Abu Dhabi’s “Ghadan 2021” Vision

The Middle East region is going through some economic changes and there has been massive projects revealed and announced by head of states. On September 16 Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed announced the budget and initial round of projects for the Ghadan (Tomorrow) 2021 strategy, a three-year plan designed to further reduce the emirate’s dependence on oil revenues.

Ghadan 21 – which means ‘tomorrow’ in English – is the banner name for a series of reforms aimed at stimulating investment, creating jobs, encouraging innovation and improving the overall quality of life for citizens. The plan will feature 50 initiatives focused on four areas – business and investment, society, knowledge and innovation, and lifestyle. According to Gulf News, A Dh50 billion three-year development accelerator programme for Abu Dhabi has been approved. The announcement was made on Twitter by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Shaikh Mohammad said that the programme, dubbed Ghadan 21 (Arabic for Tomorrow), was approved during a meeting with members of the Abu Dhabi Executive Committee.

“We have approved a three-year, Dh50 billion budget for the Abu Dhabi Government Accelerators Program Ghadan 21. Dh20 billion will be allocated to the 2019 development package,” Shaikh Mohammad tweeted.

Approved on September 16 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the work on Ghadan 2021 (translated to Tomorrow 2021 in English) will commence from the beginning of 2019.

Push for economic reform

According to The National, the plan has 50 initiatives to stimulate investment and job creation, including investment in the knowledge sector, the employment and education of Emiratis, and overall quality of life. It will slash red tape for businesses and build confidence in the emirate’s economy. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, were among those present at the meeting. During the session, the Cabinet ratified an agreement on cultural exchange between the UAE and France, and an air transport agreement between the UAE and Belize, the UAE and the Marshall Islands and air services between the UAE and the Caribbean country of Grenada. Additionally, it approved agreements to promote and protect UAE investments with Kazakhstan and Costa Rica, and agreed that the Emirates join the 1997 Protocol of the International Convention for the Prevention of Air Pollution caused by ships.

Private sector – the key focus of business development in the Ghadan 2021 strategy

According to Oxford Business Group, Abu Dhabi has moved ahead with plans to bolster the emirate’s non-oil economy following the launch of a Dh50bn ($13.6bn) programme aimed at fast-tracking economic growth and social development. Key to the Ghadan initiative is the improvement of the emirate’s business environment, with a particular focus on facilitating greater private sector participation.

“To this end, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council – the body tasked with overseeing the programme – announced the establishment of a new business licence registration process, which should allow for the approval of 91% of commercial activities within five minutes. To support this, the Tajer licence, which allows operators to establish businesses without having a permanent office, has also been expanded to cover all nationalities and more than 1000 different commercial activities.

Meanwhile, in terms of financing, officials announced that a credit guarantee programme will be established before the end of the year. Under this initiative, banks are expected to offer small and medium-sized businesses Dh10bn ($2.7bn) in funding over the next three years. This was coupled with the announcement that a new public-private partnership (PPP) law would soon be issued, and the initial tranche of these PPPs will be tendered in the first quarter next year, with up to Dh3bn ($816.9m) worth of projects in housing, infrastructure, energy and health care on offer. On this note, the Ghadan strategy is expected to generate opportunities for a range of service providers, with the construction and materials supply sectors in particular set to benefit from the uptick in projects forecast over the coming three years”.

Additionally, the government is also moving to support domestic services and materials suppliers, looking to adopt by early next year a new content policy giving preference to local suppliers in state tenders.

Innovation, Research & Development

According to the same report, another key feature of the programme is the facilitation of Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy through a series of developments promoting innovation and research and development (R&D).

“Key to meeting these goals is the establishment of a new tech incubator, expected to open by the end of the year.

On top of developing local expertise and start-ups through cooperation with the private sector, the committee said the incubator will serve to increase Abu Dhabi’s attractiveness as a destination for tech-sector talent, and support industry-based R&D efforts. In terms of education, officials announced plans to add some 30,000 places to the emirate’s school capacity over the period, to be made up of 15,000 new students in private schools by 2021 and 15,000 in existing state schools by next year”.

Reaction from the market leaders

Walid El-Hindi, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi-based developer Imkan, also voiced his support for the development strategy.

“We are delighted to learn of the Tomorrow 2021 reforms, which represent a further step towards strong economic diversification in the UAE,” he said.

“Our leadership’s long history of strategic initiatives represents their vision to create a capital city with diverse and robust sectors that go far beyond oil. We believe this is a strong step towards stimulating  investment and further enhance the quality of life for Abu Dhabi’s residents and visitors.”

According to Weetas, the CEO of Al Dar Properties and Developments, one of the biggest Abu Dhabi-based developers, Talal Al Dhiyebi, commented on the strategy by saying that it reflects how the government seeks to accelerate the emirate’s economic growth and support its property market, adding that re-evaluating Abu Dhabi’s regulations and rules for infrastructure, residential and commercial projects is a significant step towards cutting the industry costs for both residents and investors.

Conclusion and summary: The reasons and the impact of this economic reform

According to a report by The National, this major initiative has been analyzed as following:

Why?Government officials were set a 90-day deadline to put economic reforms in motion as part of a Dh50 billion stimulus package over three years. The aim is to diversify Abu Dhabi beyond its reliance on oil income and cement its status as a growing world power.

What is the plan? Tomorrow 21 is a four-point plan to shape the economic future of the capital. The idea is to:

Stimulate business and investment, as well as promote economic development for the private sector and small businesses and support industry projects for the renewable energy sector.

Improve the lives of UAE nationals by launching new housing projects and providing quality education at an affordable cost.

Develop the knowledge sector by encouraging technology companies, supporting research and development centers, and training and developing talent and expertise.

Enhance the quality of life for all through improved cultural, sporting and transport initiatives

How will it affect jobs? The package will also include the creation of 10,000 new jobs for Emiratis in private and public sector over the next five years, while dual licenses will be available for companies in Abu Dhabi free zones to allow them to work outside free zones and bid for government tenders.

UAE leads Middle East countries by total hotel rooms in construction

The Middle East room construction total represented a 27.4% increase compared with October 2017 according to a report released by STR.

Rooms in construction in Africa, however, is down by 2.3% year over year.

The Middle East has a total of 423 hotels in the construction pipeline with 127, 177 keys which up by 27.4% compared to October 2017. Out of that, the region has 127 properties in final planning stage with 191 properties in the planning stage.

Africa has a total of 139 properties in construction with 65 of them on final planning stage and 121 in the planning phase.

UAE takes the lead spot among top MENA countries by rooms in constructions as of October 2018 with 54,371 keys making up 33.5% of the existing supply. Saudi Arabia takes second place with 48,224 rooms in construction but leads in terms of overall growth with the construction making up 51.4% of the existing supply as of October 2018.

Oman has 4,471 rooms in construction which tallies to 24.4% of the exiting supply while Egypt has 3,925 hotel rooms in construction which is 2.3% of the current supply.

Geda and Potain hoist partnership

Tower cranes from Potain will be fitted with the Geda Potain Cab-In internal mast crane operator hoist as part of a new supply agreement.

With more than 100,000 cranes sold and more than 60 models produced in France, Italy, Portugal and China, Potain has evolved since its early beginnings in 1928 into a world market leader.

The two traditional companies collaborated closely in the development of the Cab-In, exclusively for the Potain top slewing crane. It is based on the Geda 2 PK crane operator hoist that has been on the market for several years.

The new internal mast Cab-In enables a fast route to and from the cab. It fits inside all crane mast systems and is compatible with all Potain bases and drive frames. It also increases cost efficiency since the hoist remains permanently in the crane avoiding any additional transport costs and separate storage areas being required at the installation site.

The Cab-In is easily accessible and therefore easy to maintain and service. For additional safety Geda and Manitowoc have also developed a new, enclosed sliding landing level safety gate specifically for the hoist.

Johann Sailer, managing director of Geda, said, “Always with our eyes on the market, one of our ultimate objectives is to offer our customers tailor-made height access solutions. Our existing expertise in crane operator hoists along with the exclusive collaboration with Manitowoc, has enabled us to develop the Geda Potain Cab-In, a product that precisely reflects the customer’s requirements and which already meets the future legal regulations coming into force in France.”

The market launch of the Cab-In is planned for the end of 2018 but it already complies with French regulations, which from 2019 will make the installation of a crane operator hoist obligatory for every crane with a lifting height of 30m. The hoist also complies with regulations in the Netherlands and in Scandinavia.

Since the partnership Manitowoc and Geda have agreed a five-year deal for several hundred devices. Existing Potain cranes are to be retrofitted with the new hoist.

MEA smart city spending to double in next four years.

Annual technology spending by smart cities in the Middle Eastand Africa (MEA) region is expected to double from $1.3 billion to $2.7 billion in the next four years, according to KPMG’s ‘The Rise of Smart Cities – Digital Transformation in the Public Sector’ report.

Addressing the Digital Saudi 2030 conference in Riyadh, Dr Samer Abdallah, head of digital, KPMG Al Fozan & Partners in Saudi Arabia, revealed that Riyadh and Dubai are the top spenders when it comes to the development of smart cities.

“Given the Saudi government’s move to embrace digital transformation in alignment with Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020, information technology (IT) spending in the kingdom is slated to grow by at least 14 per cent each year,” he added.

Global smart city spending is set to accelerate from $81 billion in 2018 to $158 billion by 2022, Dr.  Abdallah said, citing data from International Data Corporation.

The critical success factors of digital transformation of a city include an individual strategy, a holistic approach, and technology partners. This entails, however, several challenges such as cyber risk, technology gap, funding gap, and skills gap, which need to be appropriately addressed.

r. Abdallah advised assembling a dedicated cross-functional transformation team; describing the future vision of a smart city and deriving the related digital transformation projects; selecting appropriate technologies and detailing the business cases; identifying suitable partners among tech providers and co-investors, and executing consistently under one governance, and allowing for agile project delivery as the model to building a smart city.

In another presentation on ‘The Race to the Cloud: Present and the future of cloud platforms in fuelling Artificial Intelligence’, Dr. Abdallah said: “As Saudi Arabia makes great strides to build a sophisticated digital infrastructure under its Vision 2030, cloud computing will be a catalyst for digital transformation.”

Cloud computing will play a key role in promoting Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML) as these technologies are adopted across the broader business spectrum, he said, emphasising that companies will increasingly use AI-based cyber defence systems to detect and fend off any cyber-attacks.

Dr Abdallah pointed out that data analytics is becoming increasingly important tool for businesses, particularly Business Intelligence, as modern business problems require the analysis of large and complex combinations of data sources and sophisticated data models.

When The National was launched in 2008, the UAE was best known for spectacular building projects: an indoor ski slope, and islands shaped like continents and palms.

The rate of construction was so remarkable that an urban myth was told of a Keralite crane operator named Babu Sassi, whose crane on the Burj Dubai was so tall that he lived in the cab at the top.

At the time it was widely reported that Dubai was home to a quarter of the world’s 125,000 cranes. (It was actually no more than 2 per cent.)

Building and infrastructure would transform the landscape and social fabric of the country over the next decade in a manner made more astonishing by the backdrop of the 2008 global financial crisis and the Arab uprisings.

Boom time: a decade when the cranes ruled the UAE’s skies 

When The National was launched in 2008, the UAE was best known for spectacular building projects: an indoor ski slope, and islands shaped like continents and palms.

The rate of construction was so remarkable that an urban myth was told of a Keralite crane operator named Babu Sassi, whose crane on the Burj Dubai was so tall that he lived in the cab at the top.

At the time it was widely reported that Dubai was home to a quarter of the world’s 125,000 cranes. (It was actually no more than 2 per cent.)

Building and infrastructure would transform the landscape and social fabric of the country over the next decade in a manner made more astonishing by the backdrop of the 2008 global financial crisis and the Arab uprisings.

The month The National was launched the Burj Dubai, as it was then known, reached level 160 and became the world’s tallest man-made structure. But within a few months, the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis hit.

Major infrastructure projects including the 52-kilometre Metro, enabled the city to withstand the effects of the crisis, says Dr Yasser Elsheshtawy, an architect, historian and former professor of architecture at the UAE University. It would open a year later in September, 2009.

“It is as if the city’s central nervous system is starting to shoot signals to previously detached limbs,” National reporter Hugh Naylor wrote at the time.

