How IoT is Changing the Construction Industry

Following our articles on the Impact of digital technology and online trading on the crane and construction market and Digital Technology Improving Efficiency in Construction Machinery, we thought it would be essential to address the issue of Technology in the Construction industry with the COVID-19 pandemic which has accelerated the need to be connected. Indeed, the investment in Technology is no long a luxury or an option, it has become a necessity for companies to work. With the ever-present Coronavirus pandemic, managers cannot afford time to be wasted or for vehicles to have downtime that isn’t planned for. Technology innovations allow for fleet operators to capture, analyse and transform their data from mobile assets and equipment into insights that are actionable. In this fast-changing world, it’s essential for managers to know the status and location of their high-demand and high-value assets as well as their tools and equipment.


It’s easy to understand why the construction industry was one of the first users of drones and the success of these in the industry have brought about huge changes. Currently, the industry uses drones for tasks like assessing structural damage, surveying a site and collecting data in the management of earthworks. Drones have the advantage of being able to see where people can’t and, what’s more, they’re safer in many dangerous places like buildings with structural damage.

Drones give workers a bird’s eye view of a project and can take snapshots from angles otherwise not seen from the ground. These functionalities have had a huge impact on the construction industry and their use is set to continue rising. With drones in use, there is a lesser risk to workers in terms of injury and projects also operate at maximum efficiency.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

When it comes to innovation potential, AI, autonomous vehicles and robots certainly have a great deal. It often isn’t well known but the construction industry has a huge amount of data that comes in every second, minute and hour and the truth is that no person on earth has enough time to sift through it all properly. The most valuable potential for IoT in construction is to use machine learning to assist in extracting meaningful insights from all the collected data and put it together in a way that is analysed with ease. For example, if in a new housing estate there are over a thousand issues, it would be impossible for all of these to be read and acted upon quickly. Machine learning has the potential to develop this area hugely.

Cloud-based tech

The use of cloud-based technology is arguably one of the biggest opportunities for investment. This technology means that everyday workflows and processes can be streamlined and all staff can have easy access to data. What’s more, it allows for continuous communication with the stakeholders for a project. Furthermore, this technology can help to mitigate risks as it reduces disputes in contracts. Disputes can be easily managed via diligent tracking and can be stopped from turning potentially disastrous for the company. For example, contract disputes play a significant role in poor financial results. If the risks can be managed well with cloud-based technology, companies can reduce the financial impact that disputes can cause.

How IoT can assist and improve the workforce: “INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY IS INVESTING IN THE WORKFORCE”

IoT can create smart workers who work smarter. For example, technology has the ability to track the use of equipment and tools on a construction site and can pinpoint their location accurately. This can help workers who are on large sites with shared resources. Managers can use this technology to make sure that the whereabouts of equipment are known and therefore time will not be wasted by workers looking for a specific tool or piece of equipment. Tools can be given electronic tags that send beacons to a receiver that is located at the site. The receivers map out the precise locations of the beacons and show their location on a smartphone or device. There are lots of different systems available, including COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) systems. The systems are also able to track personnel when on-site so that managers and colleagues don’t spend time hunting for a specific person or waiting for a colleague.

Bluetooth for tracking

With construction operations continuing to change rapidly, being able to control and oversee the company’s assets is more important than ever before. With Bluetooth smart sensors, managers can monitor and protect their assets (service equipment, tools, etc.) to make sure that nothing is left unattended or left behind and is in the right place. This system improves efficiency. If some equipment happens to be misplaced, the technology will show its last known location and thus workers will be able to find the piece of equipment quickly without time being wasted.

NFT embraces RFID solution for Fleet Management!

 If the Covid-19 pandemic has done anything, it’s to accelerate the need for businesses to embrace digital transformation. NFT in December 2019 has concluded a deal with a UK based company and its UAE local representative to track its large fleet of tower cranes using Radio Frequency Identification Device (or RFID) solution. All tower cranes, construction hoists and their respective parts and accessories are tagged and then linked to an asset tracking and management software. This in turn is then integrated with NFT’s software solution for Inventory Management and Asset Evaluation.

“Having the world’s leading fleet of tower cranes spread across 300,000 sqm calls for an automated way of tracking our Asset” says Plant Manager Amer Sneij. “Relying on a manual/offline solution was fine 20 something years ago when we had just a few hundred cranes spread across three medium sized yards, but today with 2,500 tower cranes, 500 hoists, 10,00o plus accessory types and a warehouse filled with spare parts, the old way has become a challenge”.

