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86 www. bus- ex. com September / October 09 E mirates Falcon Electromechanical Co. ( EFECO) is engaged in all aspects of building services for electromechanical construction work, offering supply, procurement, installation, test and commission services for mechanical, electrical and plumbing ( MEP) and infrastructure work across the city. Like Dubai, EFECO has come a very long way since its inception in 2001, as Saad Taher, founder and managing director explains: " I established the business in September 2001 as part of a similar company which opened in Palestine's West Bank back in 1991. We felt that the situation in Palestine at that time had instability and that Dubai offered a greater volume of work and business." EFECO is involved in the electromechanical building services trade and its broad range of services includes building electrical systems, air conditioning systems ( HVAC), plumbing, fire fighting systems, telecommunication systems, water management infrastructure ( including drainage, sanitary and sewerage systems), transportation infrastructure, energy infrastructure and communications infrastructure. Taher says that while the services offered in Dubai are the same as those carried out in Palestine, there is a much greater sense of international culture and business in the Emirates. " This is an open place for companies from all around the world to do business," he affirms. " Our supply chain is a good example of this- many of our supplies come from overseas but many of the providers have agents or offices here in Dubai, making business much easier." Initially, business was slow and EFECO concentrated on villa and residential compound projects, ensuring it met timelines and delivered quality. " The people we worked for, Arabtec Construction Company, were very satisfied with the quality of our work and our speedy delivery. When they were offered more work we were able to build an excellent relationship with them, focusing on residential work," explains Taher. " Over time, the projects we worked on together became larger and between 2003 and 2005 we worked on thousands of villas around Dubai." By 2005, the company was beginning to extend its portfolio beyond residential villas and into commercial buildings, hotels and the residential high- rise market. Taher says that the Dubai International Financial Center ( DIFC) Gate Village building project is perhaps the highest profile project EFECO has worked on and completed to date. " This was our first big commercial job, an AED150 million project involving work on ten buildings. This was a good opportunity for us to demonstrate our capabilities within the commercial sector in what has now become a landmark area in Dubai. We are now working on the Twin Towers Residential and Commercial Complex in the same district ( DIFC), which will form a key feature of the prestigious Central Park 08 project for Dubai Properties." Other ongoing projects in Dubai include the Conrad Hotel at Sheikh Zayed Road, the Palazzo Versace Hotel and Condominiums at Dubai Creek, the Silverene Twin Towers project at Dubai Marina and the Onyx Residential, Commercial and Hotel Tower project at Sheikh Zayed Road. In Abu Dhabi there is the Nation Twin Towers at Corniche seafront, as well as the Guardian Twin Towers. The total value of the ongoing projects reaches AED2 billion. The company was also involved in the completion of Dubai World Central International Airport's new air traffic control tower project- at 91 metres in height, the tower is the Middle East's tallest freestanding air traffic control tower, housing offices, operations, technical rooms, a flight simulator and a meteor observation cabin. The expansion of Dubai has taken place at a phenomenal rate and this in itself has increased the demands and pressures on Taher and his team. " Since 2005, the growth of Dubai has been very fast, almost abnormal, which has presented a challenge for all companies to cope with the change of pace. We knew that the demand in Dubai was always increasing, so we kept recruiting staff to cope. We still believe that we can do more work in the marketplace," he says. The success of EFECO saw its acquisition in 2007 by Arabtec Holding, which brought the business in to complement the Arabtec Holding Group as its MEP contracting works arm. Today, EFECO employs around 6,000 staff, of which nearly 5,000 are skilled technicians, with expertise drawn from all corners of the world. Taher suggests that employees may come from as many as 20 different countries at present, offering essential experience. " This is a major factor for our growth and success- to have the right people and to have enough resources," he asserts. " Training plays an important role in what we do and we are always trying to improve skills by running in- house workshops and encouraging staff to attend external seminars and courses. In the meantime, we work on ways to improve our skills through placing new people with our experienced ones, to gain hands- on experience." And according to Taher, that experience is one of the stand- out reasons that so many main works contractors turn to EFECO. " We always try our best to satisfy our clients on projects and build up good relationships through positive communications. The secret of our work is to provide sound quality products and service within

Emirates Falcon Electromechanical Co. September / October 09 www. bus- ex. com 87 Helping people make the most of their energy Between energy production and energy usage is the playground of Schneider Electric: Energy Management. We help individuals and organisations get more from their energy, be more productive and make their businesses more sustainable. Through integrated solutions in energy management, we make energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive and green. Safe: Because energy in general and electrical energy in particular is dangerous, we make it safe to protect people and assets. Reliable: From data centres to hospitals and stock markets, an increasing number of critical applications cannot tolerate the slightest fluctuation in current quality- not to mention a highly damaging and costly power outage. We provide ultra- secure power for critical applications. Efficient: The rising price of energy as well as the growing environmental concern is at the top of everybody's agenda. That makes energy efficiency a must. We provide integrated solutions to make energy savings and optimise total cost of ownership. Productive: Because energy is the primary source for any activity, we help customers turn it into an asset to boost their productivity. We enhance automation and connectivity everywhere to make everything simpler. We also provide lifecycle services to bring peace of mind to customers all along the lifecycle of their installations. Green: Developing energy generation through renewable sources is one of the key factors to contribute towards sustainability. We make energy green by enabling easy connection and installation of renewable energies. Schneider Electric the ultimate timeframe and budget. While we may not do design work ( our role as a contractor is to do the installation and engineering), we do offer re- design and value engineering to the client or consultant based on our expertise, by proposing ideas that may save on the costs or improve the design." Late last year the work in Dubai slowed down considerably, says Taher, and this means that competition for contracts has increased. " We always have to remain positive and use our experience to offer efficiency and value engineering to the client. This means being co-operative and helpful to all the people we work with and working together as one team. These are tough times but we are used to this situation and the need to be flexible, and realistic." Taher feels that the slowdown in Dubai is likely to pass and that business will pick up again soon; in the meantime, EFECO has already begun to look at new opportunities elsewhere in the Gulf region. It will shortly commence work, alongside sister company Arabtec Saudi, on the construction of a new university for women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The company has already opened a new office in Abu Dhabi, and in June 2009 was awarded its first two contracts there. Looking to the future, Taher says that Dubai will remain the core base for EFECO's business; indeed, the company recently completed the $ 1 million creation of an in- house duct workshop, to train its workforce in air conditioning and ventilation expertise. This came hot on the heels of a major investment in its own accommodation for junior staff and technicians, a commitment that should have long- term benefit through staff retention and the creation of a happy and comfortable team living environment. " We certainly want to expand throughout the Gulf area and allow other places to benefit from our experience but we also feel that the slowdown in Dubai reflects the global situation and that things will improve again," says Taher. " There are still lots of opportunities here. The huge number of projects from the past five years will require maintenance and facility management and even upgrades, as businesses look more towards environmental and energy saving initiatives, and towards green buildings. These projects will need professional companies like EFECO to help achieve their goals," he concludes. - Editorial research by Yohan Jayasooriya