A 14.5km tramline followed in 2014, connecting Sheikh Zayed Road with the Marina and Palm Jumeirah, and even now construction continues with a 15km extension to the emirate’s next big project – Dubai 2020 Expo.

The city is undergoing a renewed inward focus, Dr Elsheshtawy says, with projects such as the new creekside retail area of Marsa Al Seef. After a proliferation of malls, Dubai is now tending towards pedestrian-friendly, open-air retail outlets.

“In many ways the past 10 years have witnessed a maturation of the real estate market and a closer focus on livability – walkable areas, outdoor places for social interaction and mixed-use developments,” Dr Elsheshtawy says.

“A proliferation of cultural projects moves the urban development paradigm away from a profit-making paradigm.

“While admirable in many ways, there is a clear tendency towards focusing on the higher-end of the market, and the immediate impact and relation to the existing city is sometimes not studied carefully.”

Abu Dhabi

In 2008, Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council began to implement Plan 2030, starting the capital’s transformation from an island city to a city of islands.

When The National was launched, there were two crossings into the city – the Maqta and Mussaffah bridges. But there were plans for 32 more connecting the main island with Reem, Maryah, Yas and Saadiyat islands.

The 10-lane, 1.4km Sheikh Khalifa bridge to Saadiyat opened in October 2009, just before the first Formula One GP on Yas Island. It connected the Corniche to Saadiyat Island, Yas and the E11.

The mainland satellites of Khalifa City, Mohammed bin Zayed City and Mussaffah were linked to the Corniche by the 2010 opening of the 800-metre Sheikh Zayed Bridge, designed by celebrated British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

In late 2012, the much-anticipated, Dh5 billion Salam Street expressway, later to be renamed after the Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed, was completed after more than five years of construction.

Meanwhile, 80 metres underground, the Dh5.7bn Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme was under way. With 91km of sewers, it is one of the longest gravity-driven wastewater tunnels in the world.

Changes were not without growing pains. In its early years, The National reported extensively on the effects of the Salam Street tunnel building and another infrastructural innovation – paid parking. The Mawaqif paid parking scheme was introduced in October 2009. As parking lots were plotted out, drivers spent evenings circling for hours.

“It wasn’t ever intended to be a revenue-generating operation. It was a way to get all these cars off the streets,” says Dr Jane Bristol-Rhys, an associate professor of anthropology at Zayed University.

In the Western Region, later renamed Al Dhafra, life improved with the upgrade of the 327km Mafraq-Ghweifat motorway to the Saudi border.

In 2014, the region launched the country’s first railway and commercial operations began on the 264km line from the Shah oil and gasfields to Ruwais port. Plans for a trans-Gulf passenger line were held.

Running in the opposite direction, from sea to desert, is a water pipeline to the 21 billion litre underground reservoir in the Liwa desert near the Empty Quarter. The Dh1.6bn project, finished in January, is the world’s largest reserve of high-quality desalinated water.




An insight into green construction & eco-friendly construction

The topics of green construction and green buildings have been trending the construction industry for some time now and many governments are even encouraging companies to go “green”. The trends towards green initiatives, green energy and construction has been increasing. In this report, we will be looking the structure of the market, the market size and the future of green and eco-friendly construction

Before we start, it’s worth mentioning that the market size of green buildings material will be about $370B by 2022.

What is eco-friendly construction?

By definition, According to Sustainable Build, “Eco-friendly, or ecological, construction is building a structure that is beneficial or non-harmful to the environment, and resource efficient. Otherwise known as green building, this type of construction is efficient in its use of local and renewable materials, and in the energy required to build it, and the energy generated while being within it”.

Eco-friendly construction has developed in response to the knowledge that buildings have an often-negative impact upon our environment and our natural resources. This includes transporting materials hundreds or thousands of miles, which has a negative impact in the energy required to transport them, and also in emissions of hazardous chemicals from a poorly designed building that creates and traps them.

There are many options for companies who are wishing to design and build an eco-friendly housing. Architects, engineers and builders worldwide are now using construction techniques that have been developed throughout human history, in response to local environmental concerns and the physical resource opportunities available, coupled with 21st century technological refinements.

These range from rammed earth construction, which involves clay-based material mixed with water and then rammed into brick or solid wall form, suitable in hot and dry climates, to straw bale houses, literally using bales of straw as the core structure. Straw is a great insulator, is a breathable material that filters the air passing through it, and contrary to expectation, is fire-resistant when compressed. And it is low cost. See our page www.sustainablebuild.co.uk/strawbale for instructions on how to build.

Other options are so-called earth ships, which use recycled car tyres filled with earth as the buildings walls, or Yurts or Gers, the semi-permanent nomadic tents of Inner Asia, that utilise local wood, wool and canvas, to literally live on, with the land. These examples can be seen as development that has a low impact upon the environment, which utilise and blend in with the local environment, and could be dismantled and moved easily.

Features of Ecological and eco-friendly buildings

In more conventional building construction, it is how technology and building materials merge and create ecological resources that are the key to green success, as well as using simple and readily available materials.

Other features of an ecological building might include:

  • Different uses of solar panels for water heating for domestic use
  • Water conservation, possibly including biological waste water treatment and re-use, and the simple collection and recycling of rainwater for garden use
  • Low energy and cost saving light bulbs that live up to 100 times longer than conventional light bulbs
  • Cellulose insulation
  • Non-toxic or lead-free paints and wood preservatives

“The market size of green buildings material: Green buildings materials market size worth $364.6 Billion by 2022”

The global green building materials market size is expected to reach USD 364.6 billion by 2022, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. Growing demand for environmental-friendly and sustainable building materials is expected to propel the growth of the market.

Green building materials stops the usage of toxic paints containing lead, in turn improving indoor air quality. Furthermore, the products also offer plentiful natural lighting thereby reducing energy usage which thereby reduces the overall expenditure. Copious raw material availability coupled with a large number of manufacturers are expected to aid the growth of market.

Technological innovations have facilitated a rise in demand in green building materials, as products are becoming increasing affordable and readily available. As a result, the demand has increased dramatically over the past few years majorly due to rebounding construction market.

Increasing demand for green building materials coupled particularly in emerging economies are expected to have a positive impact towards market growth. In addition, presence of large number of manufacturers is expected to increase the ease in sourcing the products. Oversupply of green building materials is expected to lower product price which will drive the market growth over the forecasted period.

The market exhibits the presence of a large number of manufacturers engaged in the manufacturing of wide range of products including roofing, insulation, and frames. Easy accessibility to raw materials coupled with product demand is likely to increase industry rivalry aim to improve product quality.

According to the same report, here are some key points about the market size of the eco-friendly construction industry:

  • Structural product segment is expected to reach USD 239.1 billion by 2022, owing to their superior aesthetics, and durability, and ability to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Insulation is estimated to be the fastest growing application with a growth rate of 11.7% over the forecast period, on the account of its high energy efficiency coupled with heightened emphasis on the installation of interior insulation solutions
  • The demand for the product in Asia Pacific is expected to reach a value of USD 78.4 billion by 2022 in the wake of rising residential construction and growing infrastructure development.Key question: Is this the right time for eco-friendly construction in the UAE?

    According to a special report on Gulf News on eco-friendly construction, the UAE’s increased commitment to sustainability puts it ahead of the other GCC countries, according to architects and industry experts. Yet, while the situation is improving, the market still must overcome the misconception that greening and improving a building’s energy efficiency is a costly affair.

    “The UAE has a good framework and we are seeing the process in Abu Dhabi setting good examples, including the goal of reducing energy bills by 20 per cent in all new homes built across the emirate,” says Antonio Ceci, Sustainability and Permitting Section Manager at RW Armstrong, an engineering consultancy and architectural firm. “The question that arises is whether sustainable architecture is worth the investment, and what the investment actually is,” Ceci adds. “A sustainable building should cost marginally less to build and have much lower operating costs. Developers are well informed and see the long-term benefits. But contractors, in some cases, lack the experience of implementing environmental design principles into the construction methods and procedures. This makes it complicated to fulfil the requirements as stated in the building code regulations, especially regarding the sustainable supply chain, construction and demolition waste management.”

    At what cost?

    According to the same report, “How can designers ensure that their buildings are really more energy-efficient without breaking the bank? Says Engi Jaber, Architect and Sustainability Coordinator at Dewan Architects & Engineers: “Active design methods include solar water heating, solar collectors and generators such as PV or solar panels (pictured above), automated lighting and ventilation systems, using efficient lighting fixtures — such as LEDs — and the use of energy-efficient appliances and equipment.


    “On the other hand, passive design methods include designing by orientation, high envelope insulation, having airtight building shells and efficient glazing systems, increasing shading structures and overhangs to limit solar gains, as well as balanced energy recovery ventilation.”

     Green buildings trends in the Middle East

    According to EcoMENA, “the Middle East region faces a unique set of environmental and socio-economic challenges in the form of water scarcity, harsh climatic conditions, ecological degradation and abundance of fossil fuels. Commercial and residential buildings in the Middle East consume more energy than those in other parts of the world, mainly on account of extremely hot weather, rampant use of glass exteriors and heavy reliance on air-conditioning. The Middle East building industry, in recent years, is actively trying to make widespread use of”.


    Some of the other drivers for the progress of green buildings sector in the Middle East are carbon-neutral buildings, self-sustaining urban planning and cultural sensitivity incorporating traditional Islamic architecture. Many countries in the region are increasingly promoting energy efficiency as a means to achieve energy security which has catalyzed the local green buildings industry. As far as social reasons are concerned, improved health and greater productivity are the top reasons for companies going green in their construction.

    “In recent years, green building design has emerged as a top priority in the Middle East. The number of LEED-registered buildings has increased rapidly across the region, from 623 in 2010 to more than 1400 in 2015. United Arab Emirates is leading the pack with almost two-third share, followed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Some of the prominent green buildings are Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (Masdar City), Climate Change Initiative Building (Dubai), Qatar National Convention Centre (Doha), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Jeddah) and World Trade Center (Bahrain). Siemen’s headquarters in Masdar City has the distinction of being the first LEED Platinum-rated office building in the entire Middle East. Msheireb Downtown Doha is regarded as the world’s first sustainable community, with more than 100 buildings targeting LEED Gold and Platinum rating”.

    In fact, the UAE has the fourth-largest stock of LEED-certified buildings outside the US at 3.1 million sq. meters. UAE also has the distinction of having the fourth-largest number of LEED-accredited construction professionals worldwide. Sunanda Swain, a leading Dubai-based green buildings expert says that, “Presently, the UAE has total cumulative gross square meters (GSM) of LEED- certified and registered spaces of 53.44 million and the total number of LEED-certified and registered projects are 910 (in comparison to 710 by June 2014)”. She adds, “In Abu Dhabi, over 700,000 square meters of real estate are certified by the Urban Planning Council under Estidama sustainability standards.”

    DEWA launches ‘Green Dubai’ sustainability initiatives

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has announced ‘Green Dubai’, comprising three initiatives designed to make Dubai the smartest, happiest and most sustainable city in the world. DEWA says the move empowers customers to make sustainable decisions that contribute to protecting the environment and natural resources.

Shams Dubai, which encourages building owners to install photovoltaic solar panels and connect them to DEWA’s grid, is part of Green Dubai. According to the utility company, over 1,145 buildings have already been connected and contribute nearly 50MW of energy.

The ‘Green Charger’ initiative is also part of Green Dubai and will see the installation of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations. To date, DEWA has installed over 100 Green Chargers across the city and aims to grow the number to 200 stations by the end of this year. To encourage its customers to use eco-friendly electric vehicles, DEWA is providing free charging for electric cars registered in the Green Charger initiative until the end of 2019.

“Green Dubai aims to empower customers to adopt a conscious and responsible lifestyle through the sensible use of electricity and water. This supports the Demand Side Management Strategy to reduce electricity and water use by 30% by 2030, generating clean solar energy, and encouraging the use of eco-friendly electric vehicles,” said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and chief executive of DEWA.

‘High Water Usage Alert’ is the third initiative under Green Dubai and aims to help customers identify leaks in their water connections and curb wastage. The system sends notifications to customers if there are unusual increases in consumption according to DEWA, which helps the customer to check and repair leaks with the help of a specialised technician.

