GHD expands offerings in Middle East following office launch in Dubai

20 June 2018

Following on from its recent office launch in Dubai, Australian technical professional services firm GHD has expanded its advisory lines in the Middle East.

The global arm of privately-owned Australian consultancy GHD, which provides engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services in the water, energy, environment, transportation and building sectors, has expanded its offerings in the Middle East with the introduction of its Infrastructure, Investment & Economics lines.

Also being rolled out across the UK and Europe, the new provisions follow the firm’s launch of a fresh office in Dubai last month, an occasion marking the company’s 90th birthday. Founded in 1928, GHD now operates from over 200 offices in 14 countries across five continents with a global headcount of 9,000 employees and revenues last year of $1.3 billion. In addition to Dubai, the firm has bases in Abu Dhabi and Qatar, and has been active in the UAE for nearly twenty years following the acquisition of Minehart Middle East.

UAE Country Manager Malcolm Dixon said of the launch; “We have a long term commitment to the UAE. As the government works towards its vision for a diversified economy, our people are proud to help clients build sustainable communities and contribute to the growth of new industries.” Ian Caution, GHD’s Dubai Office Manager, added; “We’ve helped deliver some fantastic projects for our clients in Dubai over the past few years, and built some strong relationships along the way. Getting closer to our clients in Dubai means we can be even more responsive to their needs.”GHD expands offerings in Middle East following office launch in DubaiIncluded among the local projects have been engagements for the land-use and infrastructure master plans for the iconic Palm Islands in Dubai – a series of palm-shaped artificial islands dubbed ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ – including concept designs, environmental and coastal analysis, transport planning, and Geographical Information Systems implementation, as well as providing concrete technology design and construction on what is currently the world’s tallest building – the 160-storey Burj Dubai Tower (soon to be eclipsed by the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia).

With its rich heritage in the UAE and further afield in the Middle East, GHD Advisory has now announced it will expand its local service line to include the firm’s Infrastructure, Investment & Economics (IIE) offering, which supports clients with strategic advice on balancing financial risk, with business case development, economic analysis, asset performance and management, and logistics and infrastructure policy guidance among services.

“Capitalising on our technical expertise and commercial acumen, the IIE team will offer a range of services spanning across all infrastructure sectors,” said GHD Executive Advisor (Transactions, Strategy & Commercial) Tim Mawhood, who will lead the segment’s growth from the UK. “We see significant opportunities to help our clients manage risks, develop value, optimise their investment decision-making and engage in complex infrastructure transactions while improving returns from the assets they already own.”

According to a press release, the firm’s IIE team has to date advised on over $100 billion worth of infrastructure transactions, with GHD Advisory said to be Australasia’s leading transaction technical due diligence practice. The unveiling of a new office and service line in the Middle East follows last year’s appointment of John Hensman as GHD’s market development director for Europe and the Middle East – tasked with marketing, business growth, customer relationships, and strategic business planning in the region.

Construction consultancy Drees & Sommer launches innovation hub in Dubai

18 April 2019

The Middle East branch of international construction and real estate consultancy Drees & Sommer has launched a new innovation hub in Dubai

Following the appointment of ex-Ramboll exec Abdulmajid Karanouhas as its Head of Interdisciplinary Design & Innovation earlier this year to spearhead the firm’s R&D drive in the Middle East, the local branch of German-origin construction and real estate consultancy Drees & Sommer has now launched a new innovation hub in Dubai – designed as a collaborative environment to serve both external start-ups and its own employees.

“It has always been part of our corporate culture to promote our own ideas and initiatives,” said Drees & Sommer executive board member Steffen Szeidl. “Increasingly, digital transformation and our clients are calling for completely new and disruptive business models. The Innovation Centre is one of our responses to these challenges. All 3,200 staff members can upload their ideas virtually.”

According to Szeidl, from there, promising concepts and solutions addressing identified market gaps in areas such as planning, construction and operations will be developed, funded and localised for any market which sees the potential. He continues: “Adding the Dubai innovation hub emphasises our status as a global innovation company by being one of the few companies doing R&D in this region.”Construction consultancy Drees & Sommer launches innovation hub in DubaiLocally established in 2003, Drees & Sommer was founded close to 50 years ago in Stuttgart, since growing to include some 40 offices worldwide, with its global headcount of 3,200 professionals generating revenues upwards of $430 million in 2017. The firm’s offerings span the gamut of real estate and infrastructure requirements, delivered according to its ‘blue way’, which takes into account economic, functionality, and ecological aspects together.

This, for Drees & Sommer, is an important point in the regional context.  “There is a huge demand in this market for contextual solutions as most models and systems are imported from abroad with little to no adaptation to the local culture, economy, and environment,” explains Karanouh. “As a consequence of this approach, we are facing major challenges related to user-comfort, efficiency, manageability, durability, and overall sustainability and feasibility of the built environment in the region.”

Accordingly, the firm has tailored each of its innovation hubs rolled out so far across the world to drive specific initiatives. In Aachen, Germany’s ‘Silicon Valley’, for example, there is a focus on customised smart buildings, IoT product testing and cyber-security, while the firm’s Stuttgart hub focuses on start-ups and processes and its Berlin one on smart cities and smart quarters. The Netherlands hub meanwhile focuses on wellbeing and sustainable innovation.

Karanouh: “The innovation hub brings together specialists of various disciplines from across the industry as a single interdisciplinary team that advises clients from early feasibility studies all the way to operation and revitalisation of buildings to maximise comfort, efficiency, sustainability, return of investment and overall value. The platform allows for brainstorming ideas, identifying market gaps and needs, adapting existing solutions or/and developing new solutions tailored to the local market and environment.”