BUILDING BLOCKS OF SUCCESS

Saudi Arabia 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

KSA has many interesting construction opportunities, and SCA seeks to make it easier and more attractive for local and international companies alike.

Thabet Mubarek Al-Sawyeed
BIOGRAPHY
Thabet Mubarek Al-Sawyeed was appointed Governor of SCA in 2016. Prior to that, he established his career within Saudi Aramco after being accepted into the Aramco Preparatory College. After obtaining his degree in mechanical engineering at KFUPM, he served in progressive roles, starting as project engineering and ultimately becoming Head of Enterprise Architecture. Al-Sawyeed also holds a master’s degree in engineering science from the University of New South Wales.

What is your mandate, and what are your main strategies to achieve it?

SCA was established in 2016 following a royal decree as a non-governmental authority working under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce and Investment. The initial decree identified 20 objectives, though the overall objective is to improve the contracting sector capabilities and uplift its workforce skillsets. We decided to come up with a clear strategy and direction, and we identified all the key stakeholders, including constructors and contractors as well as the customer, which includes the government and entities owned by the government, as well as the private sector and citizens. We also looked into the government and the entities working in the ecosystem, such as municipalities, utility providers, and the Ministry of Finance. Our fourth category is the private sector as a suppliers of material and services needed by the contractors. We also looked into the legal system and met with other organizations, such as the Saudi Council of Engineers. We looked at their goals and coordinated with similar entities around the world, such as in Singapore and Australia. All these components have bolstered our strategy and vision, which is to build the future with confidence, something futuristic and inspiring. We went on to build our strategy and what we wanted this to be. We specified the key values that drive our day-to-day activities. One part of it was partnerships; we should partner with anyone who wants to cooperate. My role as a governor is to materialize this challenging strategy, and I am very much focused on two key factors to make this happen: making our strategy crystal-clear to everyone who has a stake in the sector and to attract the best talent in the market.

What does the SCA membership involve?

This is a starting point for our journey. If a contractor wants to do business, it should obtain its license from us. If one's contracting business category does not require any qualifications, we can provide the license based on the registration. If one's business category is associated with some high risks, such as something with high voltage electrical activities or high rises, then they have to be qualified in order to be granted the license. They require a safety engineer, certain departments, procedures, and prerequisites. In the event of serious violations, we may revoke a license. Once someone is licensed, they are available in our database. We make it easy for people to find contractors in specific regions. We will soon introduce features like ratings and digital contracts.

How do you intend to manage the coming increase in business volume within the sector?

We have 150,000 organizations that are fully capable here; capability is not the issue. We want to build in a more collaborative way. The majority of companies here are small, so we want to encourage these to merge or build alliances. We also want to attract international contractors, which we hope to achieve through several initiatives. One is a forthcoming forum that we will host for 25 entities to showcase their projects for the next three years. There will be more than 500 projects shared at the forum, and their estimated value exceeds SAR450 billion. There is a huge wave of projects coming, and this number does not even represent all of them. We are trying to help the sector, and both local and international contractors understand what is in the pipeline in the country.

How are you working to promote a greener approach to construction?

Green construction is something we are working on. It will be introduced in a way that will not cause impact. Until then, we are working on enhancing awareness within the sector through our communication channels and various events. For example, we hosted a workshop with many of the important players in the sector where we looked into technology for multiple purposes.