“Environmental work requires concerted efforts to achieve a balance between development and the environment, to protect the rights of future generations to enjoy a clean, healthy, and safe environment,” Al Tayer added.



How Green Buildings Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint






DEWA launches ‘Green Dubai’ sustainability initiatives


News July

Potains in land reclamation project

Three Potain MD top-slewing tower cranes are helping to construct 18 reinforced concrete caissons that are required as part of the design and construction of the new Portier Cove eco-neighbourhood in Monaco.Started in 2016, Portier Cove is a €1.36bn plan that will see six hectares of land reclaimed from the sea, upon which 60,000 sqm of housing, an extension of the Grimaldi Forum and a coastal promenade will be built.

French company Bouygues Travaux Publics has been contracted to build the foundations of the offshore extension, including 18 reinforced concrete structures that will act as underwater struts. Known as caissons, these hollow, cylindrical chambers are being made in the Marseille-Fos Port in France before being towed to Monaco where they will be positioned and reinforced by infill.

To create the 10,000t, 26m-high structures, the contractor is renting a vast proportion of the French port, including a 10,000m2 caisson precasting zone, as well as a 32,000m2 area of water, where a floating dock is positioned. A first in France, this 56m-long, 50m-wide and 27m-tall floating dock will make it possible to assemble the caissons before they are delivered to Monaco.

It is here that three Potain top-slewing tower cranes are working over a period of 24 months: two brand new Potain MD 569s to help construct the caissons themselves and one MD 560 B for general supply of the shipyard from the harbour dock.

The two MD 569 tower cranes – erected at heights of 45m and 59m – are positioned on the water on floating platforms known as pilotis. This presented a challenge for Bouygues, as not only are the pilotis required to support the cranes when lifting heavy loads, such as 25t reinforcement cages, they also need to remain secure when battling the sea and the notoriously strong winds of the region.

The contractor worked with Manitowoc’s tower crane Lift Solutions team to find the answer. The team developed several pylon compositions specific to the site, combining different types of masts and chassis to increase the height and safety of the cranes. It also provided adapted load charts to account for piloti movement possibilities in all weather conditions.

Work on the caissons began in 2017 and is due for completion in 2019. Once complete, they will be towed to Monaco where they are run aground to form the foundations of the offshore extension. They will then be ballasted with sea water and weighted with quarry material. Each finished, construction caisson façade has been specially designed to accommodate sea flora and fauna. Once the caisson belt has been of the reclamation ground begins. The entire Portier Cove project is scheduled for completion in 2025.

Emaar to build Middle East’s biggest Chinatown in Dubai

Dubai’s leading developer said the Chinese-style urban district will occupy a central location in its 6km² mixed-use waterfront development, Dubai Creek Harbour, which will boast the Dubai Creek Tower superstructure. The retail precinct will have mix of restaurants, local and international fashion brands designed to appeal to Chinese tourists. 

To further support efforts to encourage wealthy Chinese shoppers to the emirate, Emaar has opened offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to promote tourism, education, and investment in the UAE. Emaar’s announcement came on the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the UAE, where he is expected to drum up support for two-way trade and investment. “The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UAE is historic and will further strengthen UAE-China relations, underpinned by initiatives such as the UAE-China Week announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai,” the chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar, said.” “The development of the new Chinese retail and lifestyle district at Dubai Creek Harbour – as well as Emaar’s expansion into China, both in property and hospitality – highlight our commitment to the country, and our focus on contributing to the strength and success of UAE-China relations,” he added. Bilateral trade between China and the UAE has gone up in recent years, rising from $46.3bn (AED170bn) in 2016 to $53.3bn (AED195bn) in 2017. And Chinese tourists are prominent visitors to Dubai as well, with recent statistics indicating a year-on-year increase in the number of travelers from China between 1 January and 31 May, 2018.” Separately, Emaar this week issued a statement following reports it may sell non-core assets worth up to $1.4bn (AED5.1bn). In response to this claim, Emaar said it was “continuously exploring various options as part of its strategy to streamline its business to generate significant value”

New Potain factory in India

Manitowoc has opened a new Potain tower crane factory in the Indian city of Chakan, which lies outside Pune, with production beginning in first-quarter 2018. This facility replaces the company’s previous factory in Pune, which opened back in 2007. With a smaller land area as well as new equipment and lean processes, Manitowoc said the new facility produces Potain MCT 85 and MC 125 cranes more efficiently.

David Semple, Manitowoc’s senior vice president for the Middle East and India, said: “We are focused on developing and executing lean strategies to improve efficiency, profitability, and value for our stakeholders. Our customers will benefit from the faster delivery times and enhanced quality of this new facility while our employees can feel proud to work at one of the most advanced tower crane factories in Asia. Potain has long been a market-leader in India and we want to ensure that continues, so opening this factory is an important step.”  

With a production area of 9,760 sqm, the new factory’s manufacturing footprint has been reduced by one-third compared to its previous facility but has been designed for the same level of production output. Among the upgrades in equipment at the facility are a new paint shop and shot blasting machine cells.

The facility layout delivers other productivity improvements. Most notably, the time to transport materials from the assembly area to the finished goods yard is reduced by 68%. There are other significant savings in material transport from the steel yard, supplier yard and fabrication area.

Time savings are not limited to onsite operations either. Although still in the Pune area, the new factory sits some 45km from the old location, in the city’s industrial belt of Chakan. Being situated in Chakan offers better connectivity to national highways, speeding customer deliveries within India. In addition, the new facility is closer to Mumbai from where Potain cranes are shipped to export markets.

“The majority of cranes manufactured at this new factory will be shipped to customers in India,” said Semple. “But we will also serve neighbouring markets such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. All of our customers will benefit from the faster deliveries and enhanced quality of Potain cranes in this region.”

GCC construction contract awards rebound in 2018

The total value of contract awards in the construction and transport sectors increased in the first half of this year, rising to $32bn from $27bn in second half of 2017, according to regional projects tracker MEED Projects. Despite the increase, the total for the first half of this year is still below the average of $40bn of construction and transport contract awards made on a half yearly basis since 2006, and well below the high of nearly $70bn of awards made in the first half of 2014.The strongest performing market in the first half of 2018 was the UAE with $15bn of awards followed by Saudi Arabia where there were $10bn of contracts let.While the UAE total is down slightly on the $16bn of contracts that were awarded in the second half of 2017, the total for Saudi Arabia is the strongest half since the first half of 2015 and suggest that the kingdom’s construction sector may finally be showing signs of recovery after three difficult years.The UAE has consistently been the strongest performing construction market in the region over the last five years as its more diversified economy has been better shielded from the full impact of lower oil prices.Supporting the Saudi recovery is the fact that the largest contract awards during the first half of this year have come from kingdom. The largest award is the $2.5bn award for the construction of the Mecca Gate housing development for Al-Balad al-Ameen. There were also major contract awards valued at over $1bn for building the Sharma complex on the northern Red Sea coast, and for the construction of a housing development for the National Guard.Future projects are also being tendered in the kingdom. The largest scheme is the proposed Salwa Channel that will be build close to the Qatari border. Others include the Avenues Mall in Riyadh, Ishbiliyah City Centre, and various housing complexes around the kingdom.There were no contract awards valued at over $1bn outside Saudi Arabia. The largest award outside the kingdom was the $533m deal for the construction of Aldar’s Water’s Edge residential development in the UAE.






GCC construction contract awards rebound in 2018


New Potain Tower Crane Works As Topless, Stores As Luffer

Earlier in May, we spoke about hydraulic tower cranes and the MCH 125. Today, we will touch upon the MRH 125 which was launched at Bauma in April earlier this year.

The MRH 125 can lift up to 8.8 U.S. tons, be equipped with up to 164′ of jib, and lift 2.2 U.S. tons at the tip of the longest jib. Its maximum freestanding height is 190′, and maximum line speed is 387 fpm with 50LVF20 hoist winch. The Topless design with several elements making up the slewing crane part reduce the standard size and weight to make transport, handling, and fitting easier.

As with all of its products Manitowoc has placed a strong emphasis on return on investment for Potain MRH 125 owners. The crane’s adaptable design suits it for congested urban job sites while also optimizing transport and assembly times. “The MRH 125 has an optimized transport cost for a luffing jib crane in its capacity class,” said Thiebault Le Besnerais, Manitowoc‘s global product director for tower cranes. “It can also be mounted on our standard 1.6 m (5’6″) or 2 m (6’6″) K-masts for better optimization for fleet owners, and it offers lower power consumption than traditional luffing jib cranes.”

The MRH 125 also uses the latest luffing technology of the VVH hydraulic luffing mechanism which allows complete hoisting of the jib in two minutes. VVH hydraulic luffing eliminates the need to install luffing rope during crane setup. The hoisting winch, maintenance derrick, and jib wind side plate also come pre-installed to save setup time. Plus, there is no need to adapt the wind-sail plate on site, regardless of jib length. Also, the cab can be attached to either side of the mast to suit project conditions.

The jib can be raised from horizontal to near vertical (88°) in just two minutes, and the compact counter jib measures just 23’ and connects easily during assembly.

The main features of the MRH 125 are as follows:

It’s the perfect crane for confined areas

  • Almost vertical luffing jib for minimum space requirement when working
  • Weathervaning radius optimized for each jib length, just 10 m for the 50 m jib, ideal for congested jobsites
  • Option to fit the cab on the left-or right-hand side of the jib according to jobsite needs and especially to allow installation of the crane as close to the building as possible.

It’s the fastest fitting of a luffing jib crane

  • One single counter-jib/jib foot package bringing together all of the connected hydraulic functions. No inter-jobsite dismantling/fitting, compact and transportable in one package
  • No installation of luffing rope thanks to an innovative hydraulic system: save fitting time compared to traditional luffing system and increased safety

Transport is Optimized

  • Only 4 containers or 4 trucks for transportation of the whole slewing crane part with a 50 m jib

Optimized return on investment

  • Luffing jib crane adapted to very tight urban jobsites
  • Economical transport, easy and adapted to the fitting sequences
  • Fitting/dismantling time reduced through a design combining the Topless concept with hydraulic luffing technology
  • Improved fitting safety

In conclusion,  the MRH 125 has all the advantages of traditional luffing jib cranes with the capacities of the topless cranes. This combination of the best of both worlds ensures outstanding operating performance and guarantees a positive return on investment. To view the datasheet or request a quote, visit:


First quarter improvement for Manitowoc

Manitowoc Crane, which also includes Grove mobile cranes and Potain tower cranes has posted first quarter revenues 8.3 percent higher at $418 million.
The increase was attributable to higher crane shipments in the Americas and European regions, coupled with pricing improvements, partly offset by unfavourable changes in exchange rates. The pre-tax loss increased from 6.1 million in the same quarter last year to $23.4 million this year, entirely due to a $25 million charge for early extinguishment of its debt, when it refinanced on more favourable terms in March. Without this the company would have been back in the black with a profit of $1.6 million. At the operating profit level it made $16.2 million compared to just $1.7 million last year. Full year revenues are now forecast to be three to seven percent higher at $1.9 to $1.97 billion.

Chief executive Barry Pennypacker said: “Manitowoc once again delivered a strong start to the year, delivering our eighth straight quarter of year over year adjusted EBITDA margin increase. The operating principles of The Manitowoc Way continue to produce improving financial results as we execute our strategy for profitable growth by delivering innovation and velocity in everything we do.”

“In March, we successfully refinanced our capital structure to further strengthen our balance sheet. This action increases liquidity, reduces interest expense and allows us more flexibility to deploy our capital in order to increase shareholder value.”

“Market conditions remain very competitive. We continue to focus on providing innovative products and services for customers as evidenced by positive customer reception to our six new cranes introduced at the bauma trade show in April. As a result of our first-quarter performance and our proven ability to execute on our strategy, we are raising our full-year guidance.”





Manitowoc showcases new Potain MRH 125 at Vertikal Days


Sales boost for crane manufacturers

The majority of crane manufacturers have seen sales grow in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period last year. Tadano’s fiscal year results showed a decrease in sales, but the company anticipates a strong year ahead.


Tadano sales revenue for its fiscal year 2017, the twelve months ended March 31, stood at ¥173.7bn ($1.57bn), down 3.3% year-on-year. Over the same period, net profit dropped ¥2.5bn to ¥9.39bn.