With an average turnover of one crane delivered per day and catering to multiple destinations worldwide, technology has become a necessity for NFT. “The objective is to minimize human error and wastage while optimizing inventory managing, strategic planning and “real time” decision making. IoT, RFID, Asset Tracking have become standard in the construction, logistics and oil and gas industries. We believe that NFT’s strategy for modernization and compliance with international standards of trading, allows it to be in the perfect position to adopt this technology and benefit from its operational efficiencies and cost saving” added Nagham Al Zahlawi, Deputy General Manager.

A customized cloud-based system has been developed from scratch to match NFT’s process of fleet tracking, storing, loading, inspecting, assembling, mobilizing and re-stocking. For example, and to avoid loading tower crane parts on trucks or containers without any missing piece, an automated gate barrier at the workshop only opens when the reader scans all parts on board and signals that it’s good to go. “This was an important feature to add because the worse thing that can happen on site during installation is for us to deliver a crane part with a piece missing, like a pin. It can holt the entire installation, delaying the project for the client” added Amer Sneij.  Once the workflow was developed, two  tagging teams were assigned to complete the job on the ground. The teams are comprised of a Logistics Manager, two Logistics Supervisors, two Welders and four Logistics helpers. The teams have successfully tagged 200 tower cranes from July to September 2020 and aims to complete Phase 1 by Q1 2021. The next phase will be to track all construction hoists.

In crisis mode, it is vital to be as proactive as possible. IoT and telematics solutions alleviate the pain in searching for reactive answers through prevention and protection while optimizing processes and controlling costs. There is no better time to invest in Technology than now!



The Rise of Second Hand Construction Equipment Amidst COVID

It comes as no surprise that the outbreak of coronavirus affected the functioning of countries significantly, but it also affected specific industries, their production, and the supply chain. One such sector is the Construction industry with its halt in working and progress. However, this temporary break has given the domain time to plan, structure, and make a striking comeback.

By now, plenty of businesses have been actively preparing their long-term prospects and returning to the new normal working condition slowly. They are making changes and amendments to their operations accordingly to ensure the safety of their staff. Another requirement for this industry is to equip itself with proper machinery to meet future project demands.

For those considering second hand tower cranes, NFT has previously covered all factors to consider when make the decision to invest. 


What is the solution?

As supply has been affected due to “lockdowns”, the demand for new products has increased substantially. Moreover, taking a look at the requirement of used construction equipment- it is expected that this market will withstand the pressure and expand. It has now become a trend in the construction sector to purchase second-hand construction equipment.

One of the most prominent advantages of getting used construction equipment is that one can acquire these at much better and budget-friendly price than newer ones. Having a smooth working production line, with these pieces of equipment, can promote better productivity. These are also great for having reduced operational costs and fuel efficacy.

Getting second-hand construction equipment can make the business more agile. The used types of equipment are also ideal to be employed in short-term projects that have a specific requirement. With less value depreciation, you may even resell the equipment after the project is over. These are also the best options for projects that need a distinctive machine for a job.

With the economy slowly stepping back into its usual phase, the demand for the construction industry will increase as the global markets experience a boost in infrastructure. Therefore, this decision making would make a difference.

Highlighting the Advantages of Buying Second Hand Construction Equipment

  • Effective Budget-Management

As all construction businesses will be recovering from the sudden drop, they will have to keep a close eye on their budget and expenditure. This means that using second-hand equipment would be a reliable option; rather than buying expensive equipment or hiring agencies. This will also save you from making extra savings as the used equipment does not face a high-value depreciation as new ones. Additionally, the expenses on additional accessories, sales tax, and operational licenses will be saved.


  • Wider Variety of Equipment

As mentioned above, the supply of the construction equipment is scarce- this imposes that a limited product range will be made available to the buyers. However, if we look at the second-hand equipment market, it already consists of a wide range of products that are ready to be purchased. This could be a positive sign for the industry as they can have substitute machinery for the time being.


  • Ideal for Future Resell Prospects

Unlike the new machines, these equipment have low depreciation value; that will help collect good returns when sold again. The new equipment loses its value the moment it is taken out from the showroom; almost half of its total value. However, if you purchase used construction equipment make sure that you keep complete track of its performance, servicing, and all related information. The more information you provide for resale, the higher the price you get.


  • Finding Spare Parts is Easy

Whenever you buy second-hand equipment, there are chances that you will require a few spare or replacement parts. As these machines have been used before, they might get easily worn down. However, this aspect only adds on to the benefits of second-hand equipment. Just like the extensive equipment range, the availability of spares is effortless as well. You may also change the old part with a new and compatible one to enhance the equipment’s functioning.

  • An Eco-Friendly Choice

Reshaping the former industrial relations would become a challenge for many construction-related businesses. However, using equipment that has low carbon emission could help you establish the pre-COVID era image again. Second-hand construction equipment also decreases the generation of industrial waste. One can also get used recycling and waste-management units to control the waste generation.

