked on landmark projects such as Royal Oceanic Tower, Dubai Business Park, Conference Palace Hotel, and many refurbishments across the MENA region. Jarrar graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering followed by a master’s degree in construction and project management.

What has been behind the company's success in the market?

The company's unique fast-track strategies, streamlined design, and construction milestones are unlike any other traditional building construction undertaking, resulting in the total delivery of projects in shorter time periods and at competitive prices. UCC has always strived to stand up to its motto “We build trust." Besides this, we continuously invest in our own employees. Clients and authorities believe in and trust us to deliver. To achieve this, within the company we have an integrated management system to plan and integrate quality, safety, and the environment, all in one procedure. Without effective planning, a task can never be completed successfully.

What are some of your flagship projects in Qatar, and how do you work to bring innovation to your projects?

UCC has been at the forefront for the development of several iconic projects in Qatar that have contributed to the development of Qatar on the global tourism map, from the Banana Island Resort to the magnificent Mall of Qatar, the Sheraton, and the most recent Baladna Farms for strategic food supplies. We do not aim to merely construct a property; we ensure that it has a theme that provides reason for the area around it to develop.

How would you assess your relationship with public-sector clients?

Public-sector entities are one of our prime clienteles; around 70% of our work is done with the public sector. There are several positives and negatives associated with this that adds to our challenges. Public sector clients in Qatar are prompt and professional; their needs and requirements are well defined, making execution more practical and targets more achievable. We have been extremely successful with public clients for the past seven years and have received much acclaim for the work delivered. Projects in public sector work are mostly managed through one-sided contracts. Though this is to likely change soon; in all my interactions with officials I explain the difficulties corporates face with such contracts. They do understand and are trying to do their best to make contracts more robust as per international best practices.

What is your strategy to cater to new clients from new industries, and which sectors are most attractive as real estate clients?

Our target projects come from the public sector, as a result of which we get little space for private clients. There are many real estate developers in the market looking for opportunities to invest and create township-based projects in Qatar. However, this can be realized only if there is a strategic move by the government to increase the number of expats in the country. In addition, we strongly believe that the government should invest in free zones to encourage international companies to invest in with their skilled management. If a business opens here, it will bring in employees, who will bring in their families, which creates a need for schools, hospitals, and more. Thus, construction companies would have more opportunities in the market. This is also the best way to attract businesses from abroad, and it will help the economy for years to come.

What is your outlook for the year ahead?

Though we expect to see challenges in the sector in the coming years, with the government's keen interest to develop the tourism sector and a consistent political regime, we can see a continuous flow of projects in the country until 2030 for sure. We are all geared to expand our business portfolio in providing construction and turnkey solutions, especially in projects where all our resources can be of support. While we face challenges from the siege and the global economy, which have made budgets somewhat constrained, we look forward to contributing our best as a Qatari local company. As for now, we are eagerly waiting to commence work on the new prestigious project awarded to us.