Total sales of Tadano mobile cranes decreased by 9.7% from the previous year to ¥99bn. Mobile crane sales in Japan fell by 15.2% to ¥38.2bn. Outside of Japan, there was a decrease of 5.8% with sales totaling ¥60.8bn.

Sales of truck loader cranes were stable, up 0.2%, generating ¥19.68bn. Tadano’s revenue from the sales of aerial work platform increased 14.2% year-on-year to ¥24.68bn.

Net sales from other businesses, such as parts, repairs, used cranes and other products, amounted to ¥30.3bn: up 11.4% compared the previous fiscal year. Tadano said that sales of used cranes increased both in Japan and outside Japan.

For the fiscal year 2018, the manufacturer forecasts sales revenue to grow by 10.5% to ¥192bn. It anticipates a 25.7% increase in mobile cranes and 1.1% increase in truck loader cranes.


The Manitowoc Company has reported first-quarter 2018 net sales of $386.1m, up 26% compared to the same period in 2017. The increase was attributed to improved crane shipments across all regions, with the US and European markets generating the majority of the increase.

First-quarter orders rose by 10% year-on-year of $536m, while backlog totaled $756.6m on March 31, 2018, up 49% from the first-quarter 2017. The company reported a net loss of $10m, in the same period last year the net loss stood at $36m.

Barry Pennypacker, president and chief executive officer of The Manitowoc Company, said: “The global crane market is reaching an inflection point, and it shows in our order rates year-to-date. However, like many capital goods companies, we are beginning to see headwinds in terms of materials inflation and supply chain challenges.

“Also, foreign currency exchange rates are putting pressure on our margins, most notably on European produced cranes that we sell in the US. We are actively managing these challenges and aggressively taking pricing actions to ensure that we deliver our full-year EBITDA guidance of $100 to $120m. We are clearly making meaningful progress in transforming Manitowoc into a leaner, more profitable crane company.”


Terex Cranes has reported crane sales of $314m in the first quarter of 2018, up 19% compared to the same period in the previous year. The manufacturer said this was due to higher demand and a favourable impact of foreign exchange rates.

Operating performance improved compared to the first quarter of last year, however our results were negatively impacted by disruptions in the company’s mobile crane factories caused by supply chain challenges. Terex said it is working closely with its suppliers to address the issues.

Indications for future growth are positive, with Terex Cranes Q1 ending backlog up 58% versus 2017.

Steve Filipov, president, Terex Cranes said: “Global crane markets were fairly stable with pockets of growth as expected. We executed well in Towers and Utilities, and we continued to roll out exciting new products including our Demag AC 300-6 all terrain crane and Terex CTT 472-20 flat top tower crane.”

Overall, Terex Corporation reported a strong start to 2018 with first quarter 2018 sales of $1.3bn, up 25% compared to the same period in 2017.

Terex group as a whole, saw sales revenue climb from $1,01bn in Q1 2017 to $1.26bn. Income from continuous operations stood at $47.6m, compared to a loss of $60.3m in the first quarter of last year.

“Terex significantly improved its first quarter earnings per share compared to last year,” said John Garrison, Terex president and CEO. “This strong financial performance reflects the improvements made to our operations and capital structure, and broad-based improvements in our global markets.”

“Aerial Work Platforms (AWP) and Materials Processing (MP) are off to a great start. Our Cranes segment improved compared to the prior year, but performed below our expectations in the quarter.”


Load handling equipment manufacturer Hiab, subsidiary of Cargotec, has received orders totaling €307m in the first quarter of 2018, up 7% year-on-year.

“The demand for Hiab’s load handling equipment was supported in the United States and Europe by the construction activity, which remained at a good level. The demand continued to be strong in the US and accelerated in Europe,” said Hiab.

Hiab’s first quarter sales increased by 2% and totalled €276m. Service sales grew by 2% to €67m, representing 24% percent of sales.

Operating profit for Hiab in the first quarter decreased from the comparison period to €36.1m, mainly due to the weakening of the US dollar.

As a group Cargotec saw orders increasing by 1% in the first quarter of 2018, reaching €863m, while sales dropped by 2% to €773m.


The Palfinger Group’s revenue stood at €394.2m in the first quarter of 2018, 8.9% higher than the same period of the previous year.

The Land segment’s revenue increased by 13.6% year on year to €337.8m.

The growth achieved in the Land segment was based on the significant expansion of business in the regions EMEA and Americas. In Europe, the acquisition of the Danish distribution partner Palfinger Danmark AS, which took place at the end of January 2017, generated positive momentum as well.

In North America, Palfinger recorded “pleasing increases” in business in recent months. “In Asia, particularly in China, the good partnership with Sany has proved to be the foundation for continued business expansion. In Russia/CIS, local value creation facilitated additional growth in the first quarter of 2018, despite the challenging economic environment,” the manufacturer said.

In the first quarter of 2018, the Sea segment’s revenue decreased to 56.4m, which corresponds to a decline of 12.7%.

BIM’s benefits are clear, but it’s still confusing GCC construction

Building information modelling (BIM) is seen as vital for the engineering and construction industry as it looks to digital transformation to tackle inherent challenges such as budget overspend, project delays, and quality control issues.

Governments have been mandating the use of BIM on infrastructure projects throughout Europe and beyond, to streamline major development projects and, in turn, increase productivity in the industry.

Job titles such as BIM manager, BIM co-ordinator, and BIM specialist are even starting to become more common, as the industry embraces the methodology.

Despite all of this attention, however, there are still the common misconceptions that BIM is simply 3D modelling, only for experts, and only used by a fraction of the teams on a development project. But why do these  misunderstandings persist?

Undervalued and under-utilised

One of the challenges for BIM is that it is surrounded by myths that deter certain teams that are involved in a development from adopting it.

While some still see BIM as simply a 3D modelling tool that is used primarily by design and construction teams, modern BIM is so much more than that. It forms a key part of a common data environment – capturing, storing, and sharing key information across an asset. And a connected BIM solution can also be used to link data and documentation, enabling an audit-like trail for objects within a model.

Even the long form of the acronym is confusing, with some uncertain whether the ‘M’ stands for modelling or management. The confusion likely results from the way in which the methodology has evolved and is now being used much more widely across a development.

BIM is also challenged by issues common to other software solutions, such as the reduced productivity that arises while people are yet to be trained on its proper use, the additional costs it entails, and the belief that it is here now but could be obsolete by tomorrow.

These are reasonable concerns: people do need to get used to the software, and data may need to be ported across from other systems, and this can take time; and there will be a financial cost associated with any new software. But these things need to be considered over the longer term. The time and cost savings – and other benefits – that  these solutions provide far outweigh the initial pain and price.

Here to stay

In the specific case of BIM, the data captured should provide a vital repository for information related to clash detection and asset handover, and also create a baseline of information to use when planning or preparing for future developments. Its obsolescence is negated by how BIM has evolved over time, as well as how it is being mandated as the solution of choice by governments, and increasingly by owners and clients globally – there is no doubt that BIM is here to stay.

Modern BIM is all about accessibility, extendibility, and collaboration. A connected BIM solution should help manage all the information about a development.

BIM must be able to be used by teams across the development, no matter how big or small. It needs to be able to work with multiple data sources, file formats, standards, and industry-recognised tools. It should also be accessible on numerous devices, whether the users are in the office or on site.

Overall, there needs to be better education about BIM and its many uses. This will be driven by the ongoing influx of digital skills  into the industry, which will see a greater reliance on technology for a number of different functions. However, the onus is also on BIM solutions themselves to evolve and to keep pace with requirements.

Modern BIM solutions need to provide the security, certifications, and disaster recovery needed to instil confidence in users. They need to be fast, reliable, and able to integrate with other solutions in a company’s technology ecosystem, regardless of where they are being used. Perhaps most importantly, BIM needs to be easy to use, so you do not have to be an expert to get what you need from the solution. Taken together, these attributes can encourage wider use of BIM across the industry.

Immensa says first UAE firm to submit 3D printing patent

Patent sought for innovation that aims to revolutionise the way regional construction companies and engineering firms approach urban design

mmensa Technology Labs has said it has submitted the first 3D printing related patent from a UAE-based company.

The patent – an Immensa proprietary method for the production of moulds for concrete and other aggregates using 3D printing – is an exclusive innovation that aims to revolutionise the way regional construction companies and engineering firms approach urban design.

Fahmi Al-Shawwa, CEO of Immensa Technology Labs, said: “We are proud to represent this great nation by filing the first 3D printing related patent from a UAE-based company.

“This process being patented is at the forefront of engineering innovation, and aligns with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Dubai 3D Printing Strategy. At Immensa, we constantly encourage our engineers to surpass their potentials, and we strive to offer them a positive and reinforcing environment for them to create and work in.”

The Dubai 3D Printing Strategy is an initiative that aims to exploit technology for the service of humanity and promote the status of the UAE and Dubai as a leading hub of 3D printing technology by the year 2030.

Engineers Edem Dugenboo and Elias El Dik of Immensa developed the proprietary process behind the patent.






Expo 2020 & the Construction industry – Is Expo the beginning or the end of the construction boom?

Projects worth $42.5bn (AED156bn) are being constructed across various UAE sectors for Expo 2020 Dubai, it has been revealed.

This headline alone, can turn many heads towards the importance of Expo 2020 and its impact on the construction sector. There have been many talks around Expo 2020 in recent years and there is barely anyone in the region who hasn’t heard about it.

In this article, we are discussing the value Expo 2020 in bringing to the region and more specifically to the construction industry. Before we get into any details, it is important to understand what Expo 2020 is and the impact other previous Expos have had on the economy of hosting countries.

What is Expo 2020?

According to Expo 2020 website, “Expo 2020 is a Universal Exposition to be hosted by Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, opening on October 20, 2020. The Bureau International des Expositions general assembly in Paris awarded Dubai as the host on November 27, 2013.”

Expos have been taking place since 1851 and according to Bureau International des Expositions “An Expo is a global event that aims at educating the public, sharing innovation, promoting progress and fostering cooperation. It is organized by a host country that invites other countries, companies, international organisations, the private sector, the civil society and the general public to participate. Due to the diversity of its participants, from top decision makers to children, Expos offer a multifaceted event where extraordinary exhibitions, diplomatic encounters, business meetings, public debates and live shows take place at the same time.” And based on their same publications, Expos are a unique event for the following reasons:

  • For the international community: Expo is a dialogue platform for progress and cooperation
  • For the general public: Expo is an educational and entertaining experience
  • For the host country: Expo is a tool for nation branding and development
  • For participants: Expo allows international outreach and economic opportunities

Based on the pints above and given Dubai’s current economic standpoint and its diverse business ecosystem, naturally it has become the home for Expo 2020.

Previous Expos and their impact on the economy of the host country

 In order to understand the value of Expo for Dubai and to forecast its impact on the construction sector, it is best to benchmark and look into previous Expos. The last Expo was held in Milan in 2015.

According to a report by Euler Hermes, ““In the short term, the positive momentum from Expo is expected to produce a value equal to +0.1% of the Italian GDP in 2015, concentrated in the third quarter,” said Ana Boata, European economist at Euler Hermes. “The expectation is a total GDP increase amounting to 0.7% in 2015 and to 1.1% in 2016, with the economic recovery speed remaining moderate”.

Apart from the positive effect on demand from abroad, the boost in domestic demand – after years of decline – is a positive sign. Consumer confidence levels are rising and durable goods purchases are again  increasing. The labor market is on the rise – with 295,000 new jobs- following an all-time-low in November 2014; the unemployment rate is expected to drop from 12.7% in 2014 to 12% in 2015, and further to 11% in 2016.

Many industries are benefiting from a positive Expo impact. Specifically, revenues from tourism-related sectors have increased, especially in Milan and the Lakes region. These higher revenues helped increase the turnover of companies in the service industry, with the highest peaks being registered by the wholesale and distribution sector (+4.2% YoY in the second quarter of 2015), hotels and catering (+2.9% YoY), transport-related sectors (+2.1% YoY) and commercial services (+1.3% YoY). Moreover, Expo encouraged the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) to a level of 6 billion euro between February and April, the highest quarterly figure achieved since the end of 2013”

Before Milan, the previous Expo was held at Shanghai in 2010, according to Gulf Business, “The Chinese city received around 73 million visitors in total, with numbers reaching 1.03 million in just one day (16 October, 2010), according to the BIE report, ‘Making an impact: The power of the World Expo’.