  • What’s the Final Verdict?

While new machines can and will render dependable performance and quality assurances, buying second-hand construction equipment could be more advantageous. You can buy a machine as per your project demand and then trade it to other interested buyers. This means you will have to check your requirements adequately and then search for available options. These will support smoother operations, all while boosting your productivity.

Not only are these cost-effective options for the restart of the global market but also demand less input and can be improved by adding spare parts over time. As the supply of machines is delayed due to the ongoing pandemic- an innovative, definitive, and effective solution for the need for construction equipment in the industry can be fulfilled through the second-hand options.

NFT’s stock of second hand cranes 

Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch
IGO21 2008 24 8LVF9
IGO36 2004, 2005 32 15LVF10
IGO50 2008 40 15LVF10
GTMR360A 1977, 1981, 2004 30 to 40 PC
GTMR360B 2004 40 PC
GTMR386A 1987,1989,1990,1991,1992,1994,1997, 2002,2004, 2006,  2009 40 to 50 PC
GTMR386B 2006, 2007, 2008 40 to 55 PC
GTMR400A 1985, 1987, 1993, 1990 40 to 50 PC
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MC80 1995 38 33PC MC1.2×1.2
MC85B 2004, 2005 40 25PC13 MC1.2×1.2
MD185-h10 2002 60 75LVF25 MD1.6X1.6
MD125A 1999 55 45RCS15 MD1.6X1.6
MD125A 2000 50 RCS MD1.6X1.6
MD150 1996 45 33LVF20 MD1.6X1.6
MD175A 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000 45 to 55 33LVF20 MD1.6X1.6
MD175B 2002 50 50LVF20 MD1.6X1.6
MD208 2002 50 50LVF25 MD1.6×1.6
MD238 – 10T 2002, 2008 55 to 65 50LVF25 MD1.6X1.6 & MD 2×2
MD238 – 10T 2002 60 33LVF25 MD1.6X1.6
MD238 – 12 T 2008 65 100LVF30 MD2X2
MD238 – 12 T 2008 55 to 65 75LVF30 MD1.6X1.6 & MD2X2
MD238-12T 2003, 2004 60 to 65 50LVF30 MD1.6×1.6 & MD2x2
MD220 G12 1993 60 LVF MC2x2
MD235 1999, 2000 45 to 50 50LVF25
MD235A 12T 1999, 2000 60 50RCS30 MD2X2
MD235 1996, 1997 55 to 60 55RCS25 MD1.6X1.6
MD250J12 1993 60 to 65 55LTV 30 MD2X2
MD250J12 1993 45 70RCS30 MC2x2
MC265 1998 65 70RCS30 MC2x2
MD265B1 2006 50 50LVF30 MD2x2
MD265B 1999, 2008 30 to 65 75LVF30 MD2x2
MD265 1997, 1998 45 70RCS30 MD2x2
MD265A 1997, 1999 55 to 60 55RCS30D MD2x2
MD265 J12 1996 65 RCS MD2x2
MD265 2007 55 100LVF30 MD2X2
MD285 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006 2007 50 to 70 75LVF30 MD2X2
MD285A 12T 2000 60 50LVF30 MD2x2
MD305B 2000 60 75LVF30 MD 2X2
MD310 L12 2006 45 50 LVF 30 MD2x2
MD345B L12 2009 65 100LVF30 MD2x2
MD345B L12 1998 60 75LVF30 MD2x2
MD345B L12 2009 55 50LVF30 MD2X2
MD345B 16T 2000, 2001 75 75LVF40 MD2x2
MD365 L16 2007 55 75LVF30 MD2x2
MD485-25 2005 70 150LCC63 MD2.45×2.45
MD500 1993 70 55RCS40 K2.5×2.5
MD550 2003 80 150LCC63
MD550 2008 80 100LVF50 MD
MD900 1987 50 120LMD80 MD4X4
MD1100 2018 80 270LVF100 R98A
MD1100 2010 80 250LCC100 R98A
MD1100 2008 80 250LCC100 K4X4
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MCI 85A 2013 50 25PC13 MC1.2×1.2
MC115B 2005, 2010 50 33PC15 MC1.6X1.6
MC125B 1997, 2014, 2015 60 33PC15 MC1.6X1.6
MC125 2018 60 40LVF15 MC1.6×1.6
MC175B 2007, 2008 60 45RCS25 MC1.6×1.6
MC175B 2008 60 50LVF20 MC1.6×1.6
MC175C 2018 60 60LVF20 MC1.6×1.6
MC180-2C 1997 55 70RCS25 MC1.6X1.6
MC180-2C 1997 50 55RCS25 MC2x2
MC180-2C 1996 45 55RCS MC1.6X1.6
MC205B 2011 60 55RCS25 MC2X2
MC235A 1998 65 55RCS30 MC2x2
MC235 2006, 2005 65 50LVF25 MC2x2
MC235BJ10 2011 65 75LVF25 MC2X2
MC235BJ10 2014 65 55RCS25 MC2X2
MC235BJ10 1998 65 33LVF25 M2X2
MC235C 2016, 2017 65 60LVF25 MC2X2
MC300L12 1998 60 70 RCS30 MC2X2
MC310 K12 2010 70 50LVF30 MC2x2
MC310 K12 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019 70 70RCS30 MC2x2
MC310 K12 2006, 2009,  2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 40 75LVF30 MC2x2
MC310 K16 2014, 2015 70 75LVF40 M2X2
MC465 2018 80 100LVF63 M619
MC475 2017 80 100LVF63 R87
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MCT88 2007 52 LVF MC1.2×1.2
MDT178 2005, 2006, 2007 50 to 60 33LVF20 MD1.6X1.6
MDT268 J12 2009 65 100LVF30 MD2x2
MDT368 L12 2009 60 to 75 75LVF30 MD2X2
MDT368 L16 2009 75 100LVF40 MD2x2
MDT368 L16 2009 50 to 75 75LVF30 MD2x2



Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MCT85-F5 2015 52m 25PC15 MC1.2×1.2
MCT205-10 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019 65 60LVF25 MC2X2
MCT325 L12 2019 75 75LVF30 MC2X2
MCT385B-14T 2016, 2017 75 75LVF35 M619A
MCT385 2C 2019 75 75LVF35 L69B2
MCT385 2C 2019 75 75LVF35 M619
MCT385 2C 2019 75 75LVF35 MC2x2
MCT385-20 2014 30 to 75 100LVF50 M2x2


Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MR160B 2004 50 50LVF25 MD1.6X1.6
MR160C 2008 50 100LVF25 MD1.6×1.6
MR160C 2008 50 75LVF25 MD1.6×1.6
MR220B 2003 150LCC30 MD2x2
MR225A 2006, 2010 55 100LVF35 MD2X2
MR295 2010 60 150LVF63GH MD2x2
MR415 2010 60 180LBR120 MD2.45×2.45
MR418 2016 60 150LVF120 MD2.45×2.45
MR418SP 2016 60 270LVF120 2.45X2.45
MR608 2018 60 270LVF80 MD2.45×2.45
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MCR160 2017 50 60LVF25 MC1.6X1.6 & MC2x2
MCR225 2008, 2009, 2017 55 75LVF35 MC2X2
MCR225 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2018, 2019 55 100LVF35 MC2x2
MCR295-20 2018 60 100LVF50 M619
MCR295-20 2018 60 150LVF50 M619



Measures to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic (Part II)

The new coronavirus outbreak has hit the economy hard. With businesses closing, city curfews, manufacturing shutdowns, there has been a detrimental effect on the global economy.  Here’s a summary of measures taken by countries and construction companies  to address the pandemic.

There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, especially for contractors and small businesses in the construction industry. It’s important for any business, especially companies whose work involves going into people’s homes and places of business, to act when an unpredictable pandemic like coronavirus suddenly emerges. While many businesses have been forced to halt operations indefinitely, some essential businesses, which in many states includes construction (critical trades), are still operating. To better protect themselves, their employees, and their clients, those business owners should consider the following tips.


During times like this, no potential signs of the virus can be allowed on the jobsite. If anyone is displaying acute respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, fever or shortness of breath), they pose a potential virus transmission risk. No one should return to work until their temperature is lower than 37.8° C for at least 24 hours and they feel well enough to do their job effectively.

For businesses with more than one employee, owners should review sick-leave policies and make sure they are flexible enough to accommodate the current environment. It might not be the employee, but their family member, that ends up sick, so be prepared for people to have to miss work to care for a sick child or relative. Finally, waive any requirements for notes from health care professionals to validate illness. Physicians’ offices and medical facilities are extremely busy, and those requests are not their priority.


Viruses and bacteria can linger almost anywhere for hours, so regularly wipe down cell phones, workstations, handles, doorknobs, truck interiors and tools with a disinfectant. Contractors should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at least three to four times throughout the day and avoid touching their faces. If possible, purchase 60% to 95% alcohol-based hand sanitizer and apply it in addition to regular hand washing.


With many businesses temporarily closed and a lot of people working from home, there may be opportunities to take on projects in vacant office spaces or businesses. If contractors can pivot to those types of projects, they are protecting themselves, their families and the general public. For projects that involve contact with other people, contractors should be sure to follow guidelines about maintaining two meters of distance.