Six new subway lines were opened between 2008 and 2010 along with 4000 new taxis in the city. The revenue from the tourism sector rose 13 per cent year on year during the Spring festival to reach $332.7 million.

According to a Bloomberg report, the event may have generated tourism spending of more than 80 billion yuan ($13 billion) for Shanghai, and neighbouring cities along the Yangtze River.”

Just by looking at the previous 2 expos, it is quite evident that they have a positive impact on the construction sector and since Dubai’s economy is quite welcoming to the tourism industry, Expo 2020 is expected to attract a significant number of tourists and just during the Expo, it is expected to receive over 25 million people from all around the world.

Current construction work at Expo 2020

According to AMEinfo, “It’s the grandest of all shows and Dubai, host of the event, has not taken this responsibility lightly.

Route 2020 project with  tower cranes from NFT

When Dubai adopted its 2018 budget, spending $15.5 billion or some 20% more than 2017, it worried more about securing funds to host Expo 2020, than adding on a deficit of $1.7 billion.

The investment value of the Expo is estimated at 25 billion dirhams (Nearly $7bn).

Dubai’s budget sees more than 20% of it allocated to infrastructure spending, an increase of more than 40% from 2017.” Of course, the site of the Expo 2020 has been given significance budget by the government and over 100 countries are participating in constructing eye-catching and impressive pavilions for their countries to

attract investment. According to Arabian Business, New Zealand has committed $53 million to design, construct, operate and promote its presence at the six-month event.

According to Construction Global, “US$42.5bn of construct projects are currently underway in Dubai, UAE – designed for the nation’s Expo 2020.

The top 10 of the project amount to $32.7bn, accounting for almost 77% of the total, according to a BNC Network report.

The infrastructure and energy industries are constructing $17.4bn worth of projects, whilst housing construction comprises of $13.2bn of the total.

The BNC Construction Intelligence report claims that hospitality projects – such as hotels and theme parks – are costing $11bn.

The renovations being made on Phase One of the Al Maktoum International Airport are worth $8bn.”

Expo2020’s impact on the construction industry

According to Khaleej Times, “Preparations in the run-up to Expo 2020 are proving to be a catalyst for the UAE construction industry. The rise in oil prices is also beneficial for contractors since regional governments are beginning to restart old projects or invest in new infrastructure development.

However, contractors are not insulated from challenges – they face smaller margins, more competition in project bids, delayed payments and rise in the cost of doing business. There is also concern about the extent of project awards after all the Expo contracts have been let.

“There is a large amount of current activity but concerns remain about the volume of works after 2020. Meed Projects estimate that around 30 per cent of the $3.8 billion in construction contracts for the Expo have already been let, with another 60 per cent in the final procurement stage and expected to be let during 2018. The volume of new projects awarded across the UAE is expected to decline in 2019 and 2020,” says Alan Baker, JLL national director, project and development services – Mena.Sentiment in the UAE’s construction sector is optimistic as the region prepares for Expo 2020. According to Avin Gidwani, CEO of BNC Network: “As the demand for hotel rooms, housing and the need to expand infrastructure increases, one can see activity in a number of construction sites across Dubai. Crude price that is currently hovering over $60 per barrel, up from $40 to $50 a few months ago, is going to lift investor sentiment and will encourage the government and the private sector to invest in new projects or start held-over projects.”


According to a major law firm, Al Tamimi & Co.” If Dubai and the UAE can learn from the experience of previous Expo’s, it could move the country into a different level internationally and allow it to serve a wider community than what it is currently catering for. Potential areas of expansion include the areas of trade, manufacturing and service industries, including tourism.”

And According to The National, “The value of the UAE’s construction industry is set to increase to Dh181 billion next year from about Dh162bn this year, the company said. BMI Research also predicts growth of more than 6 per cent for the following three years as Dubai ramps up spending ahead of Expo 2020, but a fall-off of 2 to 3 per cent a year after 2020.

It said that Dubai’s planned projects in real estate and energy are “progressing well”, but said that Abu Dhabi had been more exposed to the downturn in commodities as government and private sector spending were more reliant on the oil and gas market.”

So what happens after Expo 2020?

According to a report by CNN, “Dubbed “District 2020,” the area which the expo occupies in Dubai South will undergo extensive redevelopments before reopening in October 2021 — not long after the expo closes in April that year.”

Some buildings will remain unchanged, including the Santiago Calatrava-designed UAE National Pavilion, modeled on the wings of a falcon. Others will be transformed on the inside: The Sustainability Pavilion, for instance, will live on as a center for child and scientific education. The Dubai World Trade Center Conference and Exhibition Center will also remain once the expo closes.

Over 80% of the 200 hectare site will be retained according to documents released as part of the announcement, and planners hope District 2020 will more than double in size to become a city in its own right.

“District 2020 will continue to carry forward Expo 2020’s mission of connecting people,” says Marjan Faraidooni, an official specializing in Expo 2020 legacy.

Undoubtedly, expos have significant impact on the overall economy of a country across different sectors, given that expos are quite reliant on construction, it will have a direct positive impact on the construction industry.














The Construction Industry during Ramadan

The holy month of Ramadan is just a few days away and this year, fasting may exceed thirteen hours a day in the UAE.

In the GCC, during the holy month, many consumer brands offer significant promotions and discounts; this is not merely due to creating an incentive for consumers, but rather it stems from acts of good will. This year the month of Ramadan coincides with the beginning of summer and the start of the summer vacations for many of the schools. The question is how does that affect the construction industry and what to expect in Ramadan this year?

What the Rules say

The number of working hours are reduced during Ramadan and there is a mid-day break rule in the UAE as well that makes sure construction firms offer more off-hours for the on-site workers. Indeed, during the three months of summer (June to September), workers have a three hour break typically from 12:30PM to 3PM. Companies must post clear information about work hours for staff while shelters must be provided out of the sun. Any firms found to have staff working during the designated break time would be fined Dh5,000 per worker up to a maximum of Dh50,000. During Ramadan, Muslim workers who are fasting finish their working day by 1pm and return to their accommodation.

As for evening works and according to Abu Dhabi City Municipality, heavy work is not allowed after 7pm but light work could be carried out anytime. According to Abu Dhabi’s Environment Health and Safety Management System, any activity resulting in excess noise that can have an adverse impact on the peace of a neighborhood should be undertaken only between 7am and 8pm on working days, and between 9am and 7pm on weekends and public holidays.

In this report, we are looking into the impact of Ramadan on the construction sector and explore ways on how to capitalize on the firms’ resources during the holy month.

Traveling during Ramadan and its impact on the construction sector

 In the UAE, there are over 200 nationalities currently living in the country and according to a report by AMEinfo “People tend to spend more money on travelling during Ramadan, especially during the last week of fasting where they dramatically spike. The report mentions that nearly 85% purchase their travel tickets online, travel agent or comparison site, and also via the airline app. This factor, even though it may seem to be irrelevant to the construction sector, has a direct impact on the market. Many of the senior management and decision makers in the construction industry travel and it this means lots of new contracts are going to be pushed back.

Productivity in the construction sector during Ramadan

According to a report by Construction Week, “it has become apparent that the level of productivity during the summer and Ramadan periods has been on a steady decline, year after year. So far, I have had only one client who suggested that they would pick up an assignment after Ramadan.This year has witnessed a larger number of companies implementing strategic measures to ensure they are both stronger and leaner to avoid the slowing down of their business”

Therefore, many firms in the construction sector can take advantage of the slowdown in Ramadan to restructure their workforce to maximize efficiency in their current and upcoming projects and further analyze the cost structure of the projects.

Tips for maximizing productivity during Ramadan for construction firms

There are various ways firms can look into making the most from the reduced working hours and the slowdown in the holy month of Ramadan. According to a report by Arabian Business, here are some of the best ways:

  • Prioritize your activities and focus on key points of strength

As mentioned earlier, the working hours are reduced across all industries. “Most construction companies in the Middle East see a drop in field hours, owing to labor policies that prohibit shifts of more than eight hours, both during the day and at night. Then there’s the midday break rule to consider. In the UAE, for example, laborers are not permitted to work in direct sunlight during the hours of 12:30 and 15:00, from mid-June until mid-September.” Effective planning to make sure that contractors can make the most of it this reduced timing is an important factor to ensure to get the most out of the reduced timing; therefore, construction companies need to create a new workflow for maximum outcome.

  • Workforce development

Educating and training of the workforce for any industry is an ongoing process, the challenge that many firms face is the allocation of the right time for these types of activities. Since Ramadan is falling during a very hot time of the year, construction companies can hold courses in shaded and air-conditioned areas for their staff. In addition, and as explained during NFT and Potain’s Safety First Campaign, there are many ways to stay protected from the heat. Laborers should work in the shade as much as possible or at night, drink plenty of water after Iftar, wear lightweight, light colored and loose-fitting clothes and use fans to improve air flow.

  • Focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR programs)

“Productivity is not just about how much progress is achieved on site. Effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives have far-reaching ramifications for the community at large, your workforce, and ultimately, your company’s bottom line.” The holy month of Ramadan is a month of giving and during this spiritual month, therefore, there is more incentive for CSR initiatives. The question is how would affect the productivity? CSR initiates are directly correlated to staff morale and happiness at work which in return will have a very positive impact on productivity of a construction firm. Many firms in the UAE host Iftars for their staff and their families which also create a family culture in a firm.

  • Strategy and experimenting

Ramadan and summer months in the GCC are a perfect time to re-evaluate and analyze the current annual strategies and action plans. “Are there any onsite processes that could be tweaked? Are there any technologies that you’ve been meaning to trial? Are there any issues or disputes that you’ve been intending to resolve?” or  How will we move forward towards Q4? These are just some of the experimentation that can be explored during this month. “This period of the year is also ideal for ‘big picture’ thinking. Reflect on how you and your colleagues collaborate, not just within your company but also with other stakeholders. Could lines of communication be strengthened? Is there room for improvement within your procurement process?”

Other business strategies can be revisited such as corporate communications plans, workflow plans after the month of Ramadan, all of which could have a direct impact on the productivity of a construction firm.

The Verdict

During the holy month of Ramadan many industries in the B2B sector slowdown and the construction industry is not immune to this factor; however, it does not mean that firms can’t benefit from this slowdown. Firms can look into re-strategizing and re-planning for the year as the market is expected to significantly pick up in Q4 of this year and as we approach EXPO 2020.

According to a report published on Dubai Public Policy Research Center, “However, studies show that the economies of Muslim-majority countries do not simply slow down during Ramadan; rather, their economies change. As these countries grow their role in the global economy, they are more likely to find ways to mitigate the domestic economic effects of Ramadan to ensure competitiveness in the global marketplace. For example, instead of reducing working hours during Ramadan in Malaysia and Indonesia, some companies employ policies which adjust working hours so that all employees start and end their workdays earlier. In Saudi Arabia, where many staff in the financial services sector are non-Muslims, the government allows only Muslims to limit their working hours during Ramadan. Although in perhaps a more inclusive manner, this motif is similarly seen in the UAE, where global companies such as Emirates Airlines effect a popular ‘culture swap’.

Abu Dhabi: Aldar acquires AED3.7bn worth assets from TDIC

Abu Dhabi-based developer, Aldar Properties, reached an agreement with Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) to acquire a portfolio of prime real estate assets worth AED3.7bn,in one of the largest real estate acquisitions in the country’s history.

Aldar has acquired assets located in key destinations, with a focus on Saadiyat Island. This comprises of 14 operating assets within various sectors ranging from hospitality, retail, residential, education, and infrastructure, in addition to a selection of prime strategic land plots and projects under development on Saadiyat Island.

Talal Al Dhiyebi, CEO of Aldar Properties, commented: “Acquiring assets on Saadiyat Island presents Aldar with an unprecedented opportunity to add significant value to its portfolio. The opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi has demonstrated the government’s commitment to make Saadiyat Island one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. We believe this landmark acquisition will further advance Abu Dhabi’s real estate sector and accelerate the development of Saadiyat Island, taking it to the next level. This is a very exciting time for the market, and as its leading player, we’re well placed to take advantage, with the injection of these new assets representing a strong addition to our impressive portfolio.”

With long stretches of prime beach, and with beachfront hotels, as well as high-quality beach villas and apartments, Saadiyat Island has for some time been the destination of choice for many discerning residents and visitors.

The value of Saadiyat Island was more recently reinforced by the opening last year of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, to much international acclaim; and with Saadiyat Island’s cultural district to be extended further through the development in the coming years of the Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, the growth opportunities on offer are very clear.

The acquisition of TDIC’s operating assets will thus enhance Aldar’s high-quality asset management business with an additional stream of recurring revenue in line with its growth investment plan.  The acquisition of the land and projects under development will form part of Aldar’s development destination strategy. The acquisition will immediately positively contribute to the performance of both the development and asset management business in 2018 and beyond.

The operating assets being acquired include Eastern Mangroves complex, Saadiyat Island district cooling assets, Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi, Westin Golf & Spa and other community retail and leisure assets, and will deliver an incremental net operating income of approximately AED120mn to Aldar’s Asset Management portfolio on an annualized basis.

The gross development value of the projects under development on Saadiyat Island is AED2.5bn. The land being acquired is located on Saadiyat Island, is infrastructure enabled and includes approximately 1.1 million sqm gross floor area.

The acquisition is expected to fully complete by end of June 2018 and it is subject to fulfillment of certain conditions.













Impact of digital technology and online trading on the crane and construction market

As the use of technology increases in our daily lives we can feel the tangible impact in our personal lives as well as the talk of the digital world in our professional lives. In the previous article, the use of technology on the construction equipment (more specific construction machinery and cranes) evolution was discussed in detail. Digital technology not only impacts the construction equipment options, but it could also facilitate the project management processes and construction project monitoring and progress; which consequently could result in reduction of cost and saving time and increasing safety at construction sites.

In this article, we are discussing the various elements of digital and online market/economy of construction equipment and the impact of new technology and mobile apps in client servicing in the construction sector.

These days, ecommerce is a hot topic. Almost all consumer brands are constantly looking to expand their client base and customer retention and satisfaction either through their own digital platforms or third-party platforms. Even, Mohammad AlAbbar, the chairman of Emaar Group, who is quite well known in the construction world, has teamed up with Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund and a number of prominent Gulf investor to launch an ecommerce platform called Noon.com which competes with likes of Souq.com (recently acquired by Amazon) and other international ecommerce players in the region.

However, that is from a consumer brand perspective, but how has the B2B and the construction industry been impacted by this digital revolution. We will investigate this issue from various aspects.

Online market of construction equipment, construction machinery and cranes

In an article published by NFT earlier this year about the second-hand market for cranes and renting construction equipment market, we saw that there is a massive demand for second-hand towers cranes and there are many players and stake holders in the market. Most of these stakeholders have major online presence in terms of inquiring about these products and also in term of suppliers.

 Before getting into those details, here are some online platforms for new and used construction machinery options (these websites actually have very different approaches in terms of their offerings):

This is a bidding website where various bid from different suppliers are listed; While you can’t bid directly on the site, Construction Equipment Guide aggregates construction equipment auctions onto a calendar page view. Buyers can choose the suppliers based on geographical proximity and bid on the ones available.

Equipment Trader offers over 100,000 pieces of equipment in both new and used categories. If you’re looking to get sell your construction equipment or you are a dealer, Equipment Trader website is very user friendly and it is fairly easy to post a listing. There is a 72 hour waiting period after you’ve posted your listing as Equipment Trader verifies all listings; which is beneficial for both the suppliers and the potential buyers.

As the name implies, this website is solely dedicated to buying and selling of various types of cranes, including crane parts and equipment. You can also rent crane equipment and it offers training course and offers a dedicated section on getting quotes from inspection, transporting cranes, to lifting gear hire. This is an all around comprehensive digital platform that offers financing services too.

This website is a marketplace for crane buyers and sellers and allows crane suppliers to have advertising options to be communicate through their database. As compared to Crane Network, the users of this website tend to be more conservative in terms of sharing the prices and you might need to get in touch with them directly to get a quote.

This global website has over 40,000 items for sale from construction equipment, agriculture machinery, trucks to attachments and parts. However, this website is a good source for parts rather than the actual equipment.

This website offers free listings for sellers, potential buyers, and even potential renters, Machinery Trader is a great resource for anyone looking to buy heavy construction equipment without spending a significant amount in the process. Machinery Trader also offers parts, components, and attachments at a discounted rate, along with dismantled machines for the more adventurous construction company owner.

Ritchie Bros Auctioneers are a very well know auction house in the construction world and they have taken their operations online. Based out of Canada, they are the world’s largest industrial auctioneers. They are one of the biggest and most reliable digital platform for construction equipment market. Use their search function to first narrow down by location. Their auction calendar can be filtered into two categories: Industrial Auctions and Agricultural Auctions. potential buyers can filter their results by region, industry, equipment type, make, model auction location, year, serial number and more, making it one of the most user friendly platforms from the list.

In parallel, some magazines have capitalized on the fact that they are a neutral hub bringing together manufacturers, suppliers and readers into one platform. With that in mind, they have created a platform for the supply and demand of heavy machinery. Examples of that include KHL magazine with its World Crane Market and Cranes today with their Crane Marketplace.

Clearly, the online resources for buying, selling, renting construction equipment and parts is quite vast. However, actual crane manufacturers have rarely tried to offer their products directly and they have used some of the website mentioned above. We are looking at some the key benefits of the online market in the points below:

Easier access to different suppliers: Traditionally potential buyers needed to get quotation either by making phone calls or physically being present at the suppliers’ offices. With the emergence of online marketplace in the construction industry, not only access to almost all construction equipment suppliers has becoming much simpler but also it has impacted the pricing models as well. Potential buyers (therefore, the expected demand) has played a pivotal role in pricing strategies of suppliers which now they need to constantly create counter offers to win new business.

  • Better deals through online trading: With greater and easier access to supplier comes more information on the available deals for construction equipment. Suppliers need to always keep their pricing per market forces.
  • Better services through online platforms: Besides pricing, construction equipment suppliers also at time bundle up their offerings in terms of after sales services too. For example, in order to stay in the competition and not to cut down on prices too much, many suppliers offer financing and post-sale guarantee offers that in return benefits the buyers.
  • It is significantly time saving: Of course, potential buyers have access to a world of listing at their fingertips without even leaving their office and they can actually make a purchase within a day.

These are just some of the benefits, however, online trading in construction equipment market has some points that the stakeholders need to be aware of.

  • Responsibility & Credibility: Most of the website and online portals that are in the construction equipment market are Marketplaces; meaning that they connect the buyers to sellers and they do not necessarily take on most of responsibility in terms of after sales services nor the quality of the products being offered. Users on website such as Equipment Trader need to have their listings verified, however, the entire responsibility is with the buyers and nor the platform.
  • Increasing number of middle men: Since it is much easier for companies and even individuals to list products online, in the construction equipment online market, at times there are a significant number user that merely connect buyers and sellers. This is also common in traditional markets, however, in online trading, potential buyers need to be aware that many of the listings are done by these intermediary companies and at time it could increase costs and time of delivery of equipment.

Digital Technology and client servicing – Tower Crane sector

Using mobile apps may be a part of our daily lives and even major business deals might be done through them (primarily online buying and communication apps), but also in the crane sector client servicing, they have made a great impact in term of customer satisfaction. Here are looking at some of these mobile apps:

Manitowoc diagnostic mobile app to increase crane up time:  Manitowoc Cranes has announced a new smartphone app that will help customers to diagnose technical issues on their cranes much faster. The free app will be available on iOS and Android devices, and will enable users to understand the numeric diagnostic codes that are generated by their on-board control systems. Manitowoc is the first manufacturer in the crane industry to release an app of this kind.

According to Manitowoc website, “In the past, when cranes had technical issues, Manitowoc customers had no way to interpret the diagnostic codes that would appear on the main display of the crane’s cab. Specialized technicians would have to be called to the job site with proprietary equipment, and any time spent waiting affected the project schedule. Now, with this freely available smartphone app that instantly tells users what codes mean, crane owners can begin working on solutions immediately, boosting their uptime.”

“We’re entering into a new era of crane operation where we can harness the power of mobile devices and Manitowoc wants to lead the way,” said John Alexander, director of all-terrain crane service, mobile training and telematics at Manitowoc. “By accessing a cloud database right from their smartphones, companies can quickly get valuable diagnostic information to keep their cranes up and running.”

The first version of the app will address diagnostic codes on all Grove- and Manitowoc-branded cranes that run on Manitowoc’s Crane Control System (CCS), as well as all-terrain (GMK) models that have ECOS 1 or ECOS 2 installed. National Crane boom truck functionality will follow in a future update.

Tower Crane Operator Simulator: 

There are various mobile apps available on the app stores that allows users to operate virtual tower cranes.

In this app, you can operate wide range of heavy construction cranes with realistic physics in this superb 3D simulation game. Play Tower Crane Operator Simulator in your android tablet and phones. Incredibly designed game play with full control over forklifts, magnet and skyscraper tower crane. You can fulfill duty as staff at dry port in the city lift containers and cargo loads with fork lifter and magnet cranes. You can have a sense of a constructor cranes operator in quarry crew member on some building sites or sandbox. This is particularly important for training courses for the new staff.

It is almost impossible to fully discuss the impact of digital technology on the construction equipment and crane market in an article. It is every evolving and significantly expanding. Overall, it has impacted the market in a very positive manner, easier access to information to both buyers and sellers, advanced after sales services, mobile apps for client servicing are just some of advancements in this field.

More traditional firms need to embrace these advancements and regard it as a very positive step for the future of their business. It wouldn’t be long before more digital players arise from this revolution that could replace some of the more conservative and traditional stakeholders.

NFT and its rentalpartner in the UK Radius sign agreement with Potain

A rental partnership agreement has been signed between Manitowoc’s tower crane manufacturer Potain, Radius and NFT for the United Kingdom. Radius NFT will supply Potain brand tower cranes for the UK market.

Mike Fryer, Radius NFT managing director, commented, “It is great that Manitowoc recognises both Radius and NFT as their partner in the UK. The manufacturer understands our business which reinforces our position in the UK tower crane market.”  Nabil Al Zahlawi, NFT president, said, “Partnerships are important in our business – you cannot do it alone. We are strong because we have a factory behind us, supporting us, in a difficult market like the UK.“I hope we can do more and more in the UK and develop a better market share. We started with zero cranes and now we have 50. The potential is there, and for bigger cranes, and I hope we will soon reach 100 cranes.”

Barry Pennypacker, Manitowoc president and CEO, said, “This industry is very capital intensive; service dependent. It takes a lot of capital. To grow our market share we need to have partnerships and we look forward to continuing partnerships around the world.”

The announcement was made on 25 April during the Intermat construction equipment exhibition in Paris, France. It is the first rental presence Potain has had in the UK for several years. The agreement is in place with immediate effect.

NFT wins award for “Excellent in Operations & Marketing” at INTERMAT

Manitowoc Cranes has announced the first winner of its Dealer Awards ceremony at the Paris-based Intermat tradeshow. Abu Dhabi-based distribution partner NFT won the ‘Excellence in Operations and Marketing’ award.  NFT won the award after it invested over $5 million in improving infrastructure and brand image in the Middle Eastern market. The dealership established a new 300,000 square meter yard in Abu Dhabi, UAE and made significant investments in marketing and safety promotion.

NFT CEO Nabil Al Zahlawi was presented with the award by Aaron Ravenscroft, executive vice president of Manitowoc Cranes. “Our investment wasn’t just a financial investment; it was an investment in people,” said Al Zahlawi. “Our partnership with Manitowoc is like a perfect marriage and I’m happy with our partnership both in the Middle East and all over the world.”

The End.






Image sources:



Digital Technology Improving Efficiency in Construction Machinery

Digital transformations and technology is becoming more and more part of our daily lives; both from a personal aspect (how it’s defining and impacting our relationships and how we communicate with each other) and in our professional careers and the industries we are working in. The construction industry and the crane market are not immune to these advancements.