Another way to practice social distancing during this time is to work towards going paperless and automating business processes that were previously handled manually. Contractors can upgrade the tools they use to conduct everyday business, such as mobile invoicing and estimating, as well as add an easy online option for payments. This will reduce the amount of person-to-person contact and enforce social distancing protocols by eliminating the need to collect checks in person or visit a crowded bank. By moving more functions online, contractors can show they are adapting to the current environment, as well as create efficiencies that are effective now and will continue to be in the future.


With COVID-19 making headlines every morning and information changing hourly, it’s important to have the most up-to-date information. Staying on top of breaking developments will help contractors make better-informed decisions regarding their day-to-day operations and help them prepare for the impacts of new safety measures and restrictions. Contractors staying informed on, and following, the latest recommendations from health care professionals and government officials will also demonstrate that they are taking the situation seriously and give customers peace of mind about working with them.


Ideally, this would constitute of senior managers from HR, Admin, HSE, and Finance. Get the full team aligned with the true severity of the macro COVID-19 situation and worst-case financial scenarios. The Crisis team should set safety as the number one priority and set cash conservation and liquidity as a secondary priority. Avoid inaction or “wait and see” approach which could damage the company. The team should have an Agile Methodology in announcing policies and mode of operations.


You can control the sending hand brakes by initiating immediate actions (e.g. hiring freeze, opex, capex, working capital). Similarly, set aggressive break-the-glass cost actions triggered by more extreme revenue scenarios. Outline a medium-term plan to lean out the cost structure for the future. It should be a plan that is more automated, more variable and, more shock resistant.


Stabilize supply chains of physical goods from likely geographic and labor disruptions while building contingency operational plans for all aspects of the business.


Many contractors and small construction businesses will likely have to pause their work at some point because of safety recommendations. When that happens, it will be vital that they communicate quickly and clearly with their suppliers about why projects have to be delayed, an updated timeline if possible and what suppliers can expect moving forward. Regularly calling suppliers with updates will also go a long way in maintaining that relationship in the long term.


It’s the hallmark of a great business owner to keep things in perspective and not allow the quick tempo of the current situation to affect the company’s priorities. Along with listening to and being there for clients and employees, business owners should be a source of steady guidance. The current obstacles are temporary, but clients and staff won’t forget effective, calm leadership. This is an opportunity to learn, work together and become stronger in the long run. Viewing it as such will benefit contractors, clients and the industry as a whole.

What about Government Measures taken during the COVID-19 crisis?

Europe’s construction sector has issued a joint statement calling for urgent measures to protect workers’ health, support economic activity and help the sector to recover in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Specific short-term measures requested of European Member States are as follows:

  • Put in place tailor-made health and safety measures, protocols and guidelines with the active involvement of relevant stakeholders
  • Support the construction supply chain by putting in place measures allowing the efficient functioning of the EU (European Union) internal market
  • Carry out massive support and stimulus program
  • Ease the administrative burden and the conditions for employers to implement temporary unemployment measures.

The statement added: “A performing construction supply chain is crucial for maintaining the activity, with proper health and safety conditions. It is therefore essential to guarantee the circulation of construction products; equipment and provision of services in full respect of the instructions delivered by public health authorities.

The UAE has proved to be an example of countries’ proactive initiatives to addressing the pandemic.

  • Complete sterilization of public spaces. Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has completed the sterilization of the Dubai Metro and the Dubai Tram. This includes all 47 metro stations, 79 trains, 11 tram stations and Dubai Trams. The RTA will also be sterilizing its 1,372 buses, five bus depots and 17 bus stations. The sterilisation covered the entire fleet of Dubai Taxi, limousines and shared transport (smart rental) operating in Dubai, which exceed 17,000, as per the RTA. Roads and Transport Authority has taken all the necessary preventive measures during the past few weeks to ensure the highest levels of protection for users of public transportation, whether through continuous sterilization and cleaning operations for all of these means, or through the precautionary measures that it imposed and began applying in regulating transportation use Public and ensure physical separation and other measures aimed at preserving health and safety for all, and reducing the chances of spreading the virus.
  • Screening Facility, drive-thru testing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Taking the new centre developed by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company-SEHA, allow for The mobile testing facility to dedicate efforts for testing individuals for coronavirus, as part of the country’s precautionary measures to address the spread of COVID-19.Checks are done in 5 minutes, while the center provides services to about 600 people daily starting from 8am to 8pm daily.
  • Increased regulations to promote social distancing by closing all leisure industries and imposing lockdowns and curfews. To support the current precautionary measures in cooperation with the Health Authority, the TRA (Telecommunication Regulatory Authority) in coordination with the service providers launched an awareness voice message when making a phone call, and SMS alerts sent 30 minutes before the lockdown and again 1 minute before lockdown. In Dubai, the 24 hour sterilization campaign will last for 2 weeks during which only vital industries such as healthcare, supermarkets, logistics and construction are active, and this is controlled through the issuance of permits.
  • Drivers of cars need to be wearing masks and only 3 passengers are allowed in sedans, and a 20% reduction of capacity in buses.
  • Labor camps are under strict scrutiny to test all suspicious employees