The birth of the modern construction equipment that we use today have not been around for very long and the key developments can be traced back to 1965 where the modern hydraulic systems were first put into use in the market which had a direct impact on heavy construction equipment.

According to a report by ForConstructionPros.com, “During the 1970s and 1980s, major innovations in machine configuration and powertrain were introduced,” says Chuck Sahm, automation & enterprise solutions theme manager, Caterpillar. “The track-type tractor elevated sprocket design and differential steering were two examples. The sprockets were elevated to protect them and other drivetrain components from ground-imposed loads and the modular design significantly reduced the time required to remove and install major components. The differential steering system allowed power turns while keeping both tracks working and enabling the machine to turn on a dime.”

Yet again, technology is impacting the heavy machinery industry once more, but this time from different angles. In this article we are looking into the impact of technological advancements and digital trends in machinery software to improve efficiency.

According to Construction Plant News, “The European construction equipment industry is an example of technology leadership. Increasingly, our machines are ‘digitised’ and there is no escape from that.” That was the main message from CECE President Bernd Holz, addressing the CECE Congress in Prague, Czech Republic, an event which saw close to two hundred leaders from the construction equipment industry in Europe come together, as well as technical experts, sales managers, trade press and international trade association representatives.

The Committee or European Construction Equipment (CECE) represents the interests of national construction equipment manufacturer associations in 13 European countries, including Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Russia and Turkey. The sector counts around 1200 companies that employ about 300,000 people directly and indirectly.

In recent years, one of the key focuses of CECE has been on how technology is transforming the construction industry.

Construction is all about building things as efficiently and safely as possible. Technology can help. Equipping a project with smart devices can transmit dynamic data on project’s progress, surrounding and performance that can be used by project directors to help with real time decision making and strategic planning. Since the technological advancements in construction machinery is so vast, we will look into some specific examples:

Better communication between Man and Machine.

Taking the example of Manitowoc,its latest CraneSTAR Diag is a remote diagnostic tool that primarily results in time saving for troubleshooting for top-slewing cranes equipped with V3 or CCS devices. According to Manitowoc website it “offers a user-friendly interface, full graphic display, ergonomic controls, a jog dial for easier navigation and data input, and parts commonality across Grove, Manitowoc and Potain product lines enhancing operator familiarization and serviceability”.

CraneSTAR gives you up-to-date crane fleet information, no matter where you or your cranes are located. You can monitor locations and working conditions; plan maintenance and lifting schedules; and maximize your company’s efficiency, productivity and profitability.

To simply understand how this system works, we will look into an issue to a specific scenario:

The customer on the construction site, the crane care support (the dispatcher) and the workshop (the after sales technician) are at 3 different locations. If there is an issue with the tower crane on the construction site (for example, automatic greasing is at a low level), the job site manager on the construction site notifies the crane care dispatcher in the crane care support office and in order to monitor and investigate this issue, the dispatcher can remotely connect to the crane in real time. This connection allows the dispatcher to make a pre-diagnosis and is able to find a solution without setting foot on the construction site. Depending on the issue, if the part needs to be replaced, the dispatcher can connect with a specialist in the workshop to have the parts sent to the construction site. This solution will result in:

  • Significantly increasing the availability of cranes to be used at the construction site,
  • Improving the job site productivity,
  • Optimizes communication between stakeholders,
  • More importantly, it saves time.

Real-time data collection and supervision.

Drones have made headlines in the news recently from the regulations in using them to how accessible they are for both recreational and professional purposes. Dronethusiat website has pointed out some great uses for construction drones, which we have listed here for you:

  • Planning: a drone can give you a bird’s eye view on the construction site and allow you to see the details more visibly
  • Use of drones in surveying
  • Analyzing the date from the site: Models such as high-resolution 3D types use browser-based technology, so users can simply share by sending a link, and the client can then log in, view the data, and export it to any local entities if they need.
  • Showcasing the construction work progress
  • Monitoring job sites
  • Inspecting Structures
  • Better safety records: you can easily have access to dangerous locations and hard to reach areas
  • Keeping the project on-track, on-budget: If parts of the project are not progressing as planned, or safety policies are not being followed, or resource allocation is not being optimized then these factors could directly affect the time and the cost of a project. With the use of a drone these can simply be reviewed in real time.

Improved planning and minimizing human error.

Autodesk, a leading software company defines BIM (Building Information Modeling) as an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently planned, designed, constructed, and managed for buildings and infrastructure.

Scan2cad website has summarized the benefits of BIM as:

  • A more optimized collaboration between the project’s stakeholders
  • Better visualization of the project design
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Definition of each step of the project
  • Improved productivity
  • Supports energy efficiency
  • Better co-ordination

Enforcing safety and protecting resources.

RFID sensors for construction equipment allow a site manager to know precisely where a machine is in use. They also deliver a warning to other laborers on site if they are in danger of walking into the path of moving machinery, for instance.  Similarly, anti-collision for tower cranes allow them to communicate wirelessly with each to avoid any clash. Site managers can study through such sensors when a machine is being used and when it is idle hence, what is the optimal location and work radius for each machine, allowing for better planning and resource distribution. Instead of wasting capitals with idle machinery, equipment could be use more efficiently and human error is reduced.

Will technology replace human capital?

To stretch the conversation further, let us imagine to what extent technology can impact the construction machinery industry. For Tower Cranes, a heated question at the ITC conference in London organized by KHL in 2017 was: Can Tower Cranes ever run without operators?

A simple answer to this question would be yes! Just like many other automation, robotic and artificial intelligence advancements that most people didn’t believe at the time, it could be accepted that one day even tower cranes will run without operators.

In the past decade, AI seems to be integrating to all industries from their marketing, customer services to internal operations. Tesla cars which have made a strong presence for themselves globally are a perfect example of how an AI system can operate a mobile machine that has been controlled and managed by a person/operator since it was first invented. Dubai is considering driver-less cars and tests for driver-less pods are under way.  So, it is not very difficult to believe that one day cranes will also run without an operator. Therefore, the question now is, how is AI impacting the construction industry?

In general terms, Artificial intelligence is a term for describing when a machine mimics human cognitive functions, like problem-solving, learning and pattern recognition or at times operating machinery. AI is basically making machines do what humans can do. Therefore, when an AI system is fed more data, it can make decisions on its next steps based on this data.

The world’s first fully functional 3D printed building inaugurated in Dubai in 2016 was done using AI. Dubai Municipality claims that by 2030 “25% of the city’s new buildings will be printed in an attempt to reduce construction costs and shorten delivery time frames”, as part of the government’s 3D Printing Strategy. Data generated and captured in construction projects is growing. This includes data generated from images captured from mobile devices, drone videos, security sensors, building information modelling (BIM), AUTOCAD drawings, etc. The challenge that we’re facing now is how to make the best use of all this data in a way that is optimized. We are in the era of big data and software companies that are looking to cater to the construction company are on a rise. The “drawback” to AI is that, with the emergence of AI, many traditional jobs in the construction industry can be replaced. So an industry that has always depended heavily on manpower could now be replacing man with machine.

Automation solutions and automated machines are not all that AI has to offer and they are part of the bigger AI movement in the construction sector. Back in the days of the first hydraulic machine, people had the same trepidation. However, with change came new opportunities. Specialists believe that the same thing is happening with the debut of artificial intelligence. The use of AI will be slow and steady but by the time automation and machines are applied into construction, new jobs will have been generated to supplement and complement them.

According to Aproplan website, “For CEO Steve Muck of Brayman Construction Corporation, he believes that the American labor shortage in the construction sector can be saved with a robotics-based solution. According to him, the past ten years has been difficult when it comes to finding workers. With their robotics solution of rebar-tying, it has saved lots of time while reducing injuries workers get while manually tying rebars.”

Potain Takes Center Stage At Intermat Paris 2018

Potain is taking center stage at the tradeshow, which is being held at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center between April 23 and 28, 2018. The prominence of Potain is fitting, as this year marks the company’s 90th anniversary. This has presented a perfect opportunity to look back at Potain’s history while looking forward to its new generation of tower cranes.

“Potain is a name that is synonymous with the tower crane industry and is a vital part of the success of Manitowoc,” said Aaron Ravenscroft, executive vice president of Manitowoc. “This year, under the anniversary theme ‘Achieving Your Vision,’ attendees will see how we are celebrating the long success of the company and the vision of its founder, Faustin Potain, who started the business in 1928.

“Faustin introduced the values of customer proximity, innovation and performance. Those values led to the brand’s success over the decades and are still very much alive today. Being in France, where the brand was born, makes Intermat the perfect place to celebrate this milestone, together with our customers and partners who are part of the success of Potain,” Ravenscroft continued.

Potain will be celebrating its 90th year with a “birthday” event at its booth on Wednesday, April 25, at 3:00 p.m. Visitors can expect a look back at Potain’s history, cake, music and a festive atmosphere to commemorate the occasion.

Customer-inspired cranes
To affirm Potain’s commitment to its customers, Manitowoc is displaying two models from the Hup self-erecting crane range — a Hup 32-27 and a Hup 40-30 — and an MDT 389 CCS topless top-slewing tower crane. All three cranes were developed with significant customer input and participation. The cranes reflect the technologies and features that the lifting market needs most and they were developed with much more velocity to market than previous generations of cranes.

The Hup self-erecting crane range contains some of Potain’s most remarkable models of recent years. Having been out for just over a year, the cranes’ versatility and ease-of-use have already made them an international hit. The cranes have a maximum capacity of 4 t and a rear-slewing radius of only 2.25 m for the Hup 32-27, enabling them to be positioned closer to buildings — a major benefit when working in tight urban areas or job sites with restricted working quarters.

Despite being taller than the Igo 36, one of its predecessor models, the Hup cranes occupy the same footprint, making them ideal for space-restricted job sites. Three raised positions of the luffing jib, at 10°, 20° or 30° for the Hup 32-27, in addition to horizontal, provide unprecedented options for a self-erecting crane. With two height options for their telescopic masts and an exclusive new radio remote control with Potain’s Smart Set Up software, operators can maximize their efficiency to levels previously unseen.

The MDT 389 is the largest topless crane from the Potain lineup to feature the company’s Crane Control System (CCS), which is also available on all MDT and MD Potain top-slewing tower cranes and Grove mobile cranes. This user-friendly operating system offers owners the highest levels of comfort, flexibility and ergonomic control, and it reduces installation time compared to previous models. There are two versions of the Potain MDT 389, one with a 12 t maximum capacity and the other with a 16 t maximum capacity. Both have up to 75 m of jib available, and the 12 t version can lift 3.4 t at its jib end, while the 16 t version can handle 3.3 t.

The MDT CCS Topless concept enables complex, multi-crane installations, and the assembly, erection, transport and maintenance phases are shorter than previous generations of tower cranes. All of these features lead to a better return on investment for crane owners, and CCS has been proven to increase efficiency on the job site.

“With the recent updates in Potain design and production, we are confident that these cranes will improve efficiencies and expand lifting capabilities to a level not yet seen in Europe, all at a lower total cost of ownership for our customers,” Ravenscroft said. “We can’t wait to see such cranes benefit the development of the Grand Paris project, a 30 billion EURO infrastructure project that aims to transform Paris into a 21st Century city, confirming its rank among international megacities.”

New Potain components
Manitowoc is showcasing key new innovations at Intermat, the first of which is the 75 HPL winch. The 75 HPL is suitable for all top slewing cranes. It comes in four versions, from 10 to 16 t capacity, making it adaptable to most work sites. Its increased hoisting speeds enable quick load handling and shorter hoisting cycles, resulting in increased productivity for customers. Temperature monitoring of the motor and reduction gear helps to increase service life, and for CCS cranes this can be displayed on the display inside the cab. What’s more, the new winch architecture makes components easy to access, giving quick access for servicing and checking reduction gear oil levels. Other features include a lower level of vibration and reduced noise levels, an optimized power network that automatically adapts to the electrical network, and smooth and precise operation thanks to new service break controls.

The second new product feature previewed at Intermat is the Potain Cab-IN, the company’s inside mast operator lift. Developed for Potain top slewing cranes in partnership with GEDA, an industrial elevator and construction lift manufacturer, the Potain Cab-IN allows for fast and easy travel to and from the cab, fits inside all K-mast systems and is compatible with all Potain bases/chassis. It also boosts cost efficiency, as it does not incur additional transportation costs or require extra storage space on the yard. The Potain Cab-IN will be released in late 2018 and meets French regulations that are set to be implemented in January 2019, as well as in the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, where regulations require lifts on cranes from certain heights.

Furthermore, Manitowoc is highlighting its remote crane diagnostic system, CraneSTAR Diag, at Intermat. CraneSTAR Diag is part of a new generation of remote maintenance support from Manitowoc. The powerful telematic device is available on all Potain CCS and MCT cranes, and offered as an option on Hup cranes. Remote access to the crane’s operating and maintenance information reduces maintenance time allocation and potential downtime on site.

“Continuous improvement is deeply embedded in our culture, based on the principles of The Manitowoc Way,” concluded Ravenscroft. “We are now moving into a new phase of our growth, where customer engagement, new product development and aftermarket support will help us build on our leadership position. We have already been busy bringing new products and innovations to the market with the velocity that customers expect, and we plan to continue to do so for many more years to come.”











Potain takes center stage at Intermat Paris 2018

Second-hand & Used Tower Cranes: What you need to consider (Part II)

In Part I of this report, various issues were discussed in details; such as the factors to consider when employing a used crane and the importance of the after sales services of a crane manufacturer.

In this second part, we will further explore this question and also look into the EnCORE program in greater details. At the end, study and analyze the diffuse demand for UK cranes as a case study of how the demand of cranes changes in a country given difference economic landscapes.

In Part I, we discussed that besides the cost factor of repairing or maintaining a tower crane, another important point is the availability of Spare Parts. Some parts may not be found as they are no longer being manufactured. With regards to this, when purchasing a new crane, it is always important to remember that a reputable manufacturer will offer OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) services; meaning that you can always go back to the manufacturer (or their partners/dealers) and ask for spare parts and services if necessary. When we discuss repair and refurbishment, the technical aspect of refurbishment seems to be more important for crane owners than the retouching and repainting on an “older” tower crane.

Further look into: EnCORE program: Potain’s second hand market

USA-headquartered crane manufacturer Manitowoc has a dedicated rebuild, repair, remanufacture and exchange programme for all models of Manitowoc, Grove and Potain cranes. It’s called the EnCore programme and it has been running since 2011.

EnCore programme offers various levels of refurbishment and restorations and, depending on the condition of the crane, crane owners can choose either an entry, standard or premium level of refurbishment. In Part I of the article, the information can be found in details about the different services.

Important factors to consider before refurbishment

The level of refurbishment is dependent on the age of the crane and how many hours it has worked in its lifetime, and also a key factor is the climate in which the crane has been operating in, as this could directly affect the level of service needed. It is always recommended that a third-party expert analyzes the level of refurbishment needed.

Another important factor about refurbishment is financing. Different companies might offer financing options that could have a smaller impact on the cash flows of the projects and make it more accessible for crane owners of different sizes. Manitowoc also offers finance options for EnCore purchases. It claims this supports lease agreements and, unlike traditional lending, Manitowoc says its financial products don’t affect bank lines of credit, leaving customers’ capital resources intact for times when they need ready access to cash. This is extremely important and valuable given the fact that many companies (more notably smaller firms) don’t take in to account the cost or the cash flow for crane refurbishment and maintenance services, therefore such option could be a very valuable factor in choosing the companies that carry out the crane support services.

EnCORE: different levels of crane refurbishment

Manitowoc has three EnCore facilities in Europe and one in North America. Specifically, these are in: Lagenfeld, Germany; Buckingham, UK; Breda, the Netherlands; and Bauxite, Arkansas, USA. In addition, there are several independent, certified EnCore partners that Manitowoc works with to perform the work. According to Manitowoc, customers typically visit an EnCore facility to see a refurbished crane, enabling them to inspect and operate the machine before they purchase.

According to an article published on International cranes and specialized transport publication, Manitowoc reports that its EnCore program is particularly strong in emerging or less economically strong markets. In Europe, for example, Manitowoc says it has a strong EnCore presence in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia – as these countries tend to buy more used cranes with warranties. Manitowoc says it sees little used business in China or India as these are more mature markets, while the Middle East is mixed because it has strong connections with China and India.

In order to avoid competition between new and used cranes, EnCore utilizes similar sales and distribution channels.

“The benefits of EnCore are clear,” enthuses Manitowoc’s Central Europe sales director, Erdo Arslan. “Customers have access to a refurbished crane that comes with a warranty for less of a capital investment than a new crane. Also, some customers may prefer an older model crane or have a crane that they would like to keep in their fleet, in which case EnCore is also an ideal option for them”.

EnCore programme also has a dedicated website, www.Manitowoc-used.biz.com , for mostly Manitowoc-owned used cranes.

Opposing views – when NOT to repair cranes

According to an article published on International cranes and specialized transport publication, “market conditions certainly weigh on a decision to restore or refurbish a crane. The owner has to feel there is enough business to justify spending the time and money involved,” says Tyler Smith, vice president of business development at Certified Boom Repair. “Aging cranes can often be refurbished for half the cost of buying a new one and can be put in excellent operating condition. However, when the repair cost exceeds 60 to 70 percent of the value of the crane then crane owners might be better off buying new.”

Wheco, a worldwide provider of heavy-equipment repair and restoration services is another American company that has been repairing and restoring cranes and lifting equipment for over 35 years. According to David Wood, president at Wheco, “the decision on whether to repair or refurbish a damaged or old crane comes down to its value and what the owner is looking for in a return on investment. Some older cranes are just not worth the investment to bring them up to a safe and reliable long-term condition.”

Potential crane buyers – watch out! It’s not all about the cost.

When deciding to repair or refurbish a tower crane, crane owners should consider that cost saving should not be the only decisive factor. Just like any other purchase in the construction sector, cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean a better deal specially when it comes to tower cranes; as extra costs arise months and at times years after making the total investment much bigger than the paid amount.

Therefore, it is recommended to have a long-term strategy when deciding between repairing or replacing as a tunnel vision can have a bias effect. Low cost repairs might save money in the short term but tower crane owners should always consider how that would affect safety. “Make sure you pick a company that has experience because there are many factors to consider and be aware of when refurbishing a crane,” advises Smith from Certified Boom Repair. David Wood from Wheco adds that tower crane owners should “look for a good partner” to work together in deciding or even in  refurbishment. We need to know the complete history of the machine and what the expectations and budget are of the owner. “There cannot be any secrets, or the outcome is destined to fail”, add Wood.

The role of the third-party expert that analyzes the tower crane history’s and usage is yet again important in having all the necessary information before making any decision or investment.


As the construction industry in the Middle East is growing rapidly and the demand for used cranes is increasing, maintenance and refurbishment of tower cranes have becoming major topics of discussion in the industry. The fact is tower cranes need after-sales services constantly to prolong their livelihood. The more reputable brands can guarantee a network of support and spare parts and “stronger” tower cranes. However, even the best manufacturers will tell you that tower cranes, like any machine, have a break-even point where the cost of maintaining them exceed their value. The challenge is to recognize this break-even point and to delay it as long as possible, or at least until getting a return on your tower crane investment.

Euro Auctions reports rise in bidder, buyer and vendor numbers in second Dubai sale

Almost $2million worth of equipment snapped up by UAE-based bidders, justifying physical presence in region, says auction house

Euro Auctions has reported a 40% rise in the number of bidders in its second sale in Dubai held last month at its new permanent site in the city.

The global auctioneers of industrial plant, construction equipment and agricultural machinery, said the rise in the number of bidders, as well as in the numbers of successful buyers and new vendors consigning equipment to the sale, is a vindication of its decision to enter the regional market earlier this year.

This was Euro Auctions’ second sale in Dubai after it held its inaugural auction in the region in September last year.

According to Euro Auctions, over 400 lots went under the hammer in the auction, attracting strong interest from across the Middle East as well as from India, Western Europe and Russia. Almost $2m of the sales were snapped up by UAE-based bidders, with significant purchases also going to Oman and Saudi Arabia. Europe accounted for a further $700,000 of the total hammer value, with key consignments going to bidders in Germany, The Netherlands and the UK. Floor sales on the day accounted for the vast majority of business, with just over 20% being transacted online, said the auctioneers, adding that the numbers prove how much a physical presence in the region is vital to meeting local demand.

Euro Actions has leased a 91,000sqm site in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone. The site includes a purpose-built auction complex covering over 3,000sqm with a 360-seat, fully air-conditioned enclosed auction arena as well as ancillary buildings, workshops and infrastructure.

“We are absolutely delighted about how this sale has gone, firmly placing our Dubai operation in the region and on the calendar,” said Jonnie Keys, Euro Auctions’ commercial manager. “News on our recent arrival in the region and our ambition to be a professional and key player in the used construction equipment sector is certainly getting out and stimulating much discussion. An ever-expanding portfolio of vendors are entrusting us to achieve strong hammer prices for them when disposing of equipment, but it’s also about the full service that we offer and building a solid relationship with all involved. We’re also now signing up a number of the key equipment holders across the region as they look to use our facilities moving forward and this is only positive for bidders as the quality, quantity and variety of used merchandise coming to auction will only improve.”

Notable lots that went under the hammer at the Dubai sale included an unused 2016 Volvo EC210BLC excavator which went for $75,000. Telehandlers and loaders were also in good supply with a 2008 JCB 540-170 selling for $43,000, while a low-hours 2015 CAT 966 went for $147,500, said Euro Auctions.   

“Having a permanent presence in the region is both opening the door to many new buyers and sellers and enabling us to better link together our global operations so we can offer a complete service and sell equipment in the markets where they are most desired and where they will achieve the best prices possible. Having a strong sales and support team here on the ground in Dubai, backed up by our international operations, has been a key factor in our success and was a key part of our growth plans for 2017, along with founding our successful new operation in Hong Kong,” said Keys.

Euro Auctions’ next Dubai auction will take place on March 5. Other upcoming sales include a three-day sale in Leeds, UK, from January 31, a one-day sale in Brisbane, Australia, February 8, and a five-day sale in Florida, USA, from February 13 under the company’s US subsidiary, Yoder & Frey.

Intermat preview: Spring in Paris

The Intermat construction equipment show comes around every three years. Held in France, it will be the main show, in Europe, for the industry in 2018 from 23 to 28 April at the Paris-Nord Exhibition Centre, France.  Paris, France, will be the center of the European construction industry in April with the latest edition of Intermat – the Continent’s biggest trade exhibition for construction this year.

The Paris-Nord Exhibition Centre will be home for a week for 1,500 exhibitors from 40 countries. From 23 to 28 April, it will host the 2018 Intermat show, with the World of Concrete Europe show running alongside it for the second time.

Intermat is organised by: events organiser Comexposium; CISMA (the French association of equipment manufacturers for construction, infrastructure, steel and handling equipment industries); and SEIMAT (the French association of international civil engineering, mining, construction and hoisting equipment industries). 

A new feature for 2018 is the structuring of the show into four specialist area hubs. There will also be theme ‘villages’ concentrating on technological innovations. A series of talks and round tables on topical subjects in the industry will be on the agenda of each theme zone.

The four hubs are labelled: Lifting, Handling & Transportation; Earth moving & Demolition; Roads, Minerals & Foundations; and Buildings & Concrete. The organizers said that this change was prompted by demand.

The Lifting, Handling & Transportation hub will see a concentration of those subjects, featuring machines, accessories, components, services and new technologies.

The Building Smart Village will see the BIM (building information modelling) Cabin, and it will look at digital design and robotic manufacturing, as well as digital tools on the work site.

The final theme village is The Start-up Eurovia Village. Eurovia, part of French contracting giant Vinci, is a partner in the Start-up Village, which will have 13 selected start-up firms displaying their innovative solutions. These will include rental platforms, site supervision applications, equipment management and robotic solutions. 

The Thursday of the exhibition has been designated Intermat Rental Day. The organizers said that construction equipment rental is no stranger to the digital trend sweeping across the distribution sector in general. A key element will be a look at the major factors that will drive change in the rental business over the next 10 years, and how each country is preparing for it.

We invite you all to Potain’s 90 years anniversary on Wednesday 25th of April.




International Cranes and Specialized Transport Volume 26, Number 4, January 2018