In addition to the focus on tackling the spread of the coronavirus, the UAE government is also addressing head on any collateral damage resulting from the economical slowdown. On April 4th, the UAE’s central bank doubled its banking stimulus package to US$70 billion as business sentiment eroded in the Gulf’s commercial centre. The announcement followed new measures to guarantee liquidity in the banking system. The package expanded on a previously announced AED126 billion (US$34.3 billion) program to assist its lenders. The central bank has also postponed the planned implementation of certain Basel III capital standards to 31st March 2021 for all banks with the aim of diminishing the operational burden on the financial industry. The overall stimulus which consists largely of monetary and off budget measures account for more than 10% of the UAE’s economy.  On April 1st, the UAE cabinet announced additional measures, notably improving payment terms for contractors involved in government contracts as well as exempting companies from any fines that accrue from any delays caused by the COVID-19 virus. For payments, the cabinet instructed federal ministries and bodies to pay contractors and suppliers within 15 days; while for contract delays, suppliers impacted by COVID-19 are exempted from fines for delays on federal government contracts for a renewable period of three months. The cabinet also directed that small and medium suppliers will be awarded 90% of federal government purchases. Those measures come after the UAE cabinet approved a US$4.4 billion economic stimulus package that includes a renewable six-month suspension of work permit fees and reduction of labor and other charges that aim to accelerate major infrastructure projects across the federation. On March 16th, the Central Bank of UAE (CBUAE) lowered key lending rates, following a 1% rate cut by the Fed to counter the economic effects of COVID-19, which will adversely impact profitability of UAE banks, according to rating agency Moody’s. Leading Dubai banks have announced a series of relief measures for customers affected by COVID-19

Contractor Case Study: The example of RAQ Contracting

The pandemic has impacted almost all sectors and industries, posing severe challenges for businesses, including the contracting companies, like RAQ Constracting. The supply chain for special items required by the construction industry has been affected as many vendors, suppliers, and manufacturers have either stopped working or are working in reduced capacities. One of the most immediate challenges was the reduced capacity on UAE’s transport infrastructure, resulting in labor shortages and productivity on project sites. To combat this, RAQ provided additional vehicles and buses for staff transportation and some making multiple trips during the day to ensure healthy progress on site. Understanding the critical nature of the current situation, RAQ has begun conducting COVID-19 awareness sessions to its staff and workers in order to keep operations running in a safe environment. RAQ persists during the COVID-19 crisis by carrying out a deliberate strategic plan and keeping projects’ progression in check, along with ensuring the well-being of the employees. The Contractor is committed to doing its part by ensuring the health & safety of its employees and visitors by following these guidelines:

  • Check-in/out is done through iris or facial recognition instead of biometrics
  • Forehead temperature of employees and visitors are taken by an infrared thermometer and recorded for the HSE heads to take action if required
  • Personal items, desks, chairs, and other unattended items are being disinfected before and after working hours on all sites
  • Social distancing is practiced among employees and other visitors. Employees who can work remotely are encouraged to stay home to maintain working individuals at the office to “essentials only.”
  • Hand sanitizing dispensers are placed at entrances and exits of every room.
  • Pantry staff must wear gloves and masks at all times
  • Self-quarantine is imposed on employees experiencing symptoms or returning from travel
  • Staff and workers dorms along with site offices are undergoing periodic disinfection
  • RAQ had implemented a new seating chart policy for its employees to reduce the office capacity by 30% and ensure that social distancing is practiced
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are being distributed daily amongst RAQ employees
  • Furthermore, all transport vehicles are disinfected regularly, and commonly touched surfaces are sanitized twice daily. Hand sanitizing dispensers are fixed on all vehicles. To ensure that regulations to adhere to strictly, a clear instruction list has been issued to all transportation/logistics and sites to reduce the capacity to 25% in all transport vehicles.

Supplier Case Study: The example of NFT

At NFT, we are committed to our customers, employees and communities.

Our occupational activities are relatively safe and in line with provisions taken to combat spread of COVID-19. We work with steel structures in open spaces that are exposed to the sun and high heat, which makes it resistant to spreading of the virus by nature. However, the exposure remains with the human element outside those activities such as commuting to work and personal lives’ activities. This is why we are monitoring closely the latest developments surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and updating our action plans with full vigilance according to the latest protocols of health and safety shared by the UAE authorities as well as international recommendations. The health and safety of our employees and customers are and have always been our number one priority.

First step in facing any hazard is to conduct risk assessments and act according to the scientific recommendations to tackle the hazards. Our response covered several aspects to insure safety of our employees as our prime concern, and continuation of flow or work as long as the construction sector is still active in the UAE. We adjusted our modus operandi and adopted several work procedures according to International Recommendations and mitigation measures mandated by the UAE Government. Our updates, guidelines and recommendations come from trusted sources who are experts in the field, such as Department of Health in the UAE, World Health Organization (WHO), or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

From the very early stages, we set up Crises Management Committee formed from out top management, QHSE, Administration, Operations, and HR departments. The job of this committee is to follow up on the current situation, development of COVID-19, contact with UAE officials, contact with our sister companies overseas, and come up with measures in line with the official recommendations. NFT conducted more than 15 dissemination and awareness sessions about the virus and methods to control its spread to different groups in multilanguages. We made sure that the sessions we tailored to each group to reach all our employees and each in their vocation. Special attention sessions and trainings were conducted with sanitation people, drivers, or the more vulnerable groups who can be more exposed as per our risk assessment surveys.  In addition, flyers, posters, videos, and publications were circulated wherever possible inside the offices, workshop, vehicles, and even labor camps dormitories.

Highest risks and challenges occur while commuting to work or living in labor camps that have high concentration of people. With the extraordinary efforts of the health authorities in the UAE, we managed to screen all our working force and implement extra precautions in collaboration of labor camps management. Commuting to work according to the UAE authorities directives, follows 30% occupancy in the vehicles. Effectively it means, we tripled our busses to labor camps, we increased our fleet/trips of small vehicles and minibuses. In addition, we added separate plastic sheet inside the busses in order to separate the driver from the passengers. Deep disinfection is carried out for the whole yard periodically and upon need. On the other hand, all teams were divided into segregated groups that work in isolation from each other. In case any symptoms appear on any of the team members, the one with symptoms would go for check up, while the others in the same team would be sent to self-isolation until further verification of the health conditions. Meanwhile, the job would be carried out with another group, hence keeping work flow uninterrupted.

In parallel, the same measures were conducted to maintain social distancing in the office, when possible the employees could carry out their jobs without the need to come to office. In case coming to office is essential, we restructured the office distribution as to maintain necessary social distancing as recommended. An infrared gun thermometer was placed at the reception for all those entering to voluntarily check their temperatures. A special team is deployed for disinfecting all surfaces, office appliances, door knobs, handles, restroom facilities, round the clock during working hours. Paper circulation was reduced to minimum, and when necessary special disinfected plastic files were used to carry the papers.Masks and gloves are distributed in different types and frequency according to the risk analysis.Special awareness sessions and measures are put in place for the more Vulnerable people (by virtue of their age, underlying health condition, clinical condition or are expecting). They follow the highest strict precautions.Fingerprinting for sign in/out were temporarily deactivated and replaced with photo/ web sign in/out.Provided additional handwashing facilities with soap, and if not available hand sanitizing solutions, especially in vehicles, and at building hallways, entrances, and exits.We increased rubbish bins number and rubbish collection, and spread them in order to reduce any remaining.We reduced site meetings to absolute necessary ones whether external meeting or internal. When possible, we use virtual meetings using technology as Microsoftteams.

Manufacturer Case Study: The example of Terex

Guided by the Terex Way values, the tower crane supplier is working hard to ensure business continuity while following strict preventive guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.  They continue with shipping equipment, the fabrication of parts and the full operation of service centers. Globally, the parts customer service is open with team members working remotely, equipped with the required tools and access to respond to customer inquiries through a number of channels, including for Materials Processing businesses, for Genie, for Terex Utilities, and Terex Service Centers, call centers and other flexible delivery alternatives. However, Terex has temporarily suspended manufacturing operations in certain locations, responding to changing customer demand and complying with government mandates to close facilities.  Nonetheless, this has not stopped the manufacturer from releasing their field service team from supporting customers on site. Technicians are supporting customers and others virtually (e.g., phone, video conference) as much as possible

An Opportunity amidst the crisis

It should come as no surprise that the COVID-19 global pandemic hasn’t impacted all industries equally. Some businesses, including department stores, traditional restaurants and childcare centers, have suffered devastating losses as a result of stay-at-home orders and social distancing protocols; others, such as food delivery businesses, digital advertising agencies and subscription services, are experiencing unprecedented surges in sales.

As example is Saudi Arabia’s local online retailer BinDawood Holding who, since the escalation of the Covid- 19 crisis, has had average sales on a 10-day basis increase by 200%, while its average order value rose by 50% and app installations by 400%. The company has two e-commerce platforms – BinDawood and Danube – which are connected to their respective supermarket and hypermarket chains, enabling customers to purchases groceries and other goods online.

Elsewhere, fellow Saudi grocery delivery app Nana has also benefitted from the recent turn towards online shopping, raising $18m in a Series B funding round in late March to expand operations across the Middle East, with investors including venture capital funds Saudi Technology Ventures and Middle East Venture Partners. This follows a Series A funding round that raised $6m last year. The company has expanded capacity three-fold following a surge in demand associated with the Covid-19 outbreak. This is expected to continue in light of the Saudi government’s decision to impose tighter curfews in major cities.

The surge of video conferencing is remarkable. An example is the Zoom, who despite scrutiny over security issues, has seen its market value skyrocket to some $35 billion. As people around the world stay home due to coronavirus risk, Zoom has become a go-to service for remote education, exercise classes, games, church services and happy hour celebrations. Couples have gotten married in “zoomed” ceremonies. Birthdays have been celebrated. Funerals have been virtually attended.

In addition to the increase in production of PPE and flu fighting supplements and medication, there is an increasing trend of building remote testing facilities by governments. To address the need for testing in urban areas for those without vehicles, CannonDesign architect Albert Rhee created a walk-in testing booth that is slated for public use. Keeping medical professionals healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential in both slowing the rate of infection and meeting heightened staffing needs. Many governments and healthcare providers are finding this to be a difficult task due to the global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies. A walk-in testing booth provides an alternative solution that eliminates physical provider-patient exposure in a modular format that is simple to deploy for temporary testing operations. The design is based on testing operations already in place at Yang Ji General Hospital in Seoul, South Korea (featured in this YouTube video). Similar solutions have emerged throughout the world, but design development and production seem to be limited to single-user, single-site applications.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also pushed some companies to launch new products catering to the fear amongst consumers. Paint manufacturer Caparol has announced a new interior paint product with anti-microbial properties that that it says uses silver ions to bind and destroy the cell membrane of biological contaminants, including bacteria and viruses. Caparol Arabia, the UAE arm of the German paints multinational, claims its ‘CapaCare Protect’ is “an innovative and sustainable solution that provides better protection against harmful micro-organisms”. The new solution, which contains the company’s patented and advanced ‘SILVERbac’ technology, is said to secure walls and surfaces from bio-harm. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Caparol Arabia says it has launched further testing to check its antimicrobial paint effectiveness at reducing the spread. However, the antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties of silver ions and silver compounds have been extensively studied for years.


Sources: 9/143142.article?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Construction+and+Coronavirus+-+30th+March+2020&utm_term=C%26C

Message to our Stakeholders

At NFT, we are committed to our customers, employees and communities.

We are monitoring closely the latest developments surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, and follow with full vigilance the latest protocols of health and safety shared by the UAE authorities. The health and safety of our employees and customers are and have always been our number one priority.

As we continue to maintain the highest level of hygiene and care, NFT is implementing all the recommendations from trusted sources who are experts in the field, such as Department of Health in the UAE, World Health Organization (WHO), or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Some examples of measures taken by NFT to educate and protect its employees include:

  • Conducting awareness campaign through more than 13 sessions about the virus.
  • Distributing publications on awareness about the virus in several languages.
  • Conducting special sessions for the employees involved in sanitation activities.
  • Focused simulation sessions of best practices as recommended by experts.
  • Conducting special sessions for the drivers who transport employees.
  • Stopped any manual punching and attendance system.
  • Placed sanitizing stations and gloves across its offices.
  • Desensitized employee buses and gathering spaces.
  • Suspension of air travel and disbursement of employees within 2 meters.
  • Strict compliance with PPE on sites and in Workshop.
  • Voluntary body temperature monitoring by the HSE department.

It is our social responsibility to prevent the spread of the virus while ensure business continuity in support of the economies we are contributing to. Therefore, in this unprecedented times, NFT will continue to offer its products and services in a safe, responsible manner as long as we are able to do so. Our commitment to our clients is uninterrupted and we remain available in our office, through emails, by phone and through Microsoft Teams. NFT will respect clients’ preference in holding meetings on site or online.

We ask our clients who have taken our employees under their care to continue this vigilance like they would their own employees.

At NFT, we remain devoted to the communities we serve; and appreciate the collaborative nature in this global challenge.

Stay Safe!


Offices in the UAE: Head office, Workshop and Spare Parts in Al Dafra, Hameem Road, Exit 205, Abu Dhabi, P.O.Box: 28037. Saturday to Thursday from 8AM to 4:30 PM.

Tel: 02 6730778. Email:

Office in Dubai: The Curve Building, Fist Floor, F14, P.O.Box: 11043. Saturday to Thursday from 8AM to 5:00 PM. Tel: 04 4470391